Readers’ letters - May 2

Farmhouse

YOUR article (Farmhouse conversion plan sparks criticism) records the chairman of Portishead Town Council’s planning committee, Peter Burden, as saying: “The committee has agreed that the proposal for the barn is an acceptable solution to a difficult problem ...”

A senior planning officer of North Somerset Council presented informal views in February 2010. It was recommended, as English Heritage suggests, that the site remains as one independent residential unit with outbuildings, without any new builds, for the following reasons.

The fragmentation and conversion erodes the integrity and significance of the historic asset, and would place excessive pressure on the site (boundary walls, car parking and garages), which can further erode the site.

The fragmentation of a historic house from its land and outbuildings can potentially jeopardise the long term viability of the house itself.


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Access off Church Road South, due to the curtilage listed status, change in levels, likely visibility splay requirements and subsequent impact on the setting of the Grade 2 starred listed building and conservation area would not be permitted.

In March 2010 Portishead Town Council resolved that: “Portishead and North Weston Town Council consider Court Farm and Springfield Farm (the latter yet to be) to be of the upmost importance to the town’s history and character. The sale of this historic site by Bristol City Council is deeply concerning.

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The town council expressly wishes the buildings and land to be protected from development now and in the future. The open amenity space which has been used as grazing/agricultural land for centuries and is classified as such, must remain a green and open space as any form of development would seriously and permanently damage the character of Portishead.”

What is the “difficult problem” that Councillor Burden and members of the committee have encountered and how can the committee welcome the imaginative design with the knowledge of the jeopardy that it will place on Court Farm, the history of Portishead?

Court Farm needs protecting; let us hope officers at North Somerset Council do not encounter the same “difficult problem”.

RITA BAKER

Briary Road, Portishead

Urban

IT DOES sound like horse manure doesn’t it? Not being able to ride horses in any of the ‘vast rural countryside in North Somerset’.

Well according to the council we are not rural, we are urban here! We have the same problem in Clevedon and the only official bridleway is Cadbury Camp, which thanks to the M5 has been chopped about with anyway.

Lets hear it for having more places to ride, the RRASA (Riders Rights and Safety Association) has been asking the council but unfortunately as we are in a minority all our pleas fall on very deaf ears.

People who live on housing estates will have to continue to put up with us I’m afraid.

* The police in Somerset have now started a Neighbourhood Watch on horseback.

Perhaps the Elton family would consider allowing horseriders to watch over the woodland?

At the moment walkers, cyclists, campers and everyone except riders have access to the woods.

Riders do not litter, light fires or throw poo bags about and teamed with the police would be a fabulous deterrent to would-be vandals.

DEBBIE MCHUGH

Freshmoor, Clevedon

Charge

THE plan announced by North Somerset Council to charge rail passengers to park in an expanded station car park at Nailsea and Backwell is both short-sighted and ill-conceived.

Unless a controlled parking zone is implemented in the residential streets of Backwell within 500 metres of the station the unfortunate residents of these streets will find them crammed with commuter’s cars every morning, making their lives a misery.

The car park at Backwell Lake will also be full of commuters’ cars.

This is exactly what has happened in Yatton for many years as a result of parking charges being levied at that station, and now our local council wants to bring the same ‘commuter blight’ to Backwell.

Rail fares are already high locally and commuters will rightly regard this move as an unfair tax on commuting.

If you agree that this is a very poor and short-sighted decision then please lobby your local councillors.

ALAN SIBLEY

Newton Green, Nailsea

Proposed

IS ANDY Cole the only person with an opinion?

The proposed charge for parking is equivalent to one litre of petrol/diesel so hardly will deter people from using the car parks either at the station or Nailsea Town Centre.

The enlargement of the car park at the station is long overdue, and the reason for ‘the overspill clogging some of the roads in Nailsea and Backwell’ is simply that there aren’t enough spaces. I live in Backwell and work in Nailsea and have not seen evidence of this in Nailsea, and precious little in Backwell.

Has Mr Cole ever been into Bristol? I have never noticed a lack of cars parked despite the hefty parking fees, considerably higher than �1.50 per day. As for the killing off of trade in Nailsea town centre, has Mr Cole been anywhere else in the UK recently? I suspect that the percentage of empty stores is below the national average and we are fortunate to have a variety of independent shops.

Just be grateful that there are no nearby sites for large national chain stores to acquire.

Should that happen I too would put my bottom dollar on the further loss of shops, and would hope that he would be as vocal in his opposition of any such developments as he is to a nominal parking fee.

JOHN SLEIGH

West Town Road, Backwell

Silence

THIS is the first times (as I recall), for a long time in either local newspaper, now only you, that much has been said/written about post Primary Care Trust provision and organisation in North Somerset.

There has been scarcely anything since the announcement of the proposed Community Interest Company intended at one time to succeed the Primary Care Trust (PCT) functions and staff from last October, as I remember.

I recall that appointments to a North Somerset–wide consultative body were to be made at that time.

At least in terms of later press releases there seems to have been silence.

Of course, nationally the way NHS changes will go – ongoing uncertainty – may have held up everything. But the changes intended are material (positive in my opinion with some reservations about the practical working of treatment at home rather than hospital where suitable; and conviction that without an integrated care service it will also bring problems).

The PCT blueprint foresaw bringing care aspects of both former PCT and North Somerset Council into the structure in time.

Clearly the first restructuring has to bed-in; but integration of care is crucial for effective non-medical support for home-based patients/their dependants and for information sharing and co-ordinated management plus timely reporting/guidance to the commissioning GP or GP cluster.

There will be plenty of newsworthy important matter – with definite public interest – in all of this.

And it looks as if we shall need the Archant Group to make a commitment to track it and give it space; not just waiting for press initiative from the bodies concerned.

NORMAN BRUCKLAND

Butterfield Park, Clevedon

Privatised

THE health services in North Somerset are effectively being privatised.

This is a momentous change from which there will be no going back to the health service we all know and love. We have not been consulted about this and after all it is our money and our medical care that is being changed.

The directors of these new organisations have not been elected or chosen by the people they are to serve.

We the patients have had no say in any of these changes. These new organisations can be rolled up and sold off at a later date to private interests without any say so from us the very people who pay for our medical services. Democracy is supposed to protect our rights, where is it?

MIKE WILKS

Beach Road East, Portishead

Roundabouts

THE law on roundabouts is that you give way to the vehicle already on the roundabout.

Giving way to cars from the right is a generalisation and common understanding of this however, it is entirely possible that the car on the left as you enter a roundabout could have right of way over a car coming from the right if it entered the roundabout first.

Something to note if you are one of those many drivers who approaches roundabouts at inappropriate speeds with no intention of stopping because you believe that you have right of way over the car on the left.

While we are on the subject of driving, it is the responsibility of the driver to check pavements when approaching the many zebra crossings in Portishead and anticipate pedestrians that are about to cross them ensuring they are in a position to be able to stop as the pedestrian crosses. Not, as many drivers currently do, continue to drive over the crossings when pedestrians are two or three steps into them because they were not ready to stop.

ADRIAN KIRBY

Curlew Place, Portishead

Support

THANK you to all those who came along to the cheese and wine evening in aid of Penny Brohn Cancer Care on April 27 and made it so successful.

The event raised �460 which will go directly to Penny Brohn.

I would also like to thank individuals and local traders who made a contribution or donated a raffle prize, including Nails etc., Jean May, Fowlers the florists, Waitrose, Co-op, The Priory at Portbury, Oakham Treasures and Morgan Westley who sold tickets.

I am very appreciative of all the support from individuals and traders.

ANNETTE CLEMENTS

Belton Road, Portishead

Thank you

I WOULD personally like to thank Summit, Jean May, Ghandi Tandoori, The Royal Inn, Mark’s Barber Shop, Morgan Westley, Top Hat & Tails, Careys, McColls, Albion, Zena and Martine for generously donating raffle prizes for the 50th anniversary celebrations at Portishead Open Air Pool on Saturday April 21.

MIKE PUGH

Volunteer, Portishead Open Air Pool

Quantock Road, Portishead

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