Letters to the editor - July 22
PUBLISHED: 09:49 30 July 2015 | UPDATED: 09:50 30 July 2015
The following letters were published on July 22:
Disappointed at the rubbish levels
Having walked up Avon Way, in Portishead a few days ago, I was really disappointed at the amount of rubbish on the pavements and roads.
Clearly, the pavements haven’t been cleaned for a long time, as is the case in many areas.
People who use the alley between The Deans and The Triangle regularly complain about the mess, including dog mess, broken glass, plastic, etc. Yet, it is only cleaned when a complaint is made. Perhaps our councillors could take a look?
Civic pride is important and teaching children and young people to care for their environment is really important. But, perhaps it’s made more difficult when the council and residents don’t set a good example.
The Deans, Portishead
Ashamed of the waste of money
Having been found guilty of eight counts of misconduct, our police Chief Constable will return to work.
Whoever oversaw this shambles should be ashamed of the waste of taxpayers’ money. If only such matters could be treated with the same efficiency with which our council tax is collected.
Cambridge Road, Clevedon
Given accurate information
When reading local newspapers, listening to local radio stations or watching the news feeds on the TV and social media, the most we can hope for is that we are given accurate information.
A broad, informative and unbiased article, no matter how brief, is preferable to half a story or one that only gives one narrow viewpoint.
The North Somerset Times has to be commended for mostly getting this balance right on some of Portishead’s most contentious issues such as Cabstand junction, Portishead railway, the skatepark and public campaigns for continued access in areas such as the Sea Wall Coast Path (near Portishead Pier) and the path across the golf course. It is certainly my local paper of choice.
We used to have several local papers of the same high calibre as the Times, with editors and reporters who wrote articles that accurately ‘informed’ people in Portishead, before they became associated with national publications such as the Daily Mail, where a story appears to be written to generate controversy with the minimum factual material.
I was sent an article from one such local paper this week about the Sea Wall Coastal Path which failed to inform readers that the old sea wall (on the seaward side of the nature reserve) is no longer part of Portishead’s sea defences, as confirmed in writing by the Environment Agency.
In fact, when we have had high tides in the last year or two, sea water has breached the newer sea defence boulders to the west of the sea wall and into the nature reserve, before breaching the sea wall on which the path lies. Scaremongering by that particular newspaper is not helpful and only serves to mislead, misinform and frighten new residents when in fact they just deserve the truth. Veiled threats of financial implications to Portishead homeowners for a wall that no longer protects their town is frustrating. Why is factual information being concealed?
The farce of the Cabstand junction continues despite the fact the councillors, who congratulated themselves years ago that they had resolved the problem, are the same gaining publicity for it again now. Valuable section 106 money – £800,000 – was spent and lost originally with nothing to show for it, and now after paying more consultants for their ‘advice’, our district council is to use another £200,000 section 106 money from Sainsbury’s putting ‘things right’ again. In 2011, we were told ‘the final tweak’ of a mini roundabout had been made. Nobody seemed to want to acknowledge politically that cars in Portishead were increasing at a faster rate than homes. Crest Nicholson even bizarrely achieved an award for creating a ‘walkable community’ ignorant that people may not just have one car but two.
Then we have a councillor assuring us he is ‘looking around the town for a skate park site’ when he and the town council were involved in obstructing the preferred location, which had planning permission and overwhelming public support. Should he be involved in progressing the matter now?
Those who have in recent years moved into our lovely town, are perhaps less familiar with the political problems and unsavoury bureaucracy that has affected decision making.
Portishead is known for its local campaigners who successfully gain and share information on crucial subjects to ensure we have better openness, honesty and transparency. They fight to retain facilities, amenities and historic rights to areas that can be enjoyed by all. We have a number of selfless groups that work for the town. Everyone also deserves the truth. Residents should ensure they choose their reading material wisely.
Albert Road, Portishead
It is still not too late to beat developers
Having concerns is one thing doing something to beat developers and keep all the green field landscapes for essential food, is another. Even if they get outline planning permission – it is still not too late to beat them.
If we don’t like what developers want to build on green fields outside our villages, ‘we communities’, need to meet the market demand for extra homes within our village boundaries; by advertising that new home buyers can get better deals and home style choices within our villages, by working with current property owners to re-design, build up and not to build outside the village. To own a home not having to rent one and not having to be saddled with an enormous mortgage too, is most people’s dream. If you agree please answer this question and convince yourself that building on spaces within villages (including using three or four-storey structures, ie building up, not building out), is preferable to outward urban sprawl constantly eating up the green spaces that farmers could use to feed us in an international crisis.
To beat the developers ambitions, we have to provide people who need homes a home where they would like to live not where developers choose to build, whether it be built of temporary materials, or in such a style and size that they can really afford to own their home .
Here’s why time is on our side.
Big developers themselves predict that to meet the Government’s annual extra homes targets, it may take 10 years; because there are insufficient skills and building materials available. This means, that even if developers are granted outline planning approval on appeal with the planning inspectorate, most communities will have years to organise home creation inside village boundaries, so whenever developers decide to apply for detailed planning permission, their surveys would show them that the market had been taken from them by developments organised within villages, by village residents.
So community by community the ball is in our court; we either let the developers win, or provide the homes within our villages, in a way that pleases new occupiers better.
Come on all you campaigners for green field preservation; this is the only way to beat developers, before it’s too late.
It’s infill, or green field. We have to decide and act, to please the buyers first.
Dunsters Road, Claverham
Branch welcomes new party leader
The Portishead branch of the Liberal Democrat Party welcomes the election of Tim Farron as their new party leader.
He will oppose the way the new Government takes money from the poorest, including those who work hard for the little they are paid, and gives it to the rich. He is not against the nuclear deterrent, but thinks spending billions on new Trident submarines, a cold-war weapon, is a gross waste of money.
He declares himself an optimist. He needs to be, but we can’t wait to help him bring the Liberal Democrats back to where it belongs.
Chairman, Portishead Liberal Democrats
Queens Road, Portishead
All the events held at Ashton Court
A business case/study was carried out at a safeguarded site proposed for Ashton Gate station Barons Close, adjacent Ford dealership Winterstoke Road, for Ashton and Southville MetroWest phase 1.
The business case was deemed to be weak, with a low predicted footfall, 213 rail passengers a day, using this proposed station site.
So the site is safeguarded and will be looked at favourably in Phase 2 MetroWest after spring 2019 when the Portishead line reopens, with a possible Ashton Gate station being operational and fully functioning 2022/23.
No consideration was given relating to all the events held throughout the year at Ashton Court estate. The reason given was daily footfall figures could not be taken into consideration, because they were seasonal. Also not taken into consideration was the new planned redeveloped football/rugby stadium at Ashton Gate. With the redevelopment of the Wedlock and Williams stands under way and capacity rising to 27,000 spectators, new conference centres have been incorporated into the new stadium.
These conference centres will be open seven days a week throughout the year. It is estimated up to and maybe more than a million visitors will attend these conference centres.
The business case is weak for a reopened station at Barons Close not taking into consideration people using Ashton Court estate throughout the year, and the new planned conference centres at Ashton Gate stadium. It will make it hard for people to attend and because public transport is poor cars will have to be relied on and where will they park?
You must consider that when the Portishead branch line reopens in spring 2019 four passenger trains an hour will be passing through Ashton Gate, but no station will be considered until the first passenger trains run on the Portishead branch. In my estimation at this ridiculous slow rate, we are looking at eight years before we will see a new reopened Ashton Gate station and in that time inflation costs will mean the station will cost a lot more to build.
In my mind it is madness having to wait up to eight years, when you consider all the football/rugby supporters at Portishead and Pill area, they will have to come along the A369.
Greenwood Road, Knowle Park, Bristol