OK, so here’s where I introduce myself as your candidate in Weston-super-Mare’s Central Ward and tell you what my priorities are. I’ve lived in Weston-super-Mare for around a third of a century having moved here in 1990 and I’m hoping you’ll vote for me so I can make a difference to the area.
Some of you will know me because you’ll have seen me riding around town on one of my vintage bicycles. There seven of the things in my living room which doesn’t exactly make my wife all that happy. The oldest is a 1964 Moulton Deluxe which is like riding a magic carpet.
The one in the picture above is the only modern one I own although that’s mostly for my wife to ride around on. That picture was taken shortly after the cycle route from Weston-super-Mare to Brean was opened. My wife was in panic mode when she got a puncture but if there’s one thing that riding around on bicycles that are older than you are teaches you it’s that you need to be able to fix things. I instantly leapt into action as Bicycle Repair Man.
I think more people should ride bicycles. They’re great for the planet and they’re great to keep you healthy. I’ll confess to owning a car though, because there’s certain things that quite simply aren’t do-able on a bicycle or via public transport. My wife works in a factory in Highbridge, for instance, and she couldn’t get there for her 6am start without our Tiny Little Stripey Car.
And that’s why one of the things I think we need to sort out is parking. The council’s been talking about doing something for close to a decade and nothing’s happened. And it’s becoming a serious problem. Why we still don’t have residents’ permits is completely beyond me.
We also need to do something about the potholes, and not just for car owners but for cyclists and pedestrians too. And I don’t think it’d be all that difficult to do that. Yes, there are constraints in terms of how much money the council has to spend but if we insisted that anyone digging up the road had to fix it after they’d finish the work I don’t think we’d have anywhere near as much of an issue as we have at the moment.
So that’s sort of my manifesto in a nutshell. Potholes and Parking. Well, that’s not all of my manifesto, although clearly they’re the things that should be fairly easy to fix so they’re the things that I’ll be starting on.
From there, we need to think about what we do with the area to attract people to it. The council has stated that it doesn’t want to rely on tourist income but let’s face it, we’ve got a whacking great beach and we need to be taking advantage of that. We’ve also got some really great parks where stuff could be happening and it seems almost criminal that the “transformation” of the Italian Gardens – which went well over budget resulting in the project costing nearly three million quid – has resulted in what’s basically a patio that isn’t really used for anything. OK, so there’s a few events there, but it’s mostly empty:
And this isn’t a Weston-super-Mare specific thing. Rather than messing around wasting money to paint weird lines on Clevedon seafront we should be thinking about how to make that more attractive to visitors as well.
We really do need to think about what we do about the Tropicana, too, and despite the council’s negativity on that front I remain convinced that we should reconsider putting an open-air pool into it.
The area has so much potential. And yet we really aren’t making the most of that potential. We need to get back to basics. And if I’m elected, that’s what I’m planning to do.