Readers’ letters - October 24

Safe cycle route

RE: THE proposal to widen the pavement next to the Rising Sun pub in Backwell. Why no mention of cyclists, for whom the fear of being “sucked under a lorry” is that much greater?

The need for a safe cycle route along the A370 has been recognised in the Backwell Community Plan.

Currently at busy times I and my children cycle on the pavement along this stretch of West Town Road.

If there isn’t enough road width for a segregated cycle path, what about a shared cycle/pedestrian path, as has been shown to work well in Bristol?


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This could form part of the ‘missing link’ from Sustrans Route 33 at Backwell Common to Chelvey Road.

PETER ROGERS

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Slades Court, Backwell

Portishead blooms

ON BEHALF of Portishead in Bloom, I should like to thank Portishead residents and visitors to our town for their support over the past year.

Once again we have achieved a Gold Award in the South West in Bloom competition for the fifth year running.

The judges were impressed by not only the floral displays, but our work in sustainable planting around the town, the lack of litter and graffiti and our involvement with community groups and businesses.

We should also like to thank Portishead Town Council for stepping in when North Somerset Council withdrew its funding of summer bedding, barrier and bridge baskets as well as the carousels.

Hopefully you will agree that the colour scheme for the town of hot oranges, yellows and reds this summer has been very eye-catching.

The new carousel hanging black baskets with built-in reservoirs (together with the summer and autumn rain, of course) has seen a marked decrease in the amount of watering needed for the displays to continue right into the autumn.

SANDY TEBBUTT

Nore Road, Portishead

Illegal parking

IN RESPONSE to the ‘Illegal parking not a priority’ article in the Times last week. I am deeply saddened, bewildered and angered at the police response.

The Chamber of Trade had a similar response, but having been employed by Avon and Somerset for 10 years, six of which were as a PCSO serving Clevedon, and being at the beginnings of Neighbourhood policing, we were led to believe that the community had a significant say in setting the priorities for the district, parking being at the top of each and every meeting with the public.

I also query the statement that the council should employ traffic wardens when, if contracts were to be looked at, we were all employed as traffic wardens with PCSO powers, to get around the fact that we were, as part of our role, to do traffic duties.

Maybe the Home Office would be interested to know just what the PCSOs are actually working at. Ninety per cent of the time, and things may have changed, they were to be on foot patrol.

This summer there has not been any sighting of a PCSO without a car or cycle, and none away from their vehicles at the Salthouse Fields engaging with the youths.

I implore every trader that has an issue with the parking in Hill Road or any other, put pen to paper to Chief Superintendent Moss at Weston police station. They are not asking for it to be a sole duty of a PCSO but a regular visit on a different day would not be too much to ask, would it?

LINDA RICHARDS

Leagrove Road, Clevedon

Thank you

I AM writing in to your paper to thank the two kind children for finding and returning my dog who managed to escape out of the garden on Tuesday October 16.

They very thoughtfully took him to the vets and walked him back up my road to return him.

JENI MORRIS

Severn Road, Portishead

Christmas card

WE HAD no idea that the Portishead and Bristol Lifeboat had produced a really attractive Christmas card until we saw it on sale at the Toll House on Clevedon pier at a very attractive price.

We bought enough for friends and family particularly for those who live away and abroad.

We assume that they are widely available but the email address is hello@portishead-lifeboat.org.uk and the office is at 108 High Street, Portishead, should you wish to enquire.

JEFF AND DIANE REDSHAW

Camomile Walk, Portishead

I am a citizen

WHEN you telephone North Somerset Council, you are put on hold and told that you will be put through to a customer services representative.

I believe this term ‘customer’ to disparage the citizens and community of North Somerset, demoting them to mere recipients of whatever North Somerset Council chooses to dole out in the same way that Tesco (for instance), gives you its choice of products rather than your choice and then congratulates itself for doing a lousy job.

I put this to Councillor Anne Kemp who rather than answer me herself, just forwarded my email to the council’s chief executive, Graham Turner. (Why bother with councillors?)

Mr Turner replied to me on Ms Kemp’s behalf saying he won’t be changing it because everyone is quite happy with the term customer which he defines as “a person one has to deal with”. That just about sums how Mr Turner views the North Somerset Community ie people one has to deal with, like it or not. Wouldn’t life be easier without all these citizens getting in the way? Mr Turner might be a “one” but to most people this indicates that he is just another “toff”.

I am not a customer of North Somerset Council, I am a citizen.

I am part of the community of North Somerset and certainly the terms citizen service advisor or community assistant have a much more inclusive feel about them.

Graham Turner may be happy to wallow in the arrogant indifference shown in his letter, but if he wants people to feel part of the North Somerset community, he’d better stop giving the citizenry the impression they are just dealing with some faceless business corporation.

PETER HARRIS

Scotch Horn Way, Nailsea

Suggestions

I READ with interest your interview last week with Nigel Ashton, leader of North Somerset Council.

I note that the Conservative-led Coalition has increased the cuts required in North Somerset by more than 80 per cent from �47millions to �86million. Councillor Ashton’s description of these as ‘savings’ and ‘challenges’ fails to recognise the scale of the crisis. Here are three suggestions how we can respond.

First, Councillor Ashton should persuade his Conservative friends at Whitehall to change their harmful economic policies that are bankrupting this country.

The austerity cuts are disproportionately affecting women and children and I don’t see the two-thirds of the Cabinet who are millionaires being affected like the rest of us.

Secondly, he could save �� million by discontinuing the magazine Somerset Life.

It is a useful magazine but I don’t ask for it to be delivered through my door and I dislike the Tory propaganda that Councillor Ashton sometimes includes. The council could publicise its messages through North Somerset Times, perhaps by an insert if it wishes.

Finally, voters in North Somerset should use the forthcoming elections to vote out this divisive Tory-led Coalition for a Government that has everyone’s interests at heart.

D BERRIDGE

All Saints Lane, Clevedon

Tesco benefit

I read with interest your article ‘Express plan can benefit other businesses - claim’.

Does Tesco seriously think we are wet behind the ears in Portishead, saying that “The presence of our staff and customers can be a deterrent against antisocial behaviour”?

Is Tesco now in the business of policing the community? I don’t think so.

How dare it suggest that there is a problem with crime in the area, that’s for the police to know and sort out, not Tesco, its staff or customers.

Does it pay its staff extra money for policing the community where they have stores? No of course not. This is just a red herring.

It wants to open its store come what may. It is not interested in the community’s wellbeing only how much money it will make at the end of each day.

I think Tesco’s representative (Ms Akokhia) will be most unwelcome at the meeting on November 7 at St Barnabas Centre West Hill at 6.30pm.

SHIRLEY COOK

Drakes Way, Portishead

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