A HUNDRED years or so ago we had an astute town council with enough business sense to purchase second-hand our Winter Gardens from a resort on the south coast, Bournemouth I think, which proved to be a major asset to the holiday scene.

A HUNDRED years or so ago we had an astute town council with enough business sense to purchase second-hand our Winter Gardens from a resort on the south coast, Bournemouth I think, which proved to be a major asset to the holiday scene.

About 20 years or so ago a somewhat less astute town council had the opportunity to purchase a large proportion of Blackpool's illuminations, not just the festoons but the set-pieces and tableaux when they were having a major re-organisation. Which as we know they turned down.

During a recent holiday to the north west of England a letter in the Mercury came to mind from a Martin Brookes from Bedford. He had been on holiday in Yarmouth in September and he was complaining about the lack of entertainment at that time of the year. Obviously without the holidaymakers in town it is difficult to sustain the shows. A typical Catch 22 situation.

During my holiday I went into Blackpool on several occasions, the resort was busy with people, many of the shows were still on and quite a lot of the accommodation was still being charged at peak rates. Yarmouth's lost opportunity was there for all to see.

There have been many improvements to the holiday scene in town this last few years, why not another and give Blackpool some competition. When the harbour is finally open we could provide an alternative to Blackpool for all the foreign holidaymakers the town is hoping to attract as well as all the home grown ones.

The holiday business is an industry. It is time those we chose to represent us started treating it like one.

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Hebrides Way


STRAIGHT from the horse's mouth as they say - or more properly, the borough council.

So Lord Nelson's monument is now the focus of irritation by certain councillors interested in the proposed casino. Why is Mr Reynolds getting so uptight? Why not use the borough council's stock answer in not doing something, or to do something? That is, “fence it, forget it, and let it fade away”.

That's how things have been in this borough for as long as I can remember, and that's a long time! Anything that stands in the way of Great Yarmouth's Golden Mile getting money or preferential treatment, is treated with the three Fs.

They did it with Gorleston's swimming pool; they are doing it with the dolphins, and they are doing it around Gorleston's boating pond. They did it with our historic tram station attached to Gorleston's beautiful terracotta library, not forgetting the ancient lifeboat sheds, very much our heritage, left to rack and ruin. The list of council vandalism is, I am sure, endless. People with better memories than me will remember many more acts.

So, Councillor Reynolds, please do not fret. With the council that we have, you will get your way over this matter of the casino. If not, like the kiddies in first school doing the three Rs, you and your fellows can put into operation three Fs. When are we going to get councillors who have horizons further north, west and south of that infernal Golden Mile that only employs staff 12 weeks in the year?


Burnt Lane


I RECENTLY received a copy of the Borough News in which there was an article dedicating a plaque within the Town Hall to HMS Midge.

This was one of the coastal forces based in Great Yarmouth harbour during the second world war; the other was HMS Miranda (minesweepers and converted trawlers) and HMS Watchful.

This was responsible for overall control of the harbour and the minesweeping duties of the South Nore, an area from The Wash to the Thames Estuary. Its first commander was Capt Caspar Swinley DS DSC.

Its base, the Shadingfield Lodge (now the Grosvenor Casino).

When the Maritime Museum was on the seafront, one floor was dedicated to both the Royal Navy and the Royal Naval Air Service in both wars, together with models of RNAS station on the South Denes, and artefacts from the Zeppelin raids on the town and other models relating to the period.

Likewise there was a complete set of models of all the types of ML's, MTB's and MGB's that operated out of the harbour during World War Two. This included models of two of the most famous commanders in the port Commander Sir Peter Scott, commander of the gunboat “Grey Goose” and Commander “Dagger” Bradford.

When the Maritime Museum transferred to the Time and Tide, either the borough council or the Norfolk Museum Services decreed if it had nothing to do with either fishing or the oil industry then it was out, and any wartime records of those brave men were deliberately left out, except for a very small nondescript corner within the Time and Tide.

Time has now started to turn the corner. Fortunately I withdrew all my artefacts and models (which were only on permanent loan) and all the first world war material is at Flixton and the complete gunboat display is now at Muckleburgh.

There is within the town a growing interest both in the history of this town, and its importance, both as a front line town and a major player during those wars. Yarmouth and its harbour have been of major maritime importance since the 16th century, through the Napoleonic period and its connection with Nelson and its contribution during the two world wars should not be neglected.



AFTER reading the article published on October 17, I too totally agree with Mr and Mrs P Jones. It is cause for concern that the bungalows on Eastern Avenue, Caister have only got emergency access from the lounge. I for one, and the other residents of Eastern Avenue, would not be able to climb out of a bedroom window. Please, council, do something before an accident occurs, and somebody gets hurt or worse.

Name and address withheld

WITH reference to the Caister Beach Road car park petition handed in by Cllr Marie Field - I would like to know where the 266 signatures have come from.

I doubt whether there are 266 adults living on Beach Road (including Manor Road). I live at the sea end of Beach Road and my house overlooks the car park but I haven't been asked to sign a petition nor have the neighbours that I have spoken to - in fact I didn't know about it until I read it in the Mercury.

The petition is supposedly protesting at blocking driveways and parking outside their homes. There are double yellow lines down one side of Beach Road from the car park to the beach and only three driveways on the other side so where are all these protesters coming from? The neighbours I have spoken to are against the idea of a free car park because it will attract caravans, lorries, dormobiles, travellers etc.

I protest at your article stating “the people of Caister have spoken” - no they haven't. There are 10,000 people living in Caister and only 266 signatures from unknown people so it can hardly be said that the people of Caister have spoken.

Perhaps Marie Field should visit our end of Beach Road and ask our opinions as we are the ones that will be affected by the free car park.


Beach Road


I WAS pleased to hear that the council have made a decision to place a monument where the big screen stood in the Market Place. We should not forget that the Market Place is very much an historic site in Great Yarmouth. The screen had an overpowering Orwellian feel to it in such a spot. Good also to hear that a local craftsman will be working on the monument.


Caister Road

Great Yarmouth

I AM writing to pledge Green Party support for SLP Energy's application to erect wind turbines near Hemsby. Dangerous climate change is the greatest threat the human race has ever faced. Man-made greenhouse gas emissions, notably carbon dioxide produced by the burning of fossil fuels, have been shown to be the cause of global warming by every meaningful study commissioned. Action is needed to reduce these emissions now.

Replacing dirty fossil fuel-burning power stations with clean wind technology is one of the key battlegrounds in saving our planet for future generations to enjoy.

The UK has finally set itself worthwhile targets, including an 80 per cent cut in emissions by 2050, but this target is meaningless if planning applications are consistently turned down by local authorities who are worried about votes, and buckle under the pressure of self-serving groups fretting over house prices.

These times call for a return to the great British Dunkirk spirit, rather than the NIMBY-ism that is all too prevalent in modern society. I should stress that it is not the Green Party policy to support each and every application; rather to examine each proposal on a case-by-case basis. The site at Hemsby is not a designated site for nature conservation or landscape quality, and as such appears to be perfectly suitable for a wind farm.

Of the major political parties in the UK, the Green Party stands head and shoulders above the others in its unrelenting support for renewable energy from wind and other sources. That is because we are fighting to save our planet, not scrambling for populist votes.

I sincerely hope that the local planning department considers the effects that their actions will have on future generations when they make their final decision.


Eastern Region Green Party Lead Candidate,

European Elections 2009

IN response to the letter in the Mercury, October 31, from Mr Lockyer, I can advice you that all motor vehicles parked on the highway must be currently taxed. A SORN notice is only effective if the vehicle is parked off the public road. As a retired police officer, I thought the police would have been able to deal with the offence by way of a sighting report to DVLA for the expired road tax and a fixed penalty for the unlawful parking.


Beccles Road


I AM just sickened at the arrival of yet another pound shop where New Look used to be in Market Gates. What in the name of all that is decent does Great Yarmouth need with another pound shop? It's a great way to bring money into the town isn't it - by opening another cheap and tatty quid hut?

Anything would be better - for example, a high quality goods store or a major high street outlet, but to allow another embarrassment such as a pound store is simply making hard-working, wealthy people like myself travel to other places like Norwich to shop; more money taken away from Great Yarmouth. I know there is a credit crunch, but come on. Let's keep our spending power above a quid! We have more than enough pound shops!


Great Yarmouth


AFTER reading this week's Mercury fishing section, I was very disappointed with Roy Webster's pike fishing piece. The sport in general can be practised safely if people follow some simple rules.

1 Strike early. Some pike anglers I have witnessed waiting what seems like an age to strike after their initial indication that something has taken their bait.

2 If you are unfortunate enough to deep hook a pike, don't be tempted to tug on the trace until you see the hook, as this will cause more damage than the hook being left in place after cutting the line. But if the first rule is followed, then you will almost never deep hook a pike.

3 Always use strong line. The days of using 12 or 15lb mono are over. With today's modern fishing lines you can use 20lb mono or even 30 or 40lb braid. This way the fish is landed unhooked in the shortest amount of time, causing less stress to the fish.

4 Don't keep the fish out of the water too long. Unlike carp, which get a lot better treatment on the bank in general, pike will not survive by having a handful of water splashed on them to keep them wet. Pike need to breath and need a lot of oxygenated water to recover from a capture.

5 And maybe the most important rule is if you don't know how to unhook a pike correctly, then get someone to teach you, or buy a book. In my experience, this is the number one cause of pike deaths. Pike handling and unhooking can be done without the use of barbaric gags and equipment, usually American in origin.

Pike fishing on the Thurne system in the last few years has declined no end and most of this problem is down to uneducated fishermen with no respect for their quarry. Just last year, I saw a photo in the Mercury of an angler holding a fish up from the gill, not supporting the tail, and generally mishandling the fish. This is unacceptable in this day and age.

I am not saying people should not fish for pike, but I am saying it can be done correctly. I would like to think it goes without saying that when fishing for any fish with teeth, you should always use a wire trace. Just last year I witnessed a man fishing at the top end of the Thurne using no wire trace and what can only be described as deep sea fishing tackle. When I approached him, he told me he had landed many pike without a wire trace. My question would be how many has he lost and have maybe died?



I AM 67 years old and disabled with rheumatoid arthritis. I am unable to walk very far but my blue badge gives me the ability to go shopping using my wheelchair.

There is free parking in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland but in Norfolk the disabled pay. I cannot park in the market and go shopping but can park on double yellow lines, blocking the roads for three hours. My family and I have been visiting Great Yarmouth for 30 to 40 years.

Having a disability means I have lost my rights and my free parking in Norfolk. The council should not make money out of the infirm.


Lonsdale Avenue

East Ham

WE are writing on behalf of Sue Ryder Care to appeal to local people to continue to support the charity by donating unwanted items to our shops at 85 High Street, Gorleston and 2 High Street, Caister. We urgently need donations of items including clothing, books and bric-a-brac.

It's early days re how the credit crunch may affect us, yet it has to be borne in mind that when people are not buying new items, after a while donations of unwanted items may drop too. So, we'd like to appeal to everybody who may be having a clear out at home, please don't throw items away but donate to us. And, whilst doing so, if you Gift Aid your donations, a simple signature, we can reclaim an extra 28 per cent of the value of the items from the taxman.

By supporting Sue Ryder Care in this way, local people can help us make a real difference to the lives of thousands of people we care for each year. All money raised from the sale of donated items goings directly to help Sue Ryder Care provide expert and compassionate care to people living with conditions including cancer, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke.

Thank you - your support is always appreciated.

JANE DOCWRA (Gorleston)


I WANTED to clarify for your readers that lottery funding is not distributed by the Lottery Commission as suggested in the article “Eco-friendly centre gets £5,000 boost” (October 22). We are the independent watchdog who protects players' interests and makes sure the National Lottery is run fairly. We do have a duty to ensure that Camelot raises as much money as possible for all good causes, but neither the National Lottery Commission nor Camelot has any say in how the funds are handed out.

Lottery funding is provided by a range of different bodies. Your readers can find out more about how Lottery funding works by visiting www.lotteryfunding.org.uk or calling 0845 275 0000 or visit our website www.natlotcomm.gov.uk.


Chief Executive

National Lottery Commission

WITH reference to the plaque at St George's Theatre dedicated to the Ghurkhas, I was so pleased to read Mrs Valerie Howkins' letter and to see that it is hoped to remove this and to place it next to the war memorial in St George's Park.

However, this has given me the opportunity of referring to the other plaque in the fabric of the theatre near to the Ghurkhas' plaque. This plaque was installed in 1994 after permission had been granted to the borough council by English Heritage.

It is in memory of Sir Kenneth MacMillan, the famous choreographer of ballet who died in 1992 and was patron of St George's Theatre. This of course should remain in the fabric of the building when restoration takes place and I am writing to the borough council asking for assurance on the matter.


Hon Secretary,

Sir Kenneth MacMillan Fund for Young Dancers

I WRITE with some disdain at the late objection from English Heritage to the new casino proposal, putting yet another poison apple into a healthy barrel.

Some 16 years ago I wrote to this paper pointing out the terrible state of “The Norfolk Pillar” and proposed it as a project for the town to celebrate the forthcoming millennium. The article caused quite a stir (headlines in the Mercury), after much correspondence by local concerned people, organisations such as English Heritage awoke from their slumbers, jumped on the Nelson bandwagon and finally something was done about it.

Since then the outer harbour has been given the go ahead, and despite its critics, is emerging from the sea like a mini Colossus, worries and concerns about traffic movement still wrangle, though in its still recent past hundreds of lorries plied their trade with the likes of Birds Eye, Hartmann Fibre, Norfolk Line, Erie Resistor, Jewson, Palgrave and Brown and emerging offshore industries along with general port users.

This was always going to be a chicken and egg situation; we are now beholding the chicken, which we must strive to make a healthy brood hen to lay the golden egg onto what was a useless bag of beans.

This, along with the proposed casino, would enable a sleeping giant to rise and show a clean pair of heels to Dorothy and Toto. Drive down the new yellow brick road, climb a healthy beanstalk, look down and in full chorus shout “It's behind you.”

As Noel Coward so tersely wrote: “There are bad times just around the corner. . . . and wait until we drop down dead.”

And as for the great man Nelson himself, even through his blind eye, would survey all about him and say “Norfolk and proud to be called so.”

Hi, Ho, Hi, Ho, It's . . . .?


Wellesley Road

Great Yarmouth

OKAY, so Great Yarmouth has some new stores, great. I thought as I hadn't been for a while because I didn't want to get caught in traffic on the Acle Straight, I'd take a look.

I always like to support Great Yarmouth as it is my home town, so on Saturday I thought I would visit and even have a look at the entertainment in the Market Place. I waited until I thought the early morning traffic may have cleared, which it had, great.

I drove into town and what do I find - it was gridlocked with traffic nose to nose. Everywhere I went was traffic chaos.

There were queues to car parks, and I couldn't park anywhere. Sure, I could have gone to a supermarket car park, but why should I take up their customer's room.

So no, I gave up and went home - what a waste of petrol that was.

I will try again sometime or other, but if that doesn't drive one to Norwich I don't know what will; the park and rides there are very useful. What it's going to be like in Yarmouth next month and near Christmas I wonder?


The Common