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THURSDAY, jUNE 8
STOP PRESS: Full election breakdown with all candidates on Political Peeps page by clicking HERE.
Politicians in North Somerset are far too civilized to start name calling but as insults go Boris Johnson has made his first intervention in the election campaign to accuse Jeremy Corbyn of being a security threat and not just a ‘mutton-headed old mugwump’.
Nice – or not nice depending on your point of view.
For the non-political Boris is the mop head part of the trade trio which included Liam Fox.
Famous quote by Boris: “My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive.”
Thank goodness for that.
The general election on Thursday, June 8, has the conservatives as the bookies favourite so Dr Fox who has represented North Somerset for the past 25 years should be a sure bet.
Dr Fox who lives at Tickenham with wife and fellow doctor Jesme was officially chosen this week to fight the seat for the seventh time.
He tweeted: “I am honoured to be re-adopted.”
Although ‘fight’ might be too strong a word given his thumping majority.
Rumour has it political heavyweight Graham Watson, former MEP and fellow Scot, could put his cap in the ring but no confirmation yet...
North Somerset Labour Party chair Polly Shepperdson said: “We'll have a candidate shortly and we welcome campaigners old and new.
“After all the recent election results nobody can take any result for granted and the mood, demographic and priorities have changed around us.
“Film director Ken Loach visited us recently to express his support and if anyone has seen I, Daniel Blake, I beg you to be angry, not distraught and fight this election with us locally.
“I look forward to one of the most important election campaigns of our life time.”
The Green Party got some stick for announcing its North Somerset candidates at a photo opportunity in Bristol.
Charley Pattison, a barrister from Cleeve, will be on the ballot paper for North Somerset and is the second confirmed candidate for the seat.
She said she will campaign against an ‘extreme Brexit’, the ‘destruction of our greenbelt’ and wants to see the voting age lowered to 16.
Computer science teacher Suneil Basu, who works at Backwell School, will be the Green Party’s candidate for Weston-super-Mare.
He will join John Penrose MP (Conservatives) and North Somerset councillor Mike Bell (Liberal Democrats) on the ballot paper, with the other parties yet to decide on a candidate.
Parties and independent candidates have until 4pm on Thursday, May 11 to register to stand.
Meanwhile life got easier for Nailsea man James Heappey who is being challenged for the Wells constituency seat by former Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt when UKIP announced they will not be putting up a candidate.
We are now in ‘purdah’ which could be likened to purgatory if like Brenda from Bristol who hit social media running with the immortal words when told PM Mrs May had called an election.
Brenda said: “You are joking, not another one.”
Purdah in fact is the pre-election period in the United Kingdom, specifically the time between an announced election and the final election results when central and local government is prevented from making announcements about any new or controversial initiatives.
This article will be updated when and if other candidates announce or confirm they are standing for North Somerset.
Candidates and political parties should email email@example.com.
A election countdown and more council information can be found by clicking HERE.
PHOTO: Top Dr Liam Fox at Conservative adoption meeting
New Nailsea bus timetable
Forget big yellow taxis as Nailsea is getting even bigger orange buses!
But although the town can look forward to a fleet of new buses next month its Sunday and evening services are being cut drastically.
And worse of all there will be no buses running from Nailsea and Backwell railway station after 8pm and none on Sundays.
This will mostly affect people living in the Backwell end of The Perrings and Trendlewood, those living furthest from Backwell Crossroads towards the railway station and especially those who enjoy late theatre/cinema nights in Bristol.
More than 100 people attended a Bus Information Roadshow at Nailsea library to learn about the new timetable being introduced at the end of the month.
On hand to answer questions was First Group operations manager based at Weston-super-Mare Chris Hanson who used to be a Nailsea bus driver who is pictured top with other participants.
He said: “There will be little change to the X9 from Bristol to Nailsea via Long Ashton and Wraxall bar a ‘few tweaks’ and the buses will be much more modern and in an orange livery.
“However, from Sunday, April 30, there will be no X8 on Sundays going via the Long Ashton bypass and Backwell .
“The last bus to leave Bristol bus station will be at 8.10pm Monday to Saturday with no service on Sundays.”
This reduces what was a half hour service to one bus an hour late in the evening and on Sundays.
The changes have been necessary because North Somerset Council has stopped subsidising some rural buses with a net saving of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Although one benefit is the X6a becomes the X7 and in addition to linking Bristol via Wraxall and Nailsea to Clevedon it continues its journeys to Weston-super-Mare via Yatton and Congresbury.
This is roughly an hourly service but again not after 8pm at night and not on Sundays.
Bus Users UK director David Redgewell who also attended the roadshow slammed North Somerset Council for imposing the changes on passengers with no consultation.
He is concerned that there is no joined up thinking for workers and college students using the train from Weston to Nailsea late in the evening.
And Nailsea people going to Southmead hospital by train to Parkway will find no linking buses as these have been cut completely.
David said: “We need an integrated travel system for North Somerset and the whole of the west of England for buses and trains.
“Nailsea and Backwell railway station is an important link for North Somerset which has just put in a new car park and bus stops.
“All councils should carry out consultations on changes to bus and rail timetables as advised by central government.
“It is disappointing this hasn’t been done.”
The cost of re-branding and the fact North Somerset has opted out of West of England joint transport plans leaving Bath and North East Somerset Council, Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council to make the decisions will have dire consequences for cooperation, he feared.
It also has knock-on issues for bringing the trains back to Portishead and disabled access to Nailsea and Backwell railway station.
David added: “It is North Somerset’s Brexit – doing it alone will be a disaster for rail and bus passengers.”
Bus Users UK is a non-profit organisation which works on behalf of all bus users to ensure that operators meet their needs and acts as a voice of passengers.
The first of a new look fleet of buses will commence a new service on Sunday, April 30, connecting Weston-super-Mare and Bristol Airport. The new A3 AirportFlyer links the airport to Cleeve, Congresbury, Worle and Weston-super-Mare railway station. The hourly bus service will operate daily Monday to Sunday and bank holidays with the exception of Christmas Day. The new vehicles are wheelchair accessible and passengers are able to take their luggage on board with them, providing peace of mind and speeding up the boarding process.
Nailsea's Blue Light Corner
Ambulance, fire and police on one site
The junction of Pound Lane and Clevedon Road, Nailsea, becomes a blue light corner with police, fire and ambulance crews all based at the site this month.
After nearly 50 years the police will join the other two emergency services if a little later than initially anticipated.
The police are all packed and ready to move lock, stock and barrel.
The site of the two storey police station at Stockway South has been sold for redevelopment and the officers are going to share what was the Avon Fire and Rescue Service building.
Police in Nailsea has come a long way since the early 1970s when the officers moved into the purpose-built property a few yards from the Station Road home where the village bobby lived and conducted his business.
Although a relatively low crime area Nailsea in its time has seen its share of murder and mayhem with the New Year riots, the sudden forced closure at the children’s home at Wraxall House and robberies at Tyntesfield all getting top billing.
In 1974 Avon & Somerset Constabulary was established from a merger of Bristol City Police, Somerset and Bath Constabulary and the Staple Hill division of Gloucestershire Constabulary.
Policing has changed out of all recognition from a time when officers used whistles to summons help and carried wooden batons.
And can anyone remember the police box featured in Dr Who in a street near you?
It was back in 1829 when Robert Peel MP established the Metropolitan Police Service in London.
It is funny to think that the last public execution in England took place a few miles down the road at Kenn in 1830 when the criminals were carried a matter of some 40-50 miles sitting on their coffins for a six-hour journey, to be hung finally, in a manner similiar to a ‘wild west’ lynching all for selling cider without a license.
Civil unrest in Nailsea dates back to 1806 when there was rioting in the area among coal miners fighting for higher wages.
Then sometime after 1820 a village lock up was built on the village green at Kingshill facing the Butchers Arms with separate cells for men and women.
The post of village constable was advertised in 1855.
It said: “Active and experienced man sought. Married man being preferred. Salary £52 a year.”
Some of the first crimes he had to deal with was when a slaughtered pig was stolen from the Queens Head public house – now Coates House.
And proving nothing changes the constable was soon on the lookout for thieves who removed 200 hundredweight of lead from Holy Trinity church roof.
Detective constable John Dicks was stationed at Nailsea from its opening to 1978.
He served under chief inspectors Whatmore, Roberts and Parkin.
His contemporaries in CID were detective sergeants Gerry Penny and Jim Smith with DCs Len Smith and Bob Grant.
The scene of crime officer was Terry Cubley.
John said: “The work was varied and wide ranging from theft and burglary through fraud, sexual offences, including the M5 rapist case and the murder of Shirley Rendall.
“In those days foot patrols were still made in Nailsea and contact was maintained through the first generation Pye Pocketphone personal radios which could be boosted in outlying areas by the proximity of a car with a radio installed.
“Nailsea was the area headquarters for stations at Clevedon and Portishead with country stations at Yatton, Pill and Winscombe.”
An old-style officer John laments that progress has led to ‘people having to visit a library or supermarket to try and find a policeman’.
Philip Locke arrived in Nailsea in 1979.
He said: “People will remember me as the ‘local bobby' who at the time lived at Coombe Road.”
Phil has long retired and moved down to the 'older' part of Nailsea but is still active in the village as vice chairman of Nailsea Skittles League.
Nailsea people have been remembering the officers who went before from PC Tony Efford who featured in the local newspaper for growing the tallest sunflower to PC Lee Paice
Tony said: “I came to Nailsea as the village policeman in April 1971.
“The police house was 111 Station Road.
“There is a photo of me on my police motor bike taken outside Wraxall church as part of the exhibition that was put on when Nailsea Police Station was opened in 1972.
“I was part of the police team in Nailsea for the next 19 years, until I moved on to a different department.
“The Peelers skittle team was formed then from the officers and is still going strong today, but with only four retired police officers as part of the team.”
Nailsea Then & Now social media commentator Matthew Drewett said the picture of PC Efford is ‘like it's straight out of Heartbeat’ the retro television police series.
Retired detective sergeant Brian Bartlett relocated to Spain when he hung up his handcuffs in 2002.He writes: “In 1979 our family moved from Knowle to Nailsea into a new three-bed terraced house at Chancel Close, it cost £13,750 and we loved it as everyone was our age and with young children.
“Of course, gradually most moved on and so did we in 1982 around the corner into a detached house at Abbotsbury Road.
“In 1987 I was a detective sergeant investigating the Helen Fleet murder at Weston-super-Mare when I was offered the vacant DS position at Nailsea which I took.
“I joined a close-knit police station of officers from chief inspectors and rank and file with the majority working or living close by.
“I had six enjoyable years at Nailsea and if I was shopping or socialising in the local pubs when off duty people asked my advice and I didn’t mind.
“It saddens me from afar to see Nailsea police station close and I am slightly mystified by the decision to do so.
“I fondly recall my team of detectives - the late Ron Ferguson, Martin Bees, Terry Cubley, Mike Ball, Dave Trotter, Paul Mannix, Clive Sutton and Jim O'Connor."
And who remembers PC Roger Watts with his wet weather cape attending Neighbourhood Watch meetings to hear about danger parking by lorry drivers at Tesco supermarket?
Avon and Somerset Constabulary had been in discussions with Avon Fire and Rescue Service regarding a co-location at the fire station following the sale of the 1.4 acre Nailsea Police Station site to retirement home developer McCarthy and Stone for more than £1 million.
Its artist impression of the future is pictured above.
Initially the police were going to rent a shop in the town centre waiting for the redevelopment of Scotch Horn Leisure Centre which many in the town hope will include the library, children’s centre and new swimming pool.
But as the police more in part of the fire and rescue service is moving out.
The Urban Search and Rescue Service (USAR) currently in Nailsea is moving to the new Hicks Gate, Keynsham, building.
This we are told is due to financial constraints, the need to adjust staffing levels plus the better road access at the outer city site and is considered the best option as it saves 14 posts.
This will leaves at Nailsea with what?
Nailsea is currently recruiting retained fire officers and is planning an open day soon so we shall have to wait and see.
Meanwhile police spokesman Charlotte Bate said: “We are expecting to move in early May.
“We have not got a definite date at the moment but once in situ there will be an enquiry office open to the public Monday-Friday 10am- 6pm.
“This is the same as the current Nailsea Police Station.
“Alongside the enquiry office, the local neighbourhood team will be based at the new police station as will their police cars.
“This is made up of a sergeant, four police constables and eight police community support officers and a number of special constables which is the same as it is currently.
“Inspector Sharon Bennett and chief inspector Tina Robinson will also be based at Nailsea for some of their working time although they have responsibility for a much wider area.”
Building works are taking place to house both sets of users.
New additions will be the Community Resilience Hub plus the rescue and flood response boat which will be crewed by specially qualified personnel.
A group of Search and Rescue Assistance in Distress (SARID) volunteers will undergo training in the building and be available should any problems occur within the town.
Basing the boat at Nailsea makes you think of a Noah situation but we are told it is to cover for all eventualities in the district so as well as flooding and other natural disasters it would cover civil disturbances and major accidents in air or on the grounds.
The move finally took place three weeks later than planned - for report click HERE to go to the Breaking News page.
Nailsea Town Council annual meeting 2017
The best bits of Nailsea during the past 12 months are the opening of the skatepark and the revival of the Christmas street fair, according to town council chairman David Packham.
It was almost full house at the annual town meeting at the Tithe Barn although some councillors were still on their Easter break but those present had the opportunity to hear what the town council had spent its half a million plus budget on in the previous year.
The evening also included the presentation of grant cheques and community awards.
The community awards went to music teacher Cynthia Dobson and Alan Emery for his work driving the elderly shuttlebus, pictured above.
Mr Packham said: “The past 12 months have been very busy for our town and the town council.
“Once again, the residents of Nailsea have excelled themselves with their generosity and support for the many activities that make this a great town to live in, as was emphasized in the feedback from the 2016 consultation.”
Full details of the consultation feedback HERE.
He said: “As an example of how we can maintain and develop facilities, last July saw the opening of our new skatepark.
“This was a fine example of collaborative working to achieve the best outcome.
“A further example of team work was the Christmas fair in December.
“A small determined group came together and working with the town centre management team produced a fair that will live long in the memory.”
The vocal contingent from Nailsea Action Group (NAG) opposed to sites in the town earmarked for further housing failed to attend.
Former town council chairman Mary Ponsonsby and Golden Valley Ward councillor had resigned before the public meeting partly in disgust that the Engine Lane land was being sold to Barratt Homes despite assurances the site would be deemed for leisure use for prosperity.
She said in her resignation letter: “Having purchased Gaulacre to be kept in perpetuity for the people of Nailsea it seemed wrong to sell.
"I accept the need for housing but not at any cost.”
Another vacancy was cause in West End Ward by Saeeda Jameel who was first coopted in July 2011 when chairman of Grove Junior School governors.
If a request for an election is made to the Returning Officer at Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1UJ by 10 electors living in that parish ward an election will be held to fill the vacancy in early July.
The Engine Lane development will provide some subsided housing, benefit Nailsea & Backwell Rugby Club and allow the council to establish a Nailsea Place hub at the former Youth House.
Mr Packham added: “The purpose of Nailsea Place is to create a centre where people can meet for mutual support, the sharing of ideas and learning from each other in a safe environment to improve their health and wellbeing.
“65 High Street will be developed as a hub for a network of activities and
plugged into the services provided by the public, commercial, charity and voluntary sectors in other locations.
“It will be a centre providing advice on where to find support services and activities; a venue for information and a base for local events, clubs, hobbies, volunteering opportunities, benefits advice, adult skills, employment programmes, money management, healthy lifestyle programmes and much more.
“This is about people being empowered to take positive actions to manage their own wellbeing.
"65 High Street will also continue to be used as a centre for youth activities.
“Now that we have certainty over the ownership of the building, dedicated space will be given to the youth services team to customize it for their needs and for them to create a real home for themselves.”
The planning application by Barratt Homes is being discussed by the town council on Wednesday, May 10.
To read Mr Packham’s address in full click HERE.
NAILSEA TOWN COUNCIL
NOTICE OF TWO VACANCIES
IN THE GOLDEN VALLEY
AND WEST END WARDS
Schoolwear: uniforms, shoes, nametapes
Sportswear: PE kits and more
Footwear: football boots, Wellington boots, trainers, shoes, velcro daps
Dancewear: RAD approved ballet, tap, modern, jazz
Uniforms and accessories: Beavers, Rainbows, Cubs, Brownies, Guides and Scouts
Colliers Walk, Nailsea
Tel: 01275 857491