Letters, April 3 2015
An Olympic-size pool was wanted
Re the letter by M Hood in the Mercury, March 20. As the only founder member left of Great Yarmouth Sports Council and on the working party for the proposed building of the Marina Centre with the then chairman Barry Jarvis, I can assure M Hood that we did everything possible to secure a 33-and-a-third metre pool with diving facilities there.
We wrote to the ASA stating that our swimming club would not be able to hold their galas there, who in turn contacted Great Yarmouth Council. We were told the ASA was in favour of 25m pools and of course we contacted the ASA again as they were aware our outdoor Olympic-size pool was going to be demolished.
We received a letter by return stating what they did say was 25m pools should be in addition to Olympic-size pools, and the council had taken the letter out of context.
However, after publicity from the Yarmouth Mercury we did manage to get an extra lane in the fun pool.
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Suggestions from the numerous sport clubs that were affiliated to the Sports Council then, as well as a competition we organised in the senior schools to write an essay, on what they would like to see at the sports and leisure centre were ignored.
The essays were put into council meetings at the town hall.
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I have the history of the Sports Council from 1965 which was instigated by the late Dennis Thompson, Bob Hazel and Jim Bloomfield. I have cuttings from the Mercury re the saga of the Marina Centre pool and cuttings and photographs of the sports awards, sport festivals at the Wellesley, coaching holidays for footballers and table tennis players, annual dinners etc.
If the secretary of the Sports and Leisure Trust, or anyone interested in the history of a vibrant sports council, would contact me on 01493 844873, I would be pleased to give them to them.
I also have the history of Great Yarmouth Physical Culture Club whose thriving club was demolished on Deneside. This also has cuttings and photographs of members and was passed on to me by the late Ernie Brown and the late Bob Hazel.
Again, if anyone is interested to receive then, please contact me.
Give credit to health service
We all have need of the NHS at sometime in our lives and people are quick to complain, however I would like to thank everyone involved in my emergency admittance to the JPH. Starting with the ambulance staff, A&E department, HDU, ward staff, doctors and the GP unit at Northgate Hospital who all gave me the best care possible under very difficult circumstances and I am now at home recovering with the help of community nurses.
I do not think enough credit is given to our excellent health service.
Mrs C DYBLE
Caister’s beach now has hazards
Could anyone from the parish council or borough council answer why Haven Holidays have been allowed to leave so many hazards in the beach area they said they have cleaned up.
Many of these hazards are hidden, for example bramble roots and stumps which could cause serious injury to pets, children and the elderly. I am sure health and safety must come before profit but guess that is why we have injury lawyers. The whole area is a mess so get off your backsides and sort it.
Caister on Sea
Rail links likely to be cancelled
It is good news that the traditional extra rail services to our town are to continue in 2015. (Mercury, March 27). Hopefully, the services will be punctual, not short formed, cancelled or bus substituted, which was my experience last year.
There are, of course, no direct services to the Midlands where the town traditionally attracted thousands of visitors from. Interestingly services are now slower than pre-privatisation or even in 1978!
The bad news is that the hourly service from Norwich to the Midlands and Liverpool is being axed in the new franchise and the part to Nottingham also looks set to go in the new franchise. (EDP, March 27).
Caister on Sea
Well done for prompt action
Yesterday on returning to my house I found that my wheelie bin had not been emptied. I rang Great Yarmouth Borough Council and spoke to the relevant manager.
We had a short discussion and it emerged that the waste collection operators had not emptied it as they considered there was a risk of damaging my car.
He was very reasonable and explained he would send someone to empty the bin, which he did and I agreed I would ensure I made sure the wheelie bin was in an accessible place in the future. I would like to thank him for the compromise and for emptying my bin.
Council CEO’s salary a laugh
No wonder Gordon Mitchell is portrayed smiling. Considering his renumeration of £995 per day I am surprised the Chief Executive is not laughing his head off – at the councillors who granted it!
Posts on verges will cost us more
I would like to comment on wooden posts which are being being erected around the Magdalen Estate. They say they are putting them up to stop parking on grass verges but do we really need these as it’s been like this for years.
The work and materials must be costing thousands of pounds and I can think of the money being spent on much better things. At night time it look like Blackpool when car lights hit the posts. This is the ratepayers money being wasted on things that is not needed. Surely the councillor whose ward this is didn’t give the go-ahead for this.
Councillors do know of plight
I should like to assure Wayne Chivers “County Council against the Disabled” (Mercury, March 27) that local councillors are very aware of the plight of residents in the town centre and seafront areas of town where there is real pressure on parking because of extensive parking by town centre workers and shoppers.
The council’s Yarmouth Area Committee and the car parking strategy steering group earlier this month agreed to consult on extending the existing Zone A permit parking area to include roads like Town Wall Road and the county council has budgeted to get on with this consultation this year - subject to approval by the borough council cabinet when they meet in June.
For disabled residents the introduction of permit parking is especially important because it is no longer practice to mark out specific disabled parking bays on the highway.
The verge strengthening work in this road covered stretches where the kerbing and verges had broken down completely and required substantial works to bring them up to a safe standard. The county council doesn’t of course have the resources to provide dropped kerbs free of charge.
Yarmouth North and Central
A new parking law is cheaper!
I am led to believe it has cost us tax payers approximately £35,000 to put up about 300 posts in the Brasenose Avenue area in Gorleston to stop people parking on the grass verges. It doesn’t stop at that, they now have to be maintained and strimmed around.
What will happen in other areas such as Bradwell and Belton where this also happens? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to bring in a new law to make it illegal to park on the grass verges? Why is this wasted money not put into keeping the toilets open!
Out-of-hours GP faced dilemma
It was recently reported that bosses at Norfolk’s hospitals are urging people to lighten the load of A&E by people using the 111 service. What a load of tosh.
My husband took quite poorly on the evening of Thursday, March 26 and so (being sensible) we rang 111 and spoke to a young lady who said the GP would call back shortly - after a couple of hours (not too bad really) the GP called and after an in-depth discussion she asked us to attend the out of hours service at the James Paget Hospital.
This was at about 10.30-11pm and we had to walk through A&E to access the service. A&E was absolutely packed so we were quite pleased we appeared to have made the right decision but after my husband was examined things started to unravel.
The GP wanted my husband admitted as she was quite concerned, she phoned the on-call surgical doctor and explained her concerns. The conversation got heated as it was explained to the GP that to be admitted my husband would have to go and register at A&E and then wait as the out of hours GP was not allowed to have him admitted. The GP printed off her concerns and took us through to A&E but we had to wait at the end of the queue even though we had first sought help four hours earlier!
At about 4am my husband was X-rayed and blood tests were taken. Finally they admitted there was no beds and so we should go home and if his condition worsened to reattend! Not likely!
Luckily after resting and taking painkillers for a couple of days he has recovered. I would therefore ask that consultants/hospital doctors should listen and take notice of the out of hours GP as they should be able to ask for a patient to be admitted. Otherwise what is the point of using the 111 service as at present it doesn’t appear to be able to offer a full range of out of hours treatments!
PHILLIP and KAREN LOVEJOY
Swimming pool keeps us healthy
In praise of the Marina Centre, its perfectly designed swimming pool welcomes all, from the very young to the old and all ages in between, the disabled, the serious swimmers and the leisure swimmers, keeping us healthy and happy.
Hundreds of residents, members and visitors would agree the Marina Centre is one of Great Yarmouth’s greatest assets and a free parking arrangement for its users would be a boost for everyone.
Make your voice heard over BID
Further to last week’s article on the tourism levy, David Marsh said that out of 1,200 businesses asked to pay, 300 had raised objections they did not receive enough benefit from tourism to justify the BID bill. That is 25pc of those invoiced that and probably many more have just paid because of “red letter day.”
The BID bosses were strongly recommended at the start of the process to reduce the large geographical area as they were casting their net too wide, and if they had listened they would not now be faced with this predicament.
It is not our fault projects can’t be signed off, it is because the BID team believed they could raise extra revenue by tenuously linking businesses to tourism.
I would urge those businesses that have been invoiced, and feel they do not gain from tourism, to write to David Marsh at the Tourist Information Centre, Maritime House, Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth raising their objections.
You never know, if you have already paid you may be entitled to a refund, and may not receive invoices for the next four years that the BID runs. Hopefully then you will get a chance to vote, and make your voice heard so it doesn’t turn into another debacle.
For further information please join our Facebook group Greater Yarmouth against the BID.
We had no letter for BID meeting
On Wednesday, March 25 I was told there would be a meeting for Gorleston businesses at the Library, on March 31 at 6pm to discuss the BID further. I wondered why we at the Decoy Tavern, Fritton, did not receive a letter inviting us.
This prompted me to phone the tourism office which is supposedly organising this meeting. I was informed it was for Gorleston businesses and we should have received a letter under pubs and clubs. Their database was checked to see if we were on the list, and lo and behold we are.
So where is our letter that I was told had been sent out? This is another example of the case of all the other letters we should have received and never did.
I was then told that if I wished to attend the meeting on March 31 I would be welcome to, but as stated it was for Gorleston businesses.
As I have stated before, we would willingly pay this BID money if we would benefit from it. But being six miles outside of Great Yarmouth I do not see how we will. It would be great if after the fireworks, even just once, that people said: “That was great now let’s go to the Fritton Decoy and have a meal or a drink”, but that is never going to happen.
I have also spoken to Myhill’s Nurseries also located in Fritton, and he had not received a letter either. So what is going on?
M HARMAN and M SMITH
Council wasted money on loos
As many of your readers will be aware the North Drive toilets are now open again being operated by Munchies, Coffee Shack and the Waterways Cafe with generous support from Haven Seashore.
This would not have been possible without all the pressure put on the council by the many letters to your paper, and the articles criticising the councils decision. We would like to thank all those who wrote in for their support.
The council stated they were spending £477,000 per year on 22 toilet blocks and needed to reduce that amount. That is an average of around £21,700 per block.
Last year the council costs for the North Drive toilets was a total of £8,700 for seven months, so I find it difficult to see why the average price was so high, especially seeing as by some simple negotiations and by taking over the locking and unlocking of the toilets we reduced that figure to just £4,000.
Instead of closing toilet blocks the council should be more efficient in running them, after all isn’t the £995-a-day CEO of the council meant to be an efficiency expert?
MARK and MARGIT ALLEN
Restore sign of Crimestoppers
Norfolk’s police vehicles used to carry the Crimestoppers logo but why and when the practice ceased I do not know.
It was in 1982 that Michael Cole, then a detective inspector with the Norfolk Constabulary in Yarmouth, saw Crimestoppers first hand during an annual exchange with the police forces of Illinois, USA, and reported back to his bosses about its efficacy. The Constabulary backed the idea and letters were sent out to leading business people asking for support.
Jim Carter, the manager of a local Woolworth store, saw the opportunity to get the community involved in crime-fighting and, as described in the article, Crimestoppers UK was born.
The evidence for the crime-busting through Crimestoppers is overwhelming, and I wonder if there has been any research into the rate of reporting since the removal of the Crimestoppers logo from Norfolk’s police vehicles.
In any event, Crimestoppers should be lauded and promoted at every opportunity, and the role of our constabulary and Great Yarmouth in initialising the scheme in UK should be marked in every way possible.
Spate of cats disappearing
There has been a spate of feline disappearances recently in the town centre area of Great Yarmouth. My neighbour’s and my own cat are the most recent victims. They both disappeared last week without trace.
I have posted all over Facebook and called vet rescue centres and been out looking for her in every bush and alley nearby. She is microchipped but so far not been handed in.
At first I thought she had wandered too far but now I fear something sinister is happening to the cats in Great Yarmouth.
In the past few weeks more than a dozen cats have vanished... this is not normal.
Spread the word, help us get answers or even save someone else from this horrible limbo.
Stop Acle Straight talking shop
The shop closures in Yarmouth town centre, imminent closure of the heliport, Perenco move etc are probably linked to the neglect of the Acle Straight.
During most of 2014 there were 40mph signs along the main road into Yarmouth due to a poor road surface! Eventually it was patched up. No surprise then that Yarmouth Borough Council are proud of the ongoing success of Beacon Park to attract new business with reduced business rates and crucially improved road links underway at Bradwell and towards Lowestoft and beyond. The third river crossing at Lowestoft is also closer to becoming a reality.
The Acle Straight is closed on average once a fortnight and conveniently the traffic police are based at Acle so a short distance to travel to their regular spot at the roundabout.
The X1 bus service has already introduced a new timetable to allow for the Postwick hub construction and regularly has to travel via Filby, Fleggburgh etc to get to Yarmouth. How frustrating for residents in these villages having the X1 and the No 7 from Norwich passing through and not being able to board.
Last year a senior manager of the Broads Authority wrote a letter conceding that due to the on-going success of the 10 year Broads Alleviation Project it had been demonstrated that wildlife habitats can be successfully relocated with regard to the dykes being moved back on the Acle Straight, which the police recommended years ago.
Too late for the most recent victim to drown in the dykes, a disabled lady who was a passenger in the car – after years of arguments, indecision, and letters from the public to all local papers.
Ironically, I overheard a No 7 bus driver comment that the route he does several times a day from Acle to Yarmouth is probably the most scenic in Norfolk. As a regular passenger I’ll second that.
Mrs JULIE GRINT
Short mat bowls sessions thanks
Thanks to the generosity of Mercury readers we are now able to offer short mat bowls taster sessions at The Priory Centre. They will run on Fridays from 10am– noon on April 10, 17, 24 and Friday, May 1. Thanks also to local short mat enthusiasts for their help in running the sessions.
If you have ever wanted to try short mat bowls – or used to play and want to see if you still can, please come along. If you decide you like the game enough to go and join a club we have permission from those who donated the bowls to let you take a set with you to use at the club. No need to book and just 50p a session. We hope you will come and join us.
If you want any further details contact me at the Priory Centre on 01493 743000.
Great Yarmouth Community Trust
Praise for those who helped us
On Sunday, March 29, at Castle Carvery in Caister my wife unfortunately fainted and as she fell dislocated her ankle. A member of the medical staff wondered if the faint might have been triggered by the sudden change in pressure which brought Sunday afternoon’s storms as there were a number of similar admissions to James Paget Hospital that afternoon.
However, that supposition is not the reason for this letter which is to express our sincere thanks to staff at Castle Carvery and James Paget Hospital for the kind caring and professional help they gave to my wife and myself.
The manageress at Castle Carvery was quick to realise my wife’s injury was serious and encouraged the ambulance service to attend promptly whilst another member of staff held her injured foot in an elevated position to prevent further damage for about half an hour until the paramedics arrived.
At James Paget A&E, although very busy, my wife was quickly assessed, her foot straightened and plastered and sent to X-ray, all by staff well into a 12-hour shift but remarkably cheerful, friendly and caring.
Unfortunately the X-ray revealed several broken bones and my wife was transferred to the day care ward as all other wards were full.
An operation to pin the broken bones took place on Monday and thanks to the efficiency and care of all involved my wife was able to return home on Tuesday evening.
I have nothing but praise for all those involved in mitigating what was a dreadfully painful experience for my wife and consider they are all entitled to feel very proud of themselves.
W H STOLWORTHY