Readers’ letters - November 9

As much right

CHARLOTTE Washbrook on shared paths really does miss the point entirely.

The clue is in the name; footpaths are for pedestrians. The right of way that is a footpath will have been there a lot longer than any horses to be found in any field. It is up to the owner of the horse to ensure it will not be in a field if it can be spooked by walkers, as it is the responsibility of the walkers to treat animals and the countryside with respect.

It is generous of her to say she doesn’t mind walkers sharing bridlepaths. They have as much right to be on it as she does. I question the fact that horse riders have total control over their horses. If that were the case there would be no spooked horses and far fewer accidents involving horses and their riders.

Her attitude seems to be precisely what some people object to; a horse rider who doesn’t think the rules should apply to her. I have been fed up with ground spoiled by hoof prints and piles of manure in the middle of town footpaths. In some cases a push-chair owner would have the choice of going right over it or into the road to avoid it.

If you own a horse, it is up to you to find suitable places to enjoy your pleasure, and by all means try to get more routes opened up but leave footpaths for the pedestrians. After all surely Charlotte and people with similar predicaments on a ride would object to meeting a four wheeled drive vehicle or off road or mini motor bike rider riding where he/she shouldn’t?

The rules are there for a reason.

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Also with reference to the ongoing saga of jet skis and swimmers.

I do not see why there should be any conflict between swimmers and jet skis. I have believed for a long time now that there is a by-law concerning powered craft off Clevedon Bay. Powered craft may, after launch, travel at speed in a direction in line with the slipway, away from the slip to get to the area designated for powered craft. This is beyond an imaginary line from the end of the pier to Wain’s Hill. They should only come into this area when returning to the slip and within a speed limit of, I believe, four knots. I am not sure of this figure.

I am sure there was a sign to this effect for a while at the top of the slip. If this was adhered to, swimmers and powered craft should not come into conflict.

Nick Gough is absolutely correct when he says that swimmers will always come off worst in collision. Since they are not as mobile as a jet ski, it is down to the jet ski riders to avoid the swimmers, not the other way round. As for swimmers having daily times to enjoy the sea (presumably while he and others can enjoy themselves), he must be aware that the tides off Clevedon put a major restriction on swimmers in the sea. The by-law would provide the rules Mr Gough seems to desire, and safety information is always available from the coastguard. I am not, by the way, a swimmer, so this is not a personal matter.


The Tynings, Clevedon


THERE is a clear one-word answer to the suggestion in letters November 2 that horseriders be allowed to use footpaths: mud.

It is unfortunately the case that many footpaths are inadequately drained. Horseriding along a regular route tends to cut up the surface and, over time, create ankle-deep mud, to the extent that the path may become unusable by pedestrians.

Obviously this objection does not apply to all footpaths, which sometimes are rights of way along farm or forest roads: there could well be a case for upgrading some of these, but it must be on a specific case-by-case basis.


Wellington Terrace, Clevedon


WHILE arguments rage in this paper both for and against our MP Dr Fox and his suitability to be our representative in Westminster, let us examine his performance in relation to two local issues.

The first is council funding. It is accepted that North Somerset Council receives less Government cash pro rata than other comparable authorities. Having had two MPs at the centre of Government up until recently (Dr Fox and Mr Penrose), voting them in as our local representatives has done nothing whatsoever to help us, so we now will suffer disproportionately larger cuts than we should.

Second is the failure, again, for funding to be granted to reopen the Portishead rail line. I know my local constituents wrote in their hundreds to Dr Fox to support our bid and the same happened in Portishead.

Dr Fox has publicly stated his support for the reopening. Again, a man at the centre of Government and yet we get nothing. Though of course there is some good news on the transport front, Dr Fox has retained his Government chauffeur-driven car, for security reasons, so at least one local resident doesn’t have to worry about travelling arrangements.

The good doctor is keen to get back into frontline politics, perhaps he would like to tell his constituents what he is doing to help them locally (which I think is his job)?


Pill Ward North Somerset Council, Star Lane, Pill


IT WAS good to see that traffic safety had been properly considered at Highdown School firework display.

Parking in Down Road, and The Downs, had been restricted to just one side. This allowed both pedestrians and cars to move safely, with adequate visibility.

I wonder then, why is it, that safety is considered important on this one day, yet ignored for the rest of the year? Twice every school day, these roads become blocked by school traffic parking indiscriminately on both sides of the roads, seriously restricting both traffic and visibility, thus creating a safety hazard.

I know this happens throughout our region, and I hear ineffective statements such that walking to school is being encouraged. Surely if the parking restrictions for firework night applied throughout the year, that, in itself would be quite effective encouragement; and might even protect us from the daily curse of the school run?


The Downs, Portishead

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