Readers’ letters - February 15

Horse crossing

I WOULD like to reply to Peter Holder in The Times dated January 25, re: ‘Crossing query’.

I regularly use this horse crossing again, now that the lights have been installed, obviously not at peak times, in bad light or in bad weather.

It is not the fault of riders that Gypsy Lane has been cut in two by The Portbury 100, and that traffic volume has become horrendous!

I used to ride the area 13 years ago and it was easy to cross then. Moving back in September 2011, I tried using the crossing (without lights which were then installed) it took me 10 minutes, and I though it very dangerous. However within a month of my return to the area, the horse crossing lights were fitted. They are much safer, and all the riders I know in The Portbury 100 area use them. We are all really pleased with them.


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I agree the cost of the crossing at �17,000 is ridiculous and turning street lights off is dangerous (especially after the tragedy in Clevedon on Christmas Day), but we riders need this crossing and are grateful for it.

Hopefully if I meet Mr Holder on this crossing, he will slow down for me and I will give him a wave.

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DENISE PAYNTER

The Leys, Clevedon

Refreshing

IT WAS refreshing to read the letters of support for the Portishead Skate Park project in last week’s Times.

They highlight the mental contortions of those opposed to the project very well.

Despite the arguments for refusal to grant a lease being comprehensively dismissed at the scrutiny panel meeting at the council last month, the executive councillor responsible not only ignored the request to reconsider, but used the same tired old arguments to justify the refusal. And bizarrely, by saying the Lake Grounds are ‘full’, severely impeded the development work of the group trying to promote tourism in Portishead, by, as a start, building a bandstand at the Lake Grounds!

There is a very simple way to settle this matter once and for all. The skatepark will cost in excess of �200,000.

Most of that cash will have to be raised locally. Grant the lease, give the skatepark group, say, two years to raise the money.

If the people of Portishead want the park they will vote with their pockets, around �8 a head. If they can’t raise the money, then the naysayers will have been proved right.

Or are they too nervous that the majority of Portishead residents might actually support the skatepark?

DONALD DAVIES

North Somerset councillor Pill Ward

Star Lane, Pill

Support

I AGREE with the various people who wrote in last week to support the campaign to site the skatepark at the Lake Grounds.

Apart from the fact that there have been reports and inquiries commissioned about it, which all support the park being down there, it is a natural gathering place for families and children.

Isn’t it better to have children and young people skating and doing wheelies on their bikes in a designated area. An area where it is relatively easy for supervision to take place, when a parent thinks it necessary?

What, with huge youth unemployment, the sacking of professional youth workers and a general attitude that is anti-children in our society, what messages are we trying to send out to our children and young people

It seems to me that this is about some well off and privileged people, who live at or near the Lake Grounds, wanting to keep modern facilities for children and young people out of their vicinity.

If we want youngsters to grow up with a sense of responsibility and to understand about living with other people in our public spaces, we need facilities at sites like the Lake Grounds. Let’s support our young people and get off their backs!

PAUL DUNN

Portishead Labour Party, The Deans, Portishead

Safety is at top of list

LIKE many other people I read the letters you receive about the street lighting problem and felt compelled to write to you myself.

I can see all sides to the argument surrounding the issue as I am sure everyone else can.

I understand the need to save money and help the environment but also at the same time everyone should feel safe to be out after dark and, as a mum of two girls, safety is probably at the top of the list.

I am sure this suggestion has been made before but would it not be an idea to permanently switch of every other street light?

It would immediately reduce costs by 50 per cent but still provide adequate lighting and security.

There are two bus stops midway along the Portbury Hundred which have six street lights around them. Surely three would be enough, one on each stop and one in the middle?

The powers-that-be will probably say something about the cost of this solution being too high but surely the cost will soon be recouped by the overall 50 per cent saving and will put people’s faith back into being out after dark.

MRS A GRADWELL

Ridge Close, Portishead

Personal attacks?

WHY is it that some people when writing to the Times freely accuse the correspondents from the previous week of ‘attacking’ them?

Frequently all that has happened is that someone else has written in giving their opinion, albeit an opposing one, but more importantly shared some factual information. Why is it that reiterating the facts lately in Portishead causes such consternation and anger followed by unfounded allegations of personal attacks? The truth certainly seems to hurt.

The differences of opinion voiced on the skate park at the Lake Grounds have been ongoing for a number of years and I am sure will continue. But actual evidence remains constant and cannot be ignored. So putting personal opinions to one side, let’s look at the evidence only - which may answer Jennifer Parsons’ questions in the Times on February 8.

Those residents in Portishead who chose to take part in the consultation which formed part of North Somerset Council’s statutory planning process overwhelmingly supported the skate park at the Lake Grounds. At the time of the planning appeal, despite more letters for and against, the majority was still in favour. In the Coast Ward alone, the majority of residents expressed support.

There was extensive media coverage to publicise the application, as well as information evenings held by Portishead Skatepark Project, not forgetting the surveys and leaflets to many of the Coast Ward residents by Cllr David Pasley.

The results of the 2011 census have not been published so the exact population of Portishead is not known but, based on the 2001 census, it is true to say that those who engaged in the planning process both in support and against, can be called a minority. Those who freely chose to remain silent are the majority but nobody can say if that majority supports or opposes the skate park at the Lake Grounds or anywhere else.

They had a chance to speak but for their own reasons elected not to. This is not unlike the local elections. Some choose to take part, some choose not.

If there was a referendum no-one, not even Jennifer Parsons, can say for sure what the outcome would be. Jennifer’s belief that people “would undoubtedly vote against the skate park” is supposition only. It would be just as wrong for me to say residents would undoubtedly vote in favour. Finally, Jennifer mentions the elected representatives of this town and puts great faith in their ability to make decisions on our behalf.

I am surprised to read this opinion based on the fact she believes the silent majority is important. The silent majority did not vote the councillors in.

However, it is important that she knows that Portishead Town Council voted in favour of supporting the skate park planning application at the Lake Grounds, as well as the application for consent. Furthermore, the ward councillors had every opportunity to present evidence of residents’ opinions at the planning stage which some did, and the majority of communications received were in favour.

Jennifer admits that she doubts the effectiveness of referendums in any case, which is exactly why the planning process and consultation are so important. It reflects the opinions of those who think the matter important enough for them to register their voice. Those who didn’t cannot now complain.

ANNETTE HENNESSY

Albert Road, Portishead

Annie’s story

On behalf of everyone at Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary, I would like to convey our grateful thanks to the North Somerset Times for printing Annie’s story.

Because of this many kind and caring people donated towards her vet bills, and we cannot thank them enough. We even had some extra cash to help with three little dogs that came in together, all needing dental work and neutering.

Annie has since had both eyes operated on - unfortunately her right eye had to be removed because of the extent of the damage, but the left eye was saved and she can see perfectly. Her skin condition is almost cured, and the difference in this dear dog is amazing. She is so happy and energetic and now lives life to the full in her wonderful new home with people who dote on her, and other dogs she loves to play with.

Annie’s story has a real happy ending -thanks to all the wonderful people who cared enough to help her..

PAULINE LEESON AND STAFF

Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary,

Wildcountry Lane, Barrow Gurney

Eyes wide open

I AM really sorry if my letter (‘Wrong’, February 1) was seen as an ‘attack’.

It wasn’t intended to be and was just another opinion. And yes, I do drive. Eyes wide open.

LORI ROWSELL

Heron Gardens, Portishead

Overwhelmed

Recently I had a minor motor accident in Nailsea‘s Link Road Car Park. No other vehicle was involved and I was unhurt but I was overwhelmed by the kindness and concern of nearby people.

I am afraid that I cannot remember them all but they included two men who offered help with my car, two lovely young girls who were very helpful, an elderly lady who came over to me and expressed her concern and wanted to know if I was OK and a young man who offered to drive me back to my home.

I wish to express my appreciation and many thanks to all who came to my assistance. They made me realise that in the main people in this country are kind, caring and willing to put themselves out to help others.

MARION JOHNSON

Beech Drive, Nailsea

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