Letters, 28 October 2011

Cars are danger

to children

THE proposal to extend car parking along the Gorleston Lower Promenade must be opposed. Please will readers write to the Planning Authority as well as to the Mercury? The area that they are proposing to utilise is so valuable as an open space where people including children and disabled can meander and play freely and safe from the dangers of traffic. I am also most worried about any suggestion that would increase the traffic going back and forth in front of the shops. Already there is the danger of people, may of them young children, crossing from the beach to the shops and back threading their way through a mix of moving and stationary cars. Providing more parking beyond the shops will make this danger even worse. This application must be opposed by all means possible.


Lowestoft Road


Gresham Close:

Most Read

No parking!

I WOULD like to make it clear that Gresham Close, near the James Paget University Hospital, is a restricted parking area, no parking even for blue badges, between 9am and 6pm Monday to Friday. There are signs up and a single yellow line around the close, you will be reported.


Gresham Close


Ah, Lydia Eva

stirs memories

OH, the work was hard and the hours long, and the treatment it sure took some bearing. I would often sleep standing on my feet huntin’ after bonny shoals of herring...

My sisters and I visited the Lydia Eva this summer, the famous floating museum drifter. Credit to the people who keep this boat in such good order. There is a large photo of a crew about 1930-33 displayed in the hold, how very proud we were to see our dad a young man of 20 years the fireman on the Lydia Eva at that time. He described her as “dirty in the waist”. She rode low in the water amid ships, one occasion in a piping gale they made for the Haddock Bank. He got shut down the bunker as all hands fought to keep her afloat. They eventually made it to Yarmouth port safely. Frightening moments like that were part and parcel of life with the steam drifters and those that followed. So come back next year Lydia Eva and keep these hard and hazardous lives of the herring fishermen alive to show the public, visitors, etc what a great fishing port Great Yarmouth used to be. Keep a good light. Oh our dad’s name was Jimmy Coe. It was a great thrill to see her leaving Gorleston on a misty morning on October 1 and brought back so many memories. Thank you to the volunteers who do a grand job. My father’s name was James William Coe (1914-2001).


Mill Lane


Why ignoring

the majority?

IT seems our borough council leader and the rest of the council seem to be ignoring everyone, or do they not read the Mercury. So far, in a short time, they have made a hash of the harbour, supposedly giving this area much-needed jobs, a disaster. Then we have the Pier, and calls to reinstate a very good parking area, and now the proposed parking in a place it isn’t wanted. Why are they ignoring the majority, who may I say, outweigh the minority?

It seems to me this latest fiasco is a ploy to take away other objectives. If we, the people of Great Yarmouth concentrate our efforts on the promenade extended the car park we will forget the issues surrounding the pier, harbour, parking etc.

Plus, very cleverly done, it is to be discussed and voted on by the council just after the date of discussing the pier parking, in what was I am led to believe, which I doubt will happen, an open forum on what Mr Ames has ordered, just to discuss the pier.

I thought we lived in a democracy where people can air their views, cares and worries about decisions being made, supposedly on their behalf. But here in Yarmouth, any open discussion with the people in open forum on any subject concerning them is taboo.

I would have thought our MP Brandon Lewis would have taken a stand here for commonsense. He is, as I am led to believe, someone who cares about Great Yarmouth, it’s environment, jobs and tourism.

Gorleston and Yarmouth used to be a vibrant place to live, now it’s crumbling with stupid ideas that have no bearing on bringing back the joy of living here, and the wanting by tourists to visit.


Yallop Avenue,


I’m tracing my

family roots

I AM trying to find relatives of Susan Smedley. Like a lot of people these days I am interested in my roots. After much research tracing my mother’s side of the family it appears that Susan Smedley is probably my second cousin. I believe we both share the same great grandmother Selina Simcox who was born in Birkenhead and came to Colchester in about 1900. Furthermore what I have found out about our seafaring Irish great great grandfather may be of interest to her family. He was a master mariner sailing square rigged ships from Liverpool to Australia in the mid 1800’s with 400 passengers seeking a new life in the Antipodes. Hoping for a successful contact. I can be contacted at 14 Clover Drive, Thorrington, Colchester, Essex CO7 8HL or call 01206 251557.


Next mayor vote

not until 2021!

DESPITE the speculation in the Mercury Letters about when a new petition might be gathered locally for an Elected Mayor referendum, the reality is a good deal more harsh. An email from the Communities and Local Government Department reveals there can’t be another referendum on the subject in Great Yarmouth until May 2021.

The email states: “You have recently emailed the department regarding the moratorium period before another public petition can be presented for a mayoral referendum in Great Yarmouth. Part II Arrangements with Respect to Executives, sub-section 45, Part 1A of the Local Government Act 2000 states that a local authority in England may not hold more than one referendum in any period of ten years. This will not be amended by the Localism Bill.”


Town Wall Road

Great Yarmouth

Give thought to

the cyclists

I WRITE in response to the letter from Mr Crowther with regard to cyclists’ behaviour on footpaths and in particular Haven Bridge and Market Place. I just wonder if Mr Crowther is aware there is a designated cycle route both sides of Haven Bridge on the south side. All too often pedestrians walk in groups and sometimes three abreast, covering both the pavement and the area designated for cyclists. My wife was passing Matalan the other day on the designated path when a male pedestrian out with a female companion, and walking towards my wife, purposely and very deliberately stepped into my wife’s path causing her to hurriedly jam on the brakes to avoid a nasty collision. It works both ways there are now areas set for cycles that are invaded by pedestrians.

Most of the cyclists on these routes are merely members of the public going about their day to day business and trying to do their bit for the environment by not using the car. The last time I ventured into Yarmouth Market Place it more resembled a grand prix for mobility scooters, being driven far faster than the occupant could ever walk, than a velodrome.

As for the police response to errant cyclists, maybe it’s a price we pay for living in the “safest county in England.” If the police were to devote more time to cycling offences and less to burglars and other career criminals we might have a much less pleasant environment to complain about. It is not about cyclists v pedestrians or mobility scooters but more to do with respect for others.



Fight them on

the beaches

IF the planning application for extra car parking on Gorleston prom is passed, I believe we could be the only seaside place in the country who would have built a car park on the site of what everyone in this town calls “Kiddies’ Corner”.

I understand this application has been prompted by only four or five traders in that area who believe a few more cars immediately adjacent to their shops will increase their trade. Have they considered that this may, in fact, have exactly the opposite effect!

Additionally, possible loss of trade by local hoteliers, public houses, cafes, restaurants, self-catering holiday flats as a result of holiday-makers, seeing their favourite, unspoilt, promenade and beach desecrated, could affect on them.

A bylaw, made on 4th July, 1980, by Great Yarmouth Borough Council in pursuance of Section 83 of the Public Health Amendments Act, 1907, in relation to the restriction of vehicles on seafront promenades, states “No person shall, on any part of the promenades described in Schedules 1 & 2 of this Byelaw, ride or drive any mechanically propelled vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle or other machine, on such promenades at any time.”

Schedule 2 relates to Gorleston, and states “all and every part of the roadway at Gorleston known as the Lower Esplanade, between the sea wall promenade and the foot of the cliffs. And - “all and every part of the roadway known as the ravine, running from Marine Parade, Gorleston, to the Lower Promenade.”

This was signed by the then chief executive officer and the mayor, and then confirmed by the secretary of state, coming into force on February 1, 1981. Can the council please let us know what has changed? Is it the case that as the council made the byelaw, it can also change it at will? Can a request by only four or five people fly in the face of the many hundreds or thousands of ratepayers who do not want their promenade spoilt - probably forever.

To use that well-known phrase uttered by Winston Churchill – we shall fight them on the beaches.

There will be a rally on the lower prom, in front of the yacht pond, at 10.30am tomorrow, Saturday 29. If you do not wish this planning application to be passed and thereby change the face of Gorleston promenade forever, please come along and join us. We have asked the local media as well as television to come along and help us to publicise our cause.


Gorleston Chamber of Trade

Bylaw prohibits

motor vehicles

THE problem of parking in Gorleston is not going to go away. The council has proposed opening up a length of the lower parade to try and deal with the problem. This would entail a change in the bylaw which prohibits the use of the parade by motor vehicles, moving the barriers at present near the boating pool and all sorts of other works (we all know what the council does when jobs like this get started). Then in a year or two’s time the amount of space will be found to be insufficient, so no doubt a little bit more would have to be taken. This process would then carry on until the whole length of the lower parade would be taken up by cars thereby ruining one of the great assets of the resort, to say nothing of the dangers to be suffered by families using the beach.

The problem could be solved much more simply by dealing with its cause, namely the closure of the pier car park. This closure in itself could be illegal as the area has been used as a highway ever since the new pier was built. The erection of the hideous fence around the site is money wasted which could have been diverted to resurfacing work.

It is about time councillors remembered they are elected to govern the town for the benefit of the inhabitants, and for no other purpose. To open up the pier car park again, will make many more car parking places available without the dangers and other disadvantages of parking on the lower parade.


Victoria Road,


Don’t hurt our

pensioner club

IT is with great regret I feel so irate and angry about the proposed plans to vandalism our prom by turning the best part of it into a car park, ie the area in front of the yacht pond and children paddle pool.

Which of course would ruin a prime seafront site.

I am a old aged pensioner (92) and in the summer, once a week The Pensioner Club all meet up, down the sea front, where the seats are, for a reunion and they all come from all over the borough. We relax and take in the fresh sea air and have a good old sing-song, and then take in dinner at the Pier Hotel. I have not told them about the outrageous plans, as it would upset them all, and I would not see them. I know it sounds silly, but when you get old, that’s all you have got to live for. Why would anyone want to spoil our Jewel in the Crown. There is no other seaside place like Gorleston, that’s why I live here.


Marine Parade


Excellent care

at James Paget

OVER the last two years I have had surgery at the James Paget University Hospital on three occasions and on each visit I have found the surgeons and nursing staff to have been excellent.

I have no complaints and following my most recent visit, I wish to say many thanks to all at the Oulton Unit. At the same time I would also like to thank the Falklands Surgery for their first class support. Well done to the James Paget and Falklands Surgery.


Burgh Castle

Special All Souls

Day service

FOR many years I have written to the Mercury at this time of year inviting bereaved relatives to join us for a memorial service in the Parish Church of Caister on Sea for a memorial service on the Sunday evening nearest All Souls Day. This year, with All Souls Day, the November 2, falling on a Wednesday, we are having a change.

There will be no Sunday evening service; instead there will be a Requiem Mass at 9.30am on that Wednesday morning in the Parish Church. As always those who wish to remember their relatives are most welcome to join us and this year the names of those being remembered will be read out as part of the service.

If people would like more information about the service they are invited to contact me, either by calling 01493 720287 or via www.caisteronsea.churchnorfolk.com


Parking plan a

wacky idea

I AM a very concerned resident of Gorleston. Why does our council see the need to spoil our beautiful seafront prom? To keep fit, I jog most days, down the Ravine and along the lower prom and end up where they want to put a car park; how wacky is that, and dangerous. It is normally very busy there, with people walking and children playing. It is a very popular corner and I love it. My dog always comes with me.

I don’t know any other seaside place in the country where they put parking on the prom. Is our council hell bent on ruining the only safe place to be, away from the dangerous weapon, the car.


Marine Parade,


Help with finding

stepfather family

I AM trying to trace my stepfather’s family, believed to be in Belton. I recently found out his father moved to Great Yarmouth after the war. He married Margaret Folkes and had a son named Robert Humphrey born in 1947, who married in 1973 and they had a son born in 1975. It seems Robert’s family moved away from Bramble Gardens, Belton, and I hope someone can help me find them. Please contact me on 01234 743466 or danny.amey@btinternet.com


Prom bylaw

means no cars

IN 1907 far-sighted councillors passed a bylaw to ban motor vehicles from our promenade, with the exception of emergency vehicles. The borough council tells me the promenade belongs to them and they can do what they like despite the bylaw. Is there a legal brain who can tell us the validity of this please?

Introduce cars at a prime focal point which gives a great view down the coast, free of the modern world, and more starts to become less. Forty-four spaces has suddenly been cut to 26 but councillors still don’t seem to get the point. Is there a plan to say once the 26 are installed an appeal will be made for more and when this creates chaos will the southern barrier be opened to exit all the cars via the ravine. Gorleston says one car is too many!

We had a popular car park on the pier but no thought was given to Gorleston parking or the same businesses they are now trying to placate.

This is a knee jerk attempt cover the mistake of not making a covenant for the car park to be an integral part of the pier to remain in perpetuity. It could have been done because GYBC were a party to the negotiations.

Has the council approached Eastport for the return of the car park area, if so what is the result?

A better idea is to use the money allocated for the prom to regenerate and provide better sign posting to the under-used car park near the lifeboat sheds. The current plan should now be abandoned and all parking discussed with residents as our MP envisaged at the meeting on November 21; and the residents meeting will pull it to pieces as we did with the reefs.

The plan was sprung on residents and objections have to be in by November 11. We have to fight this application with people power. The plans are open to view at the town hall now. Objections quoting 06/11/0617SU in writing to P.W. Warner, Head of Planning and Business Services, Town Hall Reception, Town Hall, Hall Plain, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, post or deliver by hand. By internet see www.gorleston-heritage.co.uk for details on a dedicated web page. Don’t forget the rally on the prom at 10.30am on October 29 where another method is available. This badly advised and thought out plan has to be rejected.


Gorleston Action Group

Why does pier

remain closed?

IS it possible the pier car park is just suffering, like the river port, from lack of maintenance; for to my knowledge, since the pay and display was removed in 1986, the pier has been left to rot.

The council in 1986 gave the lease back to Great Yarmouth Port Authority, so cars parked on it until the surface started to break up. Though in 2005 the GYPA did some work under the pier prior to giving away the freehold. In 2004 it started to be fenced off, by 2009 it closed. And I understand for those five years no business rates were paid.

We believe that is why the council, port company and the new owners want it to stay closed. They do not want to re-surface it, because then there would be no excuse not to open it up as a car park, and once open it would be subject to business rates.


Burnt Avenue, Gorleston

Cannot define

truth any way

J HUGGINS in his letter, October 14, says the various churches “all belong to the one body of Christ”. Of course, if “church” means whatever we want it to mean, he is correct. But if we define “church” in the biblical sense, he is wrong. We cannot define truth any way we like. If we do, it stops being the truth. For example, if I can make the Highway Code mean what I want it to mean, it ceases being the standard all drivers must keep to. What would happen if some decided a red light meant “go” and a green one “stop”?

Likewise, someone from a certain group might say their church is part of God’s church.

To see if this is true or not from God’s perspective, we must compare that church with Jesus’ blueprint for His church (as described in the Bible). Does Jesus’ church, for example, have “reverends”, “women priests/pastors”, “popes”, “cardinals”, and so on? No, as none of these appears in Scripture. God warns, “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 12:32).


Albemarle Road, Gorleston

Is the jetty like

Trigger’s broom?

ALL the arguments concerning repairing the jetty lately reminds me of that wonderful sketch in Only Fools and Horses where Trigger insists he has had the same broom all his working life, with three new handles and five new heads.

Am I missing the point or is the jetty only as “original” as Trigger’s broom? If it has had new pilings and new decking replaced time and again over the years, then the sad old structure is only marking the spot where the original stood. And this could be done just as well with a plaque on a post at a fraction of the cost of repairing this copy of a copy.

I am sure that at this time of cutbacks and belt tightening the vast amount of money the repairs would cost could be much better spent in other ways.


Winifred Way, Caister

Take away the

‘university’ status

IT is sad to read the James Paget University Hospital has been given a warning it could face closure or prosecution if it “continues to let patients go hungry and thirsty”.

It appears any problems are not so much to do with clinical or medical activities as they are with administration, management and organisation deficiencies. The hospital does, remember, have an annual income/expenditure of about �160m which needs to be managed.

The Annual Report and Accounts 2010/11 has a sub-heading on its front page prominently stating “Where you come first”. The question is whether the board and senior management have lost sight of this. The perception from documents they produced is that complacency abounds. For, as in so many public sector documents, the printed word appears to belie what actually happens.

Perhaps it is better to examine the minutes of the governing council rather than the annual report. These have an indication of the ‘bicycle shed’ approach, where the emphasis is on what governors can easily understand rather than their dealing with fundamental, if difficult, problems. For example, the difficulty associated when undertaking training or taking staff from wards and leaving them understaffed is mentioned – but there is no attempt to deal with this problem.

Risk in the report concentrates on financial risk with operational risk not dealt with in any substantial way and reputational risk not mentioned.

One objective is stated as “Improve care and experience of patients, with special focus on older people …” yet, according to the care Quality Commission, this is not achieved. Elsewhere it states that this objective is to be supported by a framework of educational and development support for staff. Which seems to be lacking.

Then there are the ‘protective’ statements about complaints such as “carers should … go through the correct process and not handled by the press” which gives the impression of censorship, supported by the fact that one governor states he had “met people who feel if they complain about care on a ward they would be victimised” which is something which “had been expressed by previous employees”. Yet this does not seem to have been followed up by the governors.

I realise it is easy to complain but where �160m is involved and there are highly paid senior management, surely the public can expect to get value for money? It is a good thing that there is an external body which acts at arm’s length such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to point out deficiencies.

I have tried to find a statement from the chairman and/or governors about their concern related the CQCs report but so far have been unable so to do. So it does not appear that any heads have rolled although this threat of closure or prosecution happened under their watch.

It is also interesting the local MPs, in a letter to the hospital, states that “we hope that you are now able to put in place immediately the actions needed to address the CQC’s concerns”, which is like smiling at that naughty child and taking no action to improve his or her behaviour. I have a suggestion: a hotel with five stars has these removed if it falls below inspection standard. The James Paget has the word ‘University’ in its name. This indicates to the general public a certain level of standing. Perhaps the appropriate authorities should remove the word university until the Paget is back on course?


Park Road, Gorleston

Is it a done deal?

WITH so many letters printed in the Yarmouth Mercury it should have convinced the town councillors that nobody is in favour of additional cars being parked along Gorleston’s beautiful promenade. But - hang on! So often such schemes are halfway to completion before the public can air their views. So - just how far has this infamous idea advanced?


Marine Parade, Gorleston

Majority will not

be blocked

RE parking on lower parade, Gorleston. I looked in the newspaper and it said - Democracy? It isn’t dead. Saddam has gone. Gaddafi too. The world is better without those two. Freedom of the people is best. Fight the fight - do not rest. Put your point and make it clear. You will be heard. Never fear those who block the majority vote may find themselves without a seat. People power will prevail. Keep on going - we won’t be beat. Great Yarmouth Council has a democratic view. We made our votes, we know it’s true - or is it?


Victoria Road, Gorleston

Prom loos praise

WITH all the negative news about Gorleston ie parking, the pier, dogs mess, cycling on footpaths etc, how about a complimentary letter on the condition of the toilet block on the promenade opposite the Pier Hotel.

It is clean, smells healthy with sparkling sinks, and is an all round pleasure use, unlike the toilets in the High Street opposite the Feathers which are an offence to the nose and everyone’s well being. Congratulations to the staff and cleaners of the seafront loos you deserve a unsung heroes medal.


Cherry Close, Bradwell

Nursing staff are

bogged down

I WRITE in regard to the letters in last week’s Mercury from Mr A Sayers, Mrs Thelma French and Mr John Cooper: may I thank them all for their kind words and praise for the staff of the James Paget. As the partner of someone who works there, I know how demoralised and disheartened the frontline staff are feeling at this moment in time. Their comments about lack of staff are all too true.

Nurses are completely bogged down with paperwork, and are distressed and frustrated that the emphasis on patient care has been replaced with “dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s”. It is easy for people to judge what they think they see, but the true matter is this: nurses go into the profession to care for the sick, not to become secretaries!

So before anyone criticises the nurses for not answering a bell quick enough, or “sitting at the desk talking” please look a little deeper. For every patient or procedure per patient, there is a minimum of 10 minutes of work you do not see, and if each nurse is responsible for 8-10 patients, by the time she has finished one round of care, it is time for her to start all over again.

Thank you again to those people who took the time to sing their praises, I’m sure it will help lift the nurses’ spirits somewhat. It is just a shame their management team do not see fit to release a statement praising their staff instead of admitting they “get it wrong sometimes, but are working to improve things”.

Name and Address withheld

Pier should be

re-opened to cars

GORLESTON seafront parking: M Lilly put their finger on it; this outrageous proposal is the thin end of the wedge. When these proposed extra spaces become inadequate, how many more will there have to be? This must be nipped in the bud.

It seems so blindingly obvious that, should more parking space be required, the Pier car park should be resurfaced and re-opened; the proposed parking meters in other parts of the borough could help to pay for this.

Another thought; why shouldn’t all the current seafront parking spaces become disabled parking only, thus encouraging all able bodied people to park on the clifftop and actually walk to get their chips and ice cream rather than sitting in their cars and gawping at the sea as though it is some kind of extension of their flat screen TVs; In this obesity- ridden society what we need is less encouragement of the almighty car, not more.

I’m sure we can trust those who came up with the glorious town centre and seafront TV screens to arrive at a sensible solution.


Queens Road, Great Yarmouth

Caister youth

club memories

THERE will be an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia covering the past 50+ plus years of the Caister Youth and Community Centre, also known as “The huts” or “The annex” on Saturday and Sunday, November 5 and 6, 10am to 4pm, both days. This is prior to the closure of the building.

The centrepiece will be a collection of slides, diaries and scrapbooks amassed by Bill Fortescue during his years at the centre as a youth leader from 1967 to 1987. Entry is free, donations would be welcome, in aid of the present youth club.


Secretary, Caister Youth and Community Centre

Paperwork holds

back Paget staff

I HAVE just been in the James Paget for six and a half days and this is what I found:

1 All the staff are amazing from the top to the bottom, how on earth they do their jobs I do not know. They are being pulled like a piece of elastic, filling in horrendous paperwork just to dot the i’s and cross the t’s to keep management happy.

2 The staff are under review all day long, these people have chosen their vocation, they all need a PA to follow them around. The pressure is unreal and all because of those at the top handing out the orders.

3 Where is this going to stop? We had three nurses for over 30 beds, the buzzers were going constantly. How on earth can they be put under the pressure and still remain positive?

4 But positive they stayed, always a smile, always there and supportive. My frustration was laying there feeling so angry knowing staff would probably end up on sick leave with stress or leaving altogether.

5 May I suggest we put an MP in this hospital so that he/she can see at first hand just what a joke the paperwork makes of the whole system and also see at first hand the shortage of staff and the decline in moral.

6 May I also point out the food was amazing, no-one was left unfed.

Come on management, get off your cushions and save the NHS before we are left with no caring professions at all.



Silly idea for parking spaces

HAVING lived in this area for some 48 years I have not seen or heard of such a silly idea as these now 26 new car parking spaces. My view it is an attempt to move the spotlight from parking on Gorleston pier so they do not have to push Eastport.

I am glad that Cllrs Reynolds, Collins, Burrows and Ames have confirmed they will be at the rally tomorrow morning, Saturday, at 10.30am, down by the paddling pool.


Bridgeford Close, Gorleston