Letters, August 26 2016

Motorcycle shop gave me the bug

What an interesting letter in the Mercury, August 5, from Patrick Atkinson, nice to hear the family history. It was them that set me on a lifetime of adventure and pleasure.

I attended the Technical High School, then in Lichfield Road, and on my way home on my cycle, a regular visit to look in their showroom was routine. With my nose pressed up to their window, dreaming of owning one of their Vincents or Ariel square fours on display I think that’s when I caught the bug.

On one occasion there was a pile of brochures on the window ledge just inside the doorway; I quickly opened the door and took one, feeling very guilty. I still have that brochure in our loft with many other memories, later knowing the shop manager, Jack Clarke. I’m sure he would have been only too pleased to have given me one.

On April 1, 1952 my Dad picked up a 250cc C11 on my behalf from Atkinsons, and I have hardly ever been without at least one ever since, Now, after 65 years I still manage to get out occasionally on my motorcycle, now only a 125cc scooter, a long way from the bikes my wife and I toured Europe on.

We toured extensively all over Europe, making many friends, but sadly age has caught up with us and called a halt to that; but what memories!

To continue the Atkinson’s history: they sold out to Kings of Oxford sometime in the late 1950s, later they started back into motorcycles on South Quay. They set up in the garage vacated when Mann Egerton’s closed their commercial repair depot. But sadly by then the motorcycle bubble had burst, the birth of the Mini was one of the biggest factors, and it seems the business was not a success.

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Lawn Avenue,

Great Yarmouth

Knitted display is most beautiful

While in Great Yarmouth last week we visited the knitted display in Market Gates, opposite Debenhams and put on by the Louise Hamilton Trust. It was the most beautiful sight we have ever seen and we urge everyone who can make it to visit this wonderful display.

The work and dedication that has gone into this is amazing. The trust does such wonderful work so please try and give a small amount of your time to visit. I promise it will be well worth it.


Address withheld

Is Corbyn capable of new robes?

Judith Daniels’ reply (Letters, August 19) itself makes the very point about Jeremy Corbyn. He may well be comfortable in his own skin, but what the electorate is interested in is whether he is capable of wearing the robes of party leadership, vision and policy delivery all spiced with inspiration and a dash of humour, or whether he is not.

For Jeremy the “emperor’s new clothes” moment is probably here.

No amount of posturing by devoted comrades can disguise the reality and as I passed the side door of a BhS store last week I was reminded of it when I looked in and saw a group of pale and naked mannequins standing there.


Cliff Hill,


Empty building would make flats

I would love to know who owns the building in the front of Morrisons, in Gorleston. It’s so big yet has been empty for a very long time. Who ever owns it they could be lovely flats, over looking the river crossing. Every time I go there it still looks empty.



Trustees will help young people

There is a new hope for the support of youth organisations in the Gorleston and Great Yarmouth area.

Unfortunately The Endeavour Rangers, marching band for young people, has had to close due to a continuing lack of interest and a failure to recruit sufficiently to maintain a worthwhile club going forward.

In February this year their hall, which was used for training rehearsals and other activities, was sold and realised a substantial sum. This has enabled the Trustees to set up the Endeavour Rangers Community Fund, which is to be administered by the Norfolk Community Foundation.

Youth clubs and organisations involved with activities for younger people, which might benefit from a support for their funding, may apply to the Foundation for a grant of up to £2,000 to help them with their projects. From Autumn 2016, the Foundation will half yearly be advertising that the Endeavour Rangers Community Fund will have money available and invite grants applications from appropriate clubs and organisations.

It is good to know those individuals, who set up The Endeavour Rangers and maintained the club over many years were, on its dissolution, able to provide funds to help young people to enjoy positive activities in future years to come.


Former custodian trustee

I am not ashamed of my birthplace!

I applaud Cllr Alan Grey in his reply last week to the reader of the previous week who said he was “truly ashamed to admit this town is where I am from”.

Well! I was born here over 70 years ago and certainly am not ashamed to admit this is my birthplace. Maybe things are not as perfect now as we would like them to be but this is a widespread situation that is not confined to Great Yarmouth. Automation and the Internet have taken over and unfortunately whether we like it or not that is how life has become. I still love this town with all its “faults”?

And although we have just had this dreadful fire on Regent Road which has dealt a terrible blow to the town, I am sure given time it will arise again like a phoenix from the ashes. I do so wish Mr Phil Thomson every encouragement with his venture in achieving this goal. As for a car park, perish the thought.

I am utterly amazed this was even suggested in the first place.


St Peter’s Plain,

Great Yarmouth

Is flood risk the reason for hold-up

My dander is raised every time the old Claydon School site comes to mind. Talk of development is stirred up then settles down with not a word of reason or progress.

Years ago, a similar plight arose on another site in the same region: Broadland Close, of which I will give a short history.

It started in the early part of the 1960s. A local man realised the potential of a piece of land now known as Broadland Close, bought the land and had two bungalows built.

Time passed and two more bungalows were erected, leaving a road width between the two others. For some reason or other further development was never allowed.

Now 50-odd years on, planning has been sanctioned much to the discomfort of people at that end of Burgh Road; discomfort caused by the flooding of sewage after rainfall.

Would this perchance be the hold up on the Claydon development?


Gonville Road,


Person who left cats is ignorant

I hope the person who dumped the poor mother cat and her five kittens taped up in a cardboard box on the A12 at Hopton reads this and realises what a sad, ignorant, uncaring horrible human being you are.

There are places the little unwanted beautiful, innocent creatures could have been taken and cared for by people who are the total opposite to you! There is a God and I hope you are rewarded in the same way at sometime.

Also, to the person who shot the poor seagull, why? I couldn’t bring myself to even read the dreadful article!



Bring us more buskers in town

I agree with Mr P Turner’s letter about needing a change in Yarmouth; there must be plenty of young buskers in the Norfolk area. Sometimes the pan pipe people are here and they are very good with a lot of talent.

The Charlie Chaplin has got talent and is very entertaining, he captures your attention for the right reasons as he is very good. I think good talented people are a pleasure to watch and in return earn a little pocket money.

Norwich has a lot buskers, which begs the question why are they not attracted to Yarmouth? I leave you to think about that.



Congratulating the Mercury

I write to congratulate the editor on the quality of recent copies of the Mercury. The issue of Friday, August 19, was all a local newspaper could be. I have noticed the changing typefaces, the changed and improved layout of the Village, Club and Town Life pages. Now at 88 pages it must be one of the bigger local papers in the country. It must be a great help to the town and villages to have a newspaper with such a comprehensive coverage and comment on what is going on.

It wouldn’t be a proper letter to the paper if it did not contain some criticism, as I hope this is seen as a proper letter, here is a little criticism.

1 Please buy John L Cooper a new string for his violin. He has been playing the same tune for too long or, perhaps, simply publish the same letter each week, I wonder if anyone would notice?

2 I wonder why the writer of the very pertinent letter on the overdevelopment of Martham needs to hide behind “Name and address withheld” Obviously the editor will know things about the writer which I am not privy to but the letters effect is minimal without knowing the author, I echo these comments about the writer of the letter concerning the fire damaged Regent Road site, why hide?


Pit Road,


Time to invest in our young people

It is easy for highly paid MPs and civil servants to feel good about the drop in youth unemployment. As a former careers adviser, I have seen how we have failed our young people and the country long term.

How many of the jobs are just seasonal, temporary, zero hours contracts? How many employers are offering quality training for the future? How many are in apprenticeships?

Will the jobs help relieve the skills deficit? It is crazy we import NHS staff by the thousands and crazy we do not have enough builders or engineers and have unemployed young people. Why are there any unemployed young people and a lack of training schemes?

If the council was not facing financial cuts, the town could be greenified with landscape trainees, building trainees could improve public buildings and streets. Public art and litter clearance are other ideas that spring to mind. Areas of the town need a refresh, including around our heritage areas and the bus and railway stations.

Others could be trained to work on our historical records (like using IT to reference local press). Archaeological digs could be run. Why pay benefits when so many useful projects could create jobs and training?

How many young people are forced into taking jobs that fail to realise their potential? Thousands?

How many are minimum wage jobs where young people do the same jobs as older workers for far less money? How many can afford to be on the even lower apprentice rate when they are hoping to save money for the future? How are the disabled faring with the cuts to special provision? How much of the reduction in unemployment is statistical juggling?

A way out of unemployment is to continue in further education but support for that has been cut back and university is scary with debts of £50k on completion. How come in the 1960s, the nation could afford to send me to university but not now?

The government even abolished Connexions, the independent careers advice service for young people with job seeking and CV help so job clubs are now having to be set up. In some areas, some attendees are critical of the provision.

Taking any job may be good to get back to work but what is needed are well paid jobs with training, including adult apprenticeships, so the country does not have a major skills deficit.

I am amazed the Government is investing money in benefits rather than in our young people.


Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

Anyone remember model complex?

In the spring and early summer of 1969, while an apprentice with Coventry Gauge and Tool in Great Yarmouth, I worked with the Rollason brothers on the construction of a large (20ft x 60ft) model complex.

My task was to make as many working features as practical. A mountain range ran through the middle with a ski lift and cable car ran to the top and back. A fairground had many moving rides, all illuminated. There was a small town with 1,000 street lights, and every form of rail traffic imaginable, to list a few of the many features.

The commercially made locos, never designed to run eight hours a day, were a constant problem as they wore out rapidly keeping me busy many evenings that summer.

Does any reader know what became of this spectacular modeller’s dream?



Thanks for special day donations

We would like to thank family and friends in joining us on our 80th combined birthday party and thanking you for the donations of £1,700 which will be divided between MS and Stroke charities. We would also like to thank Peter and Denise and grandchildren for doing so much behind the scenes.

Mark Dixon of the Kings Arms, Fleggburgh donated a Norwich City football shirt signed by all the players in conjunction with Wes Hoolahan, and this raised £250.



New homes will impact on village

I have lived in Martham for 24 years and during that time have witnessed many changes, which have to be expected. However, it would seem that our once lovely village is being targeted to become one vast housing estate.

My objection to yet further housing has nothing to do with “the limited adverse impacts such as the loss of agricultural land and visual impacts” as quoted by Bidwells, but the impact this extra housing will have on, mainly, our schools (one of which has recently been demolished for housing) and our doctors surgery which struggles now to cope with the amount of people they have to deal with.

They also state that the impacts would be outweighed by the “considerable social and economic benefits” I fail to see what benefits these are for Martham, as a village, that already has approval for 100 new homes on the old Mushroom Farm site, 55 houses have just been approved on land by the Chicken Farm site.

This does not take into account the new housing recently completed on the corner of Rollesby Road/Repps Road, three bungalows behind the Cooperative Stores, the list goes on.

I would not argue that people need affordable housing to be built, but I do feel that Marthan has had its fair share and now somewhere else should be targeted for this latest project.


Rollesby Road,


Brexit judgement say approaches

The Quiet Man speaks. Some of your readers will have heard what Mr Ian Duncan Smith said on Monday. He was urging Theresa May to begin Brexit Talks “sooner rather than later.”

The reason for this is becoming increasingly apparent. Day by day, people are understanding the consequences of the Referendum result and they are worried. Everyone knows by now that the pound has been devalued against the Euro and the US dollar by about 10pc. This is affecting the cost of our imports. Prices will inevitably rise. People will be poorer.

We now have a large hole in our defence budget. Higher prices of American arms means we can no longer afford to buy what we need to update our defences. Plans are afoot to move financial work and jobs concerned with the Euro away from London and towards Frankfurt and Paris.

The Bank of England is busy printing money to try to prevent our economy falling into recession. Even so, the Governor still forecasts an increase in unemployment measured in hundreds of thousands.

Investors are repositioning their portfolios. The public are not fools. They are assimilating all this information. Some of them are coming to the conclusion that empty rhetoric with no long term plan is perhaps not as appealing as it seemed two long months ago. No wonder that Mr Duncan Smith is worried.


Brasenose Avenue,


Enterprise Zone for businesses

In last Friday’s Mercury, our MP Brandon Lewis is having another crack at revamping Vauxhall Station. We waited some four years for him to work his magic but he failed. Back in 2010 he was headlines in the Mercury and now, with the new franchise a further two years down the line, he is still trying.

If he can make the rail company his business why cannot he get involved in Great Yarmouth Port? The sale of BhS was Philip Green’s private dealings, but Government is making it its business.

The South Beach enterprise zone is a government directive, to help new business in easing them coming here by drastically reduced business rates.

As this is a directive from his place of employment as a Member of Parliament surely he has the authority to intervene in the Port using land as a car park that is in the enterprise zone?

Ratepayers have waited nine years for a return on the £20m grant and near £40m gifted to the port company by way of the river port and hardly a new employee to see.

Now is the chance to get involved to find out why the enterprise zone is being used as a car park and not new business,


Burnt Lane,


I would never deride birthplace

In reply to the several letters last week bemoaning a previous correspondent who said he was ashamed to say Great Yarmouth was his birthplace. Well, I am ashamed we probably had people reading this critical letter and getting a false impression of us.

I was born and grew up in Kirkcaldy, Fife which also was once a thriving fishing and industrial town on the east coast of Scotland. I moved here after marriage in the late 1970s and love my new home so much.

I return to Kirkcaldy several times a year and it is not the town I remember, but I would never dream of deriding it and its people because it is not the same to me.

It is different but everywhere is different. We live in the 21st century and must accept times they are a-changing.

To the original letter writer, my advice would be to take a closer look at where he currently resides and ask locals how they feel about their home town. I feel sure he will get the same reaction he has given us about Great Yarmouth.

I believe I am happier here than I was when I lived in my birth town; but I respect Kirkcaldy and its people.



Give fire building priority please

The council’s town centre masterplan: money reserves should go to the redevelopment of the indoor market and I hope that Mr Phil Thompson could have talks with Retroskate that would replace Regent Bowl.

I wish Mr Phil Thompson the very best of luck. The council should give the redevelopment priority because he was born in a home in Regent Road.


Ashwood Close,

Caister on Sea

The first rotating tower was here

Much has been made of the new i360 degrees observation tower at Brighton; perhaps the designers are unaware that they are over a century late with their concept.

The first rotating observation tower in Great Britain was constructed in Great Yarmouth in 1897 by London engineer Thomas Warwick and functioned until it was demolished for scrap metal for the Second World War effort.

Obviously the limited technology and materials in the late 19th century meant that it was only 140 feet high and carried 150 passengers compared with Brighton’s slightly larger capacity and about three times its height. Maybe a little drum beating from our publicity department, could make something of this.



Thanks for help after nasty fall

I would like to thank the kind lady and gentleman for picking me up after a nasty fall on Sunday, August 14 on Sandringham Avenue. Also for taking me home. They were so caring.


Hawkins Close,

Great Yarmouth