Letters, 25 April 2014

Anyone recall boatman Skins?

I wonder if I could use your paper to ask if any of your readers remember a character called Skins. He boated the Yare/Breydon Water area in the 1950/1960s. He used a small boat with a motor and had a dog (who appeared to me to be permanently asleep) in the bow of his boat.

He was a friend of my grandfather and must have been in his 70s or 80s at the time I’m talking about. I’m afraid I do not know the gentleman’s real name. I would love to have any information about him.



Why the Gapton width restriction?

As I see another lorry getting stuck at the Gapton width restriction, with a mile of traffic back to Great Yarmouth, I wonder why is it there?

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Just the other side of this embarrassment is Rainbow stores, the filling station and the road on to Burgh Castle, farms etc.

All the heavy goods traffic for these has to go down Burgh Road at 20mph past the schools with all the school run traffic. Why? Our roads are bad enough without this unnecessary hold up. It’s time to clear the road says this Bradwell resident!



Council should see road’s value

In response to the letter about Regent Road, I would agree on many of the points the author raised. I think it’s about time the local council saw the value of this busy holiday road, especially when the town centre is failing so badly.

Regent Road is unique, nowhere else in Britain is there a road that has a 100pc occupancy and full of independent businesses. It should be nurtured by the council and maintained. Also it should be policed.

Without Regent Road, Great Yarmouth will fail. The holiday industry is the only industry we have left and without Regent Road it will collapse.

Stop the traffic coming down the road during opening hours before there is an accident, paint and maintain the street furniture, remove the public information pillars as they are left blank and in disrepair, clamp down on the few rogue traders that operate.

Come on Yarmouth council, step up and do your job, it’s not rocket science, it’s simply looking after the gem of a place you have.


Woodcraft Gifts,

Regent Road,

Great Yarmouth

Thanks for all the assistance

May I through your letters page thank all the people who came to my assistance when I fell outside Christchurch on Deneside last Wednesday morning. A lady and gentleman were really helpful and our wonderful ambulance service transported me to the James Paget Hospital as pain free as possible and last but not least to thanks all the staff from the town hall who also came to my rescue.

Thank you all so very much for all you did in my hour of need, and for caring.


Ecclestone Close,


Shops don’t want us ‘cluttering’

The letter about shortage of seating for OAP’s in the supermarkets struck a cord. Of course these stores don’t want people cluttering up the shop.

Once you have filled your basket or trolley, put it through the self service check out, packed your own goods and paid over your money, they just want to get you out of the place to make room for the next customer.

We are all to blame for this sorry state of affairs, because we turned our backs on our local shops. The only consolation is the fact the “chair removers” will one day be old, and by that time, the customer might also be expected to stack the shelves as well!



Allowed to drift into a ‘Wild West’

I read with interest the letter in last week’s Mercury regarding the decline of Regent Road.

My family has been trading on Regent Road since 1970 and it seems quite simple that all we need is for the borough council to enforce the existing laws, and bring in new ones where necessary, to take us forward so its character is not lost forever.

Regent Road has, for many years, been the poor relation compared with the town centre. Whilst it is very unique in that the shops are mostly occupied and independently owned, the borough council and Norfolk County Council have let it drift into what is now the ”Wild West”.

Since pedestrianisation in 1985, drivers have consistently ignored the traffic signs without being penalised and parking cannot be regulated as there is not a “traffic parking order” in force on the road.

Alterations to shop fronts, change of use, new shop signs, banners of every size appear ad hoc. I think that being having been unmonitored for so long and with the enormity of the problem, the relevant council departments must be thinking “if we ignore it – it might go away.”

Regent Road was always known for its shops but today more and more traders want to rent the shop for storage and use just the forecourt for trading. Is this the way we are going?

In May 1985 the scheme to pedestrianise the road started. At that point, the Mercury reported the then county highways divisional surveyor as saying: “It did not mean that shopkeepers could extend their stalls out on to the pavements. We will be working in conjunction with the police to keep stringent checks on this. Goods could well be removed if they are sold on the highway”. If the policy has now changed, then this should be formalised so we can all take advantage of the opportunity.

You certainly can’t blame the traders as we are all trying to make a living in difficult trading times. We all want to put our goods under the customers’ noses – however by pushing the boundaries –are we creating nothing more than a street market?

Perhaps the local councillors and MP should wake up and “smell the sausages”. Take a walk down our famous road with the relevant council department officers and they too could then see how the area has changed. We leave the Regent Road Traders meetings full of hope but this hope soon dies as the enormity of the problem pokes its heads over the A boards.


The Gift House,

Regent Road,

Great Yarmouth

Excellent care at Northgate GP unit

I have never before felt compelled to write a letter, however following the recent death of my father, who spent his last few weeks of life in the GP Unit at Northgate Hospital, I feel I should.

The care he received was second to none. Every single member of staff, no matter what their job description, carried out their duties with compassion and professionalism. In what must often be very difficult and distressing situations they always manage a smile, a kind word and the rapport they have with patients is excellent. So on behalf of not only myself and family, but also my late father, I would like to thank all the staff at the GP Unit at Northgate for the excellent work they do on a daily basis.



Our own talent helps raise £2k

On the evening that Britain’s Got Talent returned to our television screens, St George’s Theatre showcased the tremendous variety of talent to be found in Great Yarmouth with “Live @ St. George’s TAKE 2”.

I would like to sincerely thank all the performers, together with the staff and volunteers of St George’s for their help and enthusiasm with the production. Also, a big thank you to everyone who bought tickets and gave so generously with the collection at the end of the show. Not forgetting the enormous help given by the Mercury’s publicity.

A total of £2,000 was raised by the event which will be shared equally between Cancer Research UK and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.



Yes to more dropped kerbs

More dropped kerbs? Letters, April 18. Yes please. As a user of a walking aid, I would certainly welcome them.


Marine Parade,


Bus waiting game frustrating

I think the local bus companies should read about my experience.

A friend gave me a lift to Martham where I got the First bus to Caister. After shopping in the village, I got onto the No 8 but the driver said the bus had broken down and we would have to wait for the No 1.

We waited, and the No 1 turned up but the driver barked out orders that only those with an appointment at the hospital could get on as it was standing room only. Everyone else would have to wait. People with all sorts of disabilities were forced to stand up to go to the James Paget. I understood the reason for waiting.

Eventually another No 8 turned up and I was able to obtain a seat. I would have put this down to bad luck but worse was to come.

The No 8 took me to Great Yarmouth where I carried out my business. I intended getting the Sanders 1.35pm back but by 2pm it had not turned up. So I decided to get the 2.45pm and went for a coffee to wait.

I came out of the café at 2.30pm only to be passed by the Sanders 2.45pm – 15 minutes early!

I thank the bus companies for costing me £20 in taxi fares. Train companies get fined for late arrivals and it is about time the playing field was made even and same applied to bus companies.

As a senior citizen I can ill afford £20 for a taxi. And if I was a holidaymaker I definitely would not return to Norfolk.



We need more one-bed homes

Re house building off Salisbury Road, Great Yarmouth.

This “prime” land has been looked at on numerous occasions with the intent to build houses. As pictures show, it is a narrow piece of land, needing a road, which may make the house building less viable. Yarmouth Borough Council values its good relationship with Saffron Housing which has presented a plan that meets the needs of our residents, including those affected by changes to housing benefit and under-occupation.

Currently we have 512 applicants in our housing allocations pool. Of these applicants 42pc require one bed properties, 37pc require two bed properties. 63pc of these applicants have a need for one bed properties with ground floor accommodation and 22pc have a need for ground floor two bed properties.

The Saffron Housing application mirrors these needs - with a plan for 8x1 bed bungalows, 2x2 bed bungalows and 2x2 bed houses.

An access road exits onto Salisbury Road, and another onto Drake Avenue. Schoolchildren will be able to access Barnard Avenue more safely, as we expect a drop in flytipping. There will also be short-term parking for customers using the local store.

The council will be saving, and gaining, with the new homes bonus. Residents will have a community asset, with the land cleared and access made easier.

With regard to the old railway stations, the council’s conservation team has worked hard with Miriam Kikis to bring the bridge to the station back to life and the Matthew Harrison mural depicting our railway heritage is a dream.

Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society has been busy acknowledging railway station sites of the past, with blue plaques, like the one to commemorate Southtown Station. Local children have included the station in the mural they painted, again with Matthew, at Lichfield Park. Maybe this can be repeated at the Salisbury Road site?


Cabinet member for communities,

Great Yarmouth Borough Council

More homes = more traffic

I read the report about the new road which has been given the green light to connect the A143 and the A12 and it is good news for the traffic. However, building another 1,000 homes will create more traffic. Has the council considered the impact on the James Paget Hospital which is already struggling to cope?


Great Yarmouth

Visitors are put ahead of locals

I regret I must have missed any article in the Mercury telling us that the council had decided to remove the four tennis courts on the North Drive, Great Yarmouth.

I do recall seeing it had been decided to expand the current North Drive car park, and saw the work proceeding, but until a week or two ago, did not dream that this would totally eliminate such a valuable local sports facility.

I would invite the councillor, within whose ward were these courts, to explain this decision, which by doing so, leaves those who used to enjoy a game there, having to use the dilapidated “facility” on the Wellesley. Until now, when there were other options available, the inadequacy of the Wellesley “facility” was relatively unimportant.

Our councillors, once again have put the needs of the holidaymakers ahead of the local people who enjoy a game of tennis and have not offered any alternatives.

There were other options, of course. One would have been the vast unused space north of the Outer Harbour, which would have made an excellent Park and Ride, at last putting the area to some good use for the town.

As a gesture, may I suggest the council puts a few pounds made from the car parking on our lost courts towards improving the Wellesley “facility”. A new net, a clean up, removal of moss etc. and better general maintenance on a regular basis would be welcome.



Please help host French visitors

On Saturday, June 7, we are expecting a group of friends from our French twin town of Rambouillet for a short weekend visit. They depart on the following Monday, usually about 9am.

Sadly, we have not had enough offers of accommodation and Sue, our hosts organiser is becoming anxious. So, Great Yarmouth, we need your help to maintain our record of hospitality to visitors. Can anyone help us by offering beds for one or two of our visitors?

We have a very relaxed weekend of events planned, a free day on Saturday to perhaps enjoy some of the Arts Festival exhibitions and the concert in the Minster in the evening. Sunday we have an optional history walk followed in the afternoon by a garden party at Rollesby, and dinner and entertainment in the evening.

Lack of spoken French should be no problem as most of our friends, especially the young, have some English. It all adds to the fun!

Please contact Sue Knight on 01493 664140 if you can help give our friends a warm welcome and a pleasant weekend.


Chairman, Great Yarmouth and Rambouillet Twinning Association

Reply to Regent Road comments

With regards to the person’s remarks on traffic using Regent Road outside of designated times, I totally agree, and heavy fines should be imposed. And these restrictions should be 48 weeks of the year, with a four- week period where parking is permitted at the start of the season, enabling traders to prepare for the season.

Barriers as suggested would be a great idea, which would also save on policing. As for someone to open and close these barriers, perhaps the same person who locks and unlocks the cemetery gates daily could do this.

I agree it is only a matter of time before someone is hurt, plus the road looks terrible from a trading point of view with cars and lorries at all angles.

As I stated in my previous letter, I believe the answer is to do away with the pedestranised areas at Regent Road and around the market, as these have killed off these areas. But if they are here to stay, the above must be done as soon as possible.

As far as signs and canopies are concerned, we have people trying to earn a living the only way they know how, and I don’t mean treat it as a free for all, but most act within the law. It’s only a couple taking the juice. And since the new inspector has been looking, it seems to have reined them in.

It is also not illegal to compare with High Street brands in this country, all the big boys do it every night on the TV. And as your reader rightly states, traders are comparing and not stating that is what they are offering.

Closing down sales are commonplace and not just in Regent Road, it seems to be a way of saying “We have some fantastic prices on offer”, and I don’t think the public is fooled.

As for food hygiene certificates, I am sure the council would not let any person offer food for sale without one, and I am also confident the traders would not sell without one, but they should have certificates on show for all to see. Come on traders get them signs up.

As for the reference to the street market on the southern side, I assume your reader is referring to Regent Road Indoor Market, which I am the owner of, and have spent in the region of £200k making it into something Regent Road can be proud of. And as for the traders who rent my shops at the front of the market, they are all trading within the white line and observing council rules.

May I also mention that Regent Super Bowl is under new management, and has invested a similar amount improving the facilities on offer.

That is the best part of £500k this year being invested on Regent Road, and this investment should be welcomed. Some traders on Regent Road have been trading for 30 years plus, and have not invested a penny in all that time (a coat of paint is not an investment ) but are ready to criticise those who do.

As to the reference of Regent Road being in a conservation area, a great part of Yarmouth is a designated conservation area, and Regent Road is no better or worse.

And as far as knocking the council for their apparent lack of control over this area, I think this is very unfair, as the council always seem to step in when need be, for example they have appointed an inspector to police the area, I have met this gentleman and he is doing a grand job.

I can only assume the person writing last week’s letter is well known to fellow traders, and that is the reason why their name was withheld. Open forum should always be the way forward, with everyone having their view, and not name withheld.


Regent Road Indoor Market,

Great Yarmouth

North Yarmouth lacking facilities

I fully agree with Penny Carpenter with her ideas on North Denes. The area could have further promotion with wildlife magazines and nature programmes like the BBC’s Countryfile to add to the ideas put forward by Penny.

There are many associations around Britain that may benefit with visits to this area. I am sure the Tourist Authority has all the relevant information of bird clubs, nature programmes and indeed schools both in Yarmouth and beyond.

May I also add the borough council is not doing its duty for the residents of North ward; the area north of Sandown Road is lacking in facilities and thus looking rather sad. Given we have a Haven holiday centre what do our hallowed visitors think, and are they aware of what is on the dunes?

The Waterways must have some potential for a budding businessman so my plan for councillors is never mind the millions spent on our dreary seafront and the car park that is Regent Road, look after your local ward and share the residents’ concerns and you will have a safe seat.

In conclusion I would like to thank Mr West for beginning the resurfacing roadworks on the Newtown estate; this was chippings over tar and not tarmac, but small beginnings…



Great Yarmouth