Readers’ letters, January 26, 2018
Fight for school will continue
As a proud governor of and campaigner for the Alderman Swindell School I am devastated that a lack of financial resource has necessitated the end of the parents-led legal fight to keep their beloved school open.
Public consultations demonstrated majority support for the school and with the total backing of the County Council Labour Group I spoke for the community in the chamber and on marches.
I am continuing to support the school whose children and committed staff are faced with an uncertain future. More importantly I will continue to stand by my local community and continue to fight for a fantastic, much-loved and much-needed school.
Cllr MIKE SMITH-CLARE
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Upon our arrival at our present place of residence nearly 30 years ago we were pleasantly surprised to have two young people, probably in their early teens, who lived in the neighbourhood, pop round to say hello and give us a card welcoming us to the area and enquiring as to how they might help us settle in.
I still recall vividly their kind gesture, their names, (Julia and Adam), and what a kind act of neighbourliness this was.
I just wonder if such things still occur today - with people busy shopping from home, transfixed to their mobile phones and seldom finding the time to say hello to neighbours, passing strangers or anybody else for that matter.
It might be instructive to ask yourself if you know the names of those living one, three and five doors away from you on either side. Six out of six and you could perhaps consider yourself pretty neighbourly and community-minded. Zero, one or two and there is perhaps work to be done.
James Thurber perhaps best encapsulated this when he said: “Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.”
Let us say we’re open for business
We have been told cruise ships are coming to our port. Let us get one thing in the rightful perspective: any new business can only be good business.
Mr Anders Larson, in (Letters, January 19) believes our ports are too inadequate to take on life after Brexit, what his views have to do with the waste of £20m and gifting of the river to a venture capital company I am not sure.
What I do know is Mr Larson’s comments are akin to the comments on cruise ships that were sent to me:
“The first time I went into the new port there was a grain ship loading or unloading and the chaff went everywhere in the wind, all over the decks and stuck like glue! Also, a swell from the SE came into the harbour and caused us to roll all the time, this was on a 2000t ship not a cruise liner of course but bloody uncomfortable!”
Cruise ships are heading to Great Yarmouth – Mercury: “ Seemingly the head of the council the Mayor and the usual useless “dignitaries” are going to meet and greet..I had to check the date to see if it was April 1”
Comments like these are detrimental to any venture, what they, and Mr Larson writes is to highlight any inadequacies that potential customers may not be conversant with.
But my gripe, as with many others is the gifting of the Grant and port assets. This effectively eliminated any chance of Great Yarmouth Port Authority, the Port Users Association or the ratepayers through the borough council to have any say in how our grant was spent and no chance of making fact of the promises in 2005/6 that were sold to the Great Yarmouth Port Users and the voting public by those unelected officers of GYBC and the NCC who were directors of East Port Great Yarmouth Ltd. A company formed just for guiding NCC and GYBC through the legalities.
Also worth a mention is the Port of Great Yarmouth is to be run as a satellite (an outpost) of Liverpool. In 11 years the saga of the lost chance, very hard-earned to put the Great into Yarmouth has been lost through the inefficiencies of just a few.
So let us wake up to the fact you reap what you sow. Let us sow the seed to say we are open for business.
JOHN L COOPER
Privatisation has hit mail service
A couple of months ago I went to my local post box on the Prince of Wales Road, Caister. This is something I have done hundreds of times over the last 27 years.
When I arrived there I stood feeling foolish, letter in hand and no post box to put it in. The box had served in excess of 500 houses. According to the local postman it was knocked down by a car but would be reinstated. That was in November 2017.
Since then I have tried to find out when it would be reinstated, spending expensive hours on the telephone listening to an option of numbers of 1 to 5 and back again, lots of music and eventually finding the help line based in Plymouth. They were not interested about a missing post box in Norfolk.
The mail service has over the years been one of the public services you could rely on and then I remembered that three years ago it was privatised and has since given a very poor service like all the other privatisations. A concept now very much out of date.
I was going into town to visit Sainsburys later that day so thought I would use the post box in the store. I found out that it had been removed three years ago due to privatisation.
I then called at the GPO sorting office in Great Yarmouth to ask the question about reinstating the post box in Caister. I was told it was nothing to do with them now that Royal Mail had been split from them. One service collects, the other delivers.
Has anyone got any ideas short of re-nationalising the service?
Library fayre was a highlight
As mist swirls around the Gorleston rooftops in the January chill, heartwarming memories resurge of the convivial Christmas Fayre at Gorleston Library, surely among the highlights of residents’ festive season.
Held by the Friends of Gorleston Library, the event packed the library with young and old, who appreciated the seasonal refreshments, Sheila Russell of the Friends who organised the Fayre, aided by her assistants, deserves gratitude for her preparation and planning which ensured the success of the event. The smiling faces of the children who took part, especially the two choirs, the Statement Choir, and the Choir of small boys from St Mary’s School will linger long in the memory.
The Fayre was opened by local councillors Barbara Wright and Marlene Fairhead who later toured the numerous stalls which offered gifts, cards, crafts, seasonal items, cakes, goodies and more. No-one will forget Dawn Taylor’s wonderful cake!
Fritton Owl Sanctuary brought a snowy owl and a certain important character brought a sack of gifts, Great Yarmouth Handbell Ringers lent an authentic atmosphere and the Faye Bedford Dancers delighted. GOSH mounted a display of archival material of Old Gorleston. All who supported the event or who helped in any way are warmly thanked. Proceeds amounted to £967.
Glass houses and stones question?
Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, has returned to the front bench with a Shadow Treasury role following a reshuffle by Jeremy Corbyn.
Brandon Lewis, Conservative MP for Great Yarmouth, criticised this move saying: “This reshuffle shows yet again that Labour will not just fail to confront abusive behaviour, but they will reward it.”
At the Labour Party conference in 2017, Clive Lewis had made a deeply offensive misogynistic remark, for which he apologised and the offence has not been repeated. I expect Mr Lewis feels he has claimed the moral high ground in criticising Clive Lewis’s promotion.
I wonder, therefore, why Mr Lewis was silent when Jo Johnson appointed Toby Young as a board member of the new higher education watchdog, foreign secretary Boris Johnson described him as the ideal man for the job, and Theresa May backed him to continue in the job. This was the Toby Young who repeatedly, over many years, made deliberately provocative, controversial, misogynistic comments about women, class and education. Was this not rewarding abusive behaviour? Thankfully he resigned from the post following an outcry from many quarters.
A further reward for abusive behaviour is Theresa May’s invitation to Donald Trump to visit Britain. His misogynistic comments have achieved worldwide fame but the PM continues to say he is welcome to visit.
I haven’t heard Brandon Lewis criticising the Prime Minister for issuing the invitation.
There is a well known saying that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Take note Mr Lewis.
Open Christmas was the best ever
Open Christmas Great Yarmouth would like to say an enormous thank you to all of the sponsors and volunteers who made the 2017 event the best so far.
Almost 400 guests were served and entertained in the new venue – the sports hall at the Marina Centre.
Christmas is a challenging time for many people – especially those who have difficult lives for a wide variety of reasons. The feedback we had from many guests was that Open Christmas gave them something to look forward to and help them make it through their problems. Coming through the doors they find a warm welcome and the chance to meet and talk to people and have a few hours when they are not alone with free delicious food and entertainment.
Of these, it is often the companionship and chance to talk they value the most. That is why they come back year after year, including many who go on to become volunteer helpers.
The many people who work hard to provide support in the organisation and on the day know how much need we meet and how much our efforts are valued, but we would also like to thank all of the individuals, organisations and companies who give generously to make the day possible.
If you want to see what your support provides, please visit our website at www.openchristmasgreatyarmouth.org/ or our Facebook page “Open Christmas Great Yarmouth” which also includes details of all of those who gave us such great support.
The list of supporters is too long to include here, but we should mention Sentinel Trust and Great Yarmouth Council who provide the venue and Norse who support the cooking. However, everyone who helped make the day possible – no matter how small their contribution – should feel proud of themselves for supporting such a great and much needed event. That includes the guests – they give as much to each other in companionship and camaraderie as they get from Open Christmas.
We have already started planning for the 2018 event and are confident it will be an even greater success than this year. Thank you all and best wishes for 2018.
Tourism world domination bid?
First a planned new river crossing then the new Premier Inn and Edge leisure complex underway and now Great Yarmouth is to become a luxury cruise ship port.
The town’s future must surely be golden. Will Regent Road become the new Ramblas and Scroby Sands morph into Palm Island? A new Venetian Hotel maybe on TownH Quay with gondolas punting up and down the Yare while Lydia Eva takes on the role of a Mississippi Paddle Steamer.
Watch out Orlando, Great Yarmouth is coming after you, world tourist domination is in our sights.
Cruise ships? I am still laughing
I was delighted to read in the Mercury about the cruise ships visiting Great Yarmouth on sightseeing visits and what interesting sights they will see.
There are chip stalls and burger stalls with giant seagulls waiting to attack and 95pc of shops closed down.
But they could have a guided tour of the banks and charity shops and oh yes, the mobility scooter races they have round the town and to round it all off, they can gather round the puppet man. To be honest I haven’t stopped laughing since I read it. At least it brightened my day up.
I am now wondering how many of these passengers will ask for a refund.
V SAVORY Barnard Road,
Mercury reunited family members
To my dearest cousin Norma. Hi Norma, It is about 25 years since you were highlighted in this paper. I just want you to know that it was the greatest thing to happen as we have become so close since then. You know I love you very much indeed as I tell you weekly. Thank you very much for the great effort you made to travel to Liverpool for my 80th birthday recently.
That was a long trip to make alone. You are a diamond and I appreciate it. So, I will speak to you at the weekend as usual. We can think back to our reunion and thank the newspaper that brought it about. Love you.
We pick up the Common dog mess
Regarding Southtown Common and the footballers, could I just point out that every Sunday match day someone from the club has to do a pitch walk, be it a manager or players walking the pitch, due to the amount of dog mess that we have to pick up. As far as I’m aware the signs say dogs to be kept on leads at all times. Also the footballers are not using the Common all week and are not responsible for all the mess.
Lots of history for visitors to see here
I was glad to hear that Great Yarmouth is to be visited by a cruise ship between May and September. This town has lots of history and things to do and I can think of many itineraries for the passenger to do, especially around Lord Nelson.
Coach trips, and walking trips could be set up to follow in his footsteps, when he came to Great Yarmouth in the 1800s.
We have one of the best preserved medieval town walls in England which dates from 1261 and this would make a wonderful attraction for visitors and parties of tourists from the cruise ship.
But these town walls need to be shown off at their best and kept in good condition especially around the Market Gates area.
Some tours could include the Roman influence, starting at Caister-on-sea Roman fort which guarded the north of the estuary, and then end up at Burgh Castle, which guarded the south of the estuary.
I believe there is a possible Roman structure at Reedham which may have been a ligh house.
Many tours could go further a field within the Norfolk and Suffolk areas.
We need to bring our Market Place back to life. We need to encourage stalls back and not have a car park in the middle, this could be a good tourist attraction.
Show off our St Nicholas Minster to the full, with a detailed history, this tour could include the Priory Centre, which is of great importance to the town.
The cruise guests could be picked up by horsedrawn landaus, and taken down our lovely seafront.
They could go to Caister-on-sea treacle mines. When I was young I always thoughts that’s where Ken Dodd’s diddymen lived.
Anyway, we have lovely nature walks which could be organised to show off this beautiful countryside we live in.
At least this town is starting to move forward; with the airshow and now cruise ships. Unfortunately our biggest problem is the weather and our transport network in and out of my lovely home town. But fingers crossed this new venture takes off.
Who decided to wash the gutters?
If the current roadworks gridlock in the borough is not enough... who on earth decided it was a good idea to power wash the gutters and drains at 7.30am yesterday (Tuesday) along Gapton Hall road? Madness.
No signage, no warnings, not even a manual stop/go sign. Just more traffic chaos during the peak of the daily commuter run.
Stupidity and incompetence does not sum up what’s happening for business in the town.
TERRY E BLYTH
EU funding could pose market risk
After all the negotiations between our PM and the EU over trading deals, is there any logic in market traders in Great Yarmouth due to get a major funding boost from Europe to help revitalise historic markets, one of nine throughout the country and France.
Great Yarmouth has been handed more than 224,000 euros with additional support provided from Great Yarmouth Borough Council, not the county council!
The Great Yarmouth Town Centre Partnership will work closely with market traders as well as 14 other project partners in both countries.
The project is being named Go Trade, which is worth more than five million euros as an investment.
Is it not a bit risky for us to take a contract like this on without further consultations, leaving ourselves open for a big payback at the end of Brexit.
Let us not tie ourselves to anything without the backing of some other authority. At this stage is it wise to get involved in a cross channel partnership?