February 6th, 2020. Local Paper Review, Harry Mottram

The main sporting news in the Cheddar Valley Gazette is that the village’s footballers are through to the quarter finals of the Les Phillips Cup after turning over Premiership outfit Cribbs by 2-1. Ollie Hucker and Adam Wright netted for the Cheesemen.

The Weston Mercury features another group of chaps on a high. The End of January Party at the Lamb Inn in Axbridge is highlighted in which 70 people ‘flocked’ to the pub for electronic music provided by DJs Jim and Jamie and ensured a return to the normal consumption of beer after a frugal month.

But it’s the expansion of the airport that grabs attention in the Mercury as what was once known as Lulsgate Bottom sees planners giving the go ahead for the facility to increase from handling an extra two million passengers a year up to 12 million. A multi storey car park, expanded baggage handling – yes – but no new terminal. Strangely the airport say they will be carbon neutral in 2025. How that squares with all those extra jet aircraft taking off is a puzzle. A huge demo and a massive campaign by locals to stop the expansion has been ignored leading to anger and frustration. However the airport does employ directly or indirectly around 10,000 people depending on which stats you use. It’s a far cry from the airstrip inherited from the World War 2 when the A38 ran across the end of the run way in the 1970s. The one thing missing is a railway link. The line from Yatton to nearby Wrington is still there should the authorities read this and decide to reopen the line.

Another outcry in the Mercury is over Worlebury Camp – the hill above Weston and home to an Iron Age fort. North Somerset Council has applied to cut down the trees that cloak the ancient monument so the public can see the layout. It will also help to stop the erosion of the fort although it’s not gone down well with many people who feel there should be more trees and not less.

The Mercury also announces the elevation of district reporter Vicky Angear to the editorship of the paper after the exit of Tom Wright. The paper is owned by Archant and unlike the Cheddar Valley Gazette owned by Reach (formerly Trinith Mirror) actually has reporters. Sadly the Gazette gets by with no reporters and no editor. How times change.

Finally the Mercury reports on conflicting accounts of the future of Yatton’s PO sorting office. A member of staff says it is closing and will relocate to Clevedon while the official line is to deny this. Watch this space to see who is telling the truth.

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