Letters, August 15, 2014
I’ll continue to pick up litter
I refer to the opinion in The Mercury August 1 and I feel you have summed up the litter problem perfectly. The letters from Kevin Hubbard and John Norfolk also highlight the problem.
The main culprit appears to be fastfood containers and if you put 20 litter bins outside these shops, some people will still ignore them which is a pity, because nothing beats a clean and tidy environment where people are proud to live. The council, with budget cuts etc try to get on top of the problem but they are fighting a losing battle.
Yes, we need more bins, more street cleaners, better education on the subject, but these have to be paid for. Perhaps the person being paid £200k would like to hand back some of his salary to pay for extra street cleaners.
The excellent cleaner we had has been moved to bins and sadly, will not be replaced. Would fining people be a deterrent? Unlikely. In the meantime, like so many other good citizens, I shall continue to pick up litter on my walks.
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We enjoyed our visit to Yarmouth
I wanted to say thank you for a great day out last week in Great Yarmouth. I heard the details about the day trip when I was at work last week, we have Radio Norfolk on so I jotted down the number and phoned and was delighted to get the call to say I had two seats on the bus.
I took my 84 year old father in law with me, we boarded the bus at Kings Lynn. When we arrived at the Market Place we decided to walk to the Britannia Pier, and walking down Regent Road we both admired the lovely hanging baskets.
Last time we visited a lot of the shops were empty and boarded up and rubbish was everywhere, but what a difference now. The shops were all occupied, some really nice places to eat and drink with outside seating and spotlessly clean. We were both impressed.
On boarding the bus again we were taken along the Golden Mile to the harbour. We were able to go right in with the bus which was very interesting and something we would not have been able to do had we had not been on the bus.
We had free time to have a spot of lunch before the circus which was a marvellous show. We had never been before but we would love to go to again at a later date.
We arrived home and both said what a very enjoyable day and we hope to return to Great Yarmouth for another trip and will certainly try to promote Yarmouth to other people so they can go and see the improvements that have been made
Caravans bring money into area
In reply to C R Wright. Like a few other people I own a caravan on a residential site, for which I pay ground rent. Which depending on what site you are on can be, between £2,000-£4,000, and these are paid to the owner of the site who then pays their business tax and any other taxes to the local council.
On top of this when people come to their caravans with children, they put more money into the economy. Also the sites employ local people.
He also complains about sports facilities; if he is able enough why doesn’t he join a sports club to enjoy the facilities. I know bowls is mainly self sufficient, because I play and you pay a membership fee and pay to play. Does he want all green areas covered in buildings but no facilities for people to enjoy?
While he is complaining about all this, does he not realise if caravan owners and day trippers stop coming, the whole infrastructure of the whole area would collapse?
Lucky we don’t have storks!
Regarding the letter in last week’s Mercury from E Atkinson concerning seagulls. It must be very much a problem for people who have been affected, but could I just say that up to a point, and not wishing to play the problem down, in this area we are lucky.
My wife and I have just returned from a holiday in the Black Forest Germany and they have a much “bigger” problem there. In Strasbourg and the surrounding areas which we visited their problem is storks. They are everywhere, just like our seagulls.
They nest - and it is a big nest - anywhere they can, even on windo-sills. We passed one park and the amount of storks in the trees would match the amount of sparrows we have in ours. But the people have decided to take the stork on board in that such things as tea-towels and other material things all have the stork embroidered on them and stork toys are all over in the shops.
When they fly it is just like prehistoric times as their wingspan is huge. But good luck to E Atkinson.
Royal Mail to ‘collapse’ service
Summer Lapsing: Sounds like a delicious tropical drink by a pool in some exotic setting perhaps. Not so if you live between Euston Road and North Drive in Yarmouth or in the Burgh Road area of Gorleston.
It seems these areas have been chosen quite arbitrarily by our beloved Royal Mail to “collapse”, (their word), deliveries in the “slow” summer season when demand is down and some workers are on holiday.
During this time, to end at the end of August at the very earliest, normal deliveries are discontinued and we have to make do with teams of postmen from other areas fitting in deliveries with their own rounds. As a result of this “Summer Lapsing”, (their term), deliveries are either very early, very late or non-existent. Hardly a service to suit all and treat everybody equally.
Mind you, they’ve been sold off, at a great loss to the taxpayer, so why should they worry?
Harbour road is forever closed
Most weeks in the Mercury there is a letter calling for the reopening of the public roadway around the Outer Harbour development. I do sympathise 100pc with the popular sentiment it would be nice to go back to the days when we could all drive or walk unhindered around all or most of the South Denes peninsula.
Sadly it cannot ever happen again because of course it wasn’t some spiteful move dreamed-up by local councillors or EastPort to deny public access but an absolute requirement after the terror incidents of the last decade. The European Commission’s main proposal to deal with terrorism and security at ports and at sea after 9/11 was published in May 2003.
The requirements proposed by the Commission with regard to security assessments led to the drawing-up of security plans and the designation of company and ship security officers applying to domestic as well as international traffic. The regulation also envisaged a process of inspections supervised by the Commission to verify the harmonised implementation of these new security rules throughout the EU. So closing off roads in ports isn’t just happening in Yarmouth but is happening on a Europe-wide scale.
That doesn’t mean we can’t do something to satisfy legitimate public interest in our port. Hopefully the eventual construction of The Edge Casino development could include a rooftop public viewing point - that would certainly satisfy a lot of people - and of course maintain viewing points in the river port.
The ice cream van I am pleased to say still does great business on the seafront close to the Power Station - even though you can’t see much of the activity in the Outer Harbour from ground level.
The important thing however is to have a secure port to sustain the 10,000 port-related and energy jobs that will be so important to the town’s future prosperity.
County Councillor for Yarmouth North and Central
Nice to get some help to find jobs
I read with interest in the August 8 edition of the Mercury the article about jobseekers campaigning for better services at Great Yarmouth Jobcentre. I myself have seen, heard and experienced in person the way some claimants are sometimes treated at the Jobcentre.
I feel Ian Duncan Smith must be telling Jobcentre managers and staff to get tough on claimants and make life hard and unsettling for them so the claimants do everything they can to get any old job to escape.
The staff no longer tell you how many jobs you have to apply for each fortnight, there is now no minimum requirement, they say this is so you do as much jobsearch as you can, so you go in for as many jobs as possible. That means though that no-one knows if they are going to qualify for their benefits that fortnight or be sanctioned for not doing enough jobsearch. This means you are very nervous and scared when you sign on, there is a definite atmosphere of fear.
It’s our job as claimants to do everything we can to get a job, but it would be nice to get some help instead of threats of sanctions for the slightest thing such as turning up late for an appointment for example. I feel the unemployed are treated as being simple minded and second class citizens, which does not fill us full of hope Mr Cameron.
Screeching gulls are a menace
A dawn chorus I could do without.
I couldn’t agree more with previous week’s readers concerning seagull nuisance. We have lived in our present home for 17 years and have had to put up with the mess and constant screeching ever since.
The mess is just about tolerable, because fortunately we live in a bungalow and gulls seem to prefer parking themselves on the higher roofs of nearby houses where they feel more secure, and so our roof tiles stay fairly clean. I know it still means cleaning the car and windows more often than I’d like, which is annoying, but for me by far the worse thing is the gulls screeching alarm calls at 4am every morning.
I’m a great lover of our feathered friends and have always enjoyed hearing the dawn chorus of blackbirds and the like, but this year is very different, the song birds seem to have moved away, leaving the gulls, which seem noisier than ever. Oh for a decent night’s sleep!
UKIP endorses NHS privatisation
I was most stunned at the performance of UKIP spokesman Adrian Myers performance on Harbour radio (August 7).
He seemed to disagree with two fundamental parts of his party’s manifesto.
When quizzed on Sections 3.1 and 3.2 of the small business manifesto 2013 (UKIPs commitment to scrap maternity rights and holiday entitlement for workers), Mr Myers responded he didn’t agree with this policy.
He also seemed to disagree with his party’s commitment to sell off the NHS. Had he taken a look at the website of the deputy leader of UKIP, Simon Nuttall, he would be fully aware UKIP fully endorses a process of NHS privatisation.
Parking: Greedy, greedy Yarmouth
Searching for a car parking space, I came across the Marina Centre car park nearly empty. Thought I was lucky until I went to pay the fee, £10 for one to four hours. Had no choice but pay it as I was meeting someone.
A lady stood beside me with four children saying she could not afford that much so drove off. Greedy, greedy Great Yarmouth Borough Council. You want more people to visit Yarmouth but they will not be coming back when you charge those fees to park. Disgraceful and shame on you.
Mrs O CLARKE
Anyone free to write to press
I see Mick Jones dislikes my letters and asks who I am. (Mercury, August 8). I am a concerned local person who, like many others, is worried about our town, particularly Yarmouth. Gorleston and our villages seem to be thriving.
Like him, I did not regard myself as party political. Years ago, I was a Lib Dem for five years or so. I even naively thought a coalition Government might help. I certainly do not see myself as a propagandist as I have no remit from anyone!
There will, however, be plenty of propaganda in the coming months with the General Election looming.
Indeed with a full page promoting ministerial visits last week, it seems to have started. What will be the benefit of these expensive visits?
I see there are several Chris Wrights around locally. I did stand for the council in May, having only joined Labour for the first time in 2013 when it was clear we are not all in this together in a Big Society. With changing circumstances, I do not plan to stand again.
Labour has many failings but did manage our response to the world financial crisis and saved the money of ordinary people when mismanaged banks failed. This money will be recovered and will cut the deficit.
My frustration with the present Government is that in spite of the recession more could be done locally to restore the fortunes of the town, easing the impact of unemployment and preparing for the recovery with much needed infrastructure. Just borrowing to pay benefits when people want to work or retrain is a waste of public money.
I learnt much at the local elections, in particular how many people feel we have lost much of our greatness and that Labour and Tories have lost their way. Many saw the answer with UKIP and many are too disillusioned to vote.
Immigration is seen to have put pressure on public services, like the NHS, jobs, schools, housing and benefits. Europe is seen to be the cause of bureaucracy and waste. It will be interesting to see how UKIP progress. It is impressive how UKIP has built a new party of such wide appeal and even have several young councillors.
Hopefully, they will make clearer some of their other policies. UKIP may attract national media interest to the borough.
I hope this clarifies things. Anyone is free to write to the press, one does not have to read what is written and anyone can reply. Most newspapers, including our own, like a debate on local issues.
Caister on Sea
Might pedal cars be more apt?
Your correspondent Peter Keys question: Why were so many cars taking part in a bike ride?’ (Letters August 8), perhaps they were pedal cars!
Seaside piers part of heritage
I note we are celebrating 200 years of piers this year. Unfortunately we have lost a few due to arson, vandalism etc. Just recently Eastbourne Pier was lost due to a fire.
I have visited a few piers over the years and think they are part of our heritage, including the Britannia and Wellington piers in Great Yarmouth. I used to skate at the Winter Gardens next to the Wellington pier in the early 1970s.
I noticed they started to take the pier to pieces a few years ago. I thought they were going to restore it but all they have done is put an amusement arcade on the front.
Mr P TURNER
St Margaret’s Way,
Do we let the beggar’s starve?
“We are an ageing population and we will finally reach the stage
Where we surrender our driving licences due to our old age.
We have no Doctor or Post Office. no shop or convenience store
We are living in a village where there is no future anymore.
If we want to stock our larders which is necessary to survive.
Then we will have to hire a taxi to ensure we stay alive.
On our demise I feel that on our headstones they should carve.
We didn’t think they’d need a shop so we let the beggars starve.”
Living in a village such as Rollesby is as near to Heaven as you can get. Unfortunately with advancing years you become closer to Heaven than you could wish for. We have no post office, no surgery and no shops. We can always be well groomed as we struggle to survive as we do have hairdressers.
With the proposal of another 35 houses being built would it not be wise to try and introduce some form of shop for the local older generation. We all attain old age whether we like it or not and it is comforting to know that it could be made more tolerable with basic amenities.
Editor’s Note: We don’t generally publish poems, but have made an exception in this case as the letter’s central issue is one worth highlighting.
Singler-decker buses on way
I write in reply to Susan Watson’s letter (August 8). I am sorry to hear about the problems her daughter encountered when she travelled on our service 6.
Due to the age of the bus, which was a step-entry vehicle, all pushchairs and buggies needed to be folded. We have recently seen an increase in passenger numbers on services 6 and 7. Owing to the high demand, we have replaced some single decker vehicles with double decker vehicles to help cope with the increase. We also have a cascade programme where we will see a batch of newer, single decker vehicles on services 4/5/6/7 which should be in operation from November.
First Eastern Counties
I, too, will give bike ride a miss
Re cars taking part in a bike ride, August 8. Peter King says he will not be participating this year. I shall not be cycling for the Norfolk Churches Trust this year because driving a car and riding a bicycle are two different things.
I have taken part for a long time. I have always looked forward to meeting people from other churches, planning my own route, and then at the end of the day feeling happy I have shared in something across the country.
Double-decker bus difficulties
In regards to the letter in the Mercury last week from Mrs Susan Watson about her daughter having difficulty with the No 6 double-decker bus between Bradwell and Yarmouth. I was on that bus.
If your daughter had collapsed her pram there was still nowhere to put it. I find it hard to travel on a double-decker as I have had a stroke and am not too good with steps and stairs and walking. It is hard for young families and senior citizens in wheelchairs.
Whose idea was it to swap a single-decker for the double-decker?
My taxi driver was clueless
I am a partially sighted 87 year old who was in need of a taxi from the bus station in Yarmouth to the Masonic Lodge on August 6.
I got off the bus and was due to be at a meeting around 10.45am. It was 10.40am when I found a taxi at the back of M&S. The driver didn’t mention he had never heard of the Lodge, much less he hadn’t a clue where it was.
After various runs around parts I didn’t know he found the seafront. I wasn’t sure which end of the seafront it was and the taxi driver kept telling me it wouldn’t be towards the Wellington Pier but I felt sure it was.
In the finish he said he did not know where to take me and I got out. He charged me £7.50 and I was lost.
Fortunately a good samaritan took me into a hotel and asked them to send for a taxi. This was an Albies one and the man was most kind.
He told me unfortunately some people were given licences with no training as to areas or particular places. I arrived at the Lodge, which was in the area the previous driver refused to go to, well after noon.
I spoke to two other taxi firms but the driver concerned belonged to none of them and I could not see the sign on the car or read the driver number because of macular degeneration of my eyes.
What brilliant NHS service
Last Thursday I severely cut my ankle on glass whilst gardening. My wife stemmed the blood and called 999 for an ambulance.
The operator was very considerate and asked for the size and depth of the cut, which resulted in being advised I needed to attend A&E at the James Paget Hospital. The lady operator enquired as to whether we could arrange to get there by our own transport, if not, they would send an ambulance.
Having a very good friend who did not hesitate to take us to the JPH, my wife and I arrived in good time. From arrival at A&E, being attended to, having stitches and a tetanus injection was 20 minutes maximum! What better service can anyone require?
Stop knocking the service and enjoy the success. With grateful thanks to you all at the JPH. I am most grateful for the service you provide.
The seagulls were here first!
Considering the ills of the world, I place my lifelong seagull neighbours low on the list of offenders. As they were the original inhabitants perhaps they see us as the intruders!
Will UKIP step up to the mark?
What wonderful news, I don’t think: UKIP opening an election office in the town. If God forbid, the candidate gets elected will he or she then act in Parliament as our 10 UKIP councillors when there is anything of a contentious nature being decided upon, as in the case of the ludicrously obscene salary package offered to the interim chief executive.
When is the truth going to be revealed by Messrs. Wainwright and Co about the full cost to the ratepayers of this borough of this man, who I note is not going to be paid directly but through his limited company. How can a salary nearly 40pc higher than the Prime Minister, of whichever persuasion, be justified for a little borough like this one?
Also, when is somebody on this council going to stand up for the ordinary ratepayer now the two main parties have “stitched-up” the various committees and our new much vaunted UKIP councillors appear to be totally toothless?
UKIP interested in political gain
I feel I must share my outrage when I read your article on August 8 about battle lines being drawn between UKIP MEP Stuart Agnew and the local Labour Party run by parliamentary candidate Lara Norris.
I truly believe the Labour Action Resource Area (LARA) is here to help the people of Great Yarmouth with any problem they may have.
I have used their services and found the people at LARA were kind and helpful, whereas Mr Agnew clearly states in his own interview: “I decided to come here as a result of the elections in May,” which tells me he is only interested in political gain. As if he cared about our town!
He would have been here from the start, not only when the political landscape looks appealing.
I find this undermining attitude an insult to the people of Great Yarmouth and also his use of public funds to move from his office in Chelmsford when those funds could have been used to help communities or people in need instead it has been wasted all for vote-grabbing.
I believe our great town deserves better.
Miss E TOOKE
Help, not hide, us jobseekers
According to the dictionary a Jobcentre is “a place where people can get advice in finding work”; this does not best describe the one in Great Yarmouth.
Every fortnight I take in my ES40 (a jobs applied form) I hand it over and get another one to cover the next two weeks and off I go out of the building. Hardly a word is spoken by the staff.
There is no “how’s your job search going?” or “do you need any help?”, just virtual silence. I cannot remember the last time I had an interview with the Jobcentre.
With regard to sanctions only being used as a last resort this seems not to be true. Last week I had a disagreement with the person taking the ES40 and within two days I get a letter to say my JSA has been stopped because I had not done enough job search - but the form was as full as it had been on previous weeks. This seems to be a case of don’t argue with us look what we can do.The Jobcentre is quick to hand out sanctions but should the staff also get them for not helping the unemployed of the town. I would not want to work here.
The office needs a complete overhaul from top to bottom so they help, not hide, jobseekers.
Thanks for aid on ‘Black Monday’
Four weeks ago I dialled 999 when I felt a heart attack had hit me. the paramedics were with me within five minutes.
They immediately worked on me to keep my heart going and whisked me off in the ambulance to the James Paget Hospital. A doctor was waiting for me and I was told that specialist equipment, which was needed, was in the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital so I was whisked there by ambulance accompanied by a doctor and reassuring paramedics.
Arriving at the hospital, I was raced to a room where the cardiac doctor and his team were waiting. They worked tirelessly until I was alive again.Five days later, after first class care and support, I was allowed home.
Last Tuesday, one month on from “Black Monday” as I call it, I had a visit to the James Paget for a check up and was given the all clear. I am a new woman and driving once again, enjoying my life to the full.
My deepest thanks to all my friends and wonderful family, some of whom came home from the Middle East, who have supported me all the way.
And also grateful thanks to the paramedics, doctors and nurses who resuscitated me, cared for me and kept me alive to tell the tale.
Mrs CELIA PLATTEN, Cherry