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Letters July 13th

PUBLISHED: 06:09 13 July 2012

Why the bus

service snub?

WELL done M Caspell, you have most certainly hit the nail on the head re the number 2 bus. Why do they penalise the people of Trinity Avenue, Seawake and Rambouillet Close, and the people on the Shrublands estate. There wasn’t a bus for three days last bank holiday.

Lots of us in the area are elderly and because we use bus passes, we are left out. We have worked for these passes and are not spongers, lots of us have worked since we were 14-years-old. One bus driver said “well what do you expect, you don’t pay”. If it wasn’t for the elderly, buses would run almost empty.

J BELL

Trinity Avenue,

Gorleston

Wind turbines

cost £7m each!

IN response to Pauline Lynch (Letters, July 6). Are you aware that the wind turbines you refer to as cheap white plastic, cost over £7 million each? And that’s without the cost of installing them. Obviously they are not plastic either.

JULIE DICKINSON

Dell Road East,

Lowestoft

Don’t shoot the

messenger

IN the best traditions of journalism the Mercury team consistently reports the local news as factually as possible and without political bias. Of course, as a (very) old Yarmouthian, I support Mrs Stone in her desire to see some positive stories about our borough but sadly we must face the unpleasant realities.

The lady refers to the miserable saga of the Outer Harbour and the many letters published pointing out the catalogue of bad decisions and unjustifiable secrecy which has obscured them since its inception. Please don’t shoot the messenger. We should respect the correspondents who do the research and take the time and trouble to tell us, the tax-payers who are entitled to know the truth about what is happening, with no advantage or material gain to themselves.

I would love to be able to tell visitors that, as Mrs Stone puts it, we are doing okay, but a glance at the town centre with its Minster’s Preservation Trust lacking support, empty shops, shrinking market and poor roads and footpaths belies this. I have no doubt that concerned readers will be able to add to this list.

Literally hundreds of local people volunteer for all sorts of projects which benefit the community and, with a little help and guidance, I am sure that many more would be willing to help. Has someone out there any ideas?

NICK POWNALL

Email

When is cry for

fairness, envy?

WHEN is a bonus not a bonus? I would like to try to pick a way through the debate which Catherine West’s letter poses regarding a prior letter from Pauline Lynch. If Mrs Lynch’s normal duties, as per her job description, did not specifically include helping at [relatively infrequent] election times then any additional payment I would not class as a bonus.

It seems to me to have been a payment for volunteering to do work other than normal duties, which is somewhat different. Also, if this work required staff to be at different location[s] from their normal place of work then additional payment for this inconvenience would, in my view, also not be a bonus. Accountants may indeed be busier at year ends, but they presumably are still carrying out tasks that would fall within their normal duties and at their regular place of work?

Performance-related bonuses are very common in private sector contracts for senior staff and can be a useful tool to incentivise staff to achieve a particularly challenging outcome or deadline. Equally, as we have seen recently with some elements within investment banking, it can lead to some very undesirable outcomes.

At what point does the desire to do materially better for oneself become greed? When is a cry for “fairness” really just envy? Criminal behaviour aside, I would not begrudge anyone, who, having negotiated or having been offered a bonus for a desired outcome, and who went on to deliver that outcome, receiving their payment. I have worked in companies that offered staff “attendance” bonuses. Now, that truly is a bonus just for turning up to work!

I don’t know whether Mr Hardy’s bonus was based on “soft” or “hard” targets or timescales, but clearly someone, somewhere, believed that his ability to achieve a required outcome was worth him receiving a substantial bonus. I, for one, don’t blame him for taking it.

DENNIS J BEAN

Burgh St Peter

Mercury tells

it how it is

MRS Stone thinks the Mercury needs to be more positive (July 6). The Mercury tells it how it is. Mr Cooper did a grand job highlighting all was not well in the port saga andsometimes it is only tenacity that brings things out, although it can get boring!

There was plenty of positive news last week (and most weeks) - The Olympic Torch, Port Hopes (although we have heard that before!), new support home, NHS Helpline (are they any use?), brilliiant college students and the stories of our children at school.

The town needs to be more than okay, it needs to be Great. Something is wrong - witness the often litter strewn town centre with not enough bins, empty shops and struggling Rows and Arcade. Free parking would help or refund with purchases (at Palmers and the Rows perhaps?)

We need to develop our selling points and even unique selling points.

The town missed opportunities to attract 100k extra visitors by failing to establish a steam railway in 1959 and 1970. Sheringham did. Caister to Yarmouth could have been fun. There may still be a chance as the two trains a day Reedham route could be self contained and run as a micro franchise with steam and heritage trains.

Blackpool illuminations still attract. They were even selling off, at knockdown prices, old stock. I wonder how our councillors, on their jaunt there, missed that one? The Waterways and the disappointing boating lake could have illuminated fountains shooting cascades of light into the air with the full prom festooned in lights with romance built in perhaps with kissing points and places where marriage proposals would be memorable.

The private sector should be thinking along these lines to build up tourism. More likely, government job creation funds could be explored as a means of training the unemployed. Heritage money could be sought if trying to recreate the past; the Winter Gardens needs to be addressed. The Regent and Empire are empty too.

We could try to profile raise by attracting TV programmes like Gardeners Question Time, Time Team, Question Time, Any Questions, Songs Of Praise at the new minster. Could we become a national centre of excellence for something -Offshore energy perhaps?

So many positive opportunites and Gorleston needs promoting -a hidden gem and a potential akin to Southwold. Yarmouth needs to be Great not just okay and certainly not rough. There may have been too much complacency.

CHRIS WRIGHT

Victoria Street,

Caister

I simply want

to out the truth

RE Mrs Stone’s letter last week: I am not against Eastport, I have been very vocal in favour since 1986 when the GYP Authority first started pushing for an outer harbour.

I, Mrs Stone, want the truth from our borough council not Eastport.

There are many questions to be answered, among them:

Why did the council in 2007 make so many concessions to the port company and did not follow the agreed advert and project brief? Why, when the Port Authority was to be an equal partner in the new outer harbour, did the council give all to the new company? Why, when the objective was to benefit the unemployed did the council waive all right to have a say in operating the port? Why are ratepayers paying millions for the upkeep of the West Bank?

The points are just a fraction of what this town has lost. The council negotiations and final decisions should have resulted in jobs, yet instead port workers were made redundant; we were also promised 120,000 foreign tourists and the reinstatement of a ferry service – that was what the £18m grant was for.

One last thing: myself and other like-minded people managed to get Gorleston Pier car park re-opened and blocked plans for parking on the esplanade. These like-minded people care for the borough.

JOHN L COOPER

Burnt Lane

Gorleston

Magical world

of models

ON Tuesday, July 3 some friends and I from Halvergate Happy Circle visited the Merrivale Model Village. What a wonderful, magical, miniature world full of models of churches, houses, castles, farms, zoos, people and transport. We saw firemen carrying out rescues with sound effects which brought a lot of the scenes to life. All this was sat in beautiful gardens and everything was so clean, neat and tidy. We also visited the café with its lovely food and very nice staff which was also spotlessly clean. We had a very enjoyable afternoon and would recommend people who are visiting the seafront to pay this great family attraction a visit.

DAWN TOVELE

Church Avenue

Halvergate

Would appreciate

fence removal

I WOULD also like to express my gratitude to Mr Scott for stepping in and sorting the Pier car park.

The surface seems very high quality, but a shame it was necessary for local businessmen to step in and that councils of the day didn’t do more to ensure local interests were protected by terms in any contracts awarded, instead of bleating that it wasn’t their fault). However, as a few others have said, it’s a shame all the fence is still there.

In fairness, the fence was erected last November before Mr Scott had any say in the matter, but I too would appreciate removal of at least some of it so that less mobile people can enjoy the views in all weathers from the comfort of their cars. I would welcome the opportunity to use the car park and play a small part in making sure the Scott’s aren’t left out of pocket.

My late father in his final years of life got much enjoyment from being taken to places like the pier car park and Gorleston beach car park. My mother, now 95, also gets much pleasure from her daily trips in my car to see the sea at Gorleston and it would be nice to be able to again take her to the pier car park while there is still time.

PETE BISS

email

Teachers doing

excellent job

I HAVE just returned from the Cliff Park High School Ninth Annual Sports Presentation Dinner at the Ocean Rooms and I just had to write this to let people know what amazing achievements these children have made and what fabulous opportunities they have through this school.

Having recently received a rather damning Ofsted report, I felt the need to remind the teachers that in my opinion they are doing an excellent job.

Each child arrived looking incredibly smart and they conducted themselves extremely well, being polite and respectful at all times. The age range was year 7 through to year 11 with some ex pupils being there too. All the children looked to be having a great time which seemed evident at the beginning of the disco when every seat in the place was empty.

It is an honour as a parent to be invited to this particular evening and what an honour it was. I was bursting with pride not only for my son but for every child there.

A massive thank you to the teachers for a well organised and truly inspirational evening.

Keep up the amazing work.

SUSAN WOOLDRIDGE

Bately Avenue,

Gorleston

Minster concert

was fantastic

WHAT a wonderful summer evening out! The Chorus of Saint Cecilia Jubilee concert at St Nicholas Minster was fantastic and a fitting tribute to the Queen. Many congratulations to all the choristers from the tiniest to the oldest-you were amazing. The soloists were breathtaking, the music beautifully chosen and the audience’s singing enthusiastic . It was wonderful to see the minster so packed with people and great to see the Junior choir made up of such enthusiastic and talented youngsters and the older choristers never let us down. There is a great deal of talent in this town and many of the faces in the choirs I recognised as multi taskers from various other theatre groups-well done to them for their round the year commitment to our entertainment. If you missed it there is an opportunity to see a slightly different version tonight, Friday 13 at Winterton Church.

MARY SHREEVE

email

Burial ground in

heritage walks?

I READ with great interest the letters relating to the dissenters’ graveyard from Charles Palmer and Patricia Page. These two polarised views could have been easily reconciled by inserting within the speedily drawn up lease a provision for public access to the site at certain specified times during the year.

As a councillor at the time this was drawn up I would have thought that Ms Page would have been well aware of her administration’s already poor reputation as far as the town’s heritage was concerned. What an ideal opportunity she missed in putting this right. Instead she now resorts to declaring anyone with a genuine concern over access a “moaner”. The good that has come about in tidying the site and excluding the Town’s layabouts is a genuine improvement, and the continuence of public access could have been overcome by a bit of foresight.

This is an area that should be included in the town’s guided historic walks, as it was in the past. Perhaps enlightened minds on the school’s board of governors will enable this to happen.

DAVID TUBBY

Email

IOC chose torch

route, not us

IN reply to the letters in the Mercury, July 6, “Why is Gorleston always ignored”, “Second time we have the snub”, Gorleston misses out on torch”.

It was very disappointing that Gorleston was not included in the Olympic Torch route, but this was not the fault of local Gorleston councillors, despite representations made to the International Olympic Commission for Gorleston to be included, the route of the torch was decided many months ago by the that organisation, not the borough council.

As a new Labour administration, we are determined that Gorleston now receives far more promotion and attention than it has in the past 12 years, and to that effect we have now set up the new Gorleston Area Committee with community involvement; we have made sure this year’s Gorleston Cliff Top Festival takes place after insurance was withdrawn; and we have ensured that additional funding was put in place to refurbish the lower esplanade shelters, all this since May 15 this year.

There is far more to be done, and I would like to reassure residents throughout the borough that Labour councillors do “not sit back on their extremely good allowances and do absolutely nothing”, as suggested in one of the letters published last week.

Cllr TREVOR WAINWRIGHT

Magdalen Ward

Bus services

are the worst

FURTHER to the recent letters concerning buses, I can empathise with passengers on the service No 2 route. It seems that that, and service No 5 are the two worst for customer service and satisfaction.

On two consecutive days last week I had to wait for over an hour for No 5. firstly, on Thursday at Gorleston Library when one run was cut out completely, the explanation being delay “due to the Olympic Torch”. However, all the other buses arrived including three number 7s to Belton! The following day, Friday, after attending a meeting in Norwich I travelled back on the X1.As we arrived at the Precinct, No 5 was at the stop, I ran to get it but just as I got there the doors were closed in my face.

This is an hourly service but is frequently withdrawn completely if there is a breakdown or traffic hold up, in spite of the fact that I was assured some two years ago that in that event a vehicle would be re-routed – not so! Due to the unreliability it is necessary to leave an hour early if one has an appointment or need to catch a connection.

The company try to claim this service is not very well supported – no, because due to unsatisfactory timings some passengers, including holidaymakers, but especially students and workers, have to walk to/from Belton Kings Head.

It is interesting to note that Belton residents are now complaining they are unable to get to Millwood Surgery; Burgh Castle people cannot get to Falklands surgery! If they had not objected to “going all round the houses” and the service No 7 had been left as it was, everyone in both villages would have had direct access to all medical centres in Gorleston and Bradwell.

MAUREEN GREY

Coronation Terrace,

Burgh Castle

Don’t get angry

with Mr Cooper

I’M sorry for Mrs Stone’s frustration, which shouldn’t be directed at John Cooper but at the Conservative cabinet who are fighting to keep secret the negotiations where our harbour was given away together with land and an enormous amount of public money.

In a letter to the Mercury last week I used the phrase “Without transparency there is no accountability and without accountability there is no democracy”. We all have a responsibility for maintaining democracy because it can slip away so easily and it is difficult to get back as seen in many countries at the moment. We need more John Coopers who are prepared to stand up for what they believe is right. We need to take our elected representatives to task.

Both John and I have stated many times that we have no complaint against Eastport because they are businessmen and walked away with the best deal they could, just doing what businesses do. We believe that GYBC and partners wanted only one thing and that was the outer harbour.

In the outer harbour agreement there was no clause what the outer harbour was to be used for. GYBC had no right to promise us anything, yet they did: a ferry service with a brochure showing a schedule of sailings bringing 120,000 tourists to bolster holiday business and 1,000 jobs.

The new boss of the outer harbour said in the Mercury last week the outer harbour was designed to be a container port and we didn’t know anything about this until the cranes arrived.

We wish the outer harbour well and hope plans will bring desperately needed jobs to the area but we believe GYBC and partners need to disclose what those negotiations were. That, Mrs Stone, is why we want an Inquiry.

DENNIS DURRANT

Brett Avenue,

Gorleston

Music is the

food of love!

IF a certain Mr Shakespeare is to be believed in his assertion that “music must be the food of love”, then what a veritable feast of music with a patriotic theme, was prepared for us at the Diamond Jubilee Concert in the Minster last Saturday.

How blessed we are in this area to have amongst us such taleneted musicians and singers doing what they do best for love of music and the edification of their audiences throughout our community.

This was a night to remember and savour in this Diamond Jubilee year and for many years to come, a splendid tribute to the Queen.

DUSTY MILLER

Meadow Court,

Great Yarmouth

Wonderful

holiday venue

WHAT a wonderful venue for a wonderful holiday so close to home. I took my mother to Potters Leisure Resort – she cannot travel far away from home, for our annual break together. The food was fantastic, service great, accommodation good, friendly and helpful staff and as far as the entertainment was concerned, it was cruise standard. We even met the Potters at lunchtime for a “yarn”. What a great place to go on your doorstep.

HELEN PLANE,

Filby

CAB service

needs funds

AT a time when the services of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau are needed more than ever due to the national economic situation, funding agencies are having to reduce grants. Just when there is high need, bureaux are facing serious funding problems.

The Yare Valley and District CAB, which comprises bureaux in Great Yarmouth, Wymondham and Attleborough, has in places seen a doubling of cases at a time of pending severe cuts in funding – particularly that from the Legal Services Commission. There is a misconception that CABs are government funded. They are not, CABs are charities which reply on grants to cover their costs.

The Yare Valley CAB has over 50 highly trained volunteer advisotrs who give freely of their time and skill and 18 paid staff, ro provide specialist advice. In 2011-12, the CA in Yarmouth helped over 3,000 individual clients.

If there are any organisations or individuals with funds for good causes or charities which aim to help the public, this CAB is in great need of financial help. Please contact the CEO Judith Bell, Citizens Advice Bureau, 2 Stonecutters Way, Great Yarmouth NR30 1HF, telephone 01493 845451.

PETER HOWKINS

CAB Trustee

Error in my

last letter

WITH reference my letter regarding the Number 5 bus service to Burgh Castle, I wish to draw your attention to a printing error.

I actually said that we have no buses on Sundays, evenings or bank holidays, not as printed - Sundays except Bank Holidays.

I’m sure you will agree that this alters the whole point of my letter, as on bank holidays we have no buses from 5.15pm on Saturday until Tuesday morning and on the Jubilee weekend we had none for three whole days, until the Wednesday.

Mrs B COLE

Burgh Castle

Party raised

charity cash

A MIDSUMMER Nights Party was held at Avril and Kevin Knight’s garden on June 24 to raise funds for Breakthrough Breast Cancer; I wanted to celebrate I’d got the five year all clear for breast cancer, but also raise funds at the same time. We invited friends and family round to enjoy a barbecue, refreshments, raffle and a brilliant band! We had a brilliant turn out and our party tents were full! Everyone said they enjoyed themselves and hope there will be another one. So I would like to thank my wonderful family and friends for their help and support with donations of money, raffle prizes, yummy homemade cakes and help on the day, even my bantams who donated their eggs! And so far we have raised £630 which I am so chuffed with! I raise funds each year, but this year was the most enjoyable one.

Breakthrough is a charity researching to develop new and more effective treatments and to discover what causes breast cancer so that ultimately the disease can be prevented from occuring in the first place.

AVRIL KNIGHTS

Bradwell

Technical pupil

signed book

RE Peggotty’s column in the Mercury of July 6 where he re refers to the book “Yarmouth is an Antient Town”; the autographs in it which include mine, were pupils in the fifth year at the Technical High School. Many of the ones listed I know are still in the area.

JOHN WELSBY

email

Abolish the

Blue Badge

AM I the only person in Great Yarmouth to notice the increasing abuse of the Blue Badge, or “park where you like brigade?”

The Blue Badge was designed to make it easier for the genuine disabled to access areas easily without too much discomfort, but it seems 90pc of them completely abuse the system by parking on any double yellow line that suits; sometimes half on the pavement, at road junctions and in resident’s parking areas.

They just park up, put the Blue Badge on display and walk away with complete disgregard to other road users.

I think the whole system should be abolished and replaced with a stricter system, less open to abuse.

FREDDY OSWALD

Albany Road,

Great Yarmouth

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