Great Yarmuth Mercury readers’ letters March 16, 2018

Coastal erosion hits large parts of Hemsby beach.Picture: Nick Butcher

Coastal erosion hits large parts of Hemsby beach.Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Beach praised, and then it’s scoured

Contrasting stories in last week’s paper.

Page 18, Hemsby’s golden beach one of the best in the UK on popular travel website.

Page 6, Hemsby’s beach is scoured away by recent storms.

Page 78, New threat as minister heads for Hemsby Beach.(Sorry, I made that one up)

To counteract all this, the really good cuckoo news is that PJ was last tracked, on February 28, in the west of the Ivory Coast, where he is preparing for his desert crossing. Last year he set off on this in the first week of April and he may well do the same again this year.

Follow his progress on www

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Collingwood Road,

Great Yarmouth

Tories rejected bid for beach huts

The borough council’s investment in new beach huts in Gorleston should be a great success.

But I can’t help feeling aggrieved at how Yarmouth was so badly treated when the very same Tory councillors time after time resisted an equally good case to set aside spaces for privately-owned beach huts on the promenade between Salisbury Road and Sandown Road.

As opposition leader on the council in 2005 I made the case for up to 100 spaces being allocated on the promenade alongside the Waterways and Boating Pool, close to tea huts, public toilets (and now a new board walk) to bring new life into the quieter North Beach area - and potentially generating up to £50,000 per annum in rent/licence fees to help properly maintain the Waterways and North Beach public areas to a good standard.

The scheme I championed had similarities with what the Tories are now proposing in Gorleston but the key difference is that private money would have sustained it without the need for £170,000 of council monies to be spent to get it off the ground.

Local hut manufacturers were to have erected “show huts” on the promenade - wide fronted as is the case in Sheringham - with an initial roll-out of 20 spaces where people wanting to erect huts would deal directly with an approved local hut manufacturer to secure purchase and erection of their own hut.

The role of the council was confined to setting standards in terms of the specification of the huts, terms of usage and the supply of water taps at strategic positions. Owners were to be responsible for insuring and maintaining their huts - but the value of these would increase over time.

While Jane Ratcliffe was chief executive the idea was resurrected in the context of the early bidding for funds to regenerate the Waterways. Darren Barker and his conservation team worked up drawings for Edwardian-style beach huts to enhance the ambience of the Waterways gardens being restored to their 1920s glory.

Once again local Tory councillors ensured this aspect was not progressed.

I hope they will think again because whilst the regeneration of the Waterways and boating pool has enormous public support local people have real doubts about the sustainability of the improved facility unless a new income stream can be generated to pay for its maintenance over time.


County Councillor

Yarmouth North and Central

Kindness of people after cat killed

I would like to say a sincere thank you to Megan and the rest of the staff at the Veterinary Hospital, Magdalen Way, for their kindness and compassion following the recent loss of my very much loved cat Toby, knocked over and killed on March 6

Also a big thank you to the kind lady who had the decency to wrap him in a towel and pick him up off the roadside and then go to Facebook with the information. This resulted in a neighbour reading it and coming to tell me so I could go and collect him.

At least I knew, rather than having let him out and him never coming home and the all the worrying and wondering that would have given me.


Beccles Road,


Stationary bus will hold up traffic

The new link Road from the A47 (previously A12) to Bradwell should, by now result in a reduction of traffic cutting through the estates.

However, the positioning of the two bus stops, directly opposite each other, with a bollard island in the middle (Keep Left signs) means that every time one bus or the other stops, all traffic following behind will not be permitted to pass the stationary bus.

Not a very good idea when trying to keep traffic flowing without needless hold ups.

Name and Address withheld

My father was in workmen photograph

In reference to the photo of the Mercury of workmen at Burgh Castle. I think the person fifth from the left is of my father Basil Sayer (no s on the end). I was born April 1929 and we lived at Burgh St Peter. I went to Burgh Castle School when was five, so I think we moved to Back Lane, Burgh Castle, when I was four. That would make the photo dated as 1933 onwards.

MICHAEL SAYER Chesnut Avenue,


Dog mess putting eyesight at risk

I’ve lived on Elm Avenue for quite some time and over the years more and more people are letting their dogs off the lead on the green putting children’s eyesight at a lot of risk from the parasite that lives in dogs poop.

I emailed many times the dog warden but he says we need evidence of people not clearing up the poop. I have sent photos of people letting their dogs roam freely but no way they can find the poop.

I emailed the local MP about the problem but they said the walkers are quite within their right to let their dogs off the lead.

My concern is children playing on the green not the dogs, and dogs and children don’t mix. It’s either dogs and no children or children and no dogs.



Erosion of dunes and a community

As a resident of the Marrams in Hemsby who witnessed the devastating destruction of the storms in 2013, I was dismayed to read the council’s statement in last week’s Mercury in response to the storms two weekends ago.

Now with less than 10ft behind homes on the Marrams and the entrance to the beach in tatters, terms such as community-led survey, phased study and future options showed no signs of the urgency needed for this very immediate threat.

Hemsby doesn’t have time for more talking we need action. Sea defences need to be in place by next year’s Spring high tides or we may once again see people’s homes strewn across one of Britain’s most beautiful beaches.

The reality is we already have the solution and clearly the community has spoken. Through people power, over £100k of funds have been raised, and the trial blocks put in place, this is no mean feat in the face of bureaucracy and red tape.

The trial blocks proved themselves in the last storms, so now the council and other relevant agencies need to support this communities desire to protect itself, get behind the solution to this problem and green light the rolling out of the blocks.

It’s positive to read of the various investments and large infrastructure projects taking place in the local area, but we must also protect what we already have. Not only are we seeing the erosion of the sand dunes in Hemsby, but also the erosion of a community, a seaside economy and an important part of what makes Norfolk such a special place to both visit and live in.

This is a cry for help, and a call to the relevant authorities, please take immediate action and save Hemsby from being condemned to the North Sea.



Traffic lights are causing hold-ups

Nice to see the roadworks on the A47 at the JPH are nearly finished. But the problem is Great Yarmouth Council and Norfolk County Council have not addressed the problem with the traffic lights at Bridge Road and Brasenose Avenue.

There needs to be a filter traffic light installed as traffic turning right onto the A47 is held up and sometimes only two cars can make the right turn before the lights turn to red. It is even worse on the school runs in the morning and afternoon.

Not once has GYBC or NCC consulted anybody in the area. The GYBC councillors are forgetting that election time is coming and the rate they are performing there is a good chance they can be voted out.



Brickworks and a footpath dispute

The photograph and correspondence about the Burgh Castle brickworks has greatly interested me because my grandfather, Kenneth Arthur Cockrill, owned it at one time and it was he who felled the brickyard chimney.

The photograph of the Burgh Castle men on page 38 of the Mercury (March 9) may well relate to the Burgh Castle footpath dispute; see below.

I will draw on my late father’s memories as dictated to me:

Around about 1928, when Kenneth Cockrill was running the poultry farm at Hillcroft, he saw and took the chance to buy the old Burgh Castle brickyard together with 20 acres of land. The idea of holiday camps was just coming in and he took Mr Pratt of Burgh Castle into partnership and, in one winter, he, Mr Pratt and almost all the Houghtons built kitchens, hard standing for marquee plus huts etc; there were already three rather tumbledown houses there. The dining hall was a marquee on a concrete base.

One exercise was to fell the brickyard chimney; it was about 100ft high and 12-14ft square outside its base. He cut away and wedged with wood about two feet of supporting brickwork round just over half of the base then set fire to the wood to fell the chimney. It fell fairly cleanly although it broke just over half way up.

The bricks were in quite soft mortar and it took Jack Everard about six to eight weeks to clean most of them for re-use in building the kitchen and other buildings on site.

There was good swimming in the river at high tide and we had an area roped off, about where the sailing club. Dad also learned about rowing in tidal waters; towing motorboats stuck in the mud on Breydon, and doing an early morning milk round to the boats.

Although it was a wonderful summer for Dad, it was a very bad one for Kenneth Cockrill, my grandad, because of the Burgh Castle footpath case.

He had bought the property as allegedly clear of any footpath or public right of way along the river; the village claimed otherwise.

As fast as my grandfather fenced the camp, villagers broke a hole by the river, always at the south end. Eventually he and the Houghtons built a barricade of brick, railway sleepers, concrete and all sorts and, in the full glare of publicity, the villagers arrived at 10am Sunday morning and proceeded to tear it down. Are these the men that the photograph records? Meanwhile, the parish council were taking action in the county court and the case was presented and was thrown out but with leave for the villagers to appeal to the High Court.

My grandfather began to get cold feet at the escalating costs and fell out with Mr Pratt when he rejected a compromise, acceptable to the villagers, so he sold out his share to Mr Pratt. The case was eventually heard in London, a coach load of villagers, went off to give evidence and Mr Pratt lost his case at the High Court. There was a great deal of this reported in the contemporary issues of the Mercury.

I would love to hear from others who may be able to add detail or photographs to my family and local history by contacting me on or 01493 667709.


Lowestoft Road,


Thanks for help after wife’s fall

I would like to thank the ambulance crew who attended to my wife after she had an accident falling down the stairs.

While I was running around like a headless chicken they were cool, calm, and very efficient at their job. As were the nurses in A&E when we arrived.

I didn’t manage to thank them all at the time as I was probably still in ‘panic mode’ so thanks to you all. Help was there when we needed it, and we needed it that day!



Super-rich need more than elderly

I am not sure which Conservative MPs are members of the Magic Circle but some amazing sleight of hand tricks are going on.

The Conservatives love to tell us how they help the “just managing” with tax cuts. The recent announcements of council tax increases to save local services are necessary due to Government grant cuts. Council tax is, however, regressive and not related to the ability to pay and will impact on lower income more than the wealthier ones.

The value of homes is even capped so the really wealthy will not have to pay too much. Not only is central government transferring central taxation to local councils, councils are increasing charges for services. Likewise, NHS charges, rail fares, some car taxes, passport charges and insurance tax have been increased. Student loan interest rates increased with repayments starting at salaries of £25k pa, which is hardly a high salary when you seek to buy your first home. So much for reducing tax.

Meanwhile, we pay more to see our services under pressure with our roads in a right mess, social services under pressure, school budgets, NHS under immense pressure and the future of NHS is clearly not safe in Conservative hands.

There is the issue of whether the council makes good use of our money. A quarter of a million pounds spent on the ice rink for 7,000 users for a few weeks. This could have been invested in more permanent use.

My suggestion is light displays through the shopping streets which could been developed each year. How much has been wasted on the incinerator and Norwich relief road? It will be interesting to see how the current roadworks will benefit the town - some will but others look dubious value for money. Is spending money on seaside huts, a good use of our taxes?

I have not forgotten how the Conservatives cut the pensioners’ age tax allowance whilst giving the super rich their tax cuts. Obviously their need is greater than the old.

Are the Conservatives really helping the “just managing”?


Victoria Street,


Doddy never swore and never smutty

The news that Ken Dodd has died is sad news. I had seen him perform at the London Palladium when I was 17 and his supporting act were the Barron Knights. He was on stage piling out the one-liners for 90 minutes solid but this was small fry compared to some his performances.

I first met in August 1972 and interviewed him at the Playhouse Theatre, London where his Sunday afternoon comedy show was recorded for Radio 2. His quick wit was with him during my 10-minute interview, when I asked him what does it take to be a comedian he replied: “We’ve all got the ability to be a comedian, we must to live here!”

He actually started as a ventriloquist and made his first professional appearance in 1954.

When we had returned from Canada, as I knew his then producer Bobby Jaye, my wife and I were invited to the Playhouse again to watch the actual recording of his Sunday afternoon show in 1975. After the show we all went to the local watering hole and I chatted to everyone involved in the show, there were no pretensions, all very natural. In that performance for one of the comedy skits they needed a name of a country town. At the time I was writing for the paper in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire - and that became the name used but not in an ambiguous way at all.

While I was working at the Yarmouth Mercury I recall it was advertised he was to appear at the Marina Theatre, Lowestoft - and tickets sold out within hours.

He said that working for the live audience was best of all, although he was reticent about working at the London Palladium, he needn’t have worried.

We’ll miss his ticking stick, his diddy men and the jokes. He was an icon who always put his audience first, he has made audiences laugh for seven decades, never smutty, never swore and that’s something that today’s comedians will never be able to match. I am honoured to have met him. RIP Ken.


Former producer

BBC Radio 2 Arts and Jazz,

North Walsham

Yellow lines are there for a reason

Would you please re-assure Jenny Oxborough that in no way do I doubt the genuine reasons for disabled people to have blue badges and I certainly did not intend it to sound as if I was mocking herself and others in the same position.

It is just the fact that yellow lines are on the roads for a genuine reason ie the smooth flow of traffic without obstruction. Therefore (in my opinion) no-one should be allowed to park on the lines and I repeat, this is just my opinion.


Cherry Close,


Foodbank apology for turning away

In reply to Alyson Corey (Letters, March 2). First, we would like to apologise to Alyson who wrote concerning her experience at her local foodbank. It is not our policy to turn anyone’s offers away. That was a mistake and it shouldn’t have happened.

However this is what we aim to do and again we apologise where we have fallen short. We try to provide everyone referred with a food parcel for six days and extra food from Tesco and Foodshare including fresh baked goods, fruit, vegetables and sometimes fresh eggs.

We are also very grateful to Morrison’s and Greggs for bread and cakes and extras for their weekly contributions to people in need.

A big part of what we do is offering advice about where to access help with the cause of the crisis. We invite people in to have a seat, a cuppa, biscuits, and a chat about local services and where to access help.

These links with local agencies and charities are really important to us because working together across the community means people at risk of hunger are linked into emergency support faster. We also deliver emergency food boxes to those not able to get out or disabled. At the same time, we’re also determined to address the bigger issues and challenge the reasons why people struggle to afford food. We engage constantly with our local council and neighbourhood groups.

Everyone says our church is welcoming, and that’s just how we want it to feel.

We are all volunteers and we will try to continue to be here for people whilst we’re still needed, but at the same time we’ll continue to keep working towards our ultimate goal: seeing an end to the need for our foodbank in Great Yarmouth.

Unfortunately we fell short and this particular visitor left feeling unappreciated. That was not our intention and again we are so sorry and invite you to come again and meet us over a cuppa.


Great Yarmouth Foodbank

Cobholm paths in a terrible state

I am writing to complain about all the footpaths in Cobholm that are terrible for old people to walk on.

Can someone explain how they can spend thousands of pounds on the seafront up North denes, where very few people walk. Every path from Gatacre Road to tesco is bad. Come on council, remember your residents and noy only the holidaymakers.

Name and Address withheld

Apology over gift thanks omission

Re the letter last week, “No thanks for my donation of wool” from a reader.

May I take this opportunity to apologise to the correspondent for not receiving one of our thank-you cards when she kindly called at the centre with a donation of wool for our knitting group.

In the five years that we have been open we have prided ourselves on acknowledging all donations.

We will review our procedures to ensure this is not repeated in future.


Interim Manager, Palliative Support Services, James Paget University Hospitals

Louise Hamilton Centre