Letters, April 29 2016
No urgency over Winter Gardens
In my opinion the answer to the future of the Winter Gardens lies in the name.
Making this grand historic structure into a year-round seafront attraction, with a modern twist, will bring obvious knock-on benefits to the town.
With the local elections next month I would like to see candidates coming forward with ideas. With past experience as an elected London councillor, chasing new money was and still is the way to get major projects moving - not repeating the obvious, “but in these harsh times...”
I wish officers good luck with the lottery bid but these are getting more difficult to achieve. Another approach might be seeking advice and linkups with successful tourist destinations: The Eden Project, Kew Gardens, The Royal Horticultural Society or local historic estates such as Somerleyton or Hoveton Hall.
You may also want to watch:
I believe we all agree the building has the potential to be a new and exciting tourist attraction so why is there not more evidence of urgency before the building deteriorates further?
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Repps with Bastwick
Bus/buggy rules are confusing
I’ve never had any problems with getting my double buggy on First buses with another single buggy before this week. But there had been a change in views with no prior advertisement and we are now being refused service when there is one buggy on the bus because I have a double buggy, and even though there is room for my double buggy.
This is not only embarrassing but it is also inconvenient as I have three young children under the age of four and rely on buses to get to nursery and doctors appointments on time.
Today it was pouring with rain and when told I couldn’t get on the bus as there was one buggy on there I couldn’t fold.down my.double buggy because the children would have got wet and become ill.
I have raised this concern with First Bus customer services and they stated the policy says only two buggies allowed on at once. But as I have a double buggy it counts as two. After being refused service today I questioned this with the driver and he said it is law to only have two children in a buggy at one time and not their policy of two buggies. Which is true? The law or the policy?
After being accepted on a bus service but not the one we wanted I queried it with that driver and she said it was down to the driver’s discretion and that some buses allow three buggies depending on space.
So now I’m wondering whether it is the law, their policy or drivers’ discretion that is the one to follow. This leaves me, and I’m sure other parents, questioning the credibility of the bus service and also the law, if there is a law about it.
I have used First Bus since I was young and I’m writing to hopefully get some response from the local MP, Brandon Lewis, and also the bus service. I’m fed up of being refused service and being an embarrassment in front of other passengers.
Our roads are a JPH car park!
I wonder if I could bring to your attention, the problem the staff from James Paget Hospital are causing on the Cliff Park estate, and have been for quite some time, this estate being opposite the hospital.
Since staff have been stopped from parking on the housing estate next to the hospital, the problem has moved to this estate. Staff park there as they refuse to pay for their parking on the hospital site, to which I kind of understand.
However, they are actually contributing to an already potentially dangerous situation. Kennedy Avenue has three schools on it, and therefore has to handle the traffic of parents dropping off and picking up their children, parent’s evenings, social events etc. It also sees parking from visitors of hospital patients who cannot afford to, or do not want to, pay the hospital parking fee, as well as patients attending appointments who choose to park close by, once again Kennedy Avenue, and other roads such as Mariner’s Compass.
I constantly see people in hospital uniform park up early in the morning and return after their shift in the afternoon/evening. It is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt, probably a child, although the age of the poor victim is irrelevant, and ironically ending up being cared for by the people who are contributing to the problem.
Surely the issue with staff having to pay to park should be tackled, rather than the problem just being shifted from one housing estate to the other. These estates are people’s homes, communities, and are being over-run with ever increasing traffic.
May I also point out the two roads I have mentioned, plus many more being used are also a major main busy bus route! We have enough to cope with, without the issues of the Paget staff.
If the estate next to the Paget had a case, surely this does too.
Name and Address withheld
Protest banner was on message
It makes you laugh, doesn’t it? Cllr Plant springs into action and removes the large banner which says, quite rightly, what a disgraceful job councillors have made of the iconic attraction which is the Winter Gardens (Mercury, April 15).
Like his council spokesman who talks of “environmental crimes”, (no doubt to get us all shivering in our boots), he seems more concerned about the protest banner than about the message it conveys.
Perhaps he and his fellow councillors should have sprung into action a lot sooner, in fact quite a few years ago when the attraction had to be closed because of the danger from strong winds and its parlous state of disrepair.
That would have been time better spent than faffing about on the state of children’s playgrounds or where they are going to put the next car park. Come to think of it, maybe their true long term ambition is to do just that on the Winter Gardens site.
Good riddance to cabinet system
The Great Yarmouth Mercury lives up to the “great”, if last week’s Mercury is anything to go by.
In small print (which should have been front page) we learn that the council cabinet system is being quashed and being replaced by the committee system. Not before time people will say! We have had the cabinet system since 2001 and just look at how our borough has gone drastically downhill. Perhaps going back to committee it will give the craved-for impetuous to right all the wrongs.
Just think back to all the failures, the bodges, the waste all since we had the cabinet system. One of the wrongs as mentioned in the Mercury, the Winter Gardens. It is difficult to understand how a councillor could physically, even a leader take down a banner that highlights a truth?
Cllr Plant is bemoaning the lack of funds to facilitate the necessary repairs, thinking back in my fuddled brain, didn’t Jim Davidson put a plan together using his money to do what had to be done, but our cabinet system did not want some-one else taking the initiative.
As for the £3m needed to repair the Winter Garden; in front of a full house in the Pavilion in Gorleston, Cllr Plant and the council’s former MD Richard Packham stated: “There is far more than enough income from port rents to repair the West Bank and any other job that needs doing.” Has any reader of the Mercury seen any evidence of work being carried out using rent money?
Then there is the concern of the Marina Bowls Club being kicked out in 12 months’ time, I always thought if something was working well why change it?
JOHN L COOPER
I agree! Drivers are appalling
I am writing in support of Sammy Parker’s letter in last week’s issue. The standard of people’s driving is nothing short of appalling. Every day I walk the circular walk around Ormesby St Margaret and it never fails to shock me when I witness how drivers behave.
Whether I’m walking or driving, it is the same everywhere. On Yarmouth Road in my village, it is a 40mph zone coming off the Grange roundabout, yet most people just speed up and continue to increase their speed through the village - ignoring the 30mph which eventually meets them further down.
I have had maniacs pass me who must be doing 60mph, aggressive drivers overtaking other vehicles who are driving within the law. People innocently trundle off their driveways to be met by crazy drivers speeding at them and nearly causing accidents.
The sad fact is, it is not just one age group either... and it is the majority not the minority. I think this is just another example of people’s bad attitudes nowadays- and “I shall do as I please, because I am more important than everyone else”.
I’m afraid I cannot even defend my own gender either… the women are just as guilty as the men, and don’t get me started on motorbikes or parents on the school run. That’s a whole other letter!
C H FORD
Ormesby St Margaret
‘Folly’ to come out of Europe
In or out? In my opinion, the answer is simple. With thousands upon thousands of asylum seekers striving to get into Europe would it not be folly for us to come out?
Parkruns should remain free
The Gorleston parkrun has been going for seven years and since then well over 4,000 different runners have taken part. Over the years, I have seen a great many unfit, overweight individuals progress into becoming very fit dedicated runners.
Before parkrun, many had considered taking up running to get fit and lose a bit of weight but found the thought of joining a running club (probably full of very fit, fast competitive athletes) a bit daunting. Parkruns ticked all the right boxes, it is open to runners of all ages and abilities and free to enter.
There are very few sports where all members of a family can take part in the same event altogether: grandparents, parents, kids and grandchildren, and at no cost.
Stoke Gifford Parish Council’s intention to charge a fee for the upkeep of their local parkrun is extremely short-sighted. The cost would be negligible compared with the potential huge financial savings to the NHS as a result of a much fitter and healthier population.
Parkruns take place throughout the UK and all over the world and to date it seems Stoke Gifford is the only council anywhere considering a charge. Hopefully, in view of all the adverse publicity in the press and social media, they will think again and let this unique event continue free of charge.
Groyne carving mystery solved?
Re the carving on the groyne on Gorleston beach. I think if it is over six years old it might be by my late friend Roger Palmer. He was an artist and was also an expert in making flint artifacts, leaving some under the cliffs along to Hopton.
Plan not much of an attraction
Re Yesterday’s World planning permission. It saddens me to see another “attraction” disappear. People are of the opinion attractions are a dying thing so how is it the Sea Life Centre and Hippodrome are always busy or a sell out?
As far as another amusement arcade, well I think it is ridiculous!
A good ice skating rink may be good. That site would have housed it and I am sure it would attract.
So many fun things have disappeared in Yarmouth: outdoor skating rink, outdoor swimming pool and the lovely water garden boat trips. A free play area on the seafront would be good as everything in Yarmouth needs money.
How about a good go-cart track on the water gardens at the North Denes end of Yarmouth. Lots of people park at that end of Yarmouth on arrival and stay at Haven Park and walk down. Make it interesting and give it a lasting impressison.
As for plans for Yesterday’s World, how is it they have been working on it for months if the plans have not gone through yet. Have the plans already been passed? Answers please.
No to ‘coloured eyesores’ thanks
In this week’s Mercury you asked for views on the application to extend the Gold Rush amusement centre on the Golden Mile. In my view there are already far too many amusement arcades with flashing lights and music along the promenade. Development of this type has ruined Yarmouth over the years attracting the wrong type of tourist and turned many nice buildings into coloured eyesores.
The arcades near St Peter’s Road have obscured the once fine view of the Hippodrome building. We do not need any more.
What is needed is more of the restaurants and hotels to extend their seating areas outward and cover them over providing heaters etc in order to make the area more attractive and appealing to visitors and boost tourism.
Just look at Gorleston now with its cafes and restaurants and only one amusement arcade on the seafront itself. I was there last week and it was heaving with customers with very few parking spaces available. It is much more appealing than Yarmouth to day visitors.
I just fear the borough council will jump on the bandwagon and start to introduce parking charges to put everyone off visiting.
The same newspaper also discussed the issue of the Winter Gardens. This issue has been going on for far too long. Surely it is time to carefully take down the building for storage and mothballing in case money becomes available for refurbishment and re-erection later. This would free up the space for new development and alternative use in a simpler building which the previous user of the building appears to be crying out for (non amusement arcades).
Name and address withheld.
Thanks for your help and care
I would like to thank the very caring staff at Palmers and the paramedics who attended my husband’s fall in the store on April 14. The help and care was very much appreciated. Thank you again.
Mrs E THATCHER
Roundabout way to solve issue
Remember that scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian when the Judean People’s Front, Judean Popular People’s Front, and Campaign for a Free Galilee realise instead of in-fighting they have a common enemy in the Romans?
What a great work of fiction that couldn’t possibly be acted out by public bodies ever keen to boast to the taxpayers that their “cash strapped” organisations are actively reducing bureaucracy and duplicated administration costs. Really?
Last June (2015) I thought it would make a good positive and cost effective effort to tidy up the A12 roundabouts into our popular tourist destination, that similar to the Vauxhall suspension bridge, make a good impression (or not) to those coming to our borough.
However since last June, after ongoing contact with local councillors, the office of Brandon Lewis, GYBC services, NCC and the Highways Agency, the status quo is being maintained, by pointing to someone else and literally kicking the issue into the long grass.
It should not be beyond the wit nor wisdom of these groups to rise above their own political colours and organisational silos to see this as something that is positive and won’t cost the town hall jewels.
A year on I am now waiting for a Freedom of Information request to the Highways Agency as to who holds the landscaping budget and planning responsibilities for the differing roundabouts. This vagueness, could well be exacerbated by not identifying who looks after the ongoing landscaping portfolio of the new A12/A143 link road.
Does it really matter? Well if this collection of players can’t agree and sort out how to effectively spend the public purse with something as simple as who is responsible for maintaining landscaping for the benefit of all, then it doesn’t bode to well as to how they can jointly perform on more substantial public infrastructure issues.
As ever before they all now make the effort to prevaricate and pen the defences first as they read the letters pages, perhaps they would like to join me in a sod turning ceremony on the roundabout before Graham Plant rushes from his office to grab my spade as recently reported with the Winter Gardens protest.
‘In’ booklet gives a biased view
To my mind the Government booklet is a repeat of the propaganda that got us into the “Common Market” all those years ago. The con. was in the name. Nobody had the slightest thought it would morph into a federal Europe ruled by beaurocrats. The title of this booklet ie “why the Government believes…is incorrect. Many ministers and MP’s who are part of our government are firmly against agreeing with what Mr Cameron thinks. The con. is again in the name.
I believe the booklet is supposition which should be debated on TV to allow us to understand what facts, if any, were used to arrive at their conclusions or were these just statements to put fear into us. The costs were incorrectly born by taxpayers when it should have been by the In supporters. It gives a biased view of the possibilities without allowing the Out supporters to challenge. The booklet could have been in two halves which would have cost a little more but would have been fair.
Mr Cameron had to agree to a referendum because UKIP was rapidly gaining power based on the follies of the EU and immigration. He told us he would take our fears and thoughts to the EU himself and get a better deal for Britain and if he didn’t succeed he would have a referendum to take us out. What did he come home with – a piece of paper just as Chamberlain did in 1939.
Although he failed in his mission he didn’t have a referendum to get us out but one to keep us in despite his failure. Most knew the EU bureaurocrats would not deviate from their project for a federal state as must have Cameron so his promises were just hot air and as misleading as his recent explanations of his family investments.
My concern is if we remain in the EU we will lose the democracy fought for so long by our forbears.
The EU will become less and less democratic as it morphs into a state ruled by beaurocrats or eventually worse still, like another Soviet Union. Some may think this is extreme but I want us to keep our Sovereignty and Democraticy for those that follow us.
Britain has been a progressive sovereign state for hundreds of years with an evolving democracy.
The politics of the EU are a retrograde step with a non elected body ruling 28 countries with varying cultures and differing financial positions. Our own government is subordinate to rulings and they have no intention of changing their intent to become an undemocratic federation of bureauocrats ruling Europe.
Immigration and finance are top of the argument currently as part of a fear campaign by people with self interests to persuade us we would lose jobs, the pound would slump and we “ordinary” citizens would be bordering on poverty.
They are telling us our safety would be at risk, forgetting we would still be important members of NATO. Saying we would not be helped by the EU regarding terrorism and criminal activity, InterpoI I presume would not exclude Britain.
Regarding terrorism I believe we have one of the best anti terrorism organisations in the world which they would not want to lose the benefits of.
The only way is out.
Are we going over to the other side?
I see there will be improvements made to the Vauxhall roundabout but work will not commence for another four years. Although this may seem a long way off Highways England are in fact being sensible and prudent as it all depends on the result of the EU vote in June.
If we vote to stay in the EU yet another Brussels diktat law will be forced upon us which takes effect in 2018. We will have to drive around roundabouts the other way. Although there will be a 10 year phasing in period it would be unwise to spend goodness knows how much money on road improvements and then go back and make changes so the traffic flows in the other direction.
If we vote to stay in the EU Gt Yarmouth will be one of the first towns in the country to have a RTR (Right Turn Roundabout).
People entitled to have their say
I find it hard to believe the leader of the council could find time to go and take down a banner put up by the people that he serves.
He should have had his photo taken with the banner and told us what he, the leader, was going to do about this disgrace, not go against the people who have every right to criticise what’s happened to a landmark building.
Then on the next page I see the council are going to make available £90,000 for groups and communities to apply for a hand out to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. I thought the council was hard up, so can they tell me where they get this sort of money to waste.
Then we have a pageantmaster who wants to light a fire in a basket and call it a beacon. All these people get goggled-eyed over the Royal Family and waste money trying to get a pat on the back.
The Royal Family need no encouragement from Great Yarmouth council and others. Wake up, and do something for the town with this £90,000. Start to make the Winter Gardens tidy at least.
UK has lost ability to have a voice
I had been a supporter of this country being in the EU from the start. It was said in the beginning, 40 years ago, that being part of the Common Market we would have a stronger voice.
But for the past few years I see this country has lost the ability to have a voice of its own. David Cameron failed to negotiate new terms that would have given us some of that control.
If he had achieved in getting the four-year no benefits scheme through, I believe it would have had a huge impact on Immigration and on how people vote in this June election.
We need to cut immigration down and only allow those in who have established jobs, and somewhere to live, so the state does not have to take responsibility to feed and house them, just like Australia does.
The infrastructure of England cannot deal with open doors, we are an island, we cannot expand.
Our schools, hospitals and GPs are already at bursting point, what chance have our children got to achieve a decent education with hugely overcrowded classes.
We have a chance in June to prove we can be in control of our own destiny, and not by some overpaid bureaucrat sitting in Brussels.
Lady handed in my lost wallet
Through your newspaper could I please thank the kind lady on the No 4 Caister bus who handed in my wallet to the bus driver, and also to the bus drivers who got me home despite me having no money on me.
Name and Address withheld