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Program Information
 Bristol Broadband Co-operative 
 Weston Mercury newspaper fais to hold local elected members and council officials to account
 Weekly Program
 Steve Wide, Tony Gosling
 Bristol Broadband Co-operative  
 For non-profit use only.
 Attribution No Derivatives (by-nd) 
 Warning: Program may contain strong or potentially offensive language, including possible FCC violations.
Steve Wide was born on Weston-Super-Mare's Birnbeck Pier from where P & A Campbell used to steam down the coast, to the Bristol Channel Islands, and to Wales. He's disappointed in the way North Somerset Council have been managing Weston-Super-Mare, pointing specifically at Birnbeck pier and the local Weston Mercury newspaper for failing to hold the local elected members and council officials to account despite rampant corruption. Most recently the council have purchased the dying Sovereign Shopping Centre with £21 million of public money, while selling the far more valuable Winter Gardens for just £1 in January 2015.
Some history of the P & A Campbell steamer operations out of Weston, Clevedon and Bristol
In common with other operators, the 1950s saw a significant decline in the excursion trade which, allied to increasing operation costs, led to the remaining fleet members being gradually disposed of, and many vessels were laid up during the decade in the hope of improved economic conditions. A receiver was eventually appointed in 1959, and on December 31st of that year, the Campbell business passed to George Nott Industries, part of the Townsend Ferries group that was to become a significant force in the cross-channel car-ferry trade.
The Campbell operation entered the 1960 season with two operational paddlers and one laid up. The business would never return to being a going concern. it has been suggested that the Townsend company bought the Campbell business in order to offset tax losses against its thriving English Channel business. Whatever the reason, it did allow the continuation of Paddle Steamers on the Bristol Channel.
The paddle steamer era appeared to have ended when the last two members of Campbell's fleet, Cardiff Queen and Bristol Queen were withdrawn in 1966 and 1967 respectively and Campbells continued a service with a variety of second-hand motor vessels until early 1981 when it was announced that operations would finally cease.

Multi-million pound commercial deals defended by council amid criticism
http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/news/north-somerset-council-defends-borrowing-policy-1-5778200
North Somerset Council insists its commercial investment decisions are based on a ‘sound business case’ after the authority spent more than £50million on apparently worthless acquisitions this year.
In a statement, CIPFA, the accountancy institute for the public sector, said councils ‘must not borrow more than or in advance of their needs purely in order to profit from the investment of the extra sums borrowed’.
The council used a £37.95million bank loan to purchase North Worle District Centre in February, while a deal to buy Weston’s Sovereign Shopping Centre using £21million entirely of borrowed funds was agreed in April....

Why Bristol passenger ship The Balmoral will not be sailing again in 2019
https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/bristol-passenger-ship-balmoral-not-2201221
Major work is needed to ship's hull and crew accommodation before a license to carry passengers is issued
By Heather Pickstock North Somerset Reporter 11 NOV 2018
Popular passenger ship The Balmoral will not sail in 2019 - because it needs repairs running into millions of pounds.
The ship's owners, the MV Balmoral Fund charity, is facing an estimated bill of £3 million to get the historic vessel back on the water.
The Balmoral was forced to stop sailing at the end of its 2017 season after it was told by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) that major repairs were needed to the hull before it would issue the ship with a passenger certificate.
MV Balmoral Fund spokesman Dick Clague said: "Historically if a plate on the hull looked like it had become thin and needed work, another plate was put on top to double plate it.
"This practice is no longer allowed and as a consequence all the double plates have to come off and new ones put on.
"A lot of plating on the hull requires replacing."
Work is also needed to bring the crew accommodation up to modern standards.
"In the summer the crew live aboard because of the schedule," said Mr Clague.
"The current crew accommodation does not meet the deemed international standards.
"This means we have to gut the current accommodation and provide more space per crew member which will prove very costly.
"We also need to ensure we have money in the bank to start the season and in total the overall cost of getting the Balmoral operational again is around £3 million."
The Balmoral normally operates between May and October and sails not only in the Bristol Channel but also the Irish Sea and the Thames.
In the past, fund bosses have applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund for help. But changes to the rules now mean the charity has to demonstrate the ship is being used for educational and development work to qualify for money.
Fund supporters and volunteers have already held a number of educational visits on the ship with local schools.
And it is looking to develop an educational programme on board for visitors.
A fundraising appeal amongst its members and supporters is also due to be launched.
"This appeal will essentially help keep the ship running as it is while we develop our educational and development work," said Mr Clague.
"The indication is that we can go back to the HLF for grants to help us widen our charity and help us to achieve the things we need to do."
The fund is currently looking for volunteers to help with its development work. People are needed for a variety of roles including fundraising and administration.
Mr Clague said he could not guarantee when the Balmoral would be back sailing again.
"It is too early to say whether we will be back on the water in 2020," he said.
"The purpose of the charity is to get the ship sailing again, but it is a matter of how many hoops we have to go through to get there."
Does Weston's much-loved Birnbeck Pier have a future? Steve Wide's critical appraisal of the town
https://youtu.be/zhvq6XBN_A8

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