Letters, December 3

Thursday, December 2, 2010
2:59 PM

Apologies for the mix-up in names

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IT appears that I owe a sincere apology to two Matthew Smiths, Mercury Letters, November 26: “Ultimately the voters will decide”.

I wrongly attributed regular correspondent Matthew Smith as being son of Great Yarmouth’s Deputy Mayor Tony Smith. I now know that this is not the case and I am sorry for any embarassment caused.

MICHAEL CASTLE

Town Wall Road

Great Yarmouth

Majority of party oppose election

I REFER to last week’s letters from Mick Castle and Colleen Walker regarding the mayoral campaign.

First of all, it seems Mick has his facts wrong. I am not the son of Deputy Mayor Tony Smith, nor are we related. Tony is from Caister, and when not being councillor for Caister North runs a busy seafront tea shop. My father works as an asbestos remover and lives on the Magdalen.

I am happy, however, to meet Mr Castle halfway, for I have also made a mistake. I am, of course, now quite happy to retract any statement that the mayoral campaign is some kind of Labour Party ploy. It is simply the case that the leader and deputy leader are supporting such a move, without the support of their own party or group. It is now clear that even the majority of the Labour Party recognise that this is misguided exercise in wasting public money for no appreciable benefit. It is pleasing to see Brian and Coleen Walker are prepared to speak out and oppose this plan.

Perhaps Mr Castle, Mr Wainwright and company will give up this costly pursuit for the taxpayer now they cannot receive support even from their own party. Should it continue I also look forward in getting involved in a genuine cross party campaign to prevent any more tax payer money being wasted.

MATTHEW SMITH

Hawthorn Road

Gorleston

Talk of erosion is simply a myth

I REALLY am fed up with all this Scratby coastal erosion rubbish. Like Mr Cook I have lived in Scratby all my life – we have between us lived here for 130 years.

We have seen no erosion as there has been none. The sea would go round us if the surge was enough and flood the Broads and even Norwich. The sand comes and goes as one would expect, that is not erosion. The cliff is well back now as the land has built up over the years.

The feared surge is a combination of north westerly gale, full moon and spring tide. No man or coastal protection would prevent damage to each side of us. But as in the previous occasions last century, Scratby would have no erosion. No local man will tell you there is erosion at Scratby.

Why people move in if they think there is erosion, I don’t know. Why would you buy a home in this lovely place and then work hard to make it impossible to insure or sell, also wanting to devalue the investment? I simply can’t understand the logic.

KEITH LAWSON

Scratby Post Office

Beach Road

Support the area and spend locally

WITH all the negativity and focus on the Great Yarmouth outer harbour, people seem to forget that business is most definitely alive and kicking in the local area.

Businesses should be supported and commended wherever possible; after all, business success is the key to growth and prosperity. I attended local business awards as a category finalist and the evening gave a clear message that business is going strong in Great Yarmouth.

I am pleased to say my website design business, Serious Sites, won a category, something that I am very proud of. It’s all too easy to get caught up in a wave of negative public opinion. Why not instead consider how you can support local business and what more you can do to keep trade and finance in the town?

You can only spend your money once, so spend it locally.

TOM LILLEY

www.serioussites.co.uk

So pleased to see Jack in the paper

RE the picture of the Miniature Railway on the Wellington Pier, Letters, November 26.

I was so pleased to open the Mercury and see my Great Grandad Jack Gates looking back at me. He was a train driver out of Southtown Station most of his life, then once he retired he was engine driver on the Miniature Railway on the pier.

SANDRA WEBB

Hall Farm Bungs

Filby

Picture evoked more memories

IN response to the letter and picture “Fond memories of Church Choir”, Letters, November 26, it was with very fond memories I recognised by late dear brother, Peter Hobbis, in the photograph.

Peter was in Benjamin Angwin’s church choir from an early age until he went to Cambridge, where he also sang in King’s College Choir. All his academic career was spent at the University of East Anglia where he was Doctor of Philosophy.

ANNE M BULLENT

Gorleston

Please campaign against this cut

IN the comprehensive spending review, the chancellor announced that the government would be removing the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for those people who live in residential care homes.

Disability charities and organisations, such as Mencap, are campaigning against this decision. We are all very concerned that, as an unintended consequence of this proposal, many people with a learning disability will no longer be able to afford to go out and meet with friends and families, participate in external social activities and engage with their local communities.

I believe the government has misunderstood how disabled people use this important benefit. Without this vital lifeline, many disabled people in residential care will lose much of their independence.

Mrs BEV PITT

Avondale Road

Gorleston

Cannot fault our fantastic NHS

WHILE walking my dogs on the sand dunes between Winterton and Hemsby on November 9, I slipped and badly broke my ankle.

A young lad walking nearby called 999 immediately (thank you James!) and then went to the village hall to guide the ambulance when it arrived. After a wait of over 20 minutes lying in pain unable to move in the freezing cold and rain, my husband called 999 again to be told it would be “upgraded to an emergency”? So we had to wait another 20 minutes for a paramedic crew to arrive. There was no way I could be rescued by land, but fortunately an Air Sea Rescue helicopter was in the area on an exercise, and was able to airlift me by winch and take me to the James Paget Hospital.

My fracture was so unstable I had to have immediate emergency surgery, followed by a week in the ward.

Although home now, I am still receiving treatment. I cannot fault the excellent treatment I received, from the paramedics, to the surgeons, doctors, nurses, the fellows in the plaster room, physio and the support staff at the Paget.

So, a big thank-you to the helicopter crew, the ambulance crew and everyone at the James Paget Hospital, I cannot sing your praises enough. There is much criticism of our National Health Service, but I think we in this area should be very proud of what we have.

On a final note, the television news that day ended their report saying I was “later released”, which was incorrect, leading some people to say that the use of a helicopter for someone with a “sprained ankle” seemed excessive!

VAL BARKER

West Somerton

I watched as grit was cleared up!

I WORK as security officer, so I’m driving around all night, this is when most sleep.

Over a two-day period last week, the gritters were out doing a very good job, that is until about 4am, when the road sweeper came out and carefully cleaned up all the grit. To me this is ridiculous, so I thought you might like to know. Plus, I’m paying for it! Yet another way this council likes to waste money.

Name and address withheld

We’re still waiting for the gritters

HERE in Bunnewell Road and Ecclestone Close in Bradwell we haven’t had the roads/pavements gritted for two years at least, and in these two roads all the houses are for pensioners.

This is dangerous for these older and sometimes disabled people. So what is going to be done?

S I MATHER

Ecclestone close,

Bradwell

All we request is genuine answers

WHEN I read councillors Coleman and Castle’s letter in last week’s Mercury, I couldn’t believe it was written by the leaders of their respective groups.

I presume this letter is representative of the thoughts of all our councillors who, I understand, were a party to all the negotiated decisions, which is why they remain silent.

We critics aren’t being negative; we want answers, and when we don’t get them, we find out what we can for ourselves and see what is happening, which isn’t good.

You don’t have real answers in your letter to convince the most naive of our residents.

We are continually refused the real story of the give-away of millions of public money, an inner harbour, Gorleston pier and the closure of a seafront road at Yarmouth. What is the cost in future financial responsibilities you have placed on rate-payers? If the outer harbour is doing so well, why not put pressure on EastPort to effect repairs on Gorleston Pier? I don’t consider these are commercially confidential details.

Most residents aren’t anti outer harbour. Many unemployed are bitter the promised jobs haven’t materialised. EastPort is a commercial company doing what such companies do best, which is look after their own interests.

You boast of 80,000 tonnes of grain exported. How many jobs did that provide for locals?

The 17,000 tonne vessel Draco took 11 days to load with the super fast equipment. Why? Smaller grain boats were loaded from the ground in the inner harbour. Why? How many jobs has the aggregate operation provided?

EastPort reports 130 “ship calls” so far this year. I have recorded just nine individual ship arrivals since October 22. Am I correct? Why did EastPort stop providing the Mercury with details on arrivals and departures that the former Great Yarmouth Port Authority had been doing for years?

A public inquiry is needed to find out what went on in the background, and hopefully find ways to make the outer harbour provide those jobs so desperately needed in the borough.

DENNIS DURRANT

Brett Aveune

Gorleston

We’ve paid well above the price

THE old saying “you get what you paid for”, is not correct in the case of the privatisation of our port, . What it did cost and what did we get?

£18,000,000 grants;

£1,500,000 extra for planning tidal flows scouring layout;

£1,500,000 to strengthen the roads along South Quay for container traffic, er, yes;

£5,000,000 each and every year inner port turnover;

£45,000,000 approximate value of 42 parcels of land and buildings;

£1,000,000 needed now to repair the Quay near Gorleston Ice House, then ongoing repairs;

£300,000 maintenance for Haven Bridge;

£72,300,000 all from the wallets of ratepayers.

In the Mercury, councillors Coleman and Castle tried to lift our spirits with their version of the state of things. Yes, the largest grain ship, a big ship at 17,000 tons, was loaded, but at what cost? Because of the swell, like other smaller ships of only 4000 tons it had to go to anchorage off the Wellington Pier for safety.

They write the ro-ro ferry industry went into decline; the container trade “boomed then collapsed”.

Our inner port would be doing the same amount of business if the outer harbour was not here; it is local businesses that keep the inner harbour going. As for the 130 ships since last Christmas?

Take, for example, HMS Dauntless – one ship; add two tugs to assist in, two tugs to help sail out; Dauntless engine problem, another two tugs to assist HMS to leave. That’s seven, but I count that as one.

The container cranes leaving have nothing to do with the “changing economic climate”. Just read the International Freighting Weekly, the world premier freighting magazine. Box traffic is up and new container cranes are needed worldwide.

When EastPort were welcomed to our community, they said they had looked at renewables but “those companies” all wanted a load of space which they did not have, so that was not worth pursuing.

JOHN L COOPER

Burnt Lane

Gorleston

Accountability for all this is our due

WAS the Coleman and Castle letter an attempt to recreate the likes of Morecombe and Wise, or was it a genuine “misguided and misinformed” cry from the collective heart? Let’s assume they really don’t get it, with their cries of “why so much negativity?” almost as genuine in its naivety as “let them eat cake”.

A populous that is behind the efforts to bring further development and employment to our area by best utilising their marine assets, are treated to copious fairy-like visions from politicians in the media they court.

The sweetheart deals that then unravel, because they were never realistic or robust, are blamed on global factors. The cries for accountability with the public purse is met by a 30-year embargo on all information under the guise of “commercial sensitivities”.

Having had to face up to all this, the final insult comes from the “town hall”, accusing those as “poisonous, misinformed, misguided”, who just want accountability with their money. Behaviour is a response to behaviour.

STEVE TAYLOR

Clarence Rpoad

Gorleston

Harbour is wrong kind of swell!

IN response to the letter in last week’s Mercury from our council leaders who were, no doubt, complicit in gifting the outer harbour, I should like to offer the following comments.

I have been a critic of not the project itself, but the way the whole thing has been thrust on the people of Yarmouth and the resulting secrecy. At last we hear of some positive news about the outer harbour by local company, Seajacks, who are to establish a base on the site, and our council leaders have jumped on the single bit of good news to come from the outer harbour since the vaunted arrival of the container cranes.

SeaJacks have a base in the town and they are looking for bigger office accommodation, there is plenty elsewhere in the town. Not too long ago it was stated in this newspaper their latest barge was operating in the Irish Sea and was expected to be there for the next 18 months. This afternoon she was in the Walney Wind farm.

I have voiced my opinions in these pages in the past, but have been quiet in recent months as others have been offering their views, I would like to state my first hand experiences over the past few months with regards to the outer harbour.

It has been widely reported the most recent incident with regards the cable-laying barge, the Team Oman.

I listened to the exchanges between the port’s pilot boat and the said vessel for a period of time on October 29, as she was leaving to start laying the cable from Weyborne to the Sheringham shoal wind farm.

I cannot recall the exact timescale, maybe an hour or so, but the general situation was there were big problems with the vessel trying to leave the port.

As there was so much swell, the pilot boat could not get the pilot on board, and in the end had to guide the barge out after much negotiation.

I was on board the Team Oman the following Sunday and the opinions of the outer harbour were scathing.

Let’s go to the grain terminal: our two councillors are more than happy to tell us all about the throughput of grain and that the biggest vessel ever to load grain has been in the harbour.

What they haven’t told us about the three ships at least that which I am aware of, was having to leave the berths as there was too much swell to lay alongside – the masters deciding to lay at anchor in Yarmouth Roads.

The notion the bottom has dropped out of the container market does not wash.

Felixstowe is burgeoning as is the new Thames Port terminal on the Medway. I think it is time to come clean, as indeed EastPort has started to with comments such as: “It will be good to see the container cranes go so we can move on.”

And what about the closure of the roads and the security? This afternoon (Monday) I drove to the south gates where there is a tiny security hut with no one in attendance, so I was able to drive round and on to the quayside. There were no berths occupied. Like the security hut.

You will no doubt have noticed that I live in Lowestoft, even though I was born and bred in Yarmouth and continue to work there.

I would also live in Yarmouth if there was a suitable place to keep my boat, but, in view of the swell, certainly not the outer harbour, Yokohama fenders or not!

PAUL CARTER

MV Brigid Mary,

Lowestoft Haven Marina

Happy memories of shop on corner

WHEN Peggotty mentioned the shop at the corner of Waveney Road and Southtown Road in his columns (November 26), it brought back some happy memories for me.

During the 1930s and up to the day during the war when a nearby bomb severely damaged their house at 6 Waveney Road, my grandmother, grandfather, aunt and uncle lived there, but then had to move out.

I remember my mother taking me to see them often and I remember going to the shop on the corner with the penny my grandmother gave me to buy sweets.

All that time the shop was owned by Mr and Mrs Swan, who did a good trade from the crews of ships and I think it was the only general store to sell beer.

I still remember the names of a few of the people who lived on Waveney Road in those days: Coates, Southey, Paine, King, French, Tyrrell and Applegate. My grandparents’, uncle’s and aunt’s name was Brooks.

I wonder whether it was one of the Applegate family who took over the shop that Peggotty mentioned from Mr and Mrs Swan?

Mr A WATKER

Sturdee Way

Great Yarmouth

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