THE recent correspondence relating to health and safety issues in local cemeteries underlines just how barmy we have become and how increasingly we have allowed our lives to become ruled by petty bureaucracy and by those that would seek to justify their positions and incomes by peddling this twaddle.
THE recent correspondence relating to health and safety issues in local cemeteries underlines just how barmy we have become and how increasingly we have allowed our lives to become ruled by petty bureaucracy and by those that would seek to justify their positions and incomes by peddling this twaddle. Just how many people have actually been injured by randomly toppling gravestones in the borough's graveyards over say the last five years? Can someone tell me? I have also read in the press during the last few days of a traditional Christmas swim in the sea being abandoned locally because of our old friend elf-n-safety.
Whilst we can all have a wry smile about gravestones, there is a potentially sinister side to all this. In recent years it seems to me that politicians have wished to gain greater control over our lives by regularly inventing some new perceived threat for us all to be protected from. It enables them to introduce more petty controls over our lives, which will eventually lead to the kind of existence Orwell imagined in his novel 1984. I wrote a spoof letter from the future which was published in the Mercury in January. In the 10 months since then a number of items I referred to have become reality; government access to all e-mails and mobile calls, the proposed carrying of identification papers to be produced upon demand, rationing of health care depending upon lifestyle. How long will it be before restrictions on personal travel become a reality because of the “threat” of global warning? Mark my words, when “anti-terrorism” laws are used to covertly spy on citizens to check whether they are putting their wheelie bins out early or fiddling a school catchment's area rules then we are entering dangerous territory. The innocent have nothing to fear? Not much, I say!
DENNIS J BEAN
Burgh St Peter
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I would like to take issue with the views expressed by the council concerning caution notices placed on graves.
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The impression given was that a ground anchor would be the answer to the problems of unsafe gravestones. As stated in previous correspondence a family gravestone was subjected to “anchoring” treatment by the council in 2005. The fact that we have now been issued with a further warning concerning cement means that this could be a never-ending money spinner for the council.
Whilst accepting that the government is responsible for legislation, it is up to individual councils how they choose to interpret it with some councils being more zealous than others.
It does seem a very cruel way to treat the vulnerable and bereaved.
IN response to the letter titled 'Snow Torment' printed in last week's Yarmouth Mercury, (November 28).
Our priority is to deliver excellent local services putting people at the heart of everything we do. It is always disappointing when we hear a member of the public has not received the standard of service they were expecting from police. Over the coming months we are putting more high-visibility officers in our neighbourhoods - that means more police resource on the streets. All calls that come into our control room are prioritised and officers are dispatched appropriately. I would like to reassure your readers that people are our priority and we are always looking at our processes to ensure that remains the case.
If the writer would like to get in touch with me direct at Great Yarmouth Police Station to discuss the matter I will be more than happy to do so.
SUPERINTENDENT JIM SMERDON
If you want to go shopping in our new shopping extension, please don't forget to take your brolly with you because the roof leaks on this very expensive addition. At least the water will run downhill and out the main doors, so we won't need the wellies just yet!
Let us hope that poor old Santa in the corner has remembered his as well or he could get damp too!
Where did they find these builders then? I hope they got the work guaranteed, as the building has only been open for three months.
I REMEMBER working at Woolworths in 1947. My job was on the sweet counter. People came in for their sweet rations - two or four ounces per week. I was then transferred to the stockroom and put in charge of the distribution of stock to various counters under the supervision of Harold - I'm sorry I don't recall his last name.
The thing I remember plainly was the flooring which was wooden and stained. My supervisor was Miss Parker and her assistant was Joan Plane. I would love to be in contact with anyone of that time to share memories of old times. I worked with Jean Bexfield and Jean Craine (her twin brothers, Jeff and Gerald were also great friends in our gang). We all used to go down to the Floral Hall for good nights out.
If anyone remembers me please call me on 01493 661648 for a meet up to recall old times.
A HUGE thank you to everyone who helped to make this year's Christmas Fayre one of the best. Aside from the drizzle on Friday the weather was kind to us and helped to make this the 10th anniversary year the best attended so far, car parks were full and the Town Centre was bustling.
Thanks in particular to all of our traders who appeared in the church, in the marquees, in the Priory Centre and of course on the Market Place.
Thanks to the schools who entertained us over the weekend, Homefield Infants, Ormesby Infants, Cobholm Infants, Alderman Swindell, Caister High, Peterhouse Infants and finally Oriel High. And also TS Fearless (Winterton).
Thanks to our Norwegian crafters from Trondheim and the Norwegian Choir from Lardal.
Thanks to the chefs for their demos in the Priory. And of course the Priory for their help and GY College for co-ordinating the demos.
Thanks to our medieval performers who continued the King Johns Charter 800th anniversary theme.
Thanks to Lord Choo Choo for the park and ride.
Thanks to our contractors Inside Out Marquees, Bowers and Barr, GYB Services, C and G Audio and Royall European.
Thanks to our supporters GY Caravans, GY Racecourse, GY Stadium, Gorleston Pavilion, Time and Tide, Blackfriars Brewery, Palmers, Market Gates, Palace Casino and to anyone else who has helped in anyway to make the event a success that I may have missed, sorry!
Most of all thanks to you for attending and look forward to November 27, 28, 29 2009!
A peaceful Christmas and a happy new year.
Chair Great Yarmouth Christmas Fayre
HMRC announced on December 4 the closure of 93 tax offices, the largest of these tax offices is Havenbridge House, Great Yarmouth. A further 125 jobs will be lost from the town, I say further as the tax office originally employed more than 200 staff, but over time those jobs have slipped away.
Despite valiant efforts by staff, the union, the local MP, the borough council and the support of three Norfolk MPs, members of the public and the Conservative Party's candidate for the town, Brandon Lewis, the financial secretary to the Treasury, Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP signed the order to close the tax office believing HMRC's assessment that the loss of jobs from the town would not be of significant impact. This is a man the prime minister brought in to the Treasury to save the UK economy!
I cannot help feel that Great Yarmouth has been abandoned. HMRC has the means to retain jobs in the town, and still make significant efficiency savings, they decided against this, blinkered I fear by their own agenda to centralise. Once again a government department has pulled jobs from our economically fragile town. Who will be next?
I will continue to press the local MP for action; to overturn this reckless decision, I hope others do the same.
PCS union rep, and former Borough Councillor
I have in the past, through your columns and elsewhere, been somewhat critical of the need or purpose of the outer harbour. The reasons, both for and against, are many and are known to most so there is no point in going over old ground. My question here is are the operators of the new harbour going to let the population of Yarmouth know the future plans?
All has gone quiet. Last year amid great fanfare it was announced that a ferry operator had agreed to run a service from here. Is that still the case? I don't think so. More recently, it was announced that a bigger area with more cranes will be provided to facilitate the loading/unloading of containers. Good, so does that mean a ferry company is coming here?
Now, unless a particular Norwegian company has become a ferry operator, the only containers discharged here will be full of scrap. As will be the barges coming in stacked with redundant gas platform structures to be unloaded, with the resultant mess in various areas of the South Denes that will be full of scrap metal being cut up, night and day.
The recently announced casino planned for the Pleasure Beach area will make a magnificent backdrop to the mountain of scrap that will be assembled yards away.
Already the car park at the harbours mouth has been shut, I wonder how long it will be before the health and safety people shut down our access to the whole South Denes area beyond the power station.
Why cannot either the council or East Port come clean (or in this case dirty) and tell people what is happening. We all live or work in Yarmouth so I think it gives us a right to know.
I would like to comment on Cecilia Ebbage's letter to the Mercury (December 5) regarding the proposed removal of the pews from St Andrew's Church as part of a complete “re-ordering” of the church's interior. Several members of the Gorleston-on-Sea Heritage Group did have a meeting with Mr Ward, the vicar of St Andrew's, in December last year, when he explained to us the proposed changes he wished to effect in the church. Whilst the majority of our members are not in favour of these changes (as they prefer the traditional interior of the church) other members do not have strong feelings about the removal of the pews. We therefore feel that we cannot, as a group, stand in opposition to the proposed changes, as we prefer to act unanimously on important Gorleston heritage issues. Individually members will make their own views known.
We are certainly not in a position to call a parishioners meeting in Gorleston, but we do welcome the proposals regarding the parish church being made public for wider debate by the local community.
Secretary, Gorleston-on-Sea Heritage Group
St Andrews Parochial Church Council wants a flexible space - most churches would be glad to have a flexible space such as the Chapter House provides, courtesy of an earlier band of helpers. Why go so far as to remove perfectly sound pews in the main building, especially when it obviously causes the concern evident in recent letters? A considerable sum of money will be needed to provide "something more beautiful and substantial" than plastic chairs, we are told. With so many "good causes" in need of funds, how can a church, of all places, justify such a needless expense?
As reported in last week's Mercury, Mark Simmons was accompanied by the prospective parliamentary candidate of the Conservative Party for Great Yarmouth Brandon Lewis and agent James Dinsdale.
Mark Simmons has been asked by the Conservative Party to help to prepare a manifesto on coastal towns.
The visit started from Scratby where the situation was clearly explained to him and he expressed his sympathy about the situation. He will be making a report to the shadow environmental team. The need for the rock berm extension was stressed as was the need for a social justice policy. It was also pointed out that as yet there were no contingency plans or Plan B up for discussion for home owners who would be affected by coastal erosion although the Scratby Coastal Erosion Group are urging the Great Yarmouth Borough Council to move forward with this. Mark said that he would pursue this also. Mark was then driven along the promenade and the esplanade to show him the extent of the possible problem area.
The above mentioned group then moved on to the Hemsby Parish Office to meet representatives from Winterton, Hemsby and Somerton Parish Council and Winterton Coastal Group representative for a broader discussion on the effects of coastal erosion on the part of the coastline looked after by Great Yarmouth Borough Council north of the town up to Winterton. Brandon Lewis said that he would arrange for further visitors by senior MPs including John Gummer to create a greater understanding of the potential problems faced by coastal communities.
Strong points were made by the Somerton parish councillor regarding the areas further north covered by the SMP, and the plans to allow the area to flood. The SMP seemed to have no financial input from the loss of businesses in the area ie revenue to the government from corporation tax, VAT, employees' income tax, and other taxes. Also long term unemployment benefits to be paid to those losing their jobs, and allowances for those older people or those in specialist professions who would not get further employment. The social cost would also involve housing for these people who, having lost homes with no compensation, would not be able to afford to buy again.
There have been reports in the media about a looming world food crisis, so deliberately losing valuable farmland to the sea, and increasing our food imports, would seem to be inadvisable for a government at this time.
It was stressed that by allowing the sea to encroach further inland as far as Potter Heigham, the potential flood risk area would then spread further back possibly as far as Norwich, so people inland should have no reason to be complacent.
A final point was made that government ministers say one thing, then their departments say quite another in the press, resulting in lack of trust. A copy of the Phil Woolas interview was given to Mark Simmonds, in which he said to the media that the coast would be protected, and then Lord Smith said the direct opposite on his subsequent appointment.
Borough Councillor for East Flegg
I WOULD like to thank the local council for the beautiful new archways at St George's Park.
Not only are they artistically inspiring but they also reflect the history of the town with the herring, seagulls and anchor chains portraying some of the aspects of the town.
The lighting of the trees at night with its gradual array of different colours highlighting the outlines of trees is particularly tastefully done.
The play area is also a delightful place where the sound of children's laughter can be heard throughout the park.
The local authority council has certainly tried to make St George's Park not only a beautiful aspect of the town but has also made it safer with the opening up of spaces.
More lighting is needed at night but during the day I would recommend to all the residents of Great Yarmouth to come and see these delightful and beautiful sculptures designed by local artists.
Re: Dangerous objects left on Gorleston beach by fishermen.
Thank you for printing my recent letter on the above subject. I enclose photographs showing a mass of nylon line containing five weights, four with projecting barbs, plus two fish hooks. The bundle was found by my wife and myself while walking our dogs on the beach.
The nylon could entangle the legs of birds, dogs and toddlers. The barbs could also cause severe injuries to them, and to adults.
If I was to be stop searched by police and found with a penknife in my pocket I could be arrested. The nylon and weights are also dangerous objects.
I am not against shore fishermen, in fact I dabbled in fishing for a while. The fish population decreased by one - a weaver fish!
No, I am just politely asking for fishermen to be more responsible for their dangerous rubbish and dispose of it safely.
My friend lives at Belton near Great Yarmouth and sends me sometimes the Mercury to read. She sent me the one on Friday September 26 and I read your article “Down Memory Lane.” I could not believe what I was reading about the “Ted Heath Band” to see you had written that Lita Roza had died aged 82. I would like you to know she is vey much alive. I often see her shopping in North Walsham as she lives not far from me and we always have a talk. Only last week my husband and I were having lunch and in walked Roza with her husband John also to have lunch. I don't know what she will say when I show her the page. She likes to be called Roza, she is a lovely lady and I am glad she is still very much alive.
Mrs B Clarke
REFERRING to Harry Flatman's interesting letter (GYM, December 5) on the 10 exits of the river I wonder where number 11 will come out.
Surely there will be another one - but where and when?
Miss R L FARMER