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Letters, August 22, 2014

PUBLISHED: 22:05 21 August 2014 | UPDATED: 22:05 21 August 2014

Lack of dropped kerbs concern

In March, I contacted NCC Highways to raise my concerns surrounding a dropped kerb at the junction of Howard Street North and Stonecutters Way.

The corresponding kerb was located directly onto Howard Street North where anyone using a pram, wheelchair or mobility scooter would have to cross the junction then face oncoming traffic to manoeuvre them to access the other dropped kerb in order to continue their journey.

I understand the Highways Department has put a works order in place to rectify this. However, I have used a mobility scooter in the past and found planning my journey sometimes difficult with the total lack of dropped kerbs, delivery lorries or other vehicles parked either across dropped kerbs or mounted on pavements which I thought were only for pedestrians!

Those who find themselves taking a different form of transport to a car are faced with these dilemmas as on a daily basis. I can speak with some experience as I along with two colleagues set up mobility scooter training which goes under the name of Safescoot which was successfully run and is still running today in many parts of the UK and oversees.

If your readers have experienced difficulty with accessing dropped kerbs or a lack of them I would like to hear, perhaps we can collectively raise awareness for all users of wheelchairs and scooters.

PENNY CARPENTER

Collingwood Road,

Great Yarmouth

Death of freezer prompts query

My in-laws have said goodbye to their trusty Electrolux freezer. It expired suddenly with a forlorn wheeze and has now been carted away by the council. When they checked the receipt they discovered they had bought it in a closing down sale at Arnold’s department store in 1985.

This raises a number of questions: 1) Who on earth keeps a receipt that long? 2) Shouldn’t their amazing filing system be the subject of academic study? 3) Are there any older kitchen appliances still in working order in Yarmouth?

STEVE SCOTT

Claydon Grove,

Gorleston

Seagull maimer is a ‘monster’

I was devastated to hear about the ignorant youngster who deliberately maimed a baby seagull in Crown Road. Words fail me, what on earth is the mentality of these monsters roaming the streets looking for “something to do”? These are actually beautiful creatures who have to come to streets to seek out food as there is nothing for them in the sea these days which is where they belong. Man has ruined everything, I feel so sorry for them, and hope I’m not the only one who thinks like this. Shame on you.

JENNIFER ELLIOTT

email

Shoppers used as a cash cow

I was interested to read your article about parking issues. I have been living in Hopton on Sea and use both Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft to deal with issues relating to my late father. I am usually domiciled in Chelmsford.

It seems this disease for making people pay to park cars, including fees to park outside your own house with parking permits being required to be paid for is a disease spreading from London and other large towns. The council is using residents as an easy sitting duck and a cash-cow for those choosing to shop in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.

This is a classic example of councillors (who are supposed to support the best interests of the residents) seeing parking, even short term one hour, no return in four hours, as a means of getting traffic through the town and (in their eyes) more people shopping in the town.

In Chelmsford the reverse has been the case. Actually those people who have bulky purchases or need to see a professional such as an accountant or solicitor, or indeed do an extended shop, need free parking for periods longer than one hour.

They now do shopping either on the internet, in out-of-town malls or take their business to out-of-town office space.

In Chelmsford 1:4 shops and offices are either vacant or in the process of being sold. Many smaller shops which relied on small sales for people with little time have now closed. Even a highly regarded specialist delicatessen was forced to close because people refused to pay for parking.

Local Government has become greedy and sees parking as easy money, indeed so do railways who cater for commuters. Park and rides schemes are sold as a cheap alternative as if paying for a bus into town while you park your car is seen as free parking. Nothing could be further than the truth.

Again the scenario where bulky goods are required to be carried, often the purchaser will not be allowed on the bus to carry the object. To that end they have no option but to take their car into town.

In the case of Chelmsford bus services are unreliable and equally expensive. The same goes for villages such as Hopton, Corton, Lound etc where the public transport is something out of James Herriot era. These people need to shop in towns as local shops have been forced to close due to low turnover of trade and the absurd business council tax to keep our extravagant councillors in pocket. Many people in villages cannot drive, as a result of their licences being withdrawn due to their age.

This leaves the vulnerable even more so, not all knowing how to use the internet.

No wonder the towns are dying. Make more free parking and watch small shops survive, or kill the town altogether by making parking a deterrent to shoppers.

CHRISTOPHER RICHARDS

email

Why treat us as if we are idiots?

Aha! So now we know at last! The few hundred yards of road around the harbour mouth were closed to protect us from a 9/11-style terrorist attack. (County Councillor Mick Castle’s letter, August 15). And of course it was a European Commission requirement. “Sorry, no choice, Guv”.

I have always suspected that politicians, both local and national, treat us punters as idiots and believe they can sell us the need for any number of petty rules, regulations and extra taxes based on trying to convince us there exists some huge apocalyptic threat we need protecting from.

This one takes the biscuit. I can well imagine Al Qaeda terrorists planning a heinous attack on the strategically vital target of Great Yarmouth outer harbour and saying “No, we can’t go ahead because they’ve closed off the harbour to road traffic”!

What kind of parallel universe do Mr Castle and his cohorts live in? I could sort of understand it if, when I pop down for my cone from the ice cream van, I could see a busy, thriving commercial entity in operation on the other side of the Stalag Luft 3 barbed wire enclosure that now surrounds the outer harbour. But it’s deserted, empty, nigh on derelict.

But let’s not worry ourselves too much. Firstly the outer harbour is going to create 10,000 port-related and energy jobs according to Cllr Castle, and secondly we will be able to view all this activity from the roof of the new, yet-to-be-built Edge casino; “Queue here for tickets ladies and gentlemen, just £5 for 15 minutes viewing of the, err.., well actually it’s a big and very costly empty space that used to be a spot for locals to watch the comings and goings of vessels when we had a real thriving commercial port”.

Was the true intention of the letter was to garner support for UKIP’s get-out-of Europe campaign, I ask myself?

What was it Abraham Lincoln said? You can fool some of the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. A wise man!

DENNIS BEAN

Burgh St Peter

As a port, will quayside close?

Mick Castle stated last week that roads by ports are being closed across Europe, therefore, I assume it would apply to the inner harbour as well.

Does this mean that South Quay will close (it runs beside a working port)? What traffic chaos will this cause in town. Chaos also in Gorleston when Southtown Road closes at Bolllard Quay.

To say you can view the outer harbour from a platform at The Edge casino development is like building a platform to look over the fence at the zoo; not the same experience is it?

I would also like to know from where he got the figure of 10,000 for jobs relying on the outer harbour.

GARY WOODROW

Moat Road,

Great Yarmouth

Harbour not a terrorist target!

So Councillor Castle states the reason people of the town are denied access to their harbour is because Great Yarmouth is now deemed to be a terrorist target. Well, what a load of old twaddle!

The real reason is that naive councillors and the county council, who couldn’t care a fig about Great Yarmouth as their only interest seems to be Norwich, gave away the land which belonged to the borough, on the unlikely event the outer harbour would bring countless jobs and prosperity.

The way the whole affair was handled, with “stopping up” notices being placed on posts around the harbour, thus ensuring as few people as possible knew of the proposed closure, was underhanded to say the least!

If, as stated in last week’s letters, a Radio Norfolk bus was granted access, then why can’t the gates be opened for the rest of us?

PAULINE LYNCH

email

Thanks to theatre staff for help

May I please through your newspaper thank the management team at the Pavilion Theatre, Gorleston, St John’s Ambulance, and members of the audience who looked after me when I was taken ill during the Jess Conrad and Leapy Lee show, on Saturday. I was taken to the James Paget Hospital and treated for heart problems.

I have to thank Jess Conrad personally as he took the time to ring my home a couple of days later and ask my wife how I was and gave her a message for me to get well soon. I was taken ill half way through his performance which was faultless. He truly is a star.

D DIXON

Norwich

UKIP is sorting out problems

In answer to Miss Tooke’s letter in The Mercury last week regarding her remarks about UKIP being interested in political gain.

First of all, Stuart Agnew is not interested in political gain as he is not interested in standing in the May 2015 elections in the Great Yarmouth constituency. He just wanted an office in Norfolk and he chose Great Yarmouth so the UKIP borough and county councillors have somewhere local people can go and speak to them.

It seems it is okay to Miss Tooke for Labour and Tory councillors to have offices in Great Yarmouth but not UKIP.

Also, since UKIP were elected they have listened to people and sorted out a lot of their problems. Problems that the other two parties did not want to know after they were elected. Another example Miss Tooke is that the Labour-ruled borough council took away the seats in Bradwell that the elderly loved to sit on and chat.

Who got the seats put back Miss Tooke? Not Labour who tried to take the credit. The person who rang the borough council to ask why the seats were taken away in the first place and asked for them to be put back was UKIP Cllr Carl Annison. So give credit where it’s due.

He also pumped out people’s gardens when they got flooded after heavy rain and the local doctors’ surgery in Bradwell.

I think it’s an insult the things Miss Tooke said. UKIP’s office has not cost ratepayers any money in Great Yarmouth; the office is financed by Stuart Agnew himself.

ESTHER ALDRED

email

Reunion to mark start of the 60s

Did you/ your children or anyone you know attend Great Yarmouth High School (Gorleston Grammar as it became), from 1966-1973? If so are you interested in attending a reunion in 2015 to mark the start of the “60s” for all of us. We have thought about a Saturday afternoon meet, perhaps sometime in May 2015.

If you are interested in attending or know someone who is, please contact class66to73@hotmail.com

SYLVIA KING,

VALERIE TAYLOR,

SUSAN LAND

Sort out village buses now

A woman’s solution to the bus dilemma, in response to the letter from Danny Beale, operations manager, First Eastern Counties.

I thank him for his reply but as usual this is not the solution for today. November is too far away for the people of Bradwell to wait for a bus they can access.

Who is he expecting to use the double-decker? The disabled, wheelchair users, the elderly, and parents with children in pushchairs are all unable to climb to the upper seats.

Why not take out seats to enable passengers to get on and site down. The airlines do it all the time to get more passengers on plans; just do it in reverse.

We don’t mind what First do as long as they sort out this stupid oversight as soon as possible so not only the able-bodied can use the service.

And while we are on the subject of the bus: Why are there so many complaints about drivers not stopping to pick up passengers waiting as stops, especially in Gorleston High Street outside Boots?

A reply please.

SUSAN WATSON

Bradwell

Piled up beach rubbish cleared

Thank you, GYBC, Geofrey Watling or the Crown Estate, whoever removed the debris off the beach without further quibble or indeed debate as to who should do it. I was on the beach Monday at 8pm and then again Tuesday before 8am and between those hours tyre marks have appeared and the debris featured in my letter last week has been removed!

I call upon people who enjoy the beach: if you find debris, create piles at the dune base and hopefully the piles will disappear overnight again.

JANICE LARDNER

email

Cost-benefit analysis query

I read Mr Castle’s letter with interest about the closure of the road around the harbour mouth including his throw away comment about it being thought to be “some spiteful move dreamed up by local councillors or EastPort to deny public access!”

As an elected representative can Mr Castle explain how although when I, going back to February 2011, sent numerous emails and made calls to NCC, GYB and EastPort to ascertain whether when the decision was made to construct the harbour and close the harbour’s mouth road, Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) had been used? This request required a simple yes or no reply - which I still have to receive!

There have been many definitions of CBA and Wikipedia states ‘Cost–benefit analysis is often used by governments and other organisations, such as private sector businesses, to appraise the desirability of a given policy. It is an analysis of the expected balance of benefits and costs, including an account of foregone alternatives and the status quo. CBA helps predict whether the benefits of a policy outweigh its costs, and by how much relative to other alternatives.’)

Explanations of CBA tend to emphasise the importance of bringing social costs/benefits into a decision analysis so would put a value on the loss to the population of no longer being able to use the harbour’s mouth road.

To me the authorities’ reluctance to reply seems to mean the decision makers were either incompetent, used a flawed decision analysis, or perhaps were pursuing a “spiteful move” to deprive the public.

Regarding CBA, what have the authorities to hide? If CBA was not used surely the local authority has a responsibility, even if now on an ex post basis, to find out and state the cost of having closed the road.

As a hypothetical example. Assume the population of the local area is 75K and on average each went round the harbour’s mouth once a year and felt it was worth £10 to do this. This would conclude the authority and port involved had taken away £750,000 a year from local people. And this calculation does not include the loss of benefits to people visiting the area.

Mr Castle’s letter implies the outer harbour leads to 10,000 people being employed in the area – which, to quote him needs to be sustained. Can he tell us how he arrived at this figure, the benefits of which being included in the CBA?

From such further analysis it may be able to demonstrate to the EU that on the whole Great Yarmouth society has not benefited through the construction of the outer harbour. Then in spite of what Mr Castle writes about the road being forever closed the town could, with people such as his support use the Human Rights Act (also EU legislation) to support the shutting of the outer harbour and reopening the road!

MICHAEL HARVEY

Park Road,

Gorleston

Appalling things where we live

We would like to thank Lara Norris’ team for their help in bringing to the attention of council leader Trevor Wainwright the appalling things that have happened where we live. We had human excrement in a stairwell and over the last month there had been no cleaning so even though I am ill I have been doing it myself. Next year we will be voting for Lara as her team got the mess cleared up.

Mr and Mrs K BARNSDALE

Tolhouse Street,

Great Yarmouth

So give harbour road back to us

I read that Cllr Mick Castle has recognised the harbour roadway is a public road way depriving the public of access, so there should be no problem putting in back in the public’s domain.

Before councillors come out with such statements as Harbour Road Forever Closed, they should think about who elected them and why: to represent the views of the residents. He seems to be looking at the outer harbour through the original rose-tinted glasses.

The area is hardly to be compared to Felixstowe, Harwich, Port of Tilbury, London Gateway, Dover etc where I can appreciate such regulations; but not here, as it is only a quayside. I’m sure the public woiuld be happy for fencing to shut off the harbour port land.

And passing the buck for access to view, via the proposed casino: Why should another development have to cover for harbour failings?

Face it, what’s wrong to give the public back what is their’s. We were hardly consulted or told we would lose the roadway in this development. If the outer harbour needs to be that secure it can all be done on their side of the fence, giving the roadway back.

C HOPKINS

Bradwell

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