Footfall will return to town

SO footfall in Great Yarmouth has fallen by seven per cent in the last two years (Mercury, March 21).Surely this can be attributed to free bus travel for over 60s, after all we bus users at Acle should know with the X1 often packed on its way to Norwich and beyond! However the recent introduction of the A47 low floor buses via Brundall, Blofield and Thorpe St Andrew has helped to alleviate this problem.

SO footfall in Great Yarmouth has fallen by seven per cent in the last two years (Mercury, March 21).

Surely this can be attributed to free bus travel for over 60s, after all we bus users at Acle should know with the X1 often packed on its way to Norwich and beyond!

However the recent introduction of the A47 low floor buses via Brundall, Blofield and Thorpe St Andrew has helped to alleviate this problem. People who have mainly confined their shopping to Yarmouth can travel to Dereham, King's Lynn, Peterborough, North Norfolk and from April countrywide for free.

Make no mistake, by the end of 2008 when Yarmouth is fully open for business again, Market Gates shopping extension completed, St George's Theatre revamped, Victoria Arcade refurbishment complete, St George's Park landscaped, the outer harbour construction well underway, seafront scene completed, Market Row improvements finished, footfall will return to Yarmouth.

Also, with limited parking in the town, free bus travel countrywide will have benefits. So let Asda extend its store (after all they were there before Tesco, and their mezzanine floor was given planning permission).

Let Asda spend £100,000 on improvements to Vauxhall Bridge and the surrounding area. Many of their staff and customers have to cross the bridge and it's been an unwanted tourist attraction for too long.

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Yes, Asda, we're fed up with this derelict “Welcome to Great Yarmouth” as well.




I DRIVE to work each day between Winterton-on-Sea and Lowestoft. After the snow and freezing temperatures over the Easter weekend I was expecting to see the main roads in and around Great Yarmouth to be well gritted when I went to work on Tuesday morning, particularly as the snow had been forecast well in advance.

Unfortunately I saw no sign of any gritters over the weekend and no sign on Tuesday morning that the roads had been gritted. As a result the roads were in an atrocious condition. The only time I have seen gritters out in the Winterton area this winter is when they have not really been needed.

I can only conclude the council has already expended their stock assuming the winter was over, mothballed the machines, or perhaps decided not to pay their drivers overtime for the Easter weekend. An explanation would be welcomed?


Black Street


AS I witnessed the dismantling of the fine, attractive shelter on North Drive, at the end of Barnard Avenue, with its majestic green-tiled roof, I thought this must be the first stage in the refurbishment of such a fine, iconic structure. But no, according to the report in last week's Mercury, it was in fact being demolished because it is such a target for vandals.

So there go this council's green credentials, if indeed they ever had any. Do they understand anything about landscape value and the aesthetic worth of a stretch of seafront such as this? Clearly not, when we consider another story in the same edition - the proposed four giant wind turbines in high-profile locations across the South Denes; this when many people, myself included, agree that windfarms are not the answer to our future energy needs.

You have only to visit some once-beautiful valleys in the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark or in Luneburg in north Germany to see just how quickly and completely such areas can become despoiled by such developments. At the moment we are restricted to Somerton, the offshore wind farm and the monstrosity at Lowestoft Ness. Let's leave it at that and tell Ecotricity to build the things back home in Gloucestershire, if they must build them at all. Yours looking for the logic in all of this.


Collingwood Road

Great Yarmouth

I COULD help but be amazed by Peter Gray-Read's letter on DNA in last week's paper. He first praises the work of the scientists who work in this field to cure many different diseases. Then he goes on to say we should restrict the natural progression of this work based on the papers written some 2,000 years ago by leaders of Middle Eastern tribes for political reasons.

The writers of these documents had no knowledge of DNA or how life evolved. Nor did they know any more than we do today who or what created the universe, the world or caused life to appear. Clearly if you are going to use DNA research to cure human conditions it is important that you involve human DNA in any way appropriate and to try and restrict this based on some myths about doubtful and long past historical events seems to me rather silly.


Nelson Road South

Great Yarmouth

JUDGES: Competition to alternative for proposed Yartoft towns' merger. As an offer on entries for the prize for a new name for a possible Great Yarmouth Lowestoft conurbation from my wife, son and myself, may we suggest Glowhaven?


Mill Lane


WELL done Great Yarmouth councillors yet again. Do you really think that by refusing Asda's application for an extension it is going to have such a tremendous effect on the town centre?

Shoppers go to the out of town facilities for dry goods because they want cheaper prices, free parking and the ability to wheel your trolley to the back of the car. If Asda hasn't got it then they will go to Tesco, Comet etc, it won't send them into town. In this economic climate people need to watch their expenditure and free parking and cheaper prices are high on the agenda. Penalising Asda is not the way forward.

Then the icing on the cake: Asda offered £100,000 towards improving that eyesore Vauxhall Bridge as part of the planning package - you've lost that. The bridge impairs entry for boats to the North Broads due to the height and is a total mess; you might as well cut it up and send it to China for scrap value. No, let's wait until it falls on the tax payer to cough up, that's a lot more fun.

How can councillors allow Tesco to have more selling capacity and not Asda? Asda supports local and national charities and their extension is just progress, something that Yarmouth seems to fall behind on.



FIRST there was Harfrey's roundabout, big in size with a huge volume of through traffic travelling around it in easy understandable lanes, but at such high speeds that trying to join the flow is death defying even for the most competent driver.

Then there was Gapton Hall roundabout, small, complicated, festooned with traffic lights and signs catering for roughly the same volume of traffic, negotiating lanes designed by someone who must have just discovered how to use a pair of compasses, with no understanding that long vehicles have trouble with small radii, going nowhere fast.

To those who should know, there must be some sort of clue here.

Then there is the recently re-laid mini roundabout in Caister at the junction of High Street and Tan lane. First, the existing normal acceptable standard humped mini roundabout was removed to assist the necessary and forever ongoing disrupting road repairs and upgrades being carried out. The replacement, a smaller diameter humped mini roundabout was laid in a totally different position. With the result that it is now almost impossible for any north travelling vehicle to negotiate the turn into Tan Lane without driving over the hump. In fact, the turn is so unnatural that most drivers have abandoned any semblance of normality and drive on the wrong side of the hump altogether. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the next roundabout under construction at the junction of Caister High Street and West Road.

One final thing, all the thousands of pounds being spent on the new road surface adjacent to the village hall in Caister, have resulted in the dropdown kerb finishing up with a deep puddle across the dropdown section every time it rains. You couldn't make it up, or could you?


Northern Close

Caister on Sea

I WOULD like the council to answer the following question.

How many parking tickets and residents' parking fines have been issued to non-UK registered cars and out of those issued have any been paid? The parking on King Street and St Peters Road is now so out of hand the roads are barely passable and obviously no one is enforcing the parking regulations. Please council, enforce the laws and locals who have come here to live, be fair, pay your taxes and respect the law.


York Road

Great Yarmouth

ARE the residents of Winterton-on-Sea and Great Yarmouth aware that their borough council make up their own rules when it comes to democracy and voting.

On March 18 the Borough Council Planning Development Committee listened to an application to build houses in Empson's Loke area of Winterton-on-Sea which is a designated flood plain. After arguments by the parish council and the builders along with other interested parties the concluding vote was six to five in favour of refusing the application.

Undemocratically the chairman allowed the comments to continue with regard to: “What if the builders appeal” and unethically allowed another vote which overturned the original vote on the grounds of finance.

I would call it a disgrace, illegal and what our borough council has which is “no backbone.” Are we going to stand for this?


Hillview Drive


ON the evening of March 18 democracy died in Great Yarmouth Town Hall. The long awaited second planning application by Badger Builders of Lowestoft (the first withdrawn after objections) for building nine houses on a sensitive part of Winterton-on-Sea was heard before the planning development committee of the borough council.

The application was recommended for acceptance by the planning department after the Environmental Agency in Ipswich redesignated that a flood plain was fit to build upon. The planning officer who made the decision had not visited nor had any particular knowledge of the village and admitted their maps on the internet were “not accurate.”

The committee listened to all sides and having ascertained there were no further questions or queries the chairman put the application to the vote. The result was a win for Winterton six votes to five - the application was refused.

But argument then occurred between the councillors on the basis they could not afford an appeal by Badger! The chairman allowed argument to continue and eventually allowed another vote. The initial result was overturned. Money 1, Democracy 0.

The village objection now takes on a new perspective.



Winterton Parish Council

WHAT Silly Billy took all the metal hoarding down too early? Now we have a permanent island in the yacht pond for the seagulls to nest on and no sailing for our model boats. Is this permanent?

The lovely rosebed and seats have been removed to make way for three recycling bins that look like a large fruit machine. What are the holidaymakers going to think when they return to Gorleston for their holidays, to find all the seats gone?

Once again, is there a seat protester out there? One must not sit down to eat their ice cream anymore. What are they doing to Gorleston front? Is this the end of an era?


Newton Flotman


RECENTLY, we had a permit parking survey for certain areas of Zone A, with a proposal of change from residential parking on one side of the road, to a four-hour free parking for all visiting vehicles on the other side of the road.

This is out of order and preposterous for those paying to park near their homes at £25 per vehicle. It will not work!

Firstly, you will have problems enforcing the idea as there are only two wardens working the whole of Zone A. Secondly, how will anybody know or prove they arrived at a certain time (within the four hour free parking times). Nobody!

What about the permit holders, who have paid their £25 fee? How would we cope if only one side of the road would be for residents?

It will cause problems to those who work late, if they find they cannot find a parking space near to their accommodation.

I have a disabled daughter in a wheelchair; do we have to walk a distance to recover our vehicle? I suggest the proposals are withdrawn and scrapped as there are car parking spaces along the seafront. So why take away the paying residents' parking in the areas nominated.


Apsley Road

Great Yarmouth

THIS is addressed to the heartless person or persons who stole a potted shrub from Admiralty Road during the early hours of March 21, or to everyone else, the beginning of Easter weekend.

Our daughter Deborah, who passed away suddenly, aged 31, in December 2001, gave us that shrub a few months before she died. It was a treasured keepsake and we watched it grow as we used to watch her. Seeing it by my window was like having her here with us. We also managed to find a very apt memorial stone, which you must have noticed was right beside the plant, but for some reason known only to yourself, you left behind.

I have no idea why you decided to take the shrub, but you have taken part of our family, and put me back to the first dark days of her loss. Whoever you are, you must feel very proud of this theft and a big man for breaking a mother's heart. If you do feel an iota of guilt, maybe you could return it in the same way you stole it.


Admiralty Road

Great Yarmouth

BARBARA Tildesley's letter (Mercury, March 14) touched the tip of an iceberg. Like millions of English people we are proud of our English nationality and heritage. People of Indian descent are proud of their ancestry as are most African, Irish, Scottish and every other nation. England is the only country I know where English people are not allowed the dignity to be English.

In spite of politicians words we are no longer a democratic country. Freedom of speech has long been denied. In the 1970s Ted Heath's election pledge was “I will not take a divided Britain into the Common Market.” He ignored the people's wishes and signed Britain in regardless.

To gain power Harold Wilson (Labour) offered a referendum to come out of the Common Market. Yes we were given a referendum, but to this day none of the electorate saw a vote counted. The ballot boxes were collected and taken to an unknown destination in London. A few days later it was announced 50-plus pc of the voters wished to say in. Many didn't believe him.

At the last election again Labour gained power by promising a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. The present dictator is ignoring requests to honour Labour's election pledge and is determined to hand over more powers to Europe, and 30 years on and already Nick Clegg (Liberal) is starting to repeat the words of Harold Wilson.

Our three main political parties are much the same.

Name and address withheld

“PASSION” describes the life, death and resurrection of Jesus which we have just celebrated as a church. Those not attached to any church may have seen the vivid BBC drama on the Passion. It is a popular word to describe the commitment people can have to their work and the way we live our lives. A life without passion is just an existence. But we must direct our capacity to love - our passion to the best cause.

RE or “Religious Education” is such a poor term to describe this vital subject. Religion is as far from passion as water is from wine. So it is very difficult to address the requirement for comparative religion in our schools with any authenticity. As a supply teacher I was recently required to teach a mixed class of Year Three and Four children on how an atheist, a Buddist, and a Christian see creation.

Well, perhaps a PhD thesis may start to address the topic, but is it not a “rather absurd request for eight and nine year olds? I wrote a sentence or two on the world view of the Buddist and atheist sheltering as it were under a big tree representing Jesus. With the explanation Jesus loves them all and gives them the freedom to choose.

But as David experienced in Psalm 8, RE or “Real Education” is “drawing out of us key questions.” He considered the heavens and asked 'What is man, that you are mindful of him? And the son of man, that you visitest him? I hope that many of us will consider again the meaning of the cross, not as a religious symbol but as a token of the passionate heart of God which says I love you this much.

On Good Friday several young people from Gorleston and Bradwell braved the wind, rain, cold and snow to sing and dance, on the back of an open trailer, their appreciation for what God did for us. The three venues: Ocean Room, Magdalen, and Rainbow car park were well supported. At the final location one of the viewers was excited by the literal appearance of angels surrounding the display. There is still room for you.


Fulmar Close


THERE was an occasion, half a lifetime ago, when a door-to-door insurance salesman lost any hope of gaining my business by advising me that atheists weren't invited to apply for any of his company's products. In what I assumed was a fit of peek, he went on to suggest I would believe in a God soon enough if Caister water tower were suddenly to sprout legs and begin walking towards us.

I know that Peter Gray-Read wouldn't subscribe to such banality as that, but there are aspects of his letter (Mercury, March 21) that bother me just the same.

I fully accept and endorse the notion that DNA experiments of any description should be subject to a very great deal of caution. Where I presumably differ from Mr Gray-Read, however, is that I don't see that Christians should necessarily hog the front seats in the debate. Come to think about it, debate isn't really the issue at all, is it? The bible, we are told, already has all the answers.

If anything, I am even more disquieted by the association in my mind between someone being a schoolteacher and holding to creationist beliefs. There have been regular and sometimes (sadly) successful attempts in the USA to force schools to teach creationism (which is non-provable mythology) alongside, or even at the exclusion of Darwinism (which is based wholly upon facts and scientific study).

One way or another, Christians are very adapt at getting their slant on matters in the media - especially at certain times of the year for which they ought to owe their pagan forebears performance rights. Non-believers aren't without resources, however, and I strongly recommend The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins as enlightened reading. The Gideons aren't placing it in the drawers of hotel bedside cabinets, needless to say, but the Norfolk Library and Information Service has copies.


Nelson Road Central

Great Yarmouth