Letters, April 18 2014

Strip of land is a community asset

Re the proposed development of 12 affordable housing on land off Salisbury Road, Great Yarmouth.

Since the decommissioning of the Yarmouth Newtown Halt Railway on the 28 February 1959 - and the only recognition of this is a mural under the bridge - this area has been used on a daily basis by residents, visitors, school staff and visitors to the school, customers to McColl’s which also act as our local post office.

Our local high school designated playing field is located at the end of this narrow strip of land the children have used this on a daily basis to participate in physical activities.

So far as I am concerned the school must have a vested interest in this as this is the direct safe route for their pupils. Will they be allowed access once this development has been built?

The alternative route for the children would be using North Denes and Sandringham, and then crossing Barnard Avenue, into Beatty then Drake Road, narrow pavements etc. We feel this is an accident waiting to happen and places the children at some risk.

The residents on North Denes are limited to parking one vehicle on their drive as yellow lines are on their side of the road. On the opposite side there is limited parking for multi occupancy dwelling, the only alternative parking for the existing residents is on the parking area on the approach to this site.

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Residents have been spurred into action and with passion have worked hard, put in long hours researching making telephone calls, arranging meetings, writing to the planning department, contacting our local press and speaking to local residents. At a recent public meeting I was surprised by the non-attendance of ward councillors.

This area has been used since 1959 and I regard this small strip of land as a community asset and amenity and to that aim I am undertaking enquiries on behalf of the North Yarmouth Against Development group.

What is happening to the cleared site on Northgate? Is this not earmarked for housing development? What has it come to when our local council are selling of our land from under our noses for as little as £1, which is their contribution to the build? No wonder they are in financial difficulties selling off prime land and buildings of historical interest for little more than pin money. What makes it even more annoying is that through this austerity that the council keep bleating about they have had to recruit a company at £150,000 fees to help them identify where the council can make savings? I thought this was their role and responsibility?



Ancient pagan roots of Easter

Soon many churchgoers will buy “Easter” eggs and take part in Easter egg hunts. But with no idea of Easter’s ancient pagan roots. Its very name comes from the fertility goddess Ishtar (also known as Eostre).

The Babylonians celebrated the day as the rebirth of Ishtar, the goddess of spring. They believed a huge egg fell from the sky and landed in the Euphrates River. Then Ishtar broke out of the egg. Later came the idea of a nest in which the egg could incubate – the Ishtar egg was placed in a wicker or reed basket.

This led to the Ishtar egg hunt. Anyone who found the egg from which the goddess was being reborn would receive her blessing. And because spring was a joyous time, the Ishtar eggs were painted bright colours.

The Lord God, in the Bible, says to His people: “Do not learn the way of the nations” (Jeremiah 10:2).


Albemarle Road,


Give ordinary man a mention

After reading all of the letters in the Mercury, once again I have noticed many writers of the left criticising various things from the bedroom tax to the jobless.

Lara Norris should use her comments to criticise things that locals really worry about and things that can be done locally. The bedroom tax is from national government not local council. If you rent privately your housing benefit is already limited to £380 per month for a couple, or a single person remaining in a one bedroom house.

Why should social housing be any different? Ask anyone who works for a living and see how much this so called tax affects them? There are some extreme examples of problems but overall it’s a scheme to try to get people into work and release needed housing!

As for comments about the unemployed being made to go to a jobs fair, big deal! When my seasonal job was coming to an end I looked everywhere and ended up driving 40 miles a day, each way, to do 12-hour shifts at a wine factory! There are jobs out there, even if it’s farm work or a food factory. There is no reason to sign on for six months or more.

There are many decent people who have fallen on hard times and require benefits, but there’s a lot of workshy and fecklessness which the left really seem to encourage. I personally work 62 hours, seven days a week and live at home with parents due to debts from being in business in the past, It’s time for ordinary hardworking decent people to get a mention!



More seating in stores please

No thought is given at Yarmouth’s superstores to the disabled and elderly who visit to shop. Take a look: just how many chairs does each store have for the disabled or OAPs?

Last week at one of these stores there was a bench for two taken up by one large lady and a chair filched from the opticians. Time and again I have sought a seat and all are in use. I am disabled and aged 83.

I asked at reception why there are no more chairs and was told it was following managerial orders. Superstores have thousand through each day, and many need a pause, a rest – but no thought is given to them.

What do other readers think? Or indeed the stores themselves?



Ancestor a Short Blue skipper

Further to the letter in the Mercury, April 11. My great great grandfather David Flowerday was a skipper with this fleet, his certificate dated November 5 1890. He and his family then lived at No 12 Row 80, King Street, Great Yarmouth before the family then moved to Milford Haven to continue his fishing career.

It was there he was fatally injured at sea, and where, almost a year later to the day, his widow Martha also died, leaving four children orphans and totally bereft. David’s sister, Emma Boughen, came to the rescue, with the two small boys Charlie and Bill sent to Barnardos in Canada, where in due course they both joined the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in the First World War.

Charlie died in 1917 aged 19, and is buried at the 9 Elms Cemetery in France. Bill became a Methodist Minister and married Sadie, and they moved to Michigan, USA where his children, now in their late 80s and 90s live in Holland, Michigan to this day.

My grandmother Rosina moved in with her sister Agnes and her new husband James Clarke. He later became manager of the trawlers out of Cardiff docks. Nanna ultimately moved to Staffordshire as a teacher, where she married Charles Salt.

My great great aunt Emma had a little house on Pier Road, Gorleston (still there, the house, though not, sadly, dear Emma!) where my mum spent many happy holidays as a young woman. I would be so pleased to hear from anyone with a Flowerday connection, and can be reached via my email address, joanna.kingston0@btinternet.com



Smoking areas a sensible idea

Three weeks ago, a letter writer was critical of the smoking areas at the James Paget Hospital. I think this was a forward-thinking, sensible idea. The only criticism I have is that one of the smoking areas is where cars are leaving the car park, and should face away from the cars.

I cannot understand why your letter writer wants on-the-spot fines for smokers. Perhaps they would be good enough your readers the reason why.



Caister on Sea

Spare a quid to repair the clock

As the council has £150,000 to pay consultants for guidance, the result of which will probably be more job cuts and fewer services, perhaps they could spare a few quid to pay someone to look after the town hall clock which once again is not working.

It’s all very well tarting up the inside with a few pairs of curtains, but as Great Yarmouth’s only civic building, the least we should expect is to have the clock showing the correct time. Having been stuck at 12 o’clock one wonders if the town hall might turn into a pumpkin and the councillors into white mice.



Why do we pay our councillors?

Having read Mr Harry Webb’s letter in this week’s Mercury, Scrap allowances to save cash, a thought came to mind, namely “out of tiny acorns mighty oak trees grow!

By scrapping allowances, as Mr Webb suggests, it would bring the borough and county councillors into line with the parish councillors who, to my knowledge, don’t get paid. They do it on the whole for the good they can do in the community and not, as I was once told by someone further up the pecking order, “for the power it gives me”.

And we all know what absolute power can lead to – and some Westminster politicians have paid the price.


West Caister

Illicit tobacco via our airports

I had to smile when I read the article in the Mercury last week regarding the 50,000 illicit cigarette and tobacco products found in Great Yarmouth last week.

Travelling abroad as I do two or three times a year, I am amazed at the absence of Customs and Excise at arrivals for flights originating from both within and outside the EEC.

Last Monday I arrived back on a flight from outside the EEC where, at the departing airport, I had witnessed a young girl (she was in front of me) buy some 26 x 250gm boxes of tobacco from duty free.

She then spent nearly 20 minutes in the disabled toilets where I suspect she disposed of them by stuffing individual pouches into a very large bulging red back pack.

Knowing the duty free price at this particular airport, the tobacco she had bought would have cost some £390 with a market value in the UK of nearly £2,340. Selling at half price back at the UK she would have made a profit of some £700.

I don’t think she was the only one on the flight with excess “duty free”.

Name and Address withheld

Stop ‘decline’ of holiday road

As another summer season approaches, the circus show on Regent Road in Great Yarmouth gets under way. I’m talking about vehicles driving and parking within a pedestrianised area, outside designated time limits and travelling the wrong way along what is, within permitted hours, a one-way street.

The council’s response is a new sign will be erected in due course to restrict traffic flow - the old one being totally ignored.

A barrier can’t be sited because there is no-one to man it, although they somehow manage on the Market Place. In the meantime, both police and parking enforcement officers constantly ignore the problem.

How long before we have a serious accident?

I understand metal and perspex canopies are erected outside shops and over passageways without planning permission or building regulations.

When this was reported to the council last year, the eventual response from the planning office, after four phone calls, was that following her site visit to Regent Road she had been unable to see any canopies despite having been given the street numbers concerned.

Shop signs are erected without permission, drawing comparisons with elite High Street brands.

There are closing down sale signs – again - and even signs being hung from a lamp-posts advertising sausages cooked on the street which until pointed out, the borough council had no idea was being done. What is the public health food rating – I couldn’t see a sign.

A “street market” continues to grow on the southern side up to the famous white line, with traders selling to the public on the highway. Perhaps these are the traders missing from the 80 stalls advertised on the Market Place?

“A” boards continue to battle for supremacy. I wonder if the wind caught one at the town end would create a domino effect and take out Britannia Pier?

I have been told the council admits after all these years they are looking into the legality of the sale of goods outside of shop premises but within the white line – and currently have a barrister investigating. Perhaps we need goal-line technology?

This all takes place within conversation area number 15 (an area which the local authority have a duty to “pay special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of that area”).

Perhaps now is the time for action; to stop the decline of what was once a thriving, pedestrianised holiday area into a free-for-all.

Or is the council still baffled as to what can be done? After all, at the end of the day, it is their responsibility and because of their lack of intervention over the years, we now have all these problems.

Name and Address withheld

Thanks for help for stroke group

A collection was held at Morrisons in Gorleston on Wednesday, April 9, which raised £158.24 in four hours for our stroke group. Thank you everyone who contributed and supported us.

SUE CASEY, Group organiser


Wonderful, fast entertainment

Dusmagrik Young People’s Theatre Company has done it again! Spring into Summer was a wonderful fast-moving and energetic entertainment.

Every girl, boy, young man and young woman in it deserves congratulations; so too do the adults behind it, some costume changes were exceedingly quick with the young people only off stage a couple of minutes and then back on, singing and dancing in completely different costume.

We are very fortunate to have the Dusmagrik Young People and the Pavilion Theatre on our doorsteps in Gorleston.


Lowestoft Road,


Soul Bossa Nova our favourite

Dusmagrik did it again. Spring into Summer was a splendid show, with a good mix of music, dance and comedy. It was a piece of inspired thinking to have Madge and her scooter in the Benidorm routine. Our favourite piece was the Soul Bossa Nova, so cleverly choreographed.

Well done to all the youngsters and thank you Mary Carter and Janice Harvey for putting the show on.


Garnham Road,


A moan about election time

May I, through your letters page have a moan?

Why does there appear to be two types of councillors: those dedicated councillors who get involved, have a genuine listening ear and are pleased to help their public; and I believe there are those who only surface when the elections are coming up, with smiles and offers of help. I, for one, am not fooled!



St George’s was a surprise sight

May I say through your columns what a delightful weekend break we had in Great Yarmouth last weekend.

The weather could have been better, but hey-ho it’s mid April (April showers as the saying goes!).

We were impressed most of all by the people we encountered during our stay; at the guest house, our fellow guests, the two restaurants where we ate, and the general feeling of goodwill and happiness to see us. We were also impressed by Great Yarmouth’s old buildings and sights, such as the Tolhouse Museum - although we couldn’t get in, and the St George’s Theatre, which the last time we came here (five years ago), I hadn’t known existed!

We will be back for a longer stay in the summer months and will hopefully encourage some of our friends to join us, if you aren’t all booked up already!