What was new pussycats in Nailsea and nearby up until end of 2015
New chief constable
STOP PRESS: The appointment of the next Chief Constable for Avon and Somerset, Andy Marsh, was approved by the Police and Crime Panel on Monday, December 14.
STOP PRESS 2: Questions are being asked about how appropriate it is for Avon and Somerset's new chief constable should be working with his wife? When Andy Marsh starts in February, he will be making policing history. ITV News revealed days before Christmas that this is the first time in Britain a chief constable been married to another member of the same force's command team.His wife is assistant chief constable Nikki Watson.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens has announced that Andy Marsh is her preferred candidate to be the next Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Constabulary.
The appointment which is subject to a confirmation hearing by the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Panel follows a rigorous two-day selection process held on Tuesdya and Wednesday, December 8-9.
Ms Mountstevens and an appointments panel considered four applicants following two-days of assessment which included candidates meeting representatives of the Police and Crime Panel, the Commissioner’s Independent Resident’s Panel, key stakeholders and staff associations, as well as carrying out presentations and psychometric tests.
Ms Mountstevens said: “Andy is a highly experienced Chief Constable and has extensive experience of policing with much of his career in Avon and Somerset.
“As the Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary, Andy has implemented transformation and change projects and delivered savings and improved performance.
"He is also the national lead for a number of areas of policing including IT procurement and body-worn video cameras.
"As well as bringing excellent leadership skills from his chief officer roles in Avon and Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire, he also has operational and detective experience and has previously been an area commander in South Bristol and East Somerset.
“It’s no secret that there are tough times ahead for policing with continuing budget pressures combined with a changing landscape and new demands.
"I’m confident that Andy is the person to lead Avon and Somerset and work with me to build safer, stronger communities and ensure the people of Avon and Somerset have the very best police service.
“I would like to thank Temporary Chief Constable Gareth Morgan for acting up during this time.”
Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: “I’m thrilled to be the preferred candidate for Avon and Somerset Constabulary, a police force I joined in 1987 for which I was proud to serve and gain valuable policing experience in a range of different roles.
“Avon and Somerset is a good police force, I will work tirelessly with officers, staff and volunteers of the Constabulary to deliver excellent policing services to the communities within which my family and I live.”
Sue Mountstevens proposed appointment of Andy Marsh will be considered at a Police and Crime Panel meeting on Monday, December 14, 2015 at Weston-super-Mare Town Hall.
The appointments panel included Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens, Wiltshire PCC Angus Macpherson, former Deputy Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Constabulary John Long, Chief Executive of Mendip District Council Stuart Brown and Carolyn Dhanraj, an experienced independent member from the College of Policing accredited list for appointments.
Post early with Pring scout stamps for Christmas
For nearly two decades the scouts annual Christmas post has been sponsored by a North Somerset estate agents.
Now in its 17th year thepopular Pring & Co scouts stamps will be on sale at Nailsea and Backwell businesses.
This is a big fundraiser for bothe 1st and 2nd Nailsea Scouts and 1st Backwell Scouts.
Each year approximately 10,000 Christmas cards are delivered locally by the scouts and their helpers.
Every penny of every stamp bought goes directly to scout’s funds and from this they make a charitable donation to a chosen local charity.
For 2015 this is the MS Centre.
Not one penny is spent on printing or expenses of any kind – this cost is borne by sponsor, Pring & Co estate agents.
Nailsea stamps can be bought at:
School Togs, Crown Glass Shopping Centre, 2 Clevedon Road, Nailsea;
Budgens Esso Garage, Bristol Road, Wraxall;
Hunter Leahy, 71 High Street, Nailsea ;
Grove Stores, 96 Old Church Road, Nailsea;
Cohens Chemist, 5 Somerset Square, Nailsea; and
Backwell the outlets are:
Backwell Vets, 44 Rodney Road;
Backwell Motors, 73-75 Station Road;
Backwell Barbers, 28 West Town Road; and
Cash Save Mica, 2 Farleigh Road.
Stamps cost 25p each.
Pring & Co owner Stephen Pring said: "I have been associated with this fantastic local scheme since starting it with the scouts in 1998 and I am a huge supporter of everything that the scout movement embodies.
"Rest assured that not only are you contributing towards the excellent work and activities of local children and young adults in the scout movement as well as local charities but you can also save yourselves half the cost of sending your local Christmas cards through the Royal Mail."
An army of volunteers from the scouts including leaders, parents, helpers, Explorers, Scouts, Cubs and Beavers collect the specially stamped Christmas cards from the selected post boxes at stores sort them into rounds and deliver them.
As long as the names and full addresses are clearly written delivery is guaranteed within Nailsea, The Elms at Wraxall and Backwell (but not Downside).
Please remember that this is a LOCAL service and your cards for Ireland, the US or Australia, as some envelopes have been addressed in the past, will not get there.
Stephen added: "I’m sure the scouts would love a delivery round to Australia but unfortunately we can’t spare them.
"More than150,000 Christmas cards have been delivered with this scheme and the amount of hard work that goes on behind the scenes is amazing.
“The beauty of the Scouts Christmas Post is everyone gets involved.
"Everyone works really hard to deliver this particular Christmas 'promise' of ensuring that the cards get safely delivered.
"The benefits of the whole process are huge - not just in the boost to the scout’s funds but in the whole experience and learning that hard work and team work bring rewards and enjoyment to the whole community.”
Stolen bank card used to steal 'large amount' from woman shoppers account at Nailsea
Police are warning Nailsea shoppers to be on their guards after a bank card theft at Nailsea.
They are asking customers to be vigilant after a bank card theft from a car parked at a High Street supermarket.
On Thursday, November 5, an elderly woman paid for her shopping in the Tesco Nailsea store with her bank card before returning to her car.
She placed her handbag on her front seat then began loading her shopping into the boot.
She was then approached by two men.
One asked her for directions while the other stood towards the front of the car.
The victim thought nothing more about it until she realised a large amount of money had been taken from her bank account.
It is thought that while the first male was taking to the woman, the second stole her debit card.
The first transaction made with the stolen card was locally, within 15 minutes of it being taken from the victims handbag.
The suspects are described as being of Eastern European appearance, 30-40 years old, of slim builds, with short dark hair and one had stubble.
PC Ross Cudd said: “We would always advise shoppers to remain vigilant – especially when either paying for goods on a bank card or taking money from a cash machine.
“Make sure you shield your PIN number and check to see if anyone is standing particularly close or watching you tap the numbers in.
“If you spot anything suspicious, always report it immediately."
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact us now on 101 and quote crime reference number 5215036188.
Stolen Nailsea bank card buys iPhone at Broadmead
Police want to speak to this man after a bank card stolen at Nailsea on bonfire night was used to buy an iPhone at a shop in Bristol.
The fraudulent purchase also took place on Thursday, November 5, at Broadmead.
The card used to buy the phone had been stolen earlier at a Nailsea supermarket.
CCTV shows a man the police believe can assist them with their enquiries.
He is described as a white male, 30 to 40 years, of slim build, with short brown hair, glasses, wearing a black coat with grey/blue trousers/jeans, black shoes, carrying a red carrier bag and black umbrella.
Anyone who recognises this male is asked to contact Crimestoppers immediately.
High Street night-time closure
Part of the High Street is going to be closed at night from Wednesday to Friday, December 2-4.
Workman have already installed some new footpaths along this stretch of road but when the resurfacing work begins it will be closed completely from 8pm-6am for three days.
Diversion signs will be in place and while the High Street is closed buses are being re-routed.
Service A2 heading toward Nailsea: Affected journeys are diverted from Station Road via Queens Road, Mizzymead Road, Stock Way South and Stockway North to Link Road.
Service A2 heading toward Weston-super-Mare: Affected journeys are diverted from Link Road via the reverse of the above route.
Service X8 heading toward Nailsea: Affected journeys are diverted from Station Road via Queens Road. The Perrings, Whiteoak Way, Hannah Moore Road, Queens Road, Whitesfield Road, Stock Way North to Link Road.
Service X8 heading toward Bristol Bus Station: Affected journeys are diverted from Link Road via Stockway North and Stockway South, Mizzymead Road and Queens Road resuming normal route from Station Road.
Service X9 heading toward Nailsea: Affected journeys are diverted via from Clevedon Road via Lodge Lane, Blackthorn Way, Nailsea Park, Station Road, Queens Road and The Perrings. From The Perrings follow normal route to Link Road.
Service X9 heading toward Bristol Bus Station: Affected journeys are diverted from Link Road via Stock Way North, Stock Way South, Mizzymead Road, Queens Road, Station Road, Blackthorn Way and Lodge Lane resuming normal route from its junction with Clevedon Road
For more information contact the bus company customer services department on 0117 244 4040 or Traveline on 0871 200 223.
A North Somerset Council spokesman said: "The work, which is being carried out overnight in order to minimise disruption, is expected to last for two nights including Friday, December 4.
"A road closure will be in place so that the work can be carried out safely.
"The High Street will be closed between the Tesco roundabout and the junction with Lodge Lane, from 8pm to 6am while resurfacing takes place.
"The junction between Nailsea Park and the High Street will also be closed while works take place.
"A diversion route will be clearly signed."
The work is being carried out by Balfour Beatty on behalf of North Somerset Council at a cost of £30,000.
To learn more about North Somerset roadworks including Nailsea click HERE.
'Mind the step' warning
A wonky handrail left a Nailsea woman feeling worse not better after a visit to the doctors.
Former nurse Fiona Parker, aged 43, was visiting the pharmacy which shares the Nailsea Family Practice entrance when she stumbled on the steep steps.
She said: “Tower House surgery steps should be condemned, let alone being too steep they now have a loose handrail.”
Tower House Medical Centre is a three-storey building with basement which was built facing Stockway South car park in 2000.
Access is by a long sloping ramp or up a flight of seven concrete steps.
The practice recently installed an additional central handrail to make its ‘rather steep steps much easier to use’ for disabled people.
Practice manager Carole Brooke said: “The central handrail going up the steps has worked loose and we are in the process of getting a builder in to fix it.
“The side handrail, however, is secure and therefore safe to use.
“We have put a notice up to warn people.
“The steps will have conformed to building regulations at the time Tower House was built 15 years ago and hopefully those who find them rather steep will use the ramp for ease of access.”
But Fiona, pictured top left on her motorbike, who currently works as a stonemason doubts whether the steps would meet modern building standards and is concerned about elderly or less able people using this approach.
She was visiting the Tower House to collect a prescription for painkillers as she is suffering from cartilage problems after breaking ribs in a work-related accident.
Fiona said it was when attempting to steady herself that she reached for a central handrail and it moved.
She said: “I caught my foot on the bottom rung, tripped, grabbed the loose handrail which jarred me – it was so painful.
“I am asthmatic and I was so shocked I could hardly get my breadth.
“Those steps should be cordoned off with red and white tape until they are fixed.”
Nailsea's big bang
Despite torrential early morning rain Nailsea and Backwell Rugby Club at West End Park bonfire night went with a big bang.
The annual fireworks display and bonfire on Saturday evening was a great family event.
As well as a spectacular display which could be seen all over Nailsea those at the ground had the extra treat of a beer tent and hot food on sale.
Club spokesman Steven Gillard said; "I would like to thank everyone who attended and most importantly helped out on what appears to have been an excellent night.
"Thank you all for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you all next year."
The Zambia charity supported by Nailsea teacher Elizabther Rhodes also thanked everyone who supported its refreshment stall.
Thanks you everyone for the photos including Sarah Marsh and Stuart Burgess.
Going for burn at West End
Billowing smoke from bonfires lit by a timber company near Nailsea prompted complaints from people living nearby of health and safety concerns.
North Somerset district and Nailsea town councillor James Tonkin was alerted to the problem last week and decided to make a site visit to West End with fellow town councillor Saeeda Jameel.
He said countryside conditions were so bad it was like a ‘foggy Dickensian street scene’.
Mr Tonkin said; “I couldn’t see across the road and when someone called out I couldn’t recognise Blue Flame publican Andy Jones until he stepped out of the mist.”
He said Somerset Logs instead of recycling had been burning its waste.
Mr Tonkin called in North Somerset Council officers to investigate who in turn referred the potential pollution problems to the Environment Agency.
Mr Tonkin gave a report to Nailsea Town Council on Wednesday evening.
He said: “The local log distributor at West End caused havoc on Monday morning by lighting a huge fire, the smoke of which engulfed the neighbourhood.
“Cllr Jameel and I appealed to the owners to put it out but were meet by total indifference.
“The Department of the Environment is now investigating.”
A North Somerset spokesman said: “Following complaints of smoke from bonfires at a business called Somerset Logs we have had a site meeting with the owner of the business and a representative from the Environment Agency.
“The business carries out tree felling and sells logs to the public.
“The owner of the business has now agreed that all the green waste generated from the business would now be recycled into wood chippings or compost and there would be no further bonfires on site to dispose of the green waste.
“At the moment no legal notices have been served, we will continue to monitor the site.”
But Somerset Logs boss Ken Rees-Teucher, said all the businesses operating at West End have D7 waste exemption licences which allows them to burn untreated wood waste in the open air.
He said: “The people who have been complaining about what we are doing burn more rubbish than us.
“What happened was I lit the bonfire and the wind changed direction – unfortunately it was an act of God.
“It isn’t my fault as I had checked the weather forecast and it predicted the wind would be blowing across our ground.
“It was the first time I had lit a bonfire in a month.”
As a tree surgeon the business does produce a lot of green timber which has to be burned, shredded or made into compost while any scrap metal goes in a skip, he said.
The company which has been established in a yard behind the pub since 1985 currently has more than a 1,000 log stacks on site ready for the Christmas trade.
Neighbours have also complained the stacks are an ‘eyesore’, he added.
Ken says he has full permission for a big bonfire on Saturday, November 7.
LATEST: No to Lidl
North Someret Council highways officials are saying 'No' to Lidl coming to Nailsea.
They have posted online their reasoning but here is the summary:
"The Parking Standards Supplementary Planning Document states that a food retail development of this size should provide 118 car parking spaces. The construction of the store will reduce the available car parking within Crown Glass car park to 154 spaces. The applicant has assumed that current users of Crown Glass car park will simply be displaced to other car parks within the town centre. The analysis submitted indicates that, following implementation of minor mitigation improvements at Station Road car park, the total capacity of the four town centre car parks would be sufficient to meet peak demand in the year of opening with a reserve of 1.3 per cent. It is considered that for day-to-day operational use, this margin is so slight that to users the car parks would appear to be at capacity. All car parks are not equal and demand in some areas, particularly at Crown Glass and in proximity to Tower Health Centre, is inevitably higher than others. The minimal reserve makes no allowance for growth in the number of homes and employment in the town. The consequence of this under-provision could mean that users have to drive around the town between car parks circulating to find a suitable space with inevitable impact on traffic volumes on local roads. As a worst case, the public may simply travel to other competing retail centers out of frustration."
To read the full 11-page document in full click HERE.
If the planning department accepts this then a formal refusal will be issued - watch this space.
STOP PRESS: We are reliably told that a decision by North Somerset Council will be made on Thursday, December 10 - please continue watching this space...
NEWS STORY: Coming soon what the West End resident thought about the bonfire...
LIDDLED OUT: Nailsea Town Council meeting on Wednesday evening, October 28, at Tithe Barn
Lidl on Nailsea agenda again
North Somerset Council is expected to refuse the Lidl supermarket planning application for a store at Nailsea within the next fortnight.
It was first rumoured several decades ago that Lidl wanted to build in the town.
But when an actual planning application was submitted in December 2014 to build on the Stockway South car park there was an outcry despite widespread consultations and meetings.
Most people in the town support Lidl trading locally but a voracious number do not want to lose spaces at a car parking which is also used by Crown Glass shopping centre, the nearby medical centre, library and church.
In an unprecedented move the decision to grant permission for a discount store on the car park at Stockway South will be taken by council planning officers and not elected councillors.
It is usual for a controversial planning application to be decided by a planning committee open to the public when three or more people have submitted objections or at the request of a district councillor.
Nailsea Town Council discussed the revised plans at a noisy meeting on Wednesday night.
This was interrupted several times by heckling and booing or loud shouts of ‘here-here’ and applause depending on whether those in the public gallery supported the person speaking.
Town and district councillor James Tonkin told the meeting which was attended by approximately 30 residents he expected the application to be refused by officers in the next two weeks.
Lidl supermarket revised plans include a new access and will now only involve the loss of only 28 car parking spaces in the town centre instead of the original 67.
And the supermarket would commit to a legal Section 106 agreement to pay £400,000 to resurfacing and redesign Station Road car park, the meeting heard.
Nailsea will still have 865 free car parking spaces in its four town centre car parks which is unprecedented in North Somerset.
At the Tithe Barn meeting this week it was suggested Lidl go away and find another site in the town.
Lidl head of property James Mitchell said alternative town centre sites like the Weston College campus and police station were not viable options.
He said: “We have explored every avenue and made a very genuine and sincere attempts to mitigate the unquestionable impact of this going ahead.”
He expressed ‘a certain degree of weariness and frustration of this continued questioning of our motives and our integrity’.
Because of the level of mistrust Lidl has experience in Nailsea they have answered every query, every email and every phone call, he told the meeting.
Even the numbers on petitions and support postcards were queried.
One retort from the audience was ‘Lidl can fiddle with the figures all they like they are just not getting the message we do not want them or anyone else encroaching on Stockway South car park’.
Another suggestion from the floor was the Royal Oak garage was the idea site.
Councillor Neil Middleton said: “I wish we could find a way of having Lidl in Nailsea, I think it would add to retail offer in the town and allow us to compete with Portishead.”
But he dubbed promises of improvements Station Road car park as ‘hypothetical’ and unlikely to happen.
James and his wife and fellow councillor Ann Tonkin agreed that Lidl, which doesn’t do home deliveries, had not allowed enough car parking spaces for its staff or customers doing a weekly shop.
Mr Tonkin said as it stands they need at least 88 store spaces.
Biggest asset free parking
“Nailsea is likely to have a 1,000 more new mores in the near future and the loss of car parking spaces in the town centre is not an option,” he added.
Councillor Rod Lees said: “I am absolutely against any building being allowed on any car parks in Nailsea.
“Nailsea’s biggest asset is its amount of free car parking – now this was a great foresight of the planning authority when it designed the town in the 1960s and early 1970.”
Yet In the mid-1980s planning permission was given for a tower block on the Clevedon Road car park to match the Wessex Water building across the road – the building never went ahead and permission lapsed.
Mr Lees said the facilities of Nailsea serve many North Somerset communities including the people of Backwell, Blagdon, Burrington, Dundry, Long Ashton and Wrington.
He said: “When they come to Nailsea to shop they need somewhere to park or they will go somewhere else.”
“Tesco would not have been allowed to build at Nailsea without providing car parking facilities so why should Lidl?” he asked.
Councillor Jane Holt who works for Waitrose said despite the new entrance her lorry driver husband was still concerned about safe access for service vehicles.
Mrs Holt who admitted she liked to shop at Lidl in Clevedon disputed the promise of 40 local jobs as the supermarket would be bring in its own outside management team.
Former chairman Mary Ponsonsby said when Sainsbury looked at the library site its plans would have included an underground car park.
She said: “My understanding of planning law is anyone building a new supermarket in a town centre has to add car parking spaces not detract and this plan unfortunately goes against that so I will be voting against it.”
Mrs Ponsonsby expressed fears that Lidl may impose a 10 minute parking restriction for non-customers were refuted by Mr Mitchell.
He said it would operate in exactly the same way at Waitrose car park which has a two hour maximum stay.
Mr Mitchell said although Lidl would own the freehold its car park would continue to act as the town centre car park.
The incredibility of Phil Barclay’s solution for Lidl to build a multi-storey car park was greeting with a deep intake of breadth in some quarters of the room.
Another former chairman Clare Hunt said: “While looking at this planning application I think we would all agree we have to look at the wider implications for our town.
“When I stand as a councillor I always write on my nomination paper that I am standing to work for the improvement of Nailsea.
“So my dilemma this evening is to decide whether the coming of Lidl in this particular area of our town is an improvement or not.
“Of course change is always difficult and for those who value car parking spaces above everything this application will fail.
“However, Lidl has listened to those concerns and I put it those people that free car parking is of equal value and I believe and with extra spaces on the old Esso petrol station site for parking and if the extra £400,000 comes to our town to improve Station Road with the possible loss of only 28 spaces and with more disabled spaces allocated for people using the health centre Lidl has done the best to meet the needs of this town.”
Cyclists and people who use the bus are better off with a town centre Lidl, said Mrs Hunt who concluded the ‘benefits outweigh the loss of 28 car parking spaces’ and it was more important to keep free and improved car parking in the town.
Liz Frappell said: “There are a lot of people out there that really want Lidl to come to the town.
“As a trader I know if this store goes out of the town or on an industrial estate it will more than likely harm the High Street.
“We have more car parking spaces in this town than Clevedon and Portishead put together.
“I do think we need a good mix of stores and I do like Lidl and I think a lot of us do.”
John Phillips said: “We have an awful lot of long stay parking in Nailsea – we need to free up some of this short term.
“Station Road car park is in a very sad state – it has not been maintained, the entries are unclear so I welcome investment in Station Road.”
Current chairman David Packham told the meeting Lidl has an option to buy the site freehold subject to planning permission being granted.
If it is refused Lidl which operates 620 stores in the UK will have the right to appeal and the matter could go to public inquiry.
In the end they voted against Lidl saying it contravene North Somerset core stategy.
Clause CS11 parking states: “Adequate parking must be provided and managed to meet the needs of anticipated users (residents, workers and visitors) in usable spaces. Overall parking provision must ensure a balance between good urban design, highway safety, residential amenity and promoting town centre attractiveness and vitality.”
PLEASE NOTE: www.nailseapeople.com is waiting for a response from North Somerset Council to our request on Thursday for confirmation of timescale and procedure - Lidl also reported at the meeting difficulties and delays getting answers from the planning authority.
Crime watch North Someret
Residents and businesses in Nailsea are being warned to be on their guard against gangs of mobile sellers offering bargain priced generators, chainsaws and other power tools.
Travelling gangs have been offering cut-priced power tools over the South West, some of which have been found to be unsafe, some were of poor quality imitations and none would be covered by any valid guarantee.
North Somerset Council executive member whose portfolio includes trading standards Peter Bryant said: "These gangs operate from hired vehicles, calling on industrial estates and agricultural businesses offering these cut-priced power tools and the sellers can be very pushy.
"Some of the brand names can sound similar to well-known brands and lead to a mistaken purchase."
Advice from trading standards is:
never deal with someone who knocks on your door without an appointment;
power tools and other high value items are best purchased from a reputable local retailer;
items bought like this are unlikely to be covered by a guarantee if faults with the product occur; and
chances of getting hold of the seller may be impossibleunknown brands could mean they are unsafe or under-perform.
Information can be passed to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.
Roadworks blocking rail route to Nailsea
Saturday afternoon and traffic is coming to an abrupt halt then doing a U-turn at Nailsea & Backwell railway station when drivers who missed diversion signs realise the road under the bridge is closed.
www.nailseapeople.com had more than 3,000 hits on Friday when it told that Western Power Distribution needed to close Station Road completely at the weekend to make emergency repairs.
This happened just when consumers were fearing another winter of power cuts after thousands of homes in Nailsea and Backwell experienced continuous dips in supply on Thursday, October 15.
It was then WPD decided it needed with some urgency to replace its antiquated 1950s high voltage cable which links Nailsea and Backwell with the grid.
To keep the lights on at Backwell 1,500 homes have had to be put on an alternative supply.
The emergency work is costing nearly £100,000 and expected to take several weeks although the road under the railway bridge is scheduled to reopen at 11am on Monday, October 26.
A 15-20 strong road gang is working around the clock and police, fire and ambulance crews have been notified of the closure while the X8 bus service has been re-routed through Wraxall.
WPD manager Martin Whaley, pictured top, and representatives of Network Rail are on duty all weekend to oversee the work.
Mr Whaley confirmed work is on schedule and he has high hopes the road will reopen as planned on Monday morning.
Removing the road surface was proving tough going and several new saw blades costing hundreds of pounds have had to be fitted to the hydraulic drills, said Mr Whaley.
But while the road was being dug up they had used the opportunity to fit a new duct for North Somerset Council which in the future intends to install more modern traffic lights at the bridge, he added.
And it is goodbye to him...
Avon and Somerset police chief Nick Gargan finally handed in his resignation on Friday.
This was accepted by police and crime commissioner Sue Mountstevens and takes effect immediately.
Mr Gargan will leave his job as chief constable of Avon and Somerset a position he has held since March 2013 with three-month’s salary in lieu of notice as the terms of his contract state.
Mrs Mountstevens said: “I have accepted Mr Gargan’s resignation with immediate effect.
“I think this is in the best interests of the constabulary, and residents.
“It also means that the protracted and lengthy section 38 process will end immediately and no further legal expense will be incurred.
“I have agreed to pay Mr Gargan three-month’s salary in lieu of notice as the terms of his contract state.
“This was not a decision I took lightly and I have considered it very carefully however in order to bring the legal proceedings to a close this is the most cost effective outcome.
“It also means that I can begin the process of recruiting a new chief constable as soon as possible and the organisation can move on.
“Temporary chief constable Gareth Morgan will continue to lead the constabulary while a recruitment process takes place.
“I would like to thank Gareth for his leadership and the valuable contribution he makes to the organisation.”
On August 19, Sue Mountstevens initiated the process to require Mr Gargan to resign as set out in section 38 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.
This followed concerns from within the constabulary, residents and retired police officers that Mr Gargan had lost the confidence of the organisation and those he was there to serve after being found guilty of eight counts of misconduct in July.
The 48-year-old was cleared of gross misconduct but found guilty of eight misconduct offences at a private hearing last month - but he refused to step down and announced a 'phased comeback'.
On September 25, the PCC received a report from Her Majesty’s chief inspector of constabulary Sir Thomas Winsor, supporting her decision to initiate the process requiring the chief constable to resign.
In his view a chief constable without the confidence of his officers and staff risked the efficiency and effective running of the constabulary.
According to the Mail Online:
• Avon and Somerset chief constable Nick Gargan had racy snaps on iPhone
• He also inappropriately shared contents of internal emails with third parties
• Found guilty at hearing of eight misconduct offences - but refuses to quit
• Local police commissioner has told him to step down from £150,000-a-year role, as petition to get rid of him collects more than 1,200 signatures
Police say watch out thieves about
Police are warning people living in the Abbots Leigh and Long Ashton areas to be aware after homes and outbuildings were broken into overnight Monday and Tuesday, October 12-13.
In Long Ashton thieves broke into three homes in a sheltered housing complex through ground floor bathroom windows.
In one case they took bank cards from a wallet.
In another address while items were moved nothing was stolen.
In the third property the offenders were disturbed by a dog and left empty-handed.
Two householders reported their sheds being broken into in Manor Road, Abbots Leigh, the same night.
In one case nothing was stolen from the shed but a pair of walking boots was stolen from outside the front door.
In the other the shed lock was damaged and the window opened, but nothing was taken.
A third resident reported that a pair of trainers was stolen from the front door.
Again the thief was disturbed by a dog at one of the properties.
Police have carried out house-to-house enquiries in the affected areas and are reviewing CCTV.
Neighbourhood PC Martin Faithfull said: “While burglary is a relatively uncommon crime in this area, we always recommend that you lock windows and doors at night and set the alarm if you have one.
“It’s a good idea to keep small valuables - handbags, wallets, keys, mobile phones or jewellery – securely hidden away.
"Fit a good quality lock and a battery-powered alarm to your shed or garage and put mesh behind any windows.”
Anyone with any information which could help police enquiries into these incidents is asked to contact us through the website or by calling 101 quoting reference 5215017760.
If you see someone behaving suspiciously around a neighbour's home or garden, call 999 straight away.
For more advice on preventing shed and garage break-ins and house burglary click HERE.
A new Nailsea town centre gem?
On its website it says ‘coming soon’ but construction seems slow at the Churchill Homes site at Christchurch Close.
The company is building 30 one and two-bedroom retirement apartments on the sloping land opposite the church where once Sycamore House a home for the elderly and mentally infirmed stood.
Nailsea Town Council learned this week that the new residence is going to be named Sapphire Lodge although what relevance this has to the town is lost on me.
Sapphire is the birthstone of September so perhaps the autumnal reference to later life is the clue?
Town clerk Ian Morrell said: "North Somerset Council told us that the name Sapphire Lodge was for information only since this does not involve the renaming of a road it is a matter for Churchill themselves to decide.
"The council asked me to request that Churchill explain how the name Sapphire Lodge had been decided on as it does not seem to have a connection with the town or the specific location.
"I have not had a response to this, but Churchill’s website refers to the name as Sapphire Lodge so it appears too late to have a rethink on the name."
Permission is currently being sought from North Somerset Council to fell six fungus ridden Monterey cypress trees as well as,a laburnum, apple and wild cherry tree from the site.
Barrell Tree Consultancy arboretum expert Chris Allder said: “The proposed tree management works are necessary and are also in response to concerns from neighbours about the safety of the cypress trees on the northern boundary.
“While the work will be noticeable to the public in the short term, the impact on visual amenity can be mitigated by planting new trees in sustainable locations for future benefit.”
No prices or completion date is yet available.
Pedestrian crossing for Queens Road
Queens Road is to get a pedestrian crossing but when and who is going to pay for it hasn’t been decided.
North Somerset Council has re-examined the main road which links Station Road to North Street at Nailsea and decided the route goes need a crossing.
Built when it was fashionable and cheaper for town planners to obit footpaths and not really going anywhere the road has been impossible to cross safely from the beginning.
Rails and a partial footpath to help schoolchildren and parents with pushchairs negotiate from The Perrings to Mizzymead Road were installed in the 1990s thanks to the campaign by then town councillors Maureen Brady.
Despite the persistence of blind pensioner Ray Stevens to get council officials to revalue the risks it took Mr Stevens’ near-fatal accident to get something done.
Ray had been working with Guide Dogs for the Blind and Nailsea Town Council to try to make the road safer.
North Somerset Council has previously said the road does not fit the criteria but it has now agreed to a crossing if an appropriate site and funding can be found.
A council spokesman said: “There are five central islands on Queens Road in the vicinity of the Mizzymead Road and The Perrings junction.
“Pedestrians were observed crossing at four of these islands when we carried out a survey in July.
“If the total number of pedestrians crossing is considered, then the site does meet the criteria for a controlled pedestrian crossing.
“A suitable location would have to be identified, and measures to ensure that most pedestrians used it.
“The total cost, including alterations to the island and footways, is likely to be in excess of £50,000 but implementation would be dependent on the availability of funding.”
The authority has asked Nailsea Town Council if it can contribute to the bill.
Mr Stevens, aged 80, who fractured his skull and broke bones in his spine after he collided with a car in Queens Road in December and spent Christmas in hospital still hasn’t fully recovered from the accident.
Ray, who has macular degeneration and uses a white stick, had got to the central reservation, stopped to listen for oncoming traffic, and stepped into the road.
He was then clipped by a car, being flung several feet into the air before landing head first in the road.
Nailsea Town Council planning and environmental committee agreed to ask North Somerset for confirmation on the location and cost before they decide how much to contribute.
Town council clerk Ian Morrell said: “North Somerset has never said the numbers have met the criteria for a crossing before.
Speed checks by the town's Partners and Community Together (PACT) safety team revealed that although there is a 40mph limit in place, many vehicles exceed the limit.
North Somerset accidents down
The number of people killed or seriously injured on North Somerset roads is continuing to fall, according to the latest road traffic accident statistics.
The Department for Transport (DfT) figures show that those killed or seriously injured are down from 57 in 2010 to 51 in 2014 and overall casualties are down from 656 to 509 over the same period.
These latest figures show a 34 per cent reduction in overall casualties against a national reduction of 20 per cent over the same period.
North Somerset Council, which is responsible for the 1,100km of roads across the district, welcomed the latest figures but stressed it is not complacent and more needs to be done.
Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, deputy leader and executive member for highways, said: “Any death or serious injury on our roads is one too many, but we will continue to work hard to bring these figures down further and to make our roads as safe as possible.
"Highways schemes are therefore designed with safety in mind, with some schemes specifically looking at safety aspects such as realistic speed limits with Vehicle Activation Signs.
"We have a data-driven programme of education, training and publicity aimed at the highest risk and most vulnerable road user groups, including young drivers, motorcyclists and children.
"Other safety improvements include installing pedestrian crossings where high demand warrants, tactile surfacing at crossing points, pavement and footway improvements, drainage improvements (to prevent road surface water), improvements at junctions, road markings and road layout.
"We are also keen to educate school children from an early age to respect and use cycleways where available and dedicated road crossings."
Despite ever diminishing resources, the council is working more efficiently and smarter.
For example, when a maintenance scheme takes place, such as resurfacing a road, the highways teams will look at safety aspects such as road markings and make any necessary adjustments.
Police raid cannabis factory at Nailsea
Cannabis has been found growing at a High Street shop at Nailsea.
The landlord of Explodium Fireworks called in the police when he discovered the plants growing on a visit to the shop at The Arcade on Wednesday.
Drugs officers seized 10 fully grown plants and a similar number of seedlings from a property.
A search led to the discovery of the plants being grown in part of a storage area which was only accessible from the shop.
Police say a utility company was called out to check the electricity which appeared to have been tampered with.
Nailsea shopper Marie Thomas was walking past when the police arrived.
She said: “I saw a couple policemen walking in and out and being the nosey person I am looked in the back of the police van and saw it was full of black bags.
“When I walked back again later, there was soil and stuff all over the floor as well as a broken cctv camera and wire.”
Officers confrim they have identified a man they wish to speak to who is due to attend a police station to be questioned.
Neighbourhood PC Martin Faithfull said: “Growing cannabis – no matter how few plants – is an offence.
“Often we find that the electricity supply has been tampered with in order to set up the growing equipment.
“This practice has already led to a number of fires in the Avon and Somerset Police area.
“I’d urge anyone who suspects that a property is being used to grow cannabis to contact us through our website or by calling 101.”
Alternatively ring the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They never ask your name or trace your call.
Decades owner Jem Imry has posted an angry denial on his Facebook page that his nightclub a few doors away from the firework shop has anything to do with the discovery.
He said: "There is a rumour in town that I am growing canabis at Decades and I get the club going with that income.
"That is absolutely not true.
"I couldn't even look after my wife's flowers for two weeks without killing them, it would be not short of a miracle for me to grow plants for the past six years.
"I have also heard that some of our customers have very harsh comments about the club as they come to the point of insult.
"I understand that not everybody has to like it but I can assure you that my staff and I are doing our absolute best to keep the club tidy, friendly and somewhere you can enjoy with your friends without traveling 10 miles and back.
"I believe this over the top criticism is not fair on my staff, they are all working at the club as they own it.
"On the other hand I thank to all decades customers and friends for their great support for our local nightclub."
Many have taken to social media to support Mr Imry.
The Arcade rank of shops currenty being marketed by Burston Cook with a guide price of £725,000 - click estate agent details right for more details.
Nailsea nightclub closed
More problems for Decades nightclub at Nailsea which is said to be locked in a dispute with its new landlord.
Owner Jem Imry said: "Due to our new landlords unlawful action, Decades nightclub will be closed until we resolve this at the court."
He estimated being closed for two weeks.
Jem added: "We apologise for any inconvience this unforeseen incident has cost our customers."
Make what you want of that but late night revellers will be disappointed especially Nailsea School sixth form which had a social booked for next Thursday at the upstairs High Street venue.
Lidl's next move in a nutshell
Lidl supermarket still wants to come to Nailsea and says its plans now will only involve the loss of 28 car parking spaces in the town centre.
And it will pay £400,000 to resurface and redesign Station Road car park
After a consultation day more than one year ago the original planning application was submitted in December 2014 and followed by a raucous public meeting because of fears that an open space - or car park - in a prime position would be built on.
So Lidl went away and had a rethink and now says its new design won't impact that much on car parking spaces overall and the health centre will benefit from additional designated disabled parking slots.
The new plan will give Nailsea 865 free car parking spaces in its four town centre car parks.
Although there are proposals by Lidl to introduce a two hour waiting time on its car park in line with the one leased by Waitrose at the Link Road.
Suggestions it builds on the police station site was a non-starter as it was too small.
And it concludes in a letter sent to all Nailsea households: "We would urge you to look objectively at the following benefits and measures that Lidl would potentially bring to the town of Nailsea."
These are listed as:
The provision of a discount food store offer in Nailsea which does not presently feature in the town;
Retains customer spend in the town which presently leaks to towns with a discount food store namely Clevedon, Portishead, Bristol and Weston-super-Mare;
Provision of 40 new jobs, employed locally with Lidl becoming the first British Supermarket to introduce the living wage;
£400,000 contribution for the upgrade of Station Road car park;
Overall three of the four town centre car parks would be upgraded;
Increase in disabled parking provision in the town centre;
Investment in Nailsea town centre which would benefit existing retailers and attract other occupiers to the empty units within Crown Glass shopping centre;
It will compliment other retail uses within the town centre as we are not a ‘one stop shop’; and
Further investment in the town centre with an improved signage strategy, improved public toilets, a new play area, which will not be realised without the Lidl development.
Someone had better tell them that the playground is done and that the names of some of the new shops like School Togs are incorrect on the accompanying Ellandi letter.
And it adds: "It is worth noting that this site may well be developed whether it is a Lidl food store or not as the owners of Crown Glass shopping centre need to raise capital to enable improvements to the shopping centre. In essence the site could potentially be redeveloped without the need to retain a car park and thus the future of this car park may well remain uncertain."
If you missed out on the paperwork to read the Lidl letter click HERE.
To read the Ellandi letter click HERE.
STOP PRESS:Lidl revised plans to be discussed by Nailsea Town Council on Wednesday, October 28, 7.30pm at the the Tithe Barn.
Town clerk Ian Morrell said: "Given the public interest in the application we would like this to be well publicised.
"We have been told that the application will be decided by officers under their delegated powers and will not go to planning and regulatory committee."
So pass it on...
More houses for North Somerset
North Somerset Council has expressed its 'extreme disappointment' at the Government's decision not to back it on the number of new houses needed in the district.
Council leader Nigel Ashton said the council was now facing the consequences of having to provide nearly 21,000 houses, rather than the 14,000 it had originally proposed.
Cllr Ashton said: "I will continue to ensure we do all we can to protect North Somerset from inappropriate development.
"Nevertheless, I am extremely disappointed with the Government's decision and the time it has taken them to come to that decision which has caused a lot of unnecessary uncertainty in our local communities.
"Despite all the efforts of the council and our local MPs during the past six months we have got absolutely nothing.
"Even the letter we have received from the minister makes no mention of any weight of our case.
"We have been doing our utmost to strike the right balance between providing the housing needed and protecting our Green Belt and beautiful countryside.
"We want to accelerate housing delivery in the right locations.
"However, this decision flies in the face of all that we have been trying to achieve and does nothing to protect our communities from speculative planning applications.
"We are now left with having to provide just under 21,000 new homes and dealing with the consequences of that and the extra pressures that number of houses will put on the district's infrastructure.
"We had planned for 14,000, but an extra 7,000 has a tremendous knock-on effect for roads, public transport, jobs, schools and community facilities.
"We will, of course, continue to do all we can to mitigate the impact of speculative applications.
"The council adopted the Core Strategy in 2012 with a housing policy to plan for 14,000 more houses in the district up to 2026.
"Following a legal challenge, the policy was found to be unlawful on the grounds that the independent planning inspector had failed to give adequate and intelligible reasons for his support of the council’s housing requirement.
"The plan was referred back to the Planning Inspectorate and, despite the council agreeing in the meantime to increase the number to 17,000, a further examination resulted in a formal report from the Planning Inspectorate in which a new inspector concluded that 17,000 houses was still insufficient to meet the area's needs.
"Instead, the inspector imposed a housing figure of 20,985 - 50 per cent more than the council’s original proposal of 14,000 dwellings.
"The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government agreed to review North Somerset's housing requirement after the council asked him to intervene.
"However, the council has now received the response from Brandon Lewis MP, Minister for Housing and Planning, saying there should be no change in the inspector's figure of 20,985.
"The council will now look at whether any adjustments are needed to other planning policies in order to accommodate that number of houses.
"Those policies will then have to be re-submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for approval.
The letter from the minister can be viewed HERE.
20 year plan for Greater Bristol area
Nailsea residents will be able to join people across the West of England to have their say about future housing and transport provision.
The four West of England (WoE) authorities, Bristol City Council, Bath and North East Somerset Council, North Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council are working together on a new Joint Spatial Plan.
'It has already been assessed that the overall housing need for the area up until 2036
is a further 85,000 homes of which there is a need for 29,100 homes
to be affordable to people on low incomes'
And although Nailsea as a town is down for expansion no-one knows – yet – how many and where new homes will be built.
The draft plan is in the early stages of development and councillors from the four authorities met this week to talk about the options.
The report maintains that if the WoE is to remain economically successful it most make sure the infrastructure supports all new house building.
The key social, economic and environmental challenge facing the West of England is how to build and deliver the new homes, jobs and infrastructure to ensure the region remains a vibrant and attractive place, while protecting the environment and quality of life here.
The ambition behind the plan is that through continued cooperation and collaboration, the authorities can help to drive long-term sustainable economic growth and strategic investment across the West of England for the benefit of all.
To deliver this there needs to be an effective land and housing supply that keeps up with anticipated demand and provides enough homes that people can afford.
The plan’s overall purpose is to identify:
the housing and employment land requirements for the West of England area
the most appropriate locations for housing and employment growth
what transport improvements and other infrastructure investment are needed.
As a statutory Local Plan for the period 2016 to 2036 the Joint Spatial Plan will, in due course, be used to inform key planning decisions that each of the four councils make as individual authorities.
This will help to ensure the distribution, location and mix of housing land for employment growth and transport infrastructure make sense across the region as a whole.
No decisions have been made.
The report proposes maximising the use of brownfield and underdeveloped sites before building on green field sites when identifying locations for potential development.
All four authorities are committed to placing substantial weight on the importance of the green belt and its value in protecting our countryside.
A consultation will begin in November to hear the views of local people and organisations on the guiding principles for the area as well as on ideas for future development.
The Joint Spatial Plan will complement the four individual councils’ core strategies which set out, among other things, house building allocations for each authority area up to 2026.
It will not replace the core strategies but may require that they are reviewed.
For more information click HERE.
Force could face loss of 300 police officers
Avon and Somerset Constabulary could face a huge additional cut to its police service if Government plans to change the way it allocates funding goes ahead.
In July the government announced that it would be consulting on the formula it uses to allocate funding towards policing.
Based on the information provided so far, potential cuts to the money Avon and Somerset receives centrally are likely to be £15 million a year, equivalent to 300 police officers.
This is in addition to any potential reductions anticipated in the next Comprehensive Spending Review in November.
Avon and Somerset police and crime commissioner Sue Mountstevens has written to all the area’s MPs asking them to look at the issue urgently and to raise it with Home Office ministers.
She said: “My concerns are about how the current money towards policing is allocated not a cry for more money.
"I completely understand that policing along with other unprotected areas of public spending, must share in the reductions required to reduce the government’s budget deficit.
“This is about Avon and Somerset taxpayers’ money going to other policing areas with none of the same demand that Avon and Somerset faces.
"The proposed new formula does not take into account crime demand and incidents and does not give enough importance to the population of an area.
Current projections look like Avon and Somerset could miss out on £15 million a year, which is equivalent to 300 police officers. Put simply the proposed new funding formula would mean far fewer officers on the beat to keep people safe within Avon and Somerset.
“We’ve already made £58 million of savings which means we’ve lost nearly 600 police officers. We know there are more cuts to come, at least £25m, but the proposed funding formula would be a new reduction on top of all of this and there could be disastrous consequences.”
Avon and Somerset has long campaigned that it does not receive the money it is assessed to need by the Government and welcomed consultation on the matter.
However from the limited information available in the consultation document, Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens believes the picture looks set to get worse for policing in Avon and Somerset not better.
The Home Office consultation on the police funding formula has closed and the results are not expected until later this year.
Current projections look like Avon and Somerset will lose out however the Home Office has refused to give any examples of what the changes will mean in practice and have said they will not give these details until October.
The police service in the UK is funded through a combination of government grant and money raised through local council tax.
Currently Avon & Somerset Constabulary employ nearly 6,000 officers and civilians and has an budgey of nearly £300 million.
The area has a population of 1.5 million.
Meet Nailsea's newest weather girl!
Town orderly Mandy Langham, aged 54, is out in all weathers sweeping the streets for Nailsea Town Council.
This week with storms predicted she has donned a bright yellow sou'wester as she wheels her litter trolley through the shopping precinct.
Mandy, 54, has been working as a town orderly in the town for the past five years and spends six hours each day, Monday to Friday, scouring the streets collecting items people discard rather than put in the bin.
Pile on problems
Britain's first new nuclear plant in a generation has been delayed and will not start generating power in 2023 as planned, French energy giant EDF admits.
The proposed Hinkley Point nuclear power station which when operation is suppose to produced seven per cent of the UK's electricity needs doesn't have its finance in place and is dodged with problems.
And yet in the same week as this announcement online Consultancy UK publishes that Mace has been selected by EDF Energy as the preferred bidder for construction work, management services and NEC contract management.
It says: “The proposed contract relates to the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, which is set to produce enough energy for five million homes when it becomes fully operational. Hinkley Point is located on the northern Somerset coast and is host to the nuclear power plants Hinkley Point A, currently being decommissioned, and Hinkley Point B, currently operational. Plans have been drafted by EDF Energy for two new reactors with capacity of 3.2 GW at a neighbouring site, Hinkley Point C...besides generating energy, the plant and its associated works will create 900 jobs for more than 60 years, and around 25,000 throughout the 10 year build phase.”
Nailsea Against Pylons chairman Fiona Erleigh said: "We are very real risk of approving a connection with no generation to be connected to.
"It is time for government to halt this planning application, to rethink and re-price burying the cables.
"This delay and the cost to the public of paying twice are justification enough.
"It is inconceivable that any government should forge ahead with an outdated 1920s solution of new connections defaulting to pylons solutions when out-of-sight solutions are now affordable."
You can read more by clicking HERE.
Meanwhile North Somerset Council plugs away at getting a share of the business it believes will generate £225 million into the local economy.
Yet a similar reactor in France is running six years late and three times over budget - and may never be completed.
Jean-Bernard Levy, EDF chief executive, insisted he had ‘full confidence in the success of the Hinkley Point project’ but gave no date for when the £24.5 billion power station might now start generating electricity.
Ignoring the pros and cons of nuclear energy it is the 29 miles of huge overland pylons that are proposed for the countryside from Bridgwater to the Seabank substation at Avonmouth which has cause the biggest outcry at Nailsea.
That is 141 towering structures with 109 of the T design and 32 of steel lattice carrying 400,0000 volts of electricity.
North Somerset MP Liam Fox who represents Backwell, Nailsea, Portbury, Portishead and Yatton said all these areas are ‘materially affected by these proposals’.
And he asked a public meeting if the transmission route was in the public interest, whether the consultation process was fair and transparent and properly conducted and also what weight is being given to the public’s response in a consultation.
While Dr Fox said he supports building a new nuclear reactor to ensure a future diversity of supply he wondered if all options for connection regarding economic, social and environmental factors had been explored.
He said: “The most direct route between the points at either end of the transmission line is underwater, yet from the very outset the debate centred entirely round the land route involving overhead transmission and new pylons.”
And this week he tweeted: “Hinkley Point C is now delayed so there is absolutely no excuse for @nationalgriduk to continue with their current timetable for the #Pylons.”
He is joined by Nailsea Action Against Pylons chairman Fiona Erleigh who said; "Hinkley Point C new nuclear generation is delayed again as EDF struggle to finance it.
"Therefore decision on transmission connection should be delayed too. We shall lobby decision makers."
The main problem is finance blighted by a protracted EU state aid inquiry and extended negotiations with the UK Government over subsidies and with Chinese investment partners.
A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: "The UK Government and EDF are continuing to work together to finalise the project.
“The deal must represent value for money and is subject to approval by ministers."
Trains, planes and automobiles - bank holiday travel plans for Nailsea people
It isn't boding well for the bank holiday weekend what with disruption to travel plans and bad weather forecast.
We began this weekend with delays - some blaming queues for Dismaland at Weston-super-Mare - on the M5 and flights delayed and diverted at Bristol Airport after it was evacuated when a suspicious package was found on a plane.
The discovery was made on an inbound Ryanair flight from Alicante, southern Spain, just before midnight.
Dozen of flights were diverted elsewhere as the airport was shut for six hours.
It was reopened when police gave the all-clear but flights on Sunday will be delayed, an airport spokeswoman said.
One Nailsea family coming home from Spain where diverted to Birmingham and had to get a taxi back to Bristol.
To learn more about arrivals and departures click HERE.
And rail services are being disrupted as workers at First Great Western (FEW) stage a 24-hour strike.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) walked out at midnight as part of dispute over the introduction of new trains.
RMT leader Mick Cash said the strike action was being 'solidly supported' by members.
FGW has listed changes to its scheduled services, saying it was running 70 per cent of its regular Sunday timetable.
A company statement said: "Trains may be busy and there will be limited food and drink services onboard.
"Last trains of the day are likely to leave significantly earlier than usual."
The dispute centres on staffing and on-board catering facilities on FGW's new fleet of Hitachi Inter City Express trains, with the union fearing the end of guards and buffet cars.
Due to planned strike action by RMT members:
To get the latest updates on all FGW services click HERE or call us on 0345 700 0125 from 7am-10pm, seven days a week.
To find out if there are any motorway delays click HERE
to go to the Highways Agency website for news of the M4 and M5 in the south west.
For North Somerset Counci roadworks current or planned for Nailsea and nearby click HERE.
And finally if you haven't got the Google connection for the weather forecast and want the Met Office which is currently predicting cloudy with a big chance of rain click HERE.
However, we are sure nothing will be as the chaotic comedy with Steve Martin and the late great John Candy in the 1987 film Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
For years Tropicana the lido on Weston-super-Mare seafront has stood derelict and forlorn but now come the news that world famous artist Banky is moving in with an exhibition called Dismaland.
If it wasn’t funny it would be embarrassing that while sunny Florida has Disneyland - rundown Weston-super-Mare once the drugs rehabilitation capital of Europe gets Dismaland.
But with no shame North Somerset Council is welcoming works of art which take a warped and twisted look as a faded seaside town.
Well along with the windswept pier at least it will bring in the end of season visitors.
And if you don’t fancy a Fawlty Towers B&B guest house to make it a bit of a holiday then the boutique Cadbury House hotel at Congresbury has already jumped on the bandwagon to advertise its upmarket accommodation just along the road.
The strictly embargoed press release arrived at 7.31am on Thursday saying less than a handful of people knew about the planned exhibition yet national newspapers covered the story three days ago?
Anyway this is what is said: “Weston-super-Mare is set to become the centre of the contemporary art universe for the next six weeks as world-renowned graffiti artist Banksy brings his latest curated creation Dismaland to the town’s seafront.
“Featuring a never-before-seen collection of Banksy satirical art and sculpture, the exhibition also features pieces by artists from around the globe including Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer and Jimmy Cauty.”
The exhibition will be open from this weekend, seven days a week, and tickets must be purchased in advance by clicking HERE.for one of the twice daily sessions.
The 1930s landmark, which has been closed for 12 years, was earmarked for demolition by owners North Somerset Council after a fruitless search for a way of transforming its fortunes.
Banksy said: “I loved the Tropicana as a kid, so getting to throw these doors open again is a real honour.”
Council leader Nigel Ashton said in the strictly embargoed press release: “It gives me enormous pleasure to be hosting this world-class art exhibition in North Somerset, as well as great relief to be able to talk about it, finally.
“We have been working closely with the organisers for months now, and for obvious reasons, have had to remain tight-lipped about the true nature of the event. In fact, only four people in the entire council knew what was really happening.
“I had a preview of the exhibition while it was still being assembled last week, and I have to say, it is absolutely brilliant.
“As well as entertaining, it’s also incredibly thought provoking.
“I am hugely proud that North Somerset Council is hosting this event.
“As well as welcoming the many thousands of people who will visit over the coming weeks, from all over the world, we are also keen to use this event to profile North Somerset, the opportunities that are here, and our ambition for the area.
“This fantastic event fits perfectly with our recently launched Prospectus For Change - our vision for Weston-super-Mare as a centre for contemporary urban living, combining the best in living, learning and lifestyle.
“Cultural development is central to a modern, vibrant urban environment, and I look forward to discussions over the coming weeks with organisations and businesses who can see the potential for long-term cultural and capital investment in the town.”
Wish you were here...
Nailsea town councillor Jeremy Blatchford was one of the first to get a sneak preview along with his district councillor wife Mary.
Conservative councillor Jeremy who failed to get re-elected in May was the executive memebr for children and young peoples services.
Here is what he thought:
"I didn't want to go, my wife and others persuaded me.
I want to go back.
We stood outside in dismal drizzle.
We had the bizarre demonstrators arguing with dismal security guards.
Security dismally asked me if I had packed my own mack.
Then it dawned on me, this was all part of the show.
It isn't Disney it's Dismal.
As much an antidote to Disney as 'I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue' is to panel games.
This is brilliant, challenging, stimulating, thought provoking.
Dismaland asks the questions you feel you should not say out loud but still ask yourself.
We found four people who didn't like it, much.
One still thinks Tropicana should be rebuilt for Weston's tourists so they can go back to their dreary lives in the smog filled Midlands making Morris Minors.
The others still say they will come back even though they didn't like it.
The overwhelming majority found it spell binding, thought provoking and worth £15 a ticket, some said more.
The reality is a third I think.
Yes you do NEED to see it.
You will enjoy it.
Tickets are already in short supply but you will kick yourself if you do not go.
We were told for over 15s only.
The 15-year-old son of a friend loved it.
Take your time, you need a couple of hours.
Do not see it as a deconstruction of Disney but the antidote to platitude and saccharin, an experience of brilliance.
Picture explanation: Woman top left is a very dismal helper.They are not allowed to smile, nor be helpful nor speak loudly. they are a living 'art form'.
Seaside festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism
Billed as 'for people looking for a cheaper alternative to the sugar-coated tedium of the average family day out'
Dismalland open every day until Sunday, September 27, 11am-11pm. Admission £3, free for the under 5s.
Dismaland review written by former newspaper reporter Karen Richards who was made redundant when bosses closed the award-winning Weston & Worle News down...
Unless you have been living in a cave for the past week you will have heard that someone quite well-known has set up camp in one of the four corners of the district.
Whatever you think of political satire even the most jaded cynic can’t deny the huge impact the legendary street artist arriving in Weston has had and will continue to have over the next month or two while he is in North Somerset.
Banksy is not just the talk of the town but of the whole world right now.
And being a fan of dark humour, having waited two hours in the rain to see his last exhibition in his native Bristol in 2009, there was no way on earth I was going to miss seeing this latest offering, a dystopian theme park, set up in my home town.
The secrecy surrounding the event had been phenomenal – locals had been told there was a Hollywood film crew shooting at the derelict open air swimming pool based on Weston seafront.
But when a horse made of scaffolding and a black Disney-esque fairytale castle appeared over the Tropicana walls, we were soon starting to suspect there was more to this than we had been told.
Eventually, last Thursday morning, social media was awash with the idea of it actually being a Banksy exhibition and it all started to make sense, and then when I arrived at work at the Town Hall there was an official announcement from North Somerset Council confirming the rumour mill was true and that the process had been so cloak and dagger only four people in the authority were in the know.
Dismaland opened its doors on Friday morning and I was up at dawn, clutching a voucher from the Weston Mercury newspaper and proof of being a North Somerset resident, ready to queue for one of the 1,000 free tickets Banksy had kindly donated for a locals-only first look before opening to the wider public on Saturday.
The atmosphere in the queue was buzzing and the hour quickly slipped by listening to excited people all eagerly anticipating the day’s event and thanking the man himself for thinking to bring it to Weston, thus putting the spotlight on our humble seaside town.
Upon later entering the Tropicana, pushing passed the hoards of people without a coveted wristband clammering to get in, and thanking politely the miserable-looking employee urging me to “End Joy”, I had airport security to get through.
Well, if you count cardboard scanners and more miserable-looking employees (much like a real airport!) that is, but imagine the joy of being able to use all those humorous replies we all practice when going through such procedures in real life to the question “Have you packed your bag yourself today Madam?”
Once inside, the reason the cult figure chose such a bleak venue is obvious, and nothing short of pure genius.
The exhibition uses many of the crumbling structure’s original features to provide the desolate backdrop and for many visitors like me returning to the venue for the first time since a childhood visit to the popular and busy water park it added to the feeling of sadness and desolation, seeing it in such a state of disrepair.
Billed as a festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism all I can say about the all-new creations by Banksy himself, as well as pieces by 59 other artists from around the globe including Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer and Jimmy Cauty, is expect the unexpected.
From the more traditional carousel, Ferris wheel and outdoor cinema to the much-talked about macabre Cinderella carriage-wreck being paralleled to Princess Diana’s death and disjointed slogans which litter the site, it is as much entertaining as it is thought-provoking.
The feedback I have heard from people across the media is that it is well worth the effort needed to gain access, and terms such as ‘amazing’, ‘absolutely brilliant’ and ‘strangely beautiful’ have been banded.
Interest from fans world-wide trying to get tickets over the weekend has apparently crashed the online booking system, prompting speculation that it’s a huge Banksy prank playing up to the whole ‘dismal’ experience.
The only criticism I have heard is from visitors saying it upset their younger children and that there is no warning about the castle being in complete darkness apart from strobe lighting on the entrance but these are both on the website and on all the literature about the event.
The exhibition is open seven days a week until Sunday, September 27, and has sessions from 11am-6pm and 6-11pm in the evenings when the park is lit-up and fireworks and special events, including appearances by Bristol band Massive Attack are planned at weekends
Tickets can be purchased through www.dismaland.co.uk from noon on August 25th and limited tickets are available from a booth outside the venue on the day.
However, the Tropicana can only accommodate 2,000 at one time so once tickets are allocated admission is operated on a one-out, one in system.
Admission is £3 per person, and free for under 5s.
STOP PRESS: The on-line ticketing system crashed twice then re-opened noon on Tuesday. August 25, but showed all tickets 'sold'. Clicking HERE if you want to give it a try but be warned ‘Dismaland.co.uk – the UK’s most disappointing new website‘ .
Swap worthless ticket for special offer at local hotel
Make merry after going to the gloom of Dismaland with a visit to DoubleTree by Hilton Cadbury House.
The four-star hotel is just 20 minutes down the road (A370) from Weston-super-Mare in the pretty North Somerset countryside.
It is offering succour to those who have queued outside for hours on the windswept seafront to view the dark but thought-provoking works by Banksy, Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer and Jimmy Cauty.
For guests travelling to Dismaland from out of town, overseas or just wanting a break after the exhibition look no further than our four star prestige hotel.
It currently have some great Dismaland offers:
Present your Dismaland ticket at its Marco Pierre White restaurant during the exhibition time and receive 25 per cent off the food bill;
Present your Dismaland ticket at its Living Room Bar after visiting Dismaland and have 2-4-1 glass of house wine or a pint of lager!; or
After Dismaland, lift your spirits with a 2-4-1 happy hour cocktail between 5-6pm upon presenting your Dismaland ticket.
Check the online by clicking HERE for terms and conditions including pre booking and those aged 18 plus.
Calls to 'resign or retire'
to police chief constable
Avon and Somerset police and crime commissioner Sue Mountstevens began today, Wednesday, August 19, the process to require chief constable Nick Gargan to resign from his post.
Mrs Mountstevens used powers under the Police Reform & Social Responsibility Act (Section 38) to progress the procedure calling upon the chief constable ‘to resign or retire,’ due to a lack of confidence by local people, police officers and staff in his position as leader of Avon and Somerset Constabulary.
It follows an independent misconduct panel finding CC Gargan guilty of eight counts of misconduct last month.
In a report to Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mrs Mountstevens, the independent misconduct panel recommended the highest sanction available for misconduct of eight final written warnings.
Mrs Mountstevens followed their recommendations in a sanction hearing held this morning.
In a separate meeting with CC Gargan held after the sanction hearing, PCC Sue Mountstevens outlined her intentions to progress section 38.
Sue Mountstevens said: “CC Gargan has let down the colleagues he led and the communities he was there to protect."
He abused his position by:
forwarding confidential emails;
interfering with a proper recruitment process; and
sending, receiving and storing intimate images on his police issue phone.
“As the CC Gargan should have led by example and demonstrated the highest levels of integrity, values and professional behaviour.
"Instead he has shown flawed judgement and been found guilty of eight counts of misconduct including two of discreditable conduct.
“From what I have seen and heard, he has lost the confidence of local people, police officers and staff.
"During the past six weeks since the panel’s findings concerns have been raised to me by the Chief Officer Group, Superintendents Association, Police Federation and Unison about Mr Gargan continuing to lead Avon & Somerset Constabulary.
“I believe that there is now a detrimental impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of him leading Avon & Somerset Constabulary, which is why I have today initiated the process to require him to resign.
"This is a separate process from the misconduct procedure and I will be writing to HM chief inspector of constabulary Sir Thomas Winsor to seek his views.”
In their report to Mrs Mountstevens the independent misconduct panel raised concerns about the Independent Police Complaints Commission’s (IPCC) handling of the investigation.
Mrs Mountstevens added: “The main issue was the disclosure of relevant materials and statements from IPCC investigators including unused material, to the defence.
"The legal advice was unequivocal that the defence are entitled in law to un-redacted copies of relevant material.
"I fully understood the IPCC’s reluctance to disclose identities and some of the associated information.
"I was equally concerned with the welfare of witnesses throughout this process.
“I believe the IPCC acted with good intentions to protect and support witnesses and not betray the confidence of those that did come forward, but clearly the way they managed the process in this case has caused concern, as any failure to follow the disclosure process could have led to the proceedings being compromised or worse still collapsing.
"The disclosure process needs to be reviewed by the IPCC so it is clearer for all concerned in future investigations and I will be writing to the IPCC chair Dame Anne Owers to request this.”
Following today’s announcement CC Gargan has been suspended.
Acting chief constable John Long will continue to lead Avon & Somerset Constabulary.
Following Mr Long’s retirement at the end of August, deputy chief constable Gareth Morgan will take over on a temporary basis as CC.
The costs incurred by the OPCC in regards to this matter exceed half a million.
Smooth ride along Whiteoak Way
Whiteoak Way was resurfaced this month at a cost of £200,000.
The Nailsea road with two schools which had been dubbed ‘the worse on a major bus route’ by First drivers because of its pot holes was completely transformed this August.
North Somerset councillor Jan Barber said: “There is a whole list of roads to be done in Nailsea, Whiteoak Way being one of them due to be done in August.
“Ash Hayes Road and Meadway Avenue are also included.
“The problem with Whiteoak Way and the reason that it has taken so long is that it isn’t surface dressing, it requires complete resurfacing at a cost of around £200, 000, I understand.
“Holford Close is similar in that it will be a very expensive job and is difficult to get on the priority list, despite being in an appalling condition, as it is a cul de sac and only used by about 40 residents.”
“Every road should be surface dressed every seven years and that would maintain our roads to a much higher standard.
“That is what we are aiming for, but there isn’t sufficient money available.”
Which probably explains why the resurfacing stops at the Ring O’Bells pub.
Last August Washing Pound Lane and The Causeway at Nailsea got resurfaced.
To find out more about roadworks in Nailsea and nearby click map.
It also gives new roadworks scheduled by utility companies including the installation of mobile telephone masks.
I was puzzled by the North Somerset Times article that there are three underutilised NHS dentists at Nailsea.
It states that Portishead people are being advised to head to Clevedon or Nailsea to get an early appointment with an NHS dentist.
The story is based on 'A review of access to North Somerset NHS Dental Services May 2015' compiled by Healthwatch North Somerset and a response by Maxine Quantrill, of the Primary Care Support Team NHS England (BNSSSG Area Team).
We have no NHS dentists in Nailsea - only ones taking adult patients who are exempt from charges and children aged under 18.
Because of this many Nailsea people have signed with a Portishead or Clevedon dentist.
Others travel into Bristol to go to the dental hospital or use surgeries at Weston.
This has been the situation for many years.
As I am lucky enough not to be on any state benefits, pregnant, aged under 18 or under 19 years and in full-time education I have just had to pay nearly £500 for a root filling with a Nailsea dentist.
Full list of exemptions can be accessed HERE.
Given that an adult has 32 teeth the future financial implications are horrendous.
I would politely suggest the reason three Nailsea and one Backwell practises are not working to capacity is cost.
What's your poison - warning
North Somerset Trading Standards have been made aware that bottles of a fake vodka that may have been contaminated with anti-freeze are in circulation across the country.
The bottle label is distinctive with Imperial No 1 Signature Vodka in bold blue typeface on a white background.
It is not thought to be a counterfeit of a genuine brand.
The bottles are not marked with a manufacturer's name and address.
The warning only applies to bottles carrying this label.
The advice from Trading Standards is:
If you have bought this vodka do not drink it; and
Always walk away from alcohol that is not marked with a manufacturer's name and address.
If you see these bottles on sale report it to Trading Standards by emailing email@example.com.
If you want to report anything else, or need consumer advice, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0345 404 0506.
STOP PRESS: A man from Yatton has been sentenced to 20 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years and 100 hours unpaid work, when he appeared at Bristol Crown Court, on Friday, September 4.
Andreas Antounas, aged 55, of Stowey Road pleaded guilty in June this year, at North Somerset Magistates' Court, to a number of offences, including a breach of Food Safety legislation.
Due to the seriousness of the offence, the case was referred to the crown court for sentencing.
In December 2014, in the lead up to Christmas, Antounas sold 47 bottles of the 'vodka' to a local licensee.
The licensee, a member of the local pubwatch scheme was suspicious about the legitimacy of the vodka and contacted the authorities.
Samples of the fake Smirnoff vodka was sent for testing by Trading Standards and was shown to contain iso-propanol, a chemical commonly found in screenwash and antifreeze.
The vodka was unsafe and could have caused liver or kidney damage or even result in a coma after as little as a few glasses.
North Somerset Trading Standards together with Avon and Somerset Constabulary visited local clubs and convenience stores to prevent the supply of dangerous counterfeit vodka on the run-up to the main Christmas week.
Antounas remained 'tight-lipped' throughout the investigation and did not assist Trading Standards during the search for the contaminated product.
The Judge, Mr Recorder Tindal, said that "(Antounas) frustrated legitimate enquiries of Trading Standards…(and he) did not really care or think about whether (the vodka) was dangerous."
A North Somerset Council spokesman said:"The risk to human health was so significant that North Somerset Trading Standards and police mobilised officers to remove the contaminated vodka from circulation and to raise awareness amongst the licensing trade.
"This man showed reckless disregard for the health and well-being of others in the community, failed to assist the authorities who were investigating the matter and received a suitable sentence reflecting this. We will continue to work closely with the police to protect our residents from this type of criminal harm."
If you suspect that you have been supplied with counterfeit alcohol contact Trading Standards on 03454 040 506.
Sex photos in Nailsea - man sentenced today
A 29-year-old Bristol is the first person in the Avon and Somerset area to be sentenced for a new offence of disclosing private sexual photographs.
The man admitted the charge and a second charge of harassment, at North Somerset Magistrates’ Court in Worle earlier today, Thursday, July 30, and was given a six-month suspended prison sentence.
Earlier this month, the man printed off private sexual photographs of his victim and left them in a public place in Nailsea.
'It’s time to see offences like this as socially unacceptable with the potential to result in some very serious consequences...' said Somerset police officer Mike Prior
Following today’s sentencing hearing, Somerset area superintendent Mike Prior said: “Disclosing private sexual images – or so-called ‘revenge porn’ – is a new offence under the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 and this is the first time we’ve successfully used these new powers.
“This man committed a truly vindictive act designed to cause humiliation and distress to his victim.
“The victim has been fully supportive of our investigation and we’d like to praise her courage in coming forward and reporting the offence to us.
“It’s time to see offences like this as socially unacceptable with the potential to result in some very serious consequences.
“I hope this case acts as a warning that we won’t tolerate any kind of ‘revenge porn’ and we’ll always work with our partners, especially the Crown Prosecution Service, to ensure new legislation is used effectively and victims are always fully supported.”
If anyone feels they have been a victim of a similar crime, please call the police via 101 or report the incident via the contact then online by click HERE.
Alternatively you may call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit its website HERE.
Weston police investigating drug-related 'attempted murder' make 3 more arrests
Police have made three further arrests in connection with the serious assault in Weston-super-Mare on Friday, July 17.
At approximately 8pm, two men were assaulted in the Saffron House area of Prospect Place by a group of men.
The two victims suffered serious injuries as a result of the attack. It is believed a knife was used during the incident.
The suspects fled the scene on push bikes.
One of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries and remains in a critical but stable condition in Southmead Hospital.
On Sunday night, July 19, police arrested three men in connection with this assault.
As part of the investigation, we also arrested a man and a woman on suspicion of drug offences.
All five have now been released on bail.
On Friday morning, July 24, officers executed a number of warrants in the Weston-super-Mare area in connection with this incident.
As a result, a further three men have been arrested.
Two have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and one has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit GBH.
All three remain in custody at this time.
Superintendent Geoff Wessell said: “I would like to reiterate our thanks to the local community for their support and co-operation over the week as this investigation continued.
“I hope this second round of arrests highlights our dedication to tackling violent crimes and the issue of drugs in our communities.
“There will be an increased level of patrol reassurance activity in the area over the coming days.
“I would continue to urge anyone who has information regarding this incident to come forward immediately.
“Anyone with information is asked to contact us on 101 quoting crime reference number 1048 of 17/7.”
North Somerset new police chief inspector
The newly-appointed chief inspector for the North Somerset Policing Area began her career patrolling the streets.
CI Tina Robinson said: “I’m really excited to be returning to lead the team policing North Somerset.
"I know the area well, having worked here for much of my service and also living in North Somerset.
“My priority is to make sure the area remains a safe place for the people who live and work here and those who visit.
"I also want to make sure we work with young people so that North Somerset is a safe environment where they can thrive.”
Tina joined Avon and Somerset Police in 1994, working on patrol teams responding to emergencies across the North Somerset area before transferring to CID.
She continued to work in the area as a detective for five years.
In January 2003 she was promoted to sergeant, leading a uniformed patrol team in the busy Avonmouth area of Bristol.
The following year Tina transferred to work on a team of officers based at Southmead police station who targeted offenders known to commit theft, burglary and robbery offences.
In 2005 she returned to Weston-super-Mare as a DS leading the Crime Management Unit, responsible for recording and allocating crimes for investigation.
Between 2006 and 2008 Tina returned to CID and also spent time working in Special Branch before joining a unit which tackled criminals responsible for causing serious harm to communities through offences such as drug dealing and distraction burglary.
In 2012 she was promoted to Detective Inspector and acted as a temporary detective chief inspector in the same unit.
Following the introduction of the new Operating Model earlier this year, Tina managed the catch and disrupt team, providing specialist support to colleagues across the force area.
She was permanently promoted to chief inspector on her appointment as North Somerset area commander.
She said: “Locally we have a very good working relationship with the council and other agencies and I want to see that continue and grow stronger.
"As an organisation we’re committed to protecting the most vulnerable people in our community.
"That’s something we can only do with the support of local people and agencies.
“I know that road safety is often raised as a policing priority by local communities at public meetings, but it’s important to me that people know they don’t have to wait for a meeting to raise issues with their local officers.
"If there’s something you think we should be looking at you can call into a beat surgery, get in touch with us through our website, www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/contact-us or call the non-emergency 101 number at any time.”
Chief constable 'misconduct'
Avon and Somerset police and crime commissioner Sue Mountstevens outlined this week the procedure to be followed in the chief constable’s misconduct proceedings.
She said: “The misconduct process is not yet complete.
"I’m waiting for the misconduct panel’s report, when I receive that I will hold a further hearing with the chief constable to determine his sanction.
“I have read the open letters from the staff associations and I am listening to the views of residents.
"The whole procedure for police misconduct is strictly regulated.
"Like all judicial processes when proceedings are not complete it is not possible to discuss or comment upon them until they have been finalised.
“In the meantime chief constable Nick Gargan will not be returning to work in Avon and Somerset.
"However he will be carrying out some national work with the National Police Chiefs Council.”
Following the sanction hearing Ms Mountstevens will publish the misconduct panel’s report, the cost of the proceedings and her decision on her website.
STOP PRESS: Avon and Somerset chief constable Nick Gargan’s sanction hearing with police and crime commissioner Sue Mountstevens is on Wednesday, August 19.
The sanction hearing follows an independent misconduct panel finding the chief constable guilty of eight counts of misconduct and recommending a sanction of eight final written warnings.
Mrs Mountstevens said: “Today I received the independent misconduct panel’s report which means I can now hold a sanction hearing with the chief constable.
"It has been agreed with all parties that Wednesday, August 19, is the soonest most practicable date the sanction hearing can take place.
"The report is 90 pages long and I am considering the panel’s views and recommendations thoroughly ahead of the sanction hearing.”
The misconduct panel’s report recommends the sanction of eight final written warnings.
Court date: Luke Brimson
A 29-year-old Bristol man has been charged with disclosing private sexual photographs with intent to cause distress.
The charge is a new offence under the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.
Luke Brimson, of Bradley Crescent, was charged in relation to an incident in Nailsea earlier this month.
He was also charged with harassment. He’s been bailed to appear at North Somerset Magistrates’ Court in Worle on Thursday, July 30.
Because of legal implications no further comment will be added to this police press release.
Five in custody after man left fighting for life
Police have arrested three men in connection with the serious assault in Weston-super-Mare on Friday.
At approximately 8pm on Friday, two men were assaulted in the Saffron House area of Prospect Place by a group of men.
The two victims suffered serious injuries as a result of the attack.
The suspects fled the scene on push bikes.
One of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries and remains in a critical condition in Southmead Hospital.
The second victim suffered less serious injuries and also received medical treatment at hospital.
On Sunday night officers arrested three men in connection with this assault.
As part of the investigation, we have also arrested a man and a woman on suspicion of drug offences.
All five remain in police custody at this time.
Superintendent Geoff Wessell said: “Firstly, I would like to thank our local communities for their patience and co-operation over the weekend as this investigation was progressed.
“There will be an increased level of patrol reassurance activity in the area over the coming days.
“I would like to reassure the communities in Weston-super-Mare that serious assaults such as this are not commonplace and we will robustly investigate any incidents involving violence.
“We are still appealing for anyone who was in the locality of Prospect Place on Friday evening between 7.30-8.30pm to contact us as a matter of urgency.
“Anyone with information should call us now on 101 and quote log reference number 1048 of 17/7.”
Another charity shop is opening at Nailsea
I hate to tell you but we are getting another charity shop!
It is going on the roundabout where Global Furniture traded until March this year.
Called Debra the charity has more than 100 shops across the UK.
Debra says it sells affordable, good quality items that have all been donated by its supporters including clothing, bric-a-brac, furniture, electrical items, books, toys, games and DVDs.
At the moment the nearest shop is at Street although it opened a new store at Calne this month.
Importers Global Furniture - once a pine shop - had been at Station Road since 2000.
It said it was closing because of a rent hike by the landlords of Kings Court.
Debra raises money into research for Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) the name for a group of incurable genetic skin conditions which cause the skin to blister and tear at the slightest touch.
Around 5,000 people in the UK are living with EB.
Currently there are eight fundraising charity shops at Nailsea:
Break, which funds specialist residential and community based services for vulnerable children young people and families, at 57 High Street;
Bristol & Wales Cat Rescue, rescuing and re-homing unwanted cats and kittens, at 75 High Street;
Changing Lives, working with people experiencing homelessness, addiction and a range of other problems in to our communities, at, 10 Clevedon Walk;
Children's Hospice South West (CHSW) provides hospice care for life-limited children and their families with the nearest hospice at Charlton Farm, Wraxall, at 18 Colliers Walk;
Clic Sargent, helping children and young people with cancer, at 12 Colliers Walk;
Holly Hedge, run an animal sanctuary at Barrow Gurney, at 87-89 High Street;
St Peter's Hospice, Bristol's only adult hospice caring for local people with life-limiting illnesses, at 126 High Street; and
RSPCA, the oldest animal welfare charity, at 85 High Street.
The British Heart Foundation closed its shop at 138 High Street recently citing ‘commercial reasons’ - high rents.
A charity shop even if it is run by international groups with multi-million pound assets does not have to pay council business rates if they sell only donated goods.
Below are just some of your responses using social media on FaceBook and Twitter...or you can use the comment box at the bottom of article.
Response from letting agent
Commercial letting agent Ian Thompson has disputed most of what has been posted on social media about charity shops in general and urges Nailsea residents to ‘big up’ their town.
Here is his respond to what has been posted on FB page Nailsea Then and Now:
“It amazes me some people cite high rents as the main problem keeping interesting local traders out and that it's better to have charity shops than vacant shops.
“What is really the case is firstly that charity shops often pay higher rents than local retailers because they only pay 20 per cent of the usual business rates - which in themselves are very high.
“They use mainly volunteer staff, so frankly they can afford to pay higher rents and out compete small retailers for vacant shops, and secondly the government decided to withdraw landlords previous rights to claim void rates for a shop or other commercial premises for that matter if it became vacant.
“So the landlord not only lost his rent, he suffers the double ‘whammy’ of having to pay rates out of non-existent income.
“Consider that rates were introduced to pay for services provided by local councils for the community as a whole as well as commercial occupiers including such things as rubbish collections, street cleaning and the like.
“As cost cutting has expanded, these services have been withdrawn and councils see commercial property as a cash cow – just like the motorist.
“Therefore a landlord is forced to take what he can get – and this happens to be charity shops.
“It is government policy which dictates this phenomenon when before the recession landlords really didn’t want charity shops as their tenant.
“I really don’t believe it’s the case that rents are high, they have come down dramatically in the past seven years since the start of the recession, and certainly the owners of Crown Glass Shopping are very pragmatic in their approach and fully supportive of interesting new businesses, hence the ‘win-a-shop’ promotions, and success in securing people like Blue Room, Ewe-Knit 20, Butterfly Travel, School Togs, Nailsea Cycles and shortly the return of Queenies.
“It is a fact rents at Clevedon are around the same and in Portishead they are higher.“
“People shouldn’t just gripe about the shopping precinct - they should come and use it, and learn to love their town.
“Why is it perceived Portishead is so much nicer – because people crow about their town instead of running it down, but Nailsea does actually have a much better offer overall, many more shops and many more parking spaces, and is friendly to the less mobile of our society than its peer group of towns nearby.
“It also has the capacity to draw from a wider area than either Portishead or Clevedon, as access to the outlying villages towards the Chew Valley is so much easier to Nailsea than either of those towns.
“It's just a shame people are so keen on running down our town rather than highlighting it's good points, and striving to work to make it even better.”
WIN!!! WIN!!! WIN!!! WIN!!! WIN!!!
£50 awarded weekly for recycling waste food
Gone are the days when food waste went into landfill sites or the pig farmer came and collected leftovers for swill.
Recycling is the future and to reward people our council is giving one £50 vouchers every week for recycling your food waste.
If you live in North Somerset, Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol or South Gloucestershire and you recycle your food, you could be rewarded with a £50 voucher to spend with a retailer of your choice.
Every week up until March next year, one resident from each of the four West of England unitary authority areas will be rewarded with a £50 voucher just for recycling their food.
To take part, all you need to do is put your food out for recycling regularly.
Make sure that you label it clearly with your address and put it out by 7am on your collection day and you may be randomly selected to win a reward.
The more times you put it out, the more chances you have to win.
The project has been funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government’s £5million Recycling Reward Scheme, following a successful bid by Bath & North East Somerset Council on behalf of the West of England councils.
North Somerset Council executive member Peter Bryant whose portfolio includes recycling, said: "North Somerset Council has the best recycling rate of 60 per cent in the country when compared with all unitary authorities - apart from Rutland with a population of only 38,000.
“We want to improve that rate by staying ahead of the game and therefore we are delighted with the latest scheme to encourage those who have been reluctant to participate in recycling to join the rest of us and achieve an even higher percentage."
If you need a caddy to store food in your kitchen and a larger lockable bin to put the food out for collection order one online by clicking HERE.
You can put out any uneaten food including meat and fish, bones, bread and cakes, teabags, vegetable peelings and food that has gone past its 'use by' date but please remove any packaging first.
Food recycling is particularly important because it can be turned into electricity, heat and fertiliser using the process of anaerobic digestion giving us cleaner, greener and healthier communities.
It costs councils less to recycle and it’s always better than throwing food into landfill sites further contributing to climate change.
For more information click HERE.
Back to work for Avon & Somerset chief constable 'guilty' of misconduct
A misconduct panel this week found Avon and Somerset chief constable Nick Gargan guilty of eight charges of misconduct.
The chief constable faced 10 charges of gross misconduct, three charges of misconduct and has been found guilty of eight at a level of misconduct.
Chair Dorian Lovell-Pank QC will now write a report of the panel’s findings and will recommend any sanctions the chief constable should face under police regulations.
Police and crime commissioner Sue Mountstevens will hold a sanction hearing with the Chief Constable following receipt of the panel’s report.
On the basis of the panel’s findings chief constable Gargan’s suspension was lifted on Thursday, July 9.
A phased return to work after a one year suspension is being prepared for after the sanction hearing.
The Guardian newspaper reports: 'because he was not found guilty of gross misconduct he cannot be dismissed from his post. Neither can he be demoted. Sanctions available include receiving a written warning or management advice,.
Drug charges in court today
Five men have been charged with drug offences, following a police operation yesterday, Wednesday, July 8.
They are all due to appear at Bristol Magistrates Court today, Thursday, July 9.
Vikesh Tailor, aged 31 of Farleigh Road, Backwell; Carl Tailor, aged 36, of Fosse Close, Nailsea; Daniel Cotterell, aged 31, of Broom Farm Close, Nailsea; and Jai Stephens, aged 29, of Barrowmead Drive, Bristol, have all been charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Additionally, Aaron Colwell, aged 27, of Main Road, Flax Bourton, has been charged with possession with into to supply class A drugs.
All five were arrested as part of an operation led by Zephyr, the South West regional organised crime unit, working with colleagues from Avon and Somerset and Wiltshire forces.
A 29-year-old man from North Somerset, who was also arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A drugs has been released on police bail.
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Three drug arrests in Nailsea and Backwell
Police have arrested five men following dawn raids this morning, Wednesday, July 8, in the Bristol and North Somerset areas.
More than 70 officers and police staff from Avon and Somerset and Wiltshire forces and officers from Bristol City Council took part in the operation, codenamed Nebraska.
It was led by detectives from Zephyr, the south west regional organised crime unit and involved search warrants being executed at seven properties.
The operation has been focusing on the supply of Class A drugs – specifically cocaine – during the past six months.
Zephyr have been working closely with Wiltshire’s specialist crime directorate and the Bedminster neighbourhood policing team led by Inspector Nigel Colston.
Search warrants were executed at five houses in Bristol, Backwell and Nailsea and two commercial properties in the Bedminster area.
Five men – two aged 29 from Patchway and Bristol, two aged 31 from Backwell and Nailsea and a 36-year-old man from Nailsea have been arrested on suspicion of drug offences and remain in police custody.
During the operation officers have seized more than £250k as well as two kilos of class A drugs - with a street value of around £250k - which will be forensically tested.
Detectives continue to search the properties.
D/Insp Jim Taylor, of Zephyr said: “Today’s arrests is the start of enforcement against a large and far reaching organised crime group.
Officers from across the region have come together to target this group of men, who we believe, have been supplying large amounts of drugs to cities across the south west.
DI Taylor said: “We have worked closely with our partners to ensure that all levels of their offending are addressed appropriately, ensuring we make our communities feel safer.”
Neighbourhood manager for local policing in Bristol, Insp Colston, said : “For me the message is that this shows the continued commitment towards tackling drugs issues across the region.
"We know that the illegal use and supply of drugs is a significant concern for local people, and we thank those people who have taken the decision to notify us of their concerns.
"We encourage anyone else with any information in regards to drugs supply to contact us.”
Cannabis seized at Felton house
A man has been arrested after neighbourhood officers searched a house in Felton under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
The warrant was carried out at a property on the A38 at Felton at about 10am on Tuesday, June 20.
Officers seized 25 mature plants believed to be cannabis as well as growing equipment and arrested a man on suspicion of the production of cannabis.
A 54-year-old man has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.
Neighbourhood PC Martin Faithfull said: “We are always grateful for information from the community about suspected criminal activity.
"If you have any concerns about crime in your area please get in touch with us through our website or by calling 101.”
Alternatively ring the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They never ask your name or trace your call.
Firefighters tackled a house fire in Nailsea thought to have started in an electrical extension lead.
Three fire engines were called to the blaze on Tuesday afternoon after smoke and flames were spotted.
Three people of the occupants had made their way to safety on the crews' arrival at 12,20pm at Rhyne View.
A man and woman in their fifties and a man in his twenties were already outside.
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus put out the fire which was confined to the kitchen.
An Avon Fire and Rescue spokesman said: "It caused damage to the kitchen, where is started, as well as smoke damage elsewhere in the house.
"One man in his 20s was treated at the scene for the effects of smoke inhalation.
"It's thought the fire was started accidentally by a multi-gang extension that was in use at the time.
"Electrical faults are one of the main causes of fires in our area, but many could have been avoided.
"They are often caused by the overloading of extension cables, resulting in dangerous consequences."
A quick-thinking driver saved a dog lying on a back seat which caught fire while travelling along the A370.
The motorist pulled into Backwell Leisure Centre just before the car burst into flames.
Both the car driver and pet escaped uninjured but the vehicle was completely destroyed.
Crews from Nailsea Fire Station were called to the incident at 12.44pm last Thursday in the leisure centre car park off Farleigh Road.
The Ford Escort was well alight when firefighters arrived and the blaze caused 100 per cent damage to the vehicle.The cause of the fire was accidental and nobody was injured in the incident.
Power cut for Nailsea
Our reliance on electricity became abundantly clear on Thursday morning when the power was cut off without warning.
Life as we knew it grinded to a halt at North Somerset when the grid switched off.
The cause of the problem was a high voltage cable came down at Churchill.
A Western Power Distribution spokesman early on Thursday afternoon said: “There was a high voltage cable fault on the network which caused 59,896 customers to lose power at 9.54am.
“59,890 customers were restored by 10.48am.
“All customers now have power with the exception of a couple of solar farms; these will be back with power as soon as possible. Investigations into the fault are still ongoing."
And on its Twitter feed WPD it said: "The #powercut affecting #Weston and surrounding area was caused by a 33kv overhead conductor which came down."
Adding later: “We've got the vast majority of supplies back on in #Weston #BS48, but are working to restore the remaining supplies by approximately 18:00.”
The blackout affected homes and businesses from Weston-super-Mare to Nailsea and most of the villages on route including Backwell, Congresbury, Kingston Seymour and Yatton.
Backup generators kicked in at Weston General Hospital and Golden Valley Veterinary Hospital while Bristol Airport was unaffected but supermarkets and sports centres closed briefly at Nailsea.
And while some saw the funny side with one teenager asking his parent if loo would still be able to flush without electricity those in the catering industry were seething about the power cut.
Retired Nailsea granddad Richard Parker summed it all up on social media: “Major power cut this morning.
“Everything is off throughout the village.
“Smoke detectors and house alarms are all screaming.
“I had to take somebody to hospital in another town and they had the same problem so their X-ray machines weren't working.”
And later he added: “Power now back on.
“Smoke detector still bleeping and I can't stop it so into the bin it goes.
“Street lights have just come on.
“My computer is attempting to recover everything.”
Victoria Duffield, of Tots Teas, said: “My worst nightmare...cakes to cook, buffets to prepare for and no power...please come back on soon.”
Gilly Chu and her staff gave up waiting and shut up shop for the day.
Gilly said: “Power failure...sorry Gilly's cafe and bistro will not re -open until 8.30am tomorrow, Friday, July 3.
“If you have booked for this evening we apologise for the inconvenience but due to not having any true information regarding when full power would be restored we had to make a decision to open or not.
“Bookings still being taken for tomorrow and Saturday.”
Gilly said they had no choice as were first advised by WPD that ‘power would hopefully be restored by 2pm’.
She said: “We decided to close business as we are all electric.
“Staff sent home, food wasted, bookings cancelled.”
But the power company did earn some praise.
Andy Miles said: “Full marks to Western Power as my wife has a night breathing machine they phoned us to apologise and to check if there are/were any problems.”
Nailsea Then & Now administrator Lesley Faith Bowman said: “ We used to get a lot of power cuts at home in Bristol when I was a child, but they're very unusual today.
“At first I thought I was going to have to locate the switch, but then I heard alarms going off and realised it was a general outage.”
Glenda Walsh said: “Good on WPD as it was only for a short time, we are very lucky.
“Went in Nailsea this afternoon and lots people moaning.”
Happily The Atrium restaurant and wine bar on the High Street was very busy.
Owner Ellen Pirret said: “Our power cuts were intermittent so when the power was off people ordered soft drinks instead of coffee with their cakes.”
If there's a power cut or your gas supply stops, you may be able to claim compensation under a Guaranteed Standards scheme set by Ofgem.
But and it is a big but this as you can only get compensated if it was a ‘planned cut’ and the company failed to give you two days notice and not when the electricity goes off because of an emergency, severe weather or a fault.
It the distributor is to blame or you are without power for more than a day in severe weather you may have a claim.