Letters, April 19, 2013

Why replace the crash barriers?

I am sure many of your readers who live in the villages north of Great Yarmouth will have noticed the replacement of the crash barriers around the base of the footbridge on the northbound carriageway of the Caister bypass at West Road.

Whilst the job seems to have been completed inside the published timescale and the end result seems good, the question remains is: why was it deemed necessary?

The works must have cost several (many?) thousands of pounds, to replace a perfectly serviceable barrier that, to my knowledge as a resident of West Caister, has never been struck by a vehicle in the whole time of it’s existence.

Could our county council have not have found more worthy causes to spend this budget on? Like some of the potholes in our roads. The operatives who carried out this work will not have failed to notice the appalling state of the slip road on the opposite carriageway which they coned off to prevent vehicles turning into West Road.

Would it not have better to use the funds to resurface this portion? I am sure readers can propose many other locations where the road would benefit from replacement. Would a county council representative care to explain/justify this apparent waste of resources?


Most Read

West Caister

Empire state an affront to builder

“One picture is worth more than a thousand words.” How effectively this saying was illustrated by your photograph of our conspicuous Empire Cinema. Shamefully its subsequent disfigurement constitutes an affront to both architect and builder.


Falcon Court

Great Yarmouth

Fish bylaw has served town well

As an old Yarmouth boy, resident in Australia for many years, but a regular visitor to the town, I must agree with your correspondent, Mr Wright, that there are sufficient chip stalls on the market already. I also think the lifting of the bylaw to allow cooked fish to be sold would not help all the small fish shops in the town who have served the town well over the years.

More closed shops is the last thing Yarmouth needs. I could be wrong but I have always thought the unique taste of chips off the market could be due to the fact that fish wasn’t cooked with them in the same oil (or dripping in the old days!) Does anybody else have an opinion on this?



Fair has grown over the years

Mr Stenholm misses the point in his letter to the Mercury last week. My comments were not directed at the fair but at the officials who, without consulting the ratepayers, decided to break with tradition and to extend to the Sunday.

As a Bloater, Mr Stenholm should know it was held on a Sunday for the first time in 2009 to celebrate the granting of the Charter to Yarmouth by King John. This “additional day of pleasure” was an exceptional occasion and I object to the council using it as an excuse to make it a regular occurrence. Who profits?

Over the years the fair has grown and in the 70s spread to Fullers Hill car park after we bought our house. The swing boats and gallopers with their lilting, infectious organ music have given way to rides with boom-boom electronic music played at maximum volume with flashing lights.

I can tolerate this for three days but if I am to be assaulted by The Terminator on a Sunday I, like many of my neighbours, would like to be consulted.



Train services were cancelled

What is going on at Greater Anglia? Our MP told us things would get better. Last week two services from Yarmouth were cancelled as they had no trains. I would think it is a basic requirement for an operator to have enough trains for services!

A few weeks ago, I had to use replacement buses. Greater Anglia insist their core users visit the village stations, thereby doubling the journey time. Surely a direct bus to Acle and Yarmouth could be provided and a minibus for the other villages? Still if profit is the motive, the customer is just a money machine.

I see the chaotic and expensive franchise renewal programme has seen Greater Anglia gain an extra two years. Surely customer service is an area that could be improved. I have written to Brandon Lewis to see what he can do!


Victoria Street,


Hopton beach or Corton cliffs?

I have been following the correspondence in the Mercury about the disappearance of Hopton beach and cliffs (and other places.)

This has reminded me of 1966 when I moved from Gorleston to live and work in Lowestoft. Older colleagues who toured east Suffolk and knew all the local villages well, told me “Hopton-on-sea” (as in the railway station sign for example) was incorrect and Hopton was not and never had been “on sea”.

It was explained to me that a little strip of Corton existed all along the coast as far as Links Road, Gorleston. I checked with a large-scale OS map and sure enough it showed the boundary of Corton parish did extend along the coast as stated and the cliffs were labelled “Corton cliffs”. It follows therefore if the cliffs were in Corton, so was the beach!

Does this situation still exists or did the little strip of Corton follow Newton Cross and disappear into the sea? Was Corton parish boundary moved in 1974 when part of north Suffolk was transferred to Norfolk?

I have read several times in the national press that these boundary changes were purely for administrative purposes and the original county boundaries in fact still existed. If this is correct should the Norfolk/Suffolk signs on the A12 be moved from Hopton back to Links Road?

Regarding the disappearance of the beach in various places, it is happening at Lowestoft too. One day last week I was cycling along the promenade and waves were breaking over the sea wall between the South and Claremont piers, throwing stones and sand all over the roadway! There is very little beach here now except at low tide and drastic, expensive action is needed urgently by Waveney District Council to protect the sea wall in this area.


Sandbank Road,


Beach buffer zone is needed

Once again the North Sea tidal surge has scoured away thousands of tons of sand from the unprotected beach at Hemsby. Eventually the loss of secure foundations will affect the adjoining cliffs and marram dunes and threaten buildings and other amenities close to the beach.

Rock berm formations which should have given some form of retention and protection have failed as so will the proposed installation of gabions. These wire baskets filled with small broken rock will not stand against the wave forces constantly battering them.

What is required is a secure buffer zone. Firstly a robust form of defence needs positioning between high and low tidal levels to break the power of incoming waves as a primary barrier. This is a proactive first step to success. The secondary barrier positioned further back up the beach will break the lesser wave action preventing any souring action. the tertiary barrier, the last bastion will secure the sand pile and cliff foundations stopping undercutting of cliff sand and soil, incoming wave action will pick up sand and sedimentation from lower tidal reaches of the beach, being water borne it will carry over the barrier dispersing and settling behind them, slowly building a realistic replacement foundation, capture and retention is the key issue being achieved by innovative strategy, this will come at a cost as all major projects do.

Utilising an inventive concrete block system will secure the beach heads for the future, taking action now must be a priority not just for Hemsby but the whole of our coastal regions.

The UK government licences companies to extract large amounts of foundational sand and gravel aggregates by dredging, the financial benefits run into billions of revenue and £20m deferred to coastal protection would help kickstart a realistic effort to contain the beaches from further erosion giving much needed jobs to the Yarmouth unemployed and realistic training schedules.

The borough council is committed to finding a long term solution. It is suggested that using rock to shore up the foundations at Hopton is the way forward. If the rock berms failed at Hemsby why consider this action?

The council stated it requires time to study the 500 page report and consider any appropriate action. However, the proposed placing of the rock against the steel and timber revetments will still result in overwash allowing seawater through to undercut the cliff foundations, this proposal has not been thought through logically.

An innovative alternative of robust concrete interlocking barrier system is on the design board at present close to development, this innovative system requires financial backing by governmental and environmental bodies to recognise its potential and assist in implementing and processing a manufacturing base in Yarmouth.

The borough council and Oceanic engineers could explore and examine all types of coastal defence proposal to stop erosion and restore the beaches. The £500,000 due to be spent on rock berm barriers of 5000 tons of imported rock equates to a very expensive type of sea defenc to protect Hopton’s shoreline.

The first collapse affecting Hopton clifftop happened after Bourne Leisure publically accused the Outer Harbour development of causing the erosion. Outer Harbour bosses insist the port development is not at fault, this argument could be a prolonged debacle.

Could this outcome be the Bourne Identity, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Legacy or hopefully The Bourne Solution?



Fed up dodging cycles on paths

Three times during the last week I have had to dodge cyclists on the pavement in Gorleston town centre. Consequently I am so pleased that these people are also to be legally allowed to ride up and down the seafront.

I suggest the councillors involved spend a bit more time tackling illegal and dangerous cycling rather than extend their rights to harass pedestrians and children walking on the prom.



Residents can have their say

In response to the letter in last week’s Mercury: Little Interest Shown to Voters. Since gaining control of the borough council in May 2012 after 12 years in opposition, the Labour council in its pledge to be more open and transparent with residents, has established both the Gorleston and Yarmouth Area Committees, held the first Open Forum meeting in the borough, and re-established Parish Liaison meetings. All these meetings are advertised, and give residents the opportunity to enter into debate with councillors.


Bradwell South and Hopton Ward

Town needs a civic society

Listening to the arguments of those objecting to the Harbour Revision Order was an uncomfortable experience. The experience highlighted the need for a civic society or other action group in the town. Such a group would attract members with professional skills, provide opportunities to pool ideas and raise funds and perhaps even attract gifted amateur lawyers capable, within limits, of holding their own against QCs.

A civic society would provide more effective opposition to developments suspected of not being in the best interests of the town. Admittedly it would probably not have made much difference to the final outcome of the HRO enquiry but, for example, at some future date it could well persuade Eastport to modify its image as a predatory capitalist venture by offering concessions allowing restricted entry to permit holding interest groups. It would not be the first modern port company to do this. At one such port police have welcomed such individuals as an aid to security.

After the inquiry, remarks were made about the low public attendance and a traditional failure of Yarmouth townspeople to come together to identify common aims and then to work together to achieve them, including citizens who, through a long association with the town, have an understandable sense of ownership of the place, just like those who struggled in isolation to get the proposal rejected.

But walking around the town and hearing the varied accents of the Home Counties and elsewhere one wonders, where are these old Yarmouthians?


Elmgrove Road,


Cycling on the prom not good

The national campaign group Living Streets (formerly the Pedestrians Association) are keen to work with and promote other sustainable transport modes like cycling, but we do feel that mixing cyclists with heavy pedestrian flows along Gorleston seafront during the summer peak is not a good idea.

Our concerns centre on the safety of families and others who are relaxing and strolling along the seafront having peace disturbed by cyclists weaving in and out at speed which can be both intimidating and dangerous.

Previous experience tells us that frightening near misses and brushing past incidents do not get recorded as part of official statistics, making any balanced monitoring of such an experiment very difficult. Cyclists do not have number plates and are gone in a flash. Perhaps someone can explain just how this scheme is to be effectively monitored from May I?


Living Streets (Norfolk)


New look at cold case welcomed

Like others I welcome the Great Yarmouth Mercury and Archant cold case campaign and the renewed interest in the so far unsolved murder of 24 year old Peter Miller in December 1984. I was also on the story and, for the sake of everyone involved, would be glad to see some closure to this sad event.

At the time, I was a member of the newsroom of Radio Broadland (now Heart FM) which went on the air on October 1 1984. For the new commercial station it was our first murder case and the first I’d ever covered for radio.

It didn’t help that I’d set off that Monday morning for Norwich from my Gorleston home, suitably suited and booted, to cover the Theatre Royal annual meeting at lunchtime. I was promptly sent back down the Acle Road to report on the bigger story. But it meant I didn’t have a heavy coat which was essential when standing around in the area of the crime and outside the police temporary HQ at the St.James’ Church Hall on an early December day.

But it became increasingly obvious there was precious little to report. The police couldn’t feed much to the media because they too had little fresh information.

I was so grateful later that day to the intervention of Harry Miller, a leading Labour figure and former Mayor of Yarmouth, who was a distant relative. In fairness it was BBC Radio Norfolk – whom I would join a year or two later – who had first established that link during the Monday afternoon. I was then dispatched to Harry at his home in Camperdown off the seafront. While he’d hardly known the young man he was willing, as someone of some local standing, to make a suitable comment and appeal for information. I was relieved to get anything on tape to keep the interest going.

There was a further story when some members of the family tried to offer a substantial reward for any information and they also persuaded the police to allow them to have a press conference at the Howard Street headquarters a few days later. That type of media event, so common today, was a fairly new phenomenon then.

Sadly none of this, and the combined efforts of the media at that time, produced results. I recall one of the senior detectives on the day remarking that if he didn’t solve the case that might be the end of his career. I hope that wasn’t the case since neither he, nor anyone else, was able to progress it.



Crocus displays are wonderful

I would like to congratulate the borough council on the lovely displays of crocuses along Caister Road and in several roundabouts about the town. What a pleasure they are to look at.


Seaward Walk,

Caister on Sea

Lack of respect at skatepark

In reply to Letters, April 13, from Cllrs Fairhead, Wright and Williamson. The previous complaint published was not only about funding, it was about mess. No matter who pays, the park still has to be maintained!

Litter, anti-social behaviour, under-age drinking, smoking and vandalism, hence the worn out state of previous skate ramps. The park was misused since day one, when funding came from lottery funds. My main concern is about disrespect.

There were disturbances well into the night involving alcohol abuse and underage drinking, hence littering, noise and abuse. The perimeter wall was knocked down and replaced several times at great expense. The fencing surrounding the skate area was torn down, burnt, ripped apart and debris strewn all over with sharp nails exposed.

If anyone spoke out they would receive a torrent of abuse. No-one else can enjoy the recreational open space. Has any of the councillors actually been around the recreation ground, it’s on Church Road, Gorleston and you can’t miss it?

Name and Address withheld

Empire cinema now a disgrace

I have just read the article on the cinemas of yesteryear mentioning the Empire on Great Yarmouth seafront. The photo looks great and taken awhile back I believe because it didn’t have bars and a restaurant. It is now a disgrace to the seafront; covered in endless amounts of pigeon poo, unless it has had a makeover since I walked past last week which I very much doubt.

Please when you write about this building get your facts right it’s not a pretty sight anymore.


Shakespeare Road,

Great Yarmouth

Post left with me by mistake

I am trying to locate a Mr and Mrs J and D Moore. I have a postal item which has been left at my address in mistake. I can be contacted on 01493 667803 for collection.


Albermarle Road,


Deep water will lead to erosion

The natural movement and placement of sand offshore is produced by current and swell interaction. Over a period it will produce a deep water area which will, in turn, produce erosion in that area until such time as the water becomes shallow again. Changes in the gradient of the shoreline, if left to react as nature intended, go years without alteration. But interfere with the depth of the water and everything in that area starts a different reaction, due to the heavier swell of the deep water.

Unnatural interference brings on coastal disturbances which causes erosion. Such cases are brought about in this area by aggregate extraction. Companies are applying for and getting granted, licences to dredge. One area is just 22km east of Great Yarmouth.

In February 2005, one company applied for a licence to continue to extract a maximum of two million tonnes per annum over a 15 year period. In April 2011 the same company made a further application as an amendment and in May 2012 it applied for a 15-month marine licence to extract 750,000 tonnes of aggregate - from a different area.

But still in the original area another form, in April 2012, applied for a licenmce to extract over a 15-month period a further 937,500 tonnes of aggregate.

In a nearby area another licence was applied for from another company for 1,250,000 tonnes. Trailer dredging by trailer suction units use terrific power causing their own tidal flow and current reaction id dependant on the direction of the drag.

Twenty-two kilometers (10 miles) may seem quite a distance but the tidal pull and suction drag away from the coast for a continuous period will produce an undertow which will alter the gradient of the sea bed causing erosion as the water gets deeper.

In my opinion artificial circumstances have been brought about by the combination of aggregate extraction and a barrier, the outer harbour, being placed in the path of the curling current. The current is curling sand around the obstruction. Gorleston beach is making up due to these actions. The curl of the current travelling north

to south hits the north side of the outer harbour where it is blocked. The sand is grabbed by the curling motion of the current and deposited on the south side.

The current is then thrown into disarray by the deep water at Hopton trench. Is there a need to create deep water?


Gonville Road,


Dusmagrik are simply the best

In many years we have never missed a single show presented by the multi-talented Dusmagrik Young Peoples Theatre Company. Attending Friday’s production of Babe the Sheep Pig which we thoroughly enjoyed and were absolutely delighted to be present at the surprise announcement that this wonderful group of young people had won the NODA award for best youth production of 2012 for last November’s Bugsy Malone and it was totally warranted.

This group is just superb, the attention to detail is first rate and the thing that edges them ahead of all the others. No need for buying advertising space, this company stands on its reputation alone. This week’s production did not disappoint, it was sweet, colourful, wonderful costumes, music, humour and committed performing. Dusmagrik is always a joy and a pleasure and as has been proven second to none, the best of the best.

Now they are presenting Joseph in November. We can hardly wait. Well done to all concerned, backstage staff included, and of course the tireless and talented Mary Carter.



Lions to launch a care award

The Great Yarmouth Lions Club is introducing a Young Carers Award as part of their youth activities.

The annual award will be given to a young carer, aged up to 18 in the given year. Nominees can be male or female, individual or siblings and they must reside in Great Yarmouth or the southern villages of Gorleston, Bradwell or Belton.

Please send details of your nominee to: Lynn Thomas-East, Youth Activities, 9 Pinecot Avenue, Bradwell NR31 8QB. Enteries must be received by May 31.


Great Yarmouth Lions

Fundraising was amazing

I am writing regarding the amazing fundraising day I had in the Priory Hall in March for the 1845 Suspension Bridge disaster memorial.

I had help from friends and family from cake making to selling and raffle prizes donated from businesses in the town was amazing.

There was a special moment when TS Warrior Cadet Band played, bringing a tear to my eye. Carole Maran opened the fete as she was a descendant of one of the victims, then to my surprise a descendant of the bridge owner Robert Cory also came making it a very emotional day. None of this could have happened without the help from The Priory itself who I am very grateful to.

I was hoping to have the memorial in place for May 2, but I have learned the stone is going to be delayed in China.

I am planning to mark the anniversary, May 2, with a release of lanterns in the evening hopefully at the Suspension Tavern. This has taken me on a very strange journey and has become more than just a memorial, I now feel an end is in sight and I know it would have been so much easier to get a grant but it has never been about that.

When it is all over this memorial will have been created from the £1 coins of the people, which will go a long way in putting back the respect never given when it happened back in 1845. I will continue to collecting in the town.

Thanks to George Clark who’s Bokwa class donated £1 each, and to everyonefor their help so far.



Editor’s note: Apologies to Julie for printing the wrong name last week and leaving out some of the details.

Kindness and care at Paget

My husband was taken very ill and I had to call a doctor and he was taken into hospital. The ambulance crew were kind and caring and put me at ease. We got to the James Paget Hospital and he was put on ward 1 where the care and kindness shown by all the staff – nurses, doctors, auxilliaries and domestics, was wonderful. They were never too busy to answer all my questions.

Thank you so much for your care. My husband was transferred to ward 5 were similar care was given to him. I hope the bosses at the James Paget know what great staff they have there – a credit to their profession.


North Denes Road,

Great Yarmouth

A hospital to be proud of

I would like to express my thanks to the ambulance service and reception staff, doctors and nurses on ward 1 of the James Paget where I was treated very well. We have a hospital to be very proud of.