Readers’ letters - February 18

PUBLISHED: 08:00 18 February 2015

Archant

The latest letters written to the editor:

Strange

I READ with some disquiet the article about UKIP accepting a large donation from Harvey Boulter.

I believe businesses rarely give large donations without there being some advantage to themselves.

Mr Boulter is, of course, the businessman who was instrumental in revealing the unofficial adviser, Adam Werrity, to Dr Liam Fox, resulting in Dr Fox’s resignation.

It does not take much research to find that this is the same businessman who paid a substantial undisclosed sum to Dr Fox as a result of a defamation action brought by Dr Fox against Mr Boulter (The Guardian January 29, 2014).

It smacks to me of revenge; sponsoring UKIP to oust Dr Fox. Hardly democratic or fair. Do not forget this is UKIP that is willingly involved.

Further digging in the archives reveals a quote (in The National Business of February 8, 2012) by Harvey Boulter: “It will take a year or two to hold Sir George to account, but I am patient.”

Sir George was a figure who became embroiled in the circumstances surrounding Dr Fox’s resignation.

It strikes me that this intention to wait just strengthens my impression that supporting UKIP is an act of revenge.

Mr Boulter is CEO of Porton Capital which is based in Dubai.

It seems strange to me that UKIP, so vocal in support of independence for the UK, should accept funds from a firm based in Dubai. I wonder if anything will be asked of UKIP in the future.

I see the action of UKIP in accepting this money from what I see as a dubious source, at least motivationally, as another sign that UKIP is not a party to get involved with.

In case anyone is wondering, I am not, nor have ever been a Conservative, nor a supporter of Dr Fox.

I have aired my views about Ian Keeley’s views, attitude and language in the letters section of this paper before.

I consider it bad enough that we discover reprehensible behaviour from our MPs after they have been elected but to vote for UKIP when we already know they have similar problems of their own, before anyone gets elected seems to me to be an act of folly.

This is not a party that is just about taking the UK out of Europe but is otherwise a nice friendly bunch.

Far from it in my view, and the action in accepting this donation to be used in this manner is shameful.

PAUL PACKWOOD

The Tynings, Clevedon

Legislation

I HAVE read with interest all the correspondence in the North Somerset Times about the strength of people’s opinion about losing valuable parking spaces, and the council not seeming to care.

I think to avoid this sort of thing happening in the future we need legislation put in place to allow the council to be able to put a compulsory purchase order on an owner of a brown field site who has just left it to deteriorate.

When a business closes down the owner of the business would have three years to sell or develop the site, at the end of three years the council would then be able to serve the owner with the compulsory purchase order.

As available land is becoming scarce and the need for more homes increasing, it would free up a fair bit of land.

P A HOLDER

Chesle Close, Portishead

Money

RE: £30k to UKIP – article on February 11. If I was the UKIP candidate here I would seriously not want this money.

If you can only try to win by distorting natural democracy using the support of somebody based in Dubai, it only says bad things about your contempt for the people of the area.

Nobody of whatever persuasion should be allowed to try to sway public opinion simply based on the funds they can throw at a campaign. It’s trying to buy votes however it’s disguised and should be rejected.

PETER KEMBER

Stowey Road, Yatton

Only replying

CLLR Linda Knott wrote in your letters section: “I read with interest in last week’s North Somerset Times Cllr Shopland’s boast that (his quote) ‘I have never drawn a penny in councillors’ allowances since I was elected’.

In fact, of course, he was only replying to someone else accusing him of, possibly, taking payment. The recompense for being a councillor is a matter of public record surely and it is down to any individual to make use of it, or not, as their conscience dictates.

If you need the money to do the job then fine, if you don’t then good on you for not making use of what is, in essence, our council taxes, including said councillors’.

MRS A PEARSON

Finisterre Parade, Portishead

Surcharge

I READ with interest and amazement, in last week’s North Somerset Times, of John E Dixon’s ‘fair’ solution to the problems numerous families face at holiday time.

His suggestion: “Simple, no-one is penalised who does not deserve it”, is not only ridiculous, it is very short sighted. Does he not realise there are others that have to take holidays in school holidays, other than families with children.

Who does he think runs our schools, do they all have children?

His suggestion that you deserve to pay a surcharge for going on holiday, in school holidays, without a child, is quite frankly, bonkers. Back to the drawing board Mr Dixon.

C PETRIE

Woodland Road, Nailsea

Thank you

“BACKWELL and Brockway surgeries were inspected this week by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), a routine (but incredibly thorough) check on our practices.

At the end of the day, the inspectors were clearly impressed with the service provided to our patients in what are obviously difficult times for the NHS as a whole. We await their final report.

Throughout this process we have had incredible support and positivity from so many of our patients - either through the NHS Choices website, comment cards for the CQC, interviews in the waiting room on the day.

We know we don’t always get everything right, but we are very grateful to those who gave us this positive feedback - it is much appreciated.

In particular, we would like to thank our Patient Participation Group who have worked so hard to support us in our efforts to provide high quality care.

Finally, our staff - receptionists, admin team, cleaners, nursing staff - were highly praised on the day by the inspection team.

We aim to be a friendly, caring practice and again this was acknowledged by the inspectors - so a huge thank you to all our staff.

DR JON REES

On behalf of the partners, Backwell and Nailsea Medical Group, Brockway, Nailsea

Navigate

MANY people may think that Portishead Marina and Village Quarter areas are lovely places, and that is true; until you are trying to navigate the recklessly hectic roads.

This, however, is not due to the layout of the roads (despite the lack of parking spaces creating the problem) but due to the selfish few who feel they are above the law and the Highway Code and park on the corners of junctions with no regard to the difficulty and danger they are putting on the rest of us.

It’s a violation to park within three car lengths of any junction and if people don’t have enough common sense to work that distance out for themselves perhaps the council need to paint double yellows to clearly show this prohibited zone.

The Highway Code was put in place for good reason, to create an equal, fair and safe standard of driving.

Anytime I have tried to contact the police with concerns I have been left waiting for days/weeks without hearing anything until finally being told there’s nothing they can/will do (anyone else who has experienced this please respond to next week’s issue).

I feel we as tax paying citizens should have a choice in what our percentage contributes to, then maybe this would stop all the government-funded services from slacking and help develop the country in a positive direction.

NATHAN PENNANT-JONES

Village Quarter, Portishead

Concern

RE: TOWER House Comment. An additional meeting was organised at the Tower House Medical Centre Nailsea on February 13 where invited patients were asked to attend to express their comments to representatives from Lidl, Ellandi and the health centre.

I was also able to attend this meeting as a patient and as a councillor.

There was considerable concern regarding the loss of disabled car parking spaces outside the health centre and the net loss of 47 spaces within the whole car park. Many patients inquired as to why it was necessary to build a Lidl store in the town centre as opposed to a new store sited on the outskirts of the town.

Lidl has now submitted additional plans to North Somerset Council (NSC) proposing an expansion of the Station Road car park to mitigate the majority of spaces lost at the Stock Way south car park, planning officers have yet to verify if the additional proposals are viable.

There are 864 car parking spaces in the Nailsea car parks and I cannot support a planning application which reduces car parking capacity in and around the town centre, even if the number of car spaces is relatively small.

Nailsea is very likely to expand (unfortunately) by around 1,000 dwellings depending on the final outcome of the inspector’s report assessing the number of houses NSC has to build in the next few years. The expansion of the town will mean that new residents will have approximately 2,000 cars. Lidl seems to have ignored any data regarding the growth of Nailsea in their car park data information.

I think in the near future Nailsea will need 1,000 plus car spaces, certainly not less spaces than we have at present. If there is insufficient car parking capacity in the town many people will drive to an alternative retail centre, especially those visitors who live in the neighbouring towns and villages and choose at the moment Nailsea as the retail centre of choice.

I cannot recollect in the past 20 years a planning application for a large retail store where as a condition of planning approval the store did not provide additional and adequate car parking spaces. I was particularly interested by a comment made by the Lidl representative, in which he indicated strongly that in the event of the planning application being refused, it was highly likely they would submit another planning application in the future for a store on the edge of the town.

Finally having recently spoken to the planning officer who is dealing with the Lidl planning application, he has indicated that the April planning meeting is the earliest date for final determination. At the Tower House meeting the Lidl representative said he is expecting the planning application to go before the June planning meeting. (No planning meeting in May due to local elections.)

ANDY COLE

Independent North Somerset councillor, Nailsea East

Station Road, Nailsea

Contrast

HOW refreshing to read the editorial in this week’s Times about the expansion of the highly successful, privately owned and funded Fitness Hub in Harbour Road.

What a contrast to the much-heralded ‘good news’ story that was the upgrade of Parish Wharf Leisure Centre. In spite of a council investment of £1.2million (equivalent to £55 for every Portishead resident) it will still require a £320,000 subsidy by local taxpayers over the period to the end of 2016/17.

It’s a subsidy which the council will pay to Places For People Leisure Management Ltd, an aptly labelled ‘not for profit’ company.

When will our local councillors stop spending our money subsiding services that are best provided by local entrepreneurs and focus on the delivery of good quality core public services such as education and social care?

L PENNINGTON

Tyne Grove, Portishead


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