Saturday, 11 October 2008

Future of Quaywest takes a twist in the High Court

THE fate of Quaywest 102.4 FM, West Somerset’s only commercial radio station, has taken another twist as its parent company applied to be placed into administration.
Laser Broadcasting, which owns nine stations nationwide, was facing a winding-up order in the High Court, in Leeds, yesterday.
But the company is understood to have applied for administration procedures before the court could hear the winding-up order.
Now, the application by Laser is due to be heard in the High Court on Friday, October 24.
The attempt to liquidate Laser was made by one of its creditors, Gateshead-based venture capitalist Capital North East No1 Ltd Partnership.
But Laser, based in Darlington, made a pre-emptive application of its own to be placed into administration.
Watchet-based Quaywest has continued to broadcast, although staff are understood not to have been paid since July, and its website and email facilities have been withdrawn.
Its sister station in Bridgwater, Quaywest 107.4 FM, previously known as BCR FM, has been in a similar position.
Laser Broadcasting’s other seven stations are Bath FM, Brunel FM, three Sunshine-branded stations in Ludlow, Hereford and Worcester, and Hereford/Monmouth, Fresh Radio, in the Yorkshire Dales, and 3TR, based in Warminster.
One of the founders of Laser in 2002 was Nigel Reeve, who was the launch sales and marketing director of Classic FM.
Nobody from Laser was available for comment.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Pupils have star role in £400,000 supermarket reopening

PUPILS of Minehead First and St Michael’s First schools will take on star status next week when they perform the ribbon cutting ceremony to officially launch the £400,000 new look Co-op food store in The Parade, Minehead.
The children will receive £100 for each school from store manager Mark Jones as a ‘thank you’ after the opening on Thursday, October 16.
Mr Jones said: “As a community retailer, it is appropriate that we involve the community in our special events and we are delighted children from our local schools can play a central role in the relaunch of our store.”
The store will feature The Co-operative Group’s new identity, ‘The co-operative’, which aims to highlight improved service standards across its 4,500 outlets in the UK, including its travel, pharmacy, funerals, and bank branches, as well as its commitment to supporting local communities and ethical trading policies.
The refit has transformed the community store with modern d├ęcor, new fittings, and eco-friendly refrigeration, plus a more shopper-friendly layout.
It will offer a comprehensive choice, with an emphasis on fresh foods.
There will also be a wider selection of chilled beers and wines, while the Post Office, cash machine, lottery, and PayPoint services will be retained.
As the leading supermarket supporter of Fairtrade foods, The co-operative’s popular Fairtrade products will feature and the store will carry the retailer’s own health and beauty range with products that are not tested on animals.
In addition, shoppers will benefit from The co-operative’s policy on honest labelling, which gives the full facts about its food and drink products.
While all The Co-operative’s free plastic bags are fully degradable, customers will be encouraged to use a greener alternative such as The Co-operative Fairtrade cotton Bag for Life, which costs 99p or the plastic Bag for Life, priced at 10p, which the store will replace for free and then recycle.
The Co-operative Group also gives its customer members a share of its profits in cash.
Members can choose to keep the twice-yearly payouts or donate all or part of them to local worthy causes.
Mr Jones said: “We provide a much valued service and I am confident the new look store will better meet the daily food shopping needs of the local community.
“The transformed store will be a real asset. In addition, in the best traditions of The co-operative, it will make its contribution to community life.”

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

'Pavement Pirates' to show off their drawing skills

YOUNG artists in West Somerset are being urged to celebrate the art of the picture book later this month by showing their talents as pavement pirates.
It is part of the October Big Draw Festival, an initiative which began in 2000 and aims to encourage the whole country to start drawing.
More than 1,000 events are being planned around the country with the aim of proving that drawing is not only fun but also a great form of self-expression and a fantastic communication tool.
In Minehead, Christopher Jelley, of Toy A’hoy, is offering, would-be young illustrators a pavement canvas to show their artistic talents.
Mr Jelley said: “We will provide coloured chalks - all you need is your imagination to create a dastardly pirate scene.
“Drawing is an activity that can be done alone, or as a group and in many different mediums with a myriad of results.
“All the pictures will be photographed and featured on the Captain’s Blog page of the Toy A’hoy website.
“Two winners will be chosen, one from each age category, and awarded with a bag of swashbuckling goodies.”
The event is happening on Saturday and Sunday, October 18 and 19, from 12 noon to 4 pm, on the poop deck outside Toy A’hoy, in The Avenue.
The ‘crew’ will be suitably attired and participants are welcome to wear fancy dress if they want to enter into the spirit of the day.

Councils staging joint forum for private landlords

A FIRST joint private landlords forum is being held by West Somerset Council and Sedgemoor District Council next week.
The forum will be staged in Bridgwater in the Sedgemoor Suite of Bridgwater and Albion Rugby Club, on Tuesday, October 14.
It takes place between 6 pm and 8 pm and a buffet and refreshments will be served. The rugby club has free parking available.
The forum will be chaired by Christian Trevelyan, the partnership manager for private sector housing.
A presentation on energy performance certificates will be made by Tim Kennedy, of the National Landlords Association, while members of Sedgemoor council’s benefits team will talk on local housing allowances.
The forum also provides landlords with an opportunity to discuss any particular issues which may affect them.
Anybody who wants to attend the event or any future landlords forums should contact Esther Tomkinson on 0845 241 7243 or e-mail

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Winding-up order for Quaywest parent could see radio station close

THE company behind West Somerset commercial radio station Quaywest 102.4 FM could be wound up in the High Court next week.
Parent company Laser Broadcasting Group has been suffering financial difficulties, despite operations director Stuart Linnell issuing a strong denial to The Post just five months ago.
As well as Watchet-based Quaywest, Laser runs nine stations nationwide, including a sister Quaywest station in Bridgwater.
Laser faces winding up proceedings after an application by a creditor, understood to be Capital North East No 1 Ltd Partnership, a venture capitalist firm based in Gateshead.
Quaywest continues broadcasting from its Watchet and Bridgwater studios, but may have to close unless an offer is made to take over the licences.
A spokesman for NEL Fundmanagers Ltd said: “As fund managers of the Capital North East investment fund, from which an investment was made in Laser Broadcasting in 2004, we have been working with Laser for many months in an attempt to find a way forward which would allow the company to trade within the terms of our investment agreement.
“However, these efforts have failed to result in a satisfactory outcome and we have therefore reluctantly had to seek a winding-up order against Laser Broadcasting, which will be heard in Leeds on October 14.”
Broadcasting regulator Ofcom said the petition to wind up Laser Broadcasting would be heard by a High Court judge sitting in Leeds on Tuesday, October 14.
A spokesman for Ofcom said: “We are monitoring developments closely.
“The company is keeping us fully informed, and is seeking to ensure the radio stations are able to continue broadcasting in the best interests of their staff and listeners.
“In these circumstances, until the winding-up order is heard by the court next week we are aware that the stations may not be able to fully comply with their format requirements.
“We do not propose to take any formal action against the licensees during this period.”
Darlington-based Laser was formed in 2002, and included among its founders Nigel Reeve, who was launch sales and marketing director of Classic FM.
Three of Laser’s other stations -Bath FM, Brunel FM, in Swindon, and Warminster-based 3TR - were only acquired from The Local Radio Co less than six months ago.
Laser also owns three Sunshine-branded stations in Ludlow, Hereford and Worcester, and Hereford and Monmouth, as well as Fresh Radio, in the Yorkshire Dales.
Nobody from Laser Broadcasting was available to comment.

A tale of two Bishops for community station 10Radio

COMMUNITY Radio station 10Radio, which broadcasts from Wiveliscombe to the surrounding parishes and beyond, hosted not one, but two Bishops during a Deanery visit last Thursday.
The Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Rev Peter Price, visited the Wiveliscombe studio together with the Bishop of Taunton, the Rt Rev Peter Maurice.
The two bishops spent a total of 48 hours in the Tone Deanery, taking part in events across the area, including visits to Milverton Community Centre, Pulsford Lodge Care Home, Tower Cheesemakers, Aardvaark Climate Change, and Environmental Solutions.
Bishop Peter led a confirmation service in Wellington where he also commissioned Andy Levett as Deanery youth worker.
He spent nearly an hour with 10Radio accompanied by the Rev Graham Owen, who is the Rector of Wiveliscombe, and Rachel Renfree, the lay chairman of the Deanery Synod (part of the Church Parliament).
He took part in an interview on-air with two 10Radio presenters, Nigel Parkin and Philip Knighton, and then spent time touring the studios.
The Bishop spoke about the need for the church to concentrate on involvement with the community and, quoting the 1930s Archbishop William Temple, said the church existed for those who were not members.
Speaking about the 'Changing Lives' initiative, which he has championed in the diocese, Bishop Peter spoke about vision and hope and related a story about how a former alcoholic called Baz had recently telephoned to tell him how his life had been turned around after he had been supported by a church-based community project.
The 10Radio team also followed the Bishop as he re-dedicated the recently restored bells in Nynehead, and afterwards joined in a game of skittles with the SNAZ (Sunday Night Action Zone) youth group in the crypt of St Andrew’s Church, in Wiveliscombe.
The live programme ‘Meet the Bishop’ is due to be repeated on 105.3fm at 8 am on Sunday, October 12, for those who missed it the first time round.
  • Our photograph shows (left to right) Wiveliscombe rector the Rev Graham Owen, Bishop of Taunton, the Rt Rev Peter Maurice, and 10Radio presenter Nigel Parkin. Photo submitted.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Magna wins court injunction against anti-social tenant

ANTI-social behaviour by a housing association tenant in Williton has ended with a court injunction granted to his landlords, Magna West Somerset Housing Association.
The injunction against Paul Stevens, of 30 Northcroft, comes on the back of a catalogue of complaints made by Williton residents to Magna and to local police.
It will remain in place until February 19 next year and carries a power of arrest if Mr Stevens enters certain parts of Williton.
Magna tenant services manager Christine Boland said: “This was another big win for us.
“We take any form of anti-social behaviour extremely seriously, we work closely with the police to tackle these issues.
“Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.”
She said in a majority of cases Magna used other tools to resolve problems of anti-social behaviour, including mediation and acceptable behaviour contracts, as well as working closely with the local police.
However, Mrs Boland said: “In this case we had received complaints against Paul Stevens over a number of months concerning noise nuisance, nuisance relating to drug and alcohol abuse, shouting, fighting, and even threats to kill.
“Our residents have a right to live peacefully and securely in their own homes and so we had no other option than to apply for an injunction.”
The injunction means that any assault, threat to assault, intimidation, abuse, nuisance, or annoyance to any person who resides at Egremont Court, Northcroft, or Brook Road, in Williton, would result in Mr Stevens being arrested.