Our town is a very nice town

the online community newspaper for Nailsea people, their family and their friends

March 2020

BREAKING NEWS

North Somerset Council (and others) conducting massive consultation from car parking charges to new homes, roads to  jobs. Nailsea people are also being asked about bus travel, walking and cycling, libraries, leisure and sports centres, street cleaning, parks, open spaces and garden waste - more how to make your voice heard known on Breaking News page HERE

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

For happening this month and more go HERE including horseplay at pub

The February Your Cancer Café afternoon at 65 High Street was magical as children’s entertainer Steven Burley popped in for a special school half term show. Click HERE to view sideshow 

20mph road scheme

Long Ashton is introducing a 20mph speed limit along its ‘shopping area’ between Providence Lane and Lovelinch Gardens the main road running through the village.

Roadworks for the Long Ashton Village Enhancement Scheme are scheduled to start on Monday, March 9, and will last approximately two weeks.

If all goes to plan, the 20mph order comes into effect on Friday, March 20

The scheme will cost in the region of £30,000 and will be funded by Long Ashton Parish Council.

This money will come from reserves put aside for the Village Enhancement Scheme and road safety. I

n addition, the parish council has some money from the Community Infrastructure Levy, which is money developers pay towards improvements in local infrastructure; as Long Ashotn has a Neighbourhood Development Plan they get 25 per cent of this.

The works include signage, line painting and road markings and will briefly disrupt business, traffic and pedestrians, particularly at Brocks Lane due to new surfacing and Lovelinch Gardens where new lines are being installed.

Parish councillor Ruth McAllister Kemp shared a village newsletter with Nailsea People.

This says: “Many residents are horrified at the speed of traffic along the main road; this is particularly worrying in the shopping area where pedestrians get a raw deal from narrow and uneven footways. Yet this is the very area where safety should be paramount, used by young and old alike and essential for village life to thrive. It is often used by children on their way to and from school and families want to encourage walking.’

The scheme will also affect commuters using the village as a rat-run and the X9 Nailsea to Bristol bus.

  • Backwell introduced a 20mph speed limit along Station Road in October 2018.

Yobs close Nailsea Ping Pong Parlour

Nailsea Ping Pong Parlour has closed because of vandalism.

A notice by Praxis the new owners of Crown Glass Shopping Centre was posted inside the retail unit at Somerset Square saying:

‘Dear All, unfortunately, due to misuse and vandalism of this unit we are having to close this facility with immediate effect. Clearly, we are sorry to have to do so.’

 

Nailsea town councillor James Steel spoke to the new shopping centre manager Mark Berry and took the photograph.

Cllr Steel said: “I have had a chat to the centre management today and I can understand why they have closed it.

“There are large holes in some walls, glass door panels have been smashed twice, security doors are being purposely left open and there are slash marks across nearly every wall which were newly plastered when the initiative started.

“However, they are in talks with Table Tennis England and Wesport to see if there is a better way of moving forward including looking at an administrator who will spend time in the parlour.

“Although I believe it was set up with children in mind it has become a well used and loved facility by all generations and so maybe it would be worth trialling different opening hours between 10am-2pm as it would allow people to still use it until a better solution can be found.”

The Ping Pong Parlour first opened in August 2018 but was closed temporarily in July 2019 due to vandalism.

Mum Lorraine Hopkinson-Parker said: “Oh no! I played ping pong with my 15-year-old and 10-year-old on different days during the half term.

“It was really busy with well-behaved children all enjoying it, how sad.”

Nick Trott said: “It is very sad that some people feel it’s okay to spoil others enjoyment.”

Rebecca Collard said: “We saw this sign earlier when we were in Nailsea - such a shame for all who enjoyed this facility.

“We always went there with our grandchildren in the school holidays and they loved it.

“How awful that stupid mindless individuals have ruined this for everyone.”

The notice on Nailsea People Facebook page reached more than 5,000 with numerous outraged comments from all ages.

Karen Chandler said: “Unfortunately it always seems a few spoiling everything.

“Shame they couldn’t have some kind of key operating system or something?”

Gary Pearce said: “Well done to the brain-dead invertebrates who caused the damage, I hope karma serves them a lesson in life.”

Lynn Thompson said: “My dad used to love this.

“Played from his wheelchair against his grandchildren.”

Susan Fisher said she wasn’t surprised.

She said: “When I was in town last week there were two girls aged about 13 jumping on and off the tables.

“Could not quite believe my eyes when I stopped and watched them, they made faces.

“I hope they are now really proud of themselves now.”

Holly Peacock said: “My children are so disappointed.

“They have played in there so many times since it was opened.

“Why some children, who should be old enough to know better, feel the need to spoil it for everyone else is beyond me.”

Simeon Jennings said: “Raging is an understatement.

“My kids loved this was a free family activity and put smiles on people's faces.

“Well done to the idiots that have ruined this for all.”

Kayla Caddoo-Frost said: ”I suggest not closing it and having a passcode lock.

“This would mean having to sign in and sign out to be able to use it.”

Danii Long said: “There has been a couple of times that my kids have been in there and a few of the older generation have been playing but also teaching the younger generation at the same time.”

Rachel Banham said: “My aunt will be disappointed at almost 70 she had a fab time in there the other day.

“Most of the young people in Nailsea are polite and respectful, it's a shame

AUGUST 2018 
JULY 2019
FEBRUARY 2020

the few have ruined this facility for the rest of them.”

Shaun Fitzpatrick said: “I helped get this set up, this is a familiar pattern with these facilities where they are not observed, like the one in Weston.

“Anyone interested in playing for fun or in league can play at the Grove Sports & Social Centre.

Helen Warburton Sainsbury said: “My son and his friends are also very disappointed - they have used this parlour every lunch time since they started sixth form.

“The stories they have told me about not just playing amongst themselves but members of the public old and young.”

UPDATE: Cllr Steel posted a quick update on the Nailsea People Facebook page on Monday, March 2.

He said: "I spoke with the new centre manager this morning and they have terminated the contract with Table Tennis England.

"Although the decision to close it was made because of the damage and behaviour of certain individuals the centre owners now plan to renovate the unit and prepare it for letting.

"It is a real shame to lose such a well used facility for Nailsea.

"I cannot criticise the centre management for their decision to close it as the damage is atrocious but I do think it is a shame we could not try something else in an attempt to keep it open.

Backwell Lake access for all

Wessex Water is to spend thousands of pounds on improvements at Backwell lake.

In the pipeline are plans to:

  • Construct a new accessible viewing platform on the south western edge of the lake near the car park

  • Upgrade the path round the lake

  • Build six new benches and three new passing places plus renovating other seats

  • Improve the car park

The idea is to make the area more visitor friendly especially for people with disabilities with work scheduled to begin in May this year.

Wessex Water spokesman Ian Dury said: “We are applying for planning permission for improvements to the existing facilities at Backwell Lake with the aim of further improving access to the site for all, while protecting the wildlife found there.

“The new viewing platform will enhance visitors’ enjoyment of the view, wildlife and semi-rural setting, and improve public safety.

“More benches around the lake to provide more resting places along the route and increase the accessibility of the site for those with restricted mobility and with additional passing places along the path this will improve accessibility for those with prams or in wheelchairs.

“We also intend to improve pedestrian access from the main road, provide new information boards advising the public about the facilities and accessibility at the lake, health and safety considerations and what wildlife may be seen.

“Additional planting including several trees is planned to enhance bankside vegetation.”

Backwell resident David Lake Lloyd said: “I fully support this work.

“My late wife Dinah was part of the group that campaigned for improved disabled access to the lake, and she would have been delighted to see how many people now visit this beautiful spot.

“These improvements will further enhance this important public space.

“I also hope that general repairs to the pathway will take place in due course, as the path is starting to crumble in places,

making it more difficult for wheelchair users to negotiate.”

Access campaigner Alison Morgan said: "​It's great news that Wessex Water are investing in keeping Backwell Lake accessible for all.

"It has been really heartwarming to see how many people can now enjoy the opportunity to get close to nature.

A planning application has been submitted to North Somerset Council.

Backwell Lake which feeds into the River Kenn was created in the mid-1970s as an urban drainage system to control flooding.

This is still its primary purpose however the area has evolved into an important site for wildlife and recreation. 

Designated as a County Wildlife Site (CWS) and a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) the 20-acre site is surround by marshy grassland, mature trees and dense scrub.

It is home to several protected species including bats, greater crested newts, otters, barn owls, swans, ducks and breeding birds although no badgers have been seen lately.

The rare southern marsh orchid grows on its banks.

However, two invasive non-native plants Nutall’s waterweed and Himalayan balsam also grow at Backwell Lake and signs of the American mink have been found in the past.

Care will have to be taken by the construction crews not to disturb breeding birds and in wet weather ‘bog mats’ will be used to move heavy machinery.

Previous proposals for Backwell lake have included being surrounded by massive pylons and have the building of a dual-carriageway motorway link on stilts running through it.

The current plan is fair less radical.

Nailsea & Backwell rail station

on list for access improvements

  • 124 stations across Great Britain to benefit from a share of £20 million for accessibility improvements

  • latest in a series of improvements by the Transport Secretary to accelerate the pace of change for a more accessible transport network

  • follows launch of new campaign to improve journeys for disabled people when using public transport

Disabled passengers across Great Britain are set to benefit from accessibility improvements at 124 stations thanks to a £20 million government fund.

And Nailsea & Backwell is on the list.

But at our reckoning that is approximately £160,000 each and as the last estimate to improve access to our railway station was £10 million that seems some shortfall?

The enhancements were announced by the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Thursday, February 26, to be funded through the Access for All programme and will include new lifts, accessible toilets and customer information screens.

It comes as a new government campaign launched this week to improve the journeys of disabled passengers on public transport.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The ability to travel easily from A to B is an essential factor for our day to day lives - but is not the reality for everyone.“I recognise that we have much more to do, which is why we’re making 124 train stations across the country more accessible - a key part of levelling-up access for disabled people to transport and opening up opportunities for all.

“This is just the start of a much more ambitious agenda.

“My goal is to go much further in the years ahead to help ensure that our country’s transport system becomes one of the most accessible in the world.

“These improvements are being made through the Access for All programme which, since 2006, has already made more than 200 stations step free, as well as delivered smaller scale accessibility improvements at more than 1,500 others to improve passenger experience.

“The £20 million is part of a £300 million package announced last year which is already providing accessible, step free routes at 73 stations across Great Britain, making it easier for disabled people to travel on the UK’s rail network.”

Nailsea & Backwell wasn’t part of the £300 million package so it is fingers crossed yet again something will come of its decade long fight for improvements to the platform access on the Bristol to Weston line.

Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said: “Everyone using our rail network deserves platforms and toilets they can use and this £20 million investment to improve 124 railway stations across the country will make a huge difference to disabled people.

“This government is committed to levelling up the playing field and later this year we’ll launch a national strategy which will ensure disabled people have equal access to all spheres of life.

“This follows the launch of the it’s everyone’s journey advertising campaign to highlight how we can all play a part in making public transport inclusive.

“The campaign is being supported by more than 100 partners, including First Group, WHSmith Travel and the Alzheimer’s Society.

“Department for Transport research has shown that behaviours that make public transport a daunting place for disabled people are often unconscious, such as not looking out for a fellow passenger who might need a seat or be in distress.

‘it’s everyone’s journey’ will raise awareness about the needs of disabled people when using public transport, particularly people with non-visible impairments, and will also prompt members of the public to think and consider how their behaviour might impact others.”You can read more HERE.

​In September last year North Somerset councillor James Tonkin and wheelchair user Alison Morgan took the fight for improived access to Nailsea and Backwell railway station to the House of Commons.

For more than a decade Access For All campaigners have petitioned, threatened court action, appealed to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and asked for public support to get First Great Western to install ramps at the railway station which is on the Bristol to Exeter line.

The last volley in this sorry saga came in a joint letter in the summer of 2019 from GWR managing director Mark Hopwood and Network Rail Western interim managing director Mike Gallop saying the cost of fixing Nailsea & Backwell railway station to make it accessible for disabled people is now estimated at £10 million and they just didn’t have any funds and there are embankment stability problems.

The station which sits on top of a 40ft embankment opened in 1841 and has two platforms but little in the way of facilities which disappeared after years of cuts and privatisation.

Back in 2011 everyone thought there was a light at the end of the tunnel when the government announced a £37.5 million scheme to improve stations under an Access For All Mid-Tier programme which allocated £1,023,000 to building new ramps at Nailsea and Backwell.

The work was due to start in 2013 but delayed until 2014 due to a need to repair subsidence on the embankment and while enlargement of the car park was completed.

However, due to the delays the funding was withdrawn, and the fiasco continues today.

Alison has been campaigning for improvements since 2008 was instrumental in getting the footpath under the railway bridge widened and a user-friendly path built at Backwell Lake.

She said: "I am not getting as excited about the station.

"It is great news that the Government has released more money to improve accessibility across the whole of the rail network.

"However, the amount allocated to the eight  West Country stations together is less than half the amount originally allocated to Nailsea and Backwell station alone back in 2011.

"I suspect that the best we can hope for under this funding is upgrades to the seating, shelters and signage at N&B, none of which is of any help to the passengers who can't access the station in the first place...maybe we are going to have a nice shiny sign telling us how to book a taxi?"

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