Readers’ letters - January 30

Backwell snow family

Backwell snow family - Credit: supplied

Snow family attracts attention

I’D JUST like to share a good news story. My kids loved the snow and built amazing snowmen (snowman, dog, snowlady and baby snowman). The snow family attracted lots of attention in Backwell and were shared on ITV news!

Sadly the snow family’s heads were deliberately chopped off by some youths on the Monday evening.

My six-year old was in tears and as much as I wanted to run outside to yell at the youths, I spent the rest of the evening calming down my youngest and his sister.

A few days later, we had a knock on the door from a police lady and two youths. They had come to apologise, to the children in particular, for their act and for using swear words whilst they destroyed the snow family.


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The youths had bought my children chocolates and had written a letter of apology for destroying the snow family and upsetting the children.

They also told my children that our snow family were ‘famous’ across the internet. Apparently the youth club had been notified by a resident in relation to the behaviour of youths destroying the snow family.

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I’d just like to thank the resident who contacted the youth club, the police, and the two youths (for their apology).

This was a good example to my children of how a negative act can be turned around.

We have always had negative press about the youth club and youths attending but in this case I am pleased to say that the youth club has set a good example. Well done!

SHEZMIN NANJI

Rodney Road, Backwell

High visibility

IN RESPONSE to C Pembleton’s letter, can I share their disappointment at what they have encountered.

As a regular cyclist myself, I despair of those individuals who fail to make themselves seen.

However, I wish to challenge some of the correspondent’s assertions which are stated time and again in any discussion pertaining towards cycling. The first is the assertion that we are somehow ‘asking for’ accidents through our choice of clothing because a driver will not see us.

If I fail to see your parked, unlit car and hit it with mine, I am liable, in the law and in the eyes of my insurers.

If I claimed that it was the fault of the car for being unlit, I would be laughed out of court. By extension, cars should either have their lights on, even when parked or the car makers should provide a high visibility paint option. Having high visibility gear on, front lights, back lights, helmet on, do not stop you from being hit, having been driven over at the Wyndham Way roundabout by a driver who just didn’t stop.

The second is the often repeated claim about the mythical ‘road tax’. The disc in your, and my, car windscreen and the amount of money paid for it, reflects how much carbon dioxide our vehicles emit. Road tax doesn’t exist. It’s car tax not a tax on roads or a fee to use them. Motorists do not pay directly for the roads. Roads are paid for via general and local taxation.

In 1926, Winston Churchill started the process to abolish Road Tax, which happened in 1937.

Car tax is based on the amount of co2 emitted so, if a fee had to be paid, cyclists would pay the same as disabled drivers, police cars, the royal family, and band A motorists, ie £0. Most cyclists are also car-owners, too, so pay car tax.

As to cyclists running red lights, I agree it is out of order, but so are the number of motorists running them, speeding, driving and parking dangerously (ever had a car door open on you because the driver claimed they haven’t seen you?).

To restate your well made point if we want people driving in this country, then let’s do it safely. Singling out one occasion as a point to criticise a whole group based on your limited observations sounds just as silly as my doing so in the paragraphs above. The Highway Code applies just as strongly to car drivers as it does to cyclists.

Bearing in mind my points above, the gist of your letter is that there are idiots on the road, you’ve chosen to focus on those who ride a bike. Some idiots choose to drive cars. The only difference being that if you hit me in your car, I may well not get up again; however if I hit you on my bike, you drive away (I still may not be getting up however).

STEFAN CHILCOTT

Priory Road, Portbury

Remote councillors

INDEPENDENT councillors on North Somerset Council (NSC) have been opposed to any reduction in council size. Fundamentally any reduction is undemocratic and alien to the principles of local government resulting in the future residents feeling even more remote from decision making.

Unfortunately the Boundary Commission has stated that there will be a reduction of councillors down from 61 to either 51 or 46. Of the two options now I am strongly in favour of 51 district councillors.

I have been a district councillor for almost 18 years since NSC inception. During that time we have seen rapid population growth, from approximately 185,000 to around 212,000. The expectation over the next 20 years is for additional population growth in the order of 40 per cent.

To maintain sensible and realistic councillor to constituent ratios, sufficient district councillors are needed.

Whereas a district councillor’s workload regarding attending various council meetings may fluctuate, district councillors’ workloads regarding their constituency commitments have increased dramatically. Maintaining the trust of the local electorate is a core principle for me, substantial increases in electorates to district councillors will definitely dilute the quality of communication, dialogue and trust which is of key importance.

Some district councillors have argued that fewer councillors will result in substantial savings to NSC. This is hypothetical.

A reduction in council number automatically triggers the Independent Remuneration Panel to re-assess councillors’ allowances.

It is entirely logical that allowances would increase to reflect increased councillors’ duties and constituent numbers, resulting in no saving to NSC.

I am also extremely concerned that larger wards with increased demands on councillors’ time will in fact deter people from standing for local election.

It could also result in planning applications being decided by remote councillors and not the local ward councillors.

I believe that the size of the council should not be linked to political party views, which is the overwhelming view of the political parties on NSC.

For me democracy is paramount, protecting it and maintaining the trust of the local people, outweigh by far any reasons for reducing the size of the council.

ANDY COLE

North Somerset Councillor Nailsea East

Station Road, Nailsea

Thank you

ON JANUARY 22 I was taken ill as I drove along Central Way in Clevedon. Within just a couple of minutes two cars had stopped to make sure I was alright.

One of them had driven past me, saw that I was in distress and had turned round to come back to help. It is so good to know that people are incredibly kind and generous of their concern for a stranger in need.

To those who stopped and helped me, please know that I am grateful and send them my thanks.

TIM VICKERY

Wakedean Gardens, Yatton

Fortunate year

CAN 2013 be as fortunate a year for me as 2012?

I left my camera on Clevedon Pier one month and later dropped my wallet when walking near the Causeway in Nailsea only to have both returned to me. This, combined with many other kindnesses shown to me since coming to live here, gives me a very warm affection for this neighbourhood. Thank you, North Somerset.

RODDY MCNEIL

Kingshill Gardens, Nailsea

Different

MOST of us are quick to criticise when things that we think ought to happen, don’t happen in time for us.

In previous snow years residents living in The Deans, Portishead, have been left to fend for themselves, being in a cul-de-sac at the bottom of a steep hill. I am sure that this equally applies to other similar residential roads in Portishead.

The first day of any significant snowfall is a novelty and maybe a legitimate excuse for a day off, however subsequent days become irksome, to say the least, when residents do not have a fighting chance to reach the main road system, for work, hospital and other essential journeys.

However this year was different. We had had some grit boxes installed for residents to use to grit roads themselves and we did receive a visit from the road gritting crew who came down The Deans, albeit on the Wednesday, but this did help with the subsequent snow and icing.

I would like to thank the gritting crew for doing that. Perhaps things are moving in the right direction after all.

Maybe we can look forward to some of the key footpaths - houses to shops - being gritted next year if there is snow?

From personal observations it doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem in places like Poland where they use adapted quad bikes or mowers.

BRYAN STOKES

The Deans, Portishead

Some weeks

JASON RODWAY Mailbox January 16 is unhappy with the refuse service; however James Mitchell January 23 defends the refuse collectors who “do an unenviable job…” and feels there are more important issues.

Maybe the point here is that refuse collectors apply for the job, are interviewed for the job, accept the job and they should therefore do the job to a high standard ie conscientiously.

Some weeks the service we receive is excellent, other weeks appalling - all dependant on the crew.

I have watched a collector hurl a small brown food waste container at the back of a recycling lorry with the contents falling into the road, he then picked up the majority of the waste and threw the container underarm some 30 feet to its resting place against a garden wall.

This throws some light on the mystery of how the lid of my container broke before Christmas!

LYN WOLLERTON

Riverleaze, Portishead

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