Readers’ letters - November 23

PUBLISHED: 09:25 23 November 2011

Archant

Uncalled for

IN REPLY to the letter entitled ‘Funding’, on November 9 I thought it was just typical of an independent councillor, i.e. Donald Davies, to go that bit further and kick someone whilst they are down.

I am not a local or district councillor, just a normal resident, but the criticism levelled at Dr Fox is uncalled for.

He is without doubt one of the country’s hardest working MPs and in all his time as an MP he has only missed three surgeries. How many have you missed Mr Davies?

Dr Fox has admitted his wrongdoing which was breaking the Ministerial Code - big deal. I bet half the Members of Parliament break the code every day. It has been proven that Dr Fox did not make any financial gain from his time in office as Defence Secretary or that he gave any national secrets away.

As Dr Fox is now a back bencher, I am sure you will see him devote more time to local issues including the one Mr Davies is so concerned about - the Portishead Railway.

Just in conclusion, Mr Davies gives the impression that Dr Fox has a chauffeur-driven car for as long as he wants. This is not true. Dr Fox has his bodyguards and car for six months only, due to the position he has held as Defence Secretary.

As far as I am concerned, the quicker Dr Fox is back on the front bench, the better.

BRIAN WATERHOUSE

Wemberham Crescent, Yatton

Parking

IN RESPONSE to many articles and letters in the local press relating to parking issues in Nailsea, I wish to focus on two in particular.

Lodge Lane: I have been in regular contact with highway engineers at North Somerset throughout 2011 in support of yellow lines on the carriageway in two locations, from the mini roundabouts to just beyond the Hamlets and between the Oaks and the nursing home. I have received confirmation from the highways engineers that the road markings will be in place before the end of the financial year.

Originally it was the intention to have the yellow lines by September/October but due to delays in seeking a combined traffic regulation order implementing several other schemes in Portishead and Nailsea and carrying out the statutory advertising, the timetable has slipped by two to three months. The latest information given to me is that the lines will be there before Christmas, subject to weather conditions.

Parking Charges: I am absolutely against implementing any parking charges in Nailsea or at the station car park. During the local elections local residents will recall it was one of my core election pledges to oppose the introduction of parking charges.

Parking charges are bound to deter people from using the town centre for shopping and recreation; it will also encourage more people to travel to other shopping areas outside of Nailsea which provide free parking.

I just hope that the present administration running North Somerset Council comes to its senses and reject proposals to introduce crippling charges which will be detrimental to the local economy, but I am not holding my breath.

CLLR ANDY COLE

Independent Nailsea East,

North Somerset Council

Station Road, Nailsea

Closure

I HAVE read with interest articles in your paper expressing the concern of traders in Clevedon and Clevedon Town Council regarding the closure of independent small retail outlets.

Furthermore, I have followed with interest the campaign initiated by Hill Road traders to limit the proportion of charity shops in Clevedon. Current market forces are generating difficulties for many.

I write now to share with you and your readers the very positive experience we have had in setting up Clevedon Community Bookshop.

The Community Bookshop is owned, managed and will be run as a co-operative by its members, all shareholders, the vast majority of whom are residents in Clevedon. Currently, the co-operative comprises approximately 150 shareholders, and, to date, just over 4,000 £1 shares have been purchased.

The share issue runs until December 31 so we are expecting that final figures will exceed these numbers.

These shareholders have ensured that the last remaining second-hand bookshop in Clevedon does not close down and, indeed, is given a new lease of life with turnover expected to cover costs and surplus put to improving the shop and its stock, and to running literacy and literary activities.

In the current economic climate, it is not surprising that small shops close and, leaving it to the market does not necessarily mean that private entrepreneurs will surface to open new shops in their place.

Another way would be for us, Clevedon residents and shoppers, to agree on what shop we need, form a co-operative, and open and run that shop ourselves. For example, we might decide that in Hill Road we need a grocery store such as True Food in Reading, Real Food in Exeter, The People’s Supermarket shortly to open in Bristol.

In making such a decision, we would need to be mindful of existing retailers in Clevedon, complement them and collaborate with them, as traders in Hill Road are urging.

We have found that there are many organisations that would help us in such an initiative: the Plunkett Foundation which supports community-owned village shops (now more than 150 across the UK), the Co-operative Development Agency in Bristol and Co-operatives UK. Through Clevedon Community Bookshop, we now have expertise and experience on our doorstep.

They also provide opportunities for people and communities to be creative together. 2012 is the UN International Year of co-operatives. Why not another in Clevedon?

ANGELA EVERITT

Wellington Terrace, Clevedon

Priceless

I HOPE we can all appreciate our wonderful emergency services after the horrendous accident on the M5 motorway.

The fireman, ambulance service and police, and not forgetting the doctors and nurses who received the injured in the hospitals were all marvellous during their call to duty. The scene when they arrived will remain with them throughout their lives.

We cannot thank these professions enough for the dedication they apply and for the job they choose to do - they are indeed priceless.

IRIS CLUTTERBUCK

Kingshill Gardens, Nailsea

Shared time

I AM writing in response to Mr Packwood’s letter in the North Somerset Times.

Perhaps we should remember that the horse dates back 30 million years, further than man and the footpath.

There is a place for everyone, so surely it’s time we worked together for equality and safe routes for all concerned to enjoy, so we can all enjoy the benefits of our respective interests and be positive rather than negative.

Perhaps shared time on footpaths would be a solution?

As a horse rider and owner in Clevedon, I am appalled with the lack of safe routes for us to enjoy our pleasure.

As part of the Clevedon community, I have been working with Clevedon council to find lost routes and create new ones, and we now have our first permissive route from a kind land owner, Mr P Dodd, which will make it safe for everyone concerned. Hopefully with other land owners indicating a positive approach this can and will bring results to the benefit and safety of all.

In today’s heavy traffic surely horse riders, as with everyone, are entitled to be safe when riding out.

Equality for all.

SALLY GARDNER

Riders Rights and Safety Association

Blackthorn Square, Clevedon

Concerns

I FEEL I must write in and express my concerns over the impatient and very rude drivers on the road these days.

I class myself as a very careful and considerate driver but it seems that other road users do not have the same courtesy.

On two separate occasions in the past two weeks I have given way to vehicles to allow traffic to flow only to find the driver behind me has beeped his horn continuously whilst hurling abuse at me.

What is wrong with our society these days? Are we in such a rush that every second counts even to the detriment of the people around us.

I did nothing wrong other than be helpful and tolerant to the other drivers.

RACHAEL HARVEY

Mead Road, Portishead

Annoyance

MY COUNCIL tax is paid online. This month due to a hiccup with the browser instead of the current month’s payment they took three months payment.

When I contacted the council I was told it would take 10-14days for my money to be returned. Why! If I can send money at the touch of a PC key so can Liberata.

You can imagine my annoyance when today I received a reminder for council tax due this month. I had not paid it until November 9 as I had forgotten to do so. When I contacted the council once again I was told that if money is not paid on or by the first of the month reminders will be sent. I will obey in the future, Big Brother.

NICK EDWARDS

The Tynings, Clevedon

Remembrance

AS THE officer Commanding 59 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers, I have spent seven months of 2011 in Afghanistan.

My squadron has directly operated in support of and alongside 42 and 45 Commandos Royal Marines in the Nad-e-Ali districts of Helmand Province.

As newcomers to the Portishead area, I decided to attend the Remembrance Service at St Peter’s Church in uniform and with my family.

We were made extremely welcome from the outset; seats were found towards the front for my wife, my two-year-old daughter and I.

The event that changed our day occurred when my daughter decided that she would not be quiet or sit still during the two minutes silence.

This prompted a rather loud exclamation of ‘disgusting’ from a particular lady.

My wife felt embarrassed, removed my daughter from the service and did not feel sufficiently comfortable to return.

The response of numerous people witnessing this event truly humbled both my wife and I; this is the reason that I write to thank the people of Portishead.

The vicar, far more eloquently than I could state, referred to the innocence of childhood and correctly identified that it is this innocence that is the end-state of why those who have served their country, do so; the sound of a child’s voice during the two minutes silence is thus wholly poignant.

Numerous people spoke to my wife and I after the service to offer their support, to apologise for the lady’s outburst and to thank me for my limited contribution to the security of this country. This response was truly humbling and turned what for both my wife and I could have been a sad moment into a rather special one.

I have participated in more vigils to fallen comrades in the previous seven months than I can remember and witnessed events that I would not choose to again.

I am more than aware of the importance of Remembrance Sunday, and also more than aware of the desire to be with one’s family on such a day. The event has inspired me, endeared both my wife and I to this area and reinvigorated my desire to serve this country.

MAJOR RICHARD WILLIAMS

59 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers

Goldcrest Way, Portishead

Sadness

IT WAS with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Dave Heard of Carbrite Taxis.

As landlords of the Poacher public house for more than 20 years, we had many occasions to use Carbrite, often for customers who were “a little tired”, yet the taxis never failed to turn up.

On a more personal note, my wife and I had to thank Dave for carrying and fetching our then teenage daughter from the depths of Bristol usually on a Friday or Saturday night.

In later years he repeatedly ferried our son and daughter-in-law to Bristol Children’s Hospital to be with their daughter, sometimes in the middle of the night, and we suspected invariably never charging us the full fee.

He will be much missed.

RON HAZELTON

Roath Road, Portishead

Pitch black

MY HUSBAND and I walked home last Wednesday evening after a meal at a friend’s house in Kenn Road, it was 11.30pm and as we walked up Chapel Hill, we thought there must be a power cut. It was pitch black, as we approached Six Ways and Seavale Road it was so dark we could not see the pavement from the road.

It was quite eerie.

A few days later my 25 year-old-daughter Jessica walked home from a friend’s at 11.45pm on Friday evening in pitch dark also from Strode Road to Copse Road and was very shocked how pitch dark all the roads and streets were.

After talking to my daughter Jodie I learned that she and all her friends have been walking home from work, or friends’ houses at around 11.30pm from lower Clevedon, to Victoria Road and up Park Road to Thackeray Avenue. Girls 17-18 years old in pitch dark, and how it was the topic of concern amongst many sixth form students at Clevedon School.

It is just not acceptable. It is so dark you can not see pot holes or kerbs.

If anything happened no one could even see if they looked out of their windows, it is that dark.

My husband, nine-year-old daughter Anoushka and I came home at 11.55pm after driving back from the Glastonbury Carnival.

As we parked outside our house we actually witnessed all the street lights turning off one by one.

This was after a family evening out. Most people in their late teens and twenties/thirties, wouldn’t be walking, cycling or driving home until several hours later especially on a Friday and Saturday night.

I see it as madness on so many levels, from young women walking home in pitch dark, pedestrians in danger of not being seen and knocked down, people being injured tripping and falling not to mention, burglaries, with the street lights out, and cuts in local police.

It is a burglar’s dream come true.

Lastly we the people, who pay huge council taxes and car tax, have the right to demand our street lights be turned back on.

Supermarkets and D-I-Y stores have been selling energy efficient light bulbs for the past two years at least, at 16p retail price, so why has it been overlooked until now by North Somerset Council to change our street lighting from the old uneconomical, expensive light bulbs over the last few years, when almost every homeowner in North Somerset has made the effort?

When North Somerset Council has to pay for crime going up, personal injury accidents and, dare I say, road traffic deaths, surely that will cost taxpayers more than the estimated £4 per household per year saved on turning off our street lighting. Not to mention road signals and traffic lights in the near future.

People wake up and just say no to Clevedon in Darkness.

NICOLA SHELLARD

Copse Road, Clevedon

Amazing

IT’S not often that I commend North Somerset Council on a transport related issue, but the scheme to turn off street lights between 12 and 5am is an excellent one.

Not only does it save the council your money, it reduces pollution by lowering CO2 emissions, and will remove every astronomer’s nightmare - light pollution.

If you’re worried about it, there’s a simple solution. Buy a torch.

If you’re not worried about it, enjoy a greener, cleaner walk in the night, and take time to observe the wondrous night sky at this time of year. It’s amazing.

PAUL NEWPORT

South View, Portishead


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