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Letters, August 8, 2014

PUBLISHED: 10:22 08 August 2014 | UPDATED: 10:22 08 August 2014

Drive to open harbour road

Further to letters from Jennifer Elliott (June 27) and myself (July 11), Mary Kent wrote (July 18) and suggested those of us sufficiently concerned should band together and try to win some constructive outcome.

Reading C Hopkins’ letter (August 1) prompted me to contact Mary and we agreed a way forward is to set up an easy contact method for people who feel as strongly as we do. If there’s sufficient interest we can set up a meeting and investigate how best to try to influence the council and Port Authority and maybe even win the support of a politician or two!

So, if you care about this, or even just the principle, don’t sit on the fence - please leave your name and contact details by emailing greatyarmouthharbour@hotmail.com or call 01493 202201, please leave a message.

Please make contact during the next two weeks, and we’ll let you know how much response we get and what the next step will be, and we‘ll be happy to receive details of more supporters after this time, the more the more persuasive!

Finally, I particularly like C Hopkins’ final thought: “The outer harbour owes this town big time.”

Was a truer sentiment ever expressed! Together, let’s prove people power still works!

PETE BISS

Hopton

Cars taking part in a bike ride?

Normally in a sponsored bike ride, organised by Norfolk Churches Trust, you would expect people to be sponsored by others to cycle from one church to another until so many have been completed by that cyclist.

But this year drivers (cars) have been allowed to participate. Drivers in cars, participating in a sponsored bike ride, is just not normal. Drivers in cars are not using their legs and pedalling from one church to another. They are sitting in a front seat of a car with their hands on a steering wheel and driving their car. They are two completely different things.

Even though I have done this event for the past 30 years I am not participating this year, now that drivers have been allowed. A couple of other people from another church have also decided to do the same thing and pull out, and others may do the same.

Christians cycling from one church to another sometimes meet each other while going in different directions, they don’t want drivers being sponsored in a bike ride. How many other organised sponsored bike rides have car drivers being sponsored in the same event?

The answer is more likely to be none at all. This one should be the same. Norfolk Churches Trust should think again.

PETER KING

Beccles Road,

Bradwell

Government doing its best

In the past few weeks there have been numerous letters bemoaning the religious content on the letters page which I note has now ceased. Well I’m getting fed up with the opinions of Chris Wright. I do not consider myself particularly political, having voted for both main parties in the past, but if anything will stop me supporting Labour again it’s this chap.

Does he not realise the present government are doing their best to repair the damage caused by Labour, who famously wrote a note saying there was nothing left?

This was cynical Mr Wright, spend everything and let the incoming cabinet pick up the pieces. Now I see shadow chancellor Balls has admitted even Labour supporters don’t know whether the party could run the economy successfully. What a recommendation that is.

I won’t be entering into prolonged correspondence but no doubt Mr Wright will respond with more propaganda, however is this the same Chris Wright who stood in the recent council elections?

MICK JONES

Halt Road,

Caister on Sea

Thanks for a 
job well done

Over the past four months major sewerage works have taken place in Main Road, Ormesby St Michael and have involved a certain amount of inconvenience and disruption to the residents and those travelling along the road. However, we would like to pass on our compliments and thanks to the company Barhale for their cooperation and consideration at all times and for doing a good job. We are very satisfied with the way in which they left our property.

Shirley and Nick Cruse

Main Road

Ormesby St Michael

Do tradesmen want the jobs?

Over the years I’ve learnt a lot with respect to building and DIY. It started off like most as a necessary evil for a first-time-house owner, in that simple projects could be completed rather than put off by the implied cost of using tradesmen.

Whilst I still enjoy the odd project on the home and am more than capable of doing it, friends and relations often remark “...why don’t you get a man in...”. This makes sense as whereas cost is not so much of an issue now, but my time is.

I have a couple of projects involving plastering the hallway and replacing guttering so the first place to look was the Yarmouth Advertiser small ads. After many calls and interactions since May I’m reminded of a letter from Mike Smith of Swift Taxis, who responded to those crying out and begging to be employed, the reality was a poor take up of his offer for paid employment. Not responding to calls, failing to keep estimate appointments and ridiculous high quotes is just some of the lamentable behaviour that makes you wonder why they (tradesman) bother advertising. My wife has worked in primary care nursing for many years, if they were faced with similar behaviour for them and their family how would they feel and react?

Well I can freely share my spreadsheet with those eager to employ a trade like me but not knowing who. If the recently reported urban artist EMO has other building skills apart from spray painting, then I have offers of paid employment for you.

STEVE TAYLOR

email

Belgian frigate picture error

I was interested to read the letter by Nigel Robinson (July 25) of the mystery warship, one would hope it was either friendly or tracked by radar.

But it reminded me of a front page article in one of the long deceased free-papers some years ago, of a Belgian frigate that visited the town. The article was complemented by a picture the reporter had unwittingly taken; of an RAF search and rescue launch. One would have thought the RAF Roundels would have been a bit of a giveaway!

I often wondered what the Flt Lt skipper thought to his comparatively smaller vessel being described as a Belgian frigate? It also makes the more accurate reporting by the Yarmouth Mercury good value for its 80 penn’orth!

On another subject: I was delighted to learn that the mystery street artist is back again.

Rather than vandalising his artwork, I think the borough council should pay him for his unusually delightful creations.

ROGER HAYES

Beccles Road,

Bradwell

M&S going, I’m off to Lowestoft

Re the relocation of M&S. Our shops are going out of town and I haven’t got a car. And at 91 years old I can’t walk very far, so what am I supposed to do to buy my clothes and food? I’ll take the bus to Lowestoft where the shops are very good.

IVY NICHOLS

Gorleston

A member for disorganisation?

How does the borough council top wasting a small fortune on a couple of worthless big screen TVs and paying off a gardening contractor in telephone numbers.

You pay a chief executive £200,000, that’s how. And it gets better – he’s bringing his own team and I have to believe they earn more than minimum wages.

One question: if the new chief executive does not work his magic within a year do we get our money back?

It appears Norfolk county council would have come to the rescue if the borough council has gone bust, but Michael Jeal wants to preserve “the people sat in this chamber” by letting them continue to run the town hall.

Another option in easing the situation would have been to dip into the borough’s reserves but this can’t be done as it would breach council rules. Let me get this straight: you put money away for a rainy day and when the rainiest day ever comes your way, you can’t touch the money?

Part of our council’s problems is they only have six cabinet members. The county council recently did away with cabinet in favour of a more open forum.

May I suggest a few members of cabinet be elected to assist in Yarmouth.

How about a member for disorganisation, or a member for spend, spend, spend and now there might be a need for a member for collection boxes for councillors’ expenses.

PAT PHILPOTT

High Street,

Gorleston

M&S could have an outlet here?

Joining the debate on M&S leaving town: it can’t be a surprise with so many unemployed. Who can afford their prices? I am a pensioner and don’t drive and could not afford to shop for food at M&S and wouldn’t want the clothes they sell.

My daughter works for a large branch of M&S and sends my husband and I gift vouchers for special events. We save them until we go to Clacton on holiday where they have an M&S Outlet and items are for sale at reasonable prices as end of range.

Maybe this would work well here.

Take a look at Lowestoft High Street: it has much more than Yarmouth and is pleasant. M&S is lovely and all on one level.

No way would Primark come to Great Yarmouth when it is all banks, charity shops and betting offices. And as for the market: it’s so old fashioned.

It’s time the town moved forwards not backwards.

Mrs A CAFFELL

Prince of Wales Road,

Caister on Sea

Young mum’s bus difficulties

Has anyone else had a problem with the No 6 double decker bus that travels between Yarmouth and Bradwell via the High Street.

My daughter waited half an hour with her three month old baby in his pram on Tuesday, July 29 at the Mill Lane-Kingfisher Close bus stop in Bradwell.

A No 6 double decker turned up and she was told she could not get on unless she collapsed the pram as there were no facilities to put a pram on a bus that also includes a wheelchair.

This would have meant taking her baby out to put him who knows where while collapsing the pram.

She was also told she could not stand up either or wait for the next bus in 30 minutes. She therefore missed her doctor’s appointment.

If she had taken the pram off its wheels and made the other passengers wait it would have put the bus behind its schedule.

Who had the idiotic idea to swap the usual single decker for the double decker?

Bradwell has two primary schools and there are young families with prams and many senior citizens who rely on the bus, many in wheelchairs, who can’t possibly climb the stairs. Is the bus company running the service for some and not others? Please comment.

SUSAN WATSON

Bradwell

The comedy of local politics

For the past couple of weeks in the local politics, it has reminded me of Charles Jolly’s song The Laughing Policeman, instead it should be the Laughing Council!

I can picture council officers, bureaucrats and several councillors all around a table coming up with ways to raise our towns ranking in the happiest place to live chart.

Firstly, it was turning the old Co-op building into a school which gave me a smirk, followed by the news that our local Marks and Spencer is going to Gapton with councillor Trevor Wainwright asking why. This put a clear smile on my face.

The front page of the Mercury on July 25th gave me a good laugh on the idea of spending £200,000 on an expert to tell how to save money. I’m sure this will mean less frontline staff on the ground and more on the counters, but fair play to councillor Lee Sutton for standing up for his beliefs, he’s an example to the rest.

To finish off, all the comedy of our local politics was just jobs campaign. At first I thought they were serious. I myself have seen the poor side of our job centre however, the comment about the lack of translators had me in stitches.

Good comedy I thought! I mean that really is true integration when you have translators at our job centre! So can we please be serious in next week’s Mercury or the next thing you will be telling me is that this is all real.....

ANDREW GRANT

Fairway,

Caister on Sea

Don’t park on double yellows!

Double yellow lines are not there as reserved parking for blue badge/card holders. Would somebody responsible for parking please take this on board.

Almost every day throughout the year we see people park up on double yellow lines and display a blue badge or card in the window, set the three-hour clock then go strolling off somewhere only to return three hours later to reset the clock for another three hours.

Surely the double yellow lines are there for safety reasons!

On their return I advise the drivers they can park in a resident bay for free with their blue badge/card and so leave the double yellow lines clear. Not a single one knew about this and some even told me they had been advised by their accommodation provider to park there!

Can someone please either change the available information or make it easier to observe (Great Yarmouth council website, signposts etc) to advise that a vehicle displaying a blue badge or card can park for free in any of the A Zone residents parking bays all day without the need to use the clock.

Also other accommodation providers need to be on board to help keep our streets clear of obstructions.

GARY SMITH

Kilbrannan Guest House

Trafalgar Road,

Great Yarmouth

Centre 81 drivers are so helpful

Great Yarmouth Stroke Group would like to say thank you to Centre 81 transport, Philip Clarke, and the drivers who are so helpful. Nothing is too much trouble.

Thank you for making our members feel welcome. The group returns on September 4 at Cobholm Community Centre, 2-4pm.

SUE CASEY

Group organiser

Grandad in war spy drama

The reference to the German fleet being off Yarmouth on 3rd November 1914 (in the review of Colin Tooke’s newest book) must tie in with an item of our oral family history.

My maternal grandparents were living somewhere near to St Peter’s Road at the time and, hearing that the German fleet were off Yarmouth, Grandad set off for the front “to see the fun” and got an ear bashing from granny because she did not see the possibility of being shelled as fun.

Grandad at that time was quite a big man with a waxed Kaiser Bill moustache and, although unfit for military service, wore an officer’s style suit. He took with him his binoculars which were the best available, made by Karl Zeiss in Germany. Whilst he stood there focusing on the German fleet the Yarmouth Police arrested him as a potential German spy and took him in for questioning.

Needless to say, in aftermath, the family continued to regard this with great hilarity.

LES COCKRILL

Lowestoft Road,

Gorleston

Thoughts on the savings survey

Following last week’s revelation that we have agreed to pay £200,000 (plus expenses?) to sort out how to save the borough money, it is strange our elected councillors have suggested various means of saving money or accruing more money from council tax payers.

They now have an online listing of various options. Could it be that if “A” option (be what that may) is chosen will we in future be told “That is what you voted for, thereby letting the councillors off the hook! I wonder how Mr Gordon Mitchell feels, after being been appointed to find savings, and now a week later he finds out the councillors have already started a consultation process for the same operation.

By the way are councillors actually politicians as stated in the Mercury dated July 25? Further to Mr Mitchell’s appointment there appears to be no details of how he performed, “or not” as the case may be in any of his previous employments. How many people do Solace Enterprises Ltd employ? This company will then pay Starburst Consultancy Ltd. And again how many do they employ? Mr Mitchell is the owner so who suggested him for this post?

Are there others within Solace who could carry out this operation at a lesser cost? Finally how much are we paying for his team that he will be bringing in? Do they have any clauses in the contract if we do not carry out their instructions, ie as in Kings Lynn waste disposal fiasco?

Will this be shown to be a good use of our money?

MAURICE HOOD

email

Councillor ward budgets question

The council has come up with some useful ideas to help solve their financial problems. (Mercury, August 1). I see the Tories want more. They oversaw the budget for nine years could have made changes then and perhaps avoided the crisis. It will be interesting to see what more cuts and charge increases look like. We already plan to increase the cost of dying.

I am surprised mobile home residents are not charged council tax and wonder why holiday lets are not covered as they use our services. Indeed, the whole tourism budget could be looked at - why should taxpayers subsidise an industry? We would be better off with well paid permanent jobs.

Extending Government policies, we should sell off spare land on the seafronts and get new homes bonuses. I hope we are not subsidising bowls and tennis for example and the facilities are underused most of the time. Do football and cricket pitches cover the full cost and may provide more scope to increase charges there?

Perhaps they could be sold off so developers can build except our town is in such decline developers will not be interested. The former Hemsby holiday camp needs developing with as many homes as possible and should get extra new homes bonus funding. The government has eased planning rules and thinks nimbyism is dead so there should be no problems!

UKIP is right that grants to voluntary groups and the councillor ward budgets need looking at. How vital is it that a grant is given? How many people benefit? What other funding is on offer? Should the parish councils be playing a bigger role?

UKIP is also right that duplication of services should be looked at. I would suggest particularly where county and borough services overlap like economic development and planning. There is scope for shared services with them and greater use of Norse.

I expect toilet closure proposals will stir up a lot of interest. The town has a fascination with toilets and in the 1850s even sent a delegation to inspect toilets in other towns for ideas.

Business rates are said to be crippling some so perhaps central government should do something there and perhaps the council should set local business rates if localism is real. I wonder if the VAT increase can be reversed but the deficit reduction plan has been modified so has years to go yet. We could have another look at a caravan tax

I look forward to seeing the ideas of Mercury readers as to what is to be done.

C R WRIGHT

Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

Take radical steps to move forward

I read with some interest of the plight of the cash-strapped council, and the suggested options of where the axe should fall; and in addition, the need to generate income and ‘transform’ the borough.

Like many people who remember Yarmouth in the 50s as a great family holiday resort and a nice place to live, I am sadly disillusioned as to its present seedy image and home for the unemployed.

My father who was born in the Rows and had a distinguished war service would turn in his grave if he knew how his home town had deteriorated. I would like to offer my own radical solution for achieving the £4.7m savings required, which would also guarantee a regular income helping maintain and increase the present level of council services.

The Town Hall should be sold for commercial development. Despite its history and grandeur, this should not in itself prevent bold action being taken. The building (and its location) must be worth around £8m to £10m, and would attract considerable interest in the property market. The building could then be converted into an upmarket hotel, restaurant, and sports complex for a ball park figure of say £3m which would realise a surplus of between £5m and £7m.

This would be more than enough to annul the £4.7m savings required, and preserve (and expand!) the current services provided. In addition, the complex would generate revenue through increased tourism and additional business rates. This development would also enhance the image of the borough.

As far as the council mandarins and their army of assistants are concerned, then they can be rehoused in the empty Co-op building in the Market Place which should not cost more that £1m. Problem solved! If there is still insufficient room for our public servants, than portakabins can be considered on a brownfield site.

While my suggestion will probably cause shock and horror to the untouchables, I feel it should be explored amongst other proposals.

PETER SALTER

email

Holiday parks are an advantage

Having a caravan at another Great Yarmouth Bourne Leisure Holiday Park, I have always found Bourne Leisure to be very responsible about local residents and the environment.

If it can be shown that previous works by the council has indeed caused or accelerated the coastal erosion then its only reasonable for them to cover the protection costs.

If the erosion is found to be due to “natural causes”, then the council must assist Bourne Leisure to safeguard the Hopton Beach from further damage. Continuation of holiday parks in Great Yarmouth will always be an advantage to local business, employment and payment of local taxes.

PETER ALLEN

Essex

Spend more time cleaning seafront

In response to Kevin Hubbard’s letter, August 1, regarding the cleanliness of Great Yarmouth compared to Gorleston.

It angers me as I spend a lot of time now in Gorleston and on the seafront using the facilities there as Yarmouth has a filthy seafront and back streets - and yet they are all managed by the same team.

Great Yarmouth Borough Services, please send workers to Yarmouth and not just to Gorleston. I live in Yarmouth.

SUSAN DIMBLEBY

email

Local services or county, puzzle

Following the article last Friday regarding the borough council’s public consultation I went to the Town Hall to read and complete the paper. To start with, the survey does not spell out the services and organisation of the council that can be considered for review.

It is more akin to a Lonely Hearts Club Survey for aligning partners by filling in boxes and leaving very little space for comment. I would have expected an initial breakdown on what the council actually undertakes in relation to income from Council Tax, public services, and central government.

There is no indication of where local borough services start in relation to district and county councils.

Apart from stating the obvious in relation to whether Joe Public thinks a specific department is doing a good job or not there is no indication of which department shares resources with its personnel, contractors or other known council functions. For example where does the cleansing of schools, hospitals, public buildings, offices and streets fit in with the borough’s expenditure? How many duplications, overlaps and shared services exist today?

One major area of expenditure certainly does not get any mention – that of how much Community Service directed by the courts is utilised to help. Individuals serving Community Service could help reduce expenses and speed up existing council services:

1] Round up wheelie bins on street corners to permit faster disposal into the dust carts and return them afterward.

2] Replenish street rubbish bins and round-up the bags kerbside for dust cart loading or the borough council could dispense with the unsightly wheelie-bins altogether and utilise roadside communal bins with side loading dust carts similar to those systems being used in continental countries.

Let us have a survey with substance, presenting the facts as now and allowing people to voice the facts rather than ticking boxes? Ticking boxes are alright for surveys on opinions or applications for bank loans but serve little purpose in satisfying Joe Public.

COLIN BRADISH

Princes Road,

Great Yarmouth

We, too, had a seagull nightmare

Re the seagulls, Mrs Timby is right, something must be done. We have lived in Caister for 56 years and have never been plagued by the noise and mess that we have had for the last three years.

A pair nested on our dormer roof and raised three, and we spent weeks listening to the thumping and screaming. We were awake most nights at 2.30am and shattered when they fledged.

We had the nest removed and stopped them the next year but they moved next door. That pair have now had nine young and we are surrounded by gulls on other roofs who all have three each every year.

Add this up and think how many there will be in 10 years’ time. Seagulls live on average 20 years and are a protected species but we cannot let this go on.

Great Yarmouth is awash with mess everywhere and people having food taken from them. Is the council not interested. Help!

E ATKINSON

Glenmore Avenue,

Caister on Sea

Your resort is still closed in July!

Having holidayed in Great Yarmouth for the last 43 years it saddens me to see it deteriorate, and see so many facilities sadly going rapidly downhill.

1 All public toilets in filthy, dirty condition and in need of repair.

2 Britannia Pier telling us to leave as they were closing on Saturday, July 12 at 8pm. And when queried said the season did not start until July 23 when the English schools broke up for the holiday.

4 Amusement park closing at 6pm.

5 The fact no shows at Britannia Theatre until July 29, also clock out of order for two years.

It seems there is nothing going on in Yarmouth during July and the number of visitors from my part of the country is almost zero with the reason, quite frankly, because Yarmouth closes at 6pm during the majority of July.

On the Mercury front page, July 25, I was appalled to read the council intend paying a new chief executive £200k to sort things out on an interim appointment. A serious look has to be taken at Great Yarmouth as the standards they used to have sadly going downhill.

As a final comment, it is a disgrace that the likes of the Winter Gardens and theatres along Marine Parade are just rotting away and are an eyesore.

JOHN GREENOCK,

Westburn Park,

Edinburgh

Carry on Emo, we enjoy mystery

How fortunate to have a mystery artist ready to take on a town council not noted for a blind eye or a sense of humour. Thank you Mercury, for letting us readers enjoy something we hope will be continued.

Miss RITA FARMER

Marine Parade,

Gorleston

Discrimination against elderly

I feel that borough council’s method of conducting the public consultation regarding where the financial axe should fall discriminates against the least able, the elderly and those in the most rural areas ie it is to be completed online or a hard copy collected from a council office and posted back. If there is a genuine desire to consult as widely as possible why is it not being printed in the Advertiser and distributed to every household in the borough with collection points in every village?

LES COCKRILL

Lowestoft Road,

Gorleston

Don’t be a fool, God does exist

Who says God doesn’t exist? The Bible says Psalm 53:1 The Fool hath said in his heart there is no God. Don’t be a fool. Don’t tell me He never existed for I won’t believe you.

MARGARET KNOWLES

Southtown,

Great Yarmouth

Single land mass before the Flood

Jill Carter raises some interesting points in her letter. Cain’s wife was his sister, because Eve was “the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20). And regarding Noah’s ark, the animals didn’t have to cross continents, because the earth was a single land mass before the flood (see Genesis 10:25).

Plus if the animals that entered the ark were all young ones, they would easily have fitted in the huge ark and would not have eaten as much food as fully grown animals would have. Noah took enough food for himself, his family and the animals into the ark (see Genesis 6:21).

We read of the flood not just in Genesis – many ancient cultures, from the Australian Aborigines to the Bushmen in southern Africa to the Chinese, also speak of the flood (see http://ow.ly/zOCOM).

Moreover, there’s geological proof a worldwide flood took place. See Dr Snelling’s article at http://ow.ly/zODfD. Science confirms the Bible yet again... And P Reeve says hell’s a “nonsense”. But Jesus, the Lord God, says it’s real (three times in Mark 9:43–47). Fake Christians and their leaders also end up there: “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are shown: Whoever does not practise righteousness is not of God” (1 John 3:10).

E BARKHUIZEN

Albemarle Road,

Gorleston

Thanks to all our correspondents for this long debate. These are the letters held over. The debate has now come to a conclusion. Anne Edwards, Editor

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