Letters, August 5, 2016

Rex Reed the fire diver at Britannia Pier in the mid-1960s. Photo: George Woolford

Rex Reed the fire diver at Britannia Pier in the mid-1960s. Photo: George Woolford - Credit: George Woolford

All your views from August 5, 2016.

The Old Smokehouse in Cobholm

The Old Smokehouse in Cobholm - Credit: Archant

Good job Anglian Water - not!

So it rains again in Bradwell, and we have our usual fountain of sewage erupting over the road and pavement, the only benefit is that the schoolchildren of Hillside School won’t have to walk through toilet paper and other mess as they’re on holiday.

At the time of writing this we are waiting for Anglian Water to turn up and deal with the flood and mess. Well, the good thing is they can clear up the mess still laying on the pavement from the last flood a few weeks ago. If you think I’m sarcastic I am, and I think I’ve got every right to be!


Patrick Atksinon's father, Osmund, owned the Old Smoke House.

Patrick Atksinon's father, Osmund, owned the Old Smoke House. - Credit: Patrick Atkinson


More notice over closure please

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Why, can’t the police advise drivers as far back as Gapton Hall roundabout that the Acle Straight is closed after an accident, so that alternative routes can be made. It would save all the queuing traffic approaching Breydon Bridge manned by one police car.



No apology after my pet was attacked

We took my 12 year old granddaughter to the Gorleston Clifftop Gala. We were strolling along in the sunshine enjoying the stalls etc with our friendly little Shih Tzu on a lead.

A black Greyhound attacked my little dog from behind and she was screaming, but it wouldn’t let go until I hit it with my bag. It spoilt our day. The owners couldn’t care less and didn’t even say sorry. This dog should be muzzled in public places, it could be a child next time.


Bridge Meadow,


Just so you know that plot is mine

I am writing through your column to inform the people of Winterton that I still own the plot of land behind 1 May Cottages, Back Road, Winterton and have had the deeds to said land since April 7, 1993.


St Margarets Way,


Yes please do visit our town Corbyn

I was interested to read the news item in the JUly 29 issue that Clive Lewis, Norwich South Labour MP, said that

Jeremy Corbyn should visit Great Yarmouth in his leadership tour campaign.

I think this is a cracking idea in a town which is in great need of his authentic speak on the question of the still invidious inequality which stalks this country.

He is facing what I consider an unnecessary leadership campaign as his tenure has proved successful in many areas. His grousing and curmudgeonly Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) need to get their act together and fast before the opposition is put out to grass, where they might languish ad infinitum.

These are post brexit divisive times where we need strong committed Labour MPs to fight for the future of this


As readers will know I was entirely for remaining and have struggled to get past that “existential” vote to leave.

But the die is cast and we now need to forge the best way forward without alienating our friends in Europe.

This leadership challenge was disingenuously hung on the hook of Corbyn’s response to staying in the EU.

Yes he probably did have reservations like most of us but unfailingly flagged up the good and positive benefits.

We now have Owen Smith standing against him, who is talking at length and I mean at length about the same

issues which Corbyn has stood up for all his parliamentary life.

I personally feel that he will walk this campaign with ease as he has still so much support in the country.

If he does win again it is to be profoundly hoped that the party does not split and compromises and a proactive way forward can be established.

Hissy fits all round have left the electorate in despair. We have now a steely woman Prime Minister in Theresa May who will not take prisoners, especially from a party that is more intent on wrangling among themselves than actually getting on with the job.

That stalwart of the High Street BHS is now shutting up shops everywhere and our town will feel the loss of it.

My sympathies lie entirely with the staff and especially our Yarmouth branch and sincerely hope that they find further employment soon.

Much has written and spoken about this whole debacle and as usual the actual people who turn up every day to serve customers in a friendly and courteous manner are the losers.

If our new PM means what she says this type of malign entrepreneurship will be a thing of the past, where companies are sold down the river and vast rewards are aligned in the wrong bottomless and capacious pockets.

So yes Mr Corbyn come and visit Great Yarmouth because at the moment we need an opposition that does not talk

with a forked tongue and who is on the side of the marginalised and disadvantaged in our country.

This town has still a lot to offer in its exceptional heritage and its still willingness to reinvent itself in the face of great odds.

Hopefully the spectre of austerity will be lifted and a positive and life affirming way forward will be found where everyone has their rightful say and not just the privileged few.


Winifred Road,


We too are hit by flooding misery

Regarding the article on the delay building homes on Claydon perhaps the gentleman and Anglian Water should try living at the White Horse roundabout end of Burgh Road and Beccles Road to know what a problem surface water and sewerage is.

The minute it starts raining heavily within 15 to 20 minutes the drains in the road overflow, flooding the road from side to side, then into gardens lapping at front doors then on July 12 entered some homes forcing through floor boards we have bought covers for over our air bricks but what happens if you are out or on holiday when it happens?

It then occurred again on July 29 and 30 - not as bad because it stopped raining sooner.

So unless Anglian Water and the council can solve the problem no more houses.


Burgh Road,


New cafe lacks old pics for wall

We are in the process of opening up the Storm House Cafe, previously known as The Harbour Breakfast Bar in Quay Road, Gorleston.

I have tried endlessly and enormously to locate a picture or two of the old Storm House Cafe of yesteryear.

I thought it would be nice to display a few in the cafe, but I am not having much luck.

If readers have any they could share with me or can point me in the right direction I would be delighted for them to get in touch either by emailing me at jamieleezmich@outlook.com or by calling in the cafe. I am happy to collect any pictures that come to light.

Jamie Zmich


Smiling now, but not in a few years

I counted photographs of 864 young people in last week’s edition of the Yarmouth Mercury.

Will they still be smiling so broadly when they realise that their work opportunities across Europe will be reduced by over 80pc when the automatic right of access to the EU employment market place is lost?



Proud of our bus time reliability

In response to the letter printed in the newspaper on July 22 about unreliability of bus services before 9am in the mornings in Yarmouth.

I can confirm that we have experienced some inconsistencies with reliability on some services before 9am mainly this has been due to additional traffic build up through the peak period when people are travelling to work and on school runs.

After recognising this, we have recently made some changes to the timings on the applicable routes to improve reliability.

I also think it is fair to raise the point that Great Yarmouth and Gorleston are tourist resorts and through the summer months, we can experience additional congestion at certain times of the day that can unexpectedly impact on the reliability of our services.

I want to assure all our customers that we constantly monitor our services for reliability and consistency on a weekly basis.

Over the last few months we are proud to have run 94pc of all services on time and to the publicised timetable.


General Manager for First Eastern Counties

Crash is boy racer wake up call

For years residents of South Beach Parade have been campaigning to stop the meetings and constant speeding of the so-called boy racers...but to no avail.

There have been constant meetings with the police, members of the local council and even our local MP Brandon Lewis to voice our concerns but everytime we get the same message - there is nothing that can be done.

Early this year my wife had a meeting with Brandon Lewis and representatives from the council and police along with a few of the residents of South Beach Parade to discuss what could be done in stopping the meetings that take place along South Beach Parade and the boy racers in general.

Nothing productive came from this meeting and it was the same old story of we’ll see what we can do.

The last words that my wife told each member of the meeting was that there was bound to be a serious accident of someone will be killed soon, and how right she was after Sunday night’s accident.

What do we have to do to make Mr Lewis, the council and the police sit up and be counted and realise that we do indeed have a really serious problem with what these racers are doing and is it going to take someone to be actually killed before something is done....do they all value someone’s life as little as that?

Sunday’s accident could and should have been avoided if every organisation involved took this more seriously.

We are told that the meets that take place go back years and is a historical event, where it is expected that son takes over from father over the years.

What about the person that was injured on Sunday. They had no say in what happened to them.

And history is there to be changed. Let’s change it now before a mother, father, son or daughter are mourning the loss of a loved one because we all stood by while the boy racers historically speed up and down.

Something needs to be done, not tomorrow, or next week, or next month but today. We cannot wait around any further before someone looses their life.



Revamped society seeks singers

If I may I would like to tell you about a friendly bunch of people who meet at 3pm on a Tuesday evening in St Peter’s Hall, Gorleston.

Small in number, enthusiastic in song dear readers they are worthy of your attention if you enjoy an eclectic taste in music, ranging from Gilbert & Sullivan through to Hugh Roberton and John Rutter.

They are in fact the revamped Gilbert and Sullivan Society under the temporary new guise of the The G&S Singers - and the happy thing is there is room for everyone.

Last Saturday night they proved their worth with an informal concert in St Peter’s Hall with comic songs and the beautiful strains of the Londonderry Air and All in an April Evening.

They impressed a small, but so appreciative audience who rewarded them with warm and prolonged applause.

Yet another excellent choir rising from the ashes to delight the stages of Gorleston.

If anyone would like to be a part of it a warm welcome awaits.

Call Karen on 01493 665374. Or if you would rather sit back and enjoy then watch out for their next concert. It will be worth the wait I promise you.


Links Road,


High Street buses a lifeline for old

Please do not stop buses coming up and down Gorleston High Street.

Stand and watch elderly and young struggling and shuffling along with shopping.

I am talking about us who do not and cannot have our own transport. The bus is a need.

Off at Boots the chemist, into Iceland or stay on for Wilkinsons and Farm Foods with bus stops each side then back home.

The bus stop when put in Church Road was a no no. I is too far to walk and I cannot do it. The traffic does not stop for you to get over the road.

Take all the parking off our High Street. There is a car park at the top and a big plot of land near the bottom where the laundry stood which would make a big car park.

Pensioners and disabled people have lost some important buses. Do we have to lose our High Street bus stops?

We all grow old and often need help.

The High Street is not a car park and the left hand side footpath is quite wide almost all the way.

Name and address supplied

Leave laptop and enjoy the scenery

Last Thursday evening after a hard day’s work many cyclists were seen in numbered shirts around Beccles Road, Somerleyton.

On bikes too, or in cars, other folk can enjoy the lanes.

Youngsters escape from their laptops and tablets for scenery and fresh air.

What a blooming good time to be here!


Mill Lane,


Hats off to army of litter pickers

Today, Monday, at 9am I walked my dog along the top of Gorleston cliffs.

Who could have believed the day before there were hundreds of people milling around – there was not one piece of litter anywhere and I could not believe it.

What a wonderful job the Great Yarmouth Borough Council have done. They must have been up and out at the crack of dawn.

So thank you from one happy Gorleston resident and congratulations to all the staff in this department. Well done!


Burgh Road,


Happy memories of South Denes

Referring to your article the other week about the caravans on the South Denes, for me it certainly brings wonderful memories of the time 55 years ago when my parents bought two caravans on the site, one for my grandmother who lived with us and one for the remaining family and extended menagerie that we had acquired over the years.

It was, at times, quite primitive, no connected toilet or water which you had to collect from the outside communal tap, but for the family of seven never a problem.

For a few years we lived in Gorleston at Clarence Road and for a while mum had a hut on the beach then we moved to Great Yarmouth, Newtown, but for her it was never a problem to pack up every Friday for a weekend down the caravans plus the summer holidays, packed to the rafters including the hamster, goldfish, budgie, canary and dog.

We never lacked for good healthy food either, a cooked dinner every lunchtime and on Sundays a lovely roast.

You were nearly always guaranteed hot sunny weather, mum in particular made plenty of friends. The extra plus was that the caravans were right next to the sea and on occasions we had a lovely man come round selling fresh shrimps 6p a pint.

Decades later I used the caravan for my children but unfortunately and gradually over time the South Denes started to deteriorate.

I was always quite puzzled as the North Denes on the other hand appeared to vastly improve and they were never as well-placed as us.

I’m sure with investment it could still be a winner as most families still enjoy the simple pleasures of life and it would get the children away from computers and give them a healthier fresh air option, a lovely beach and a sea to paddle in.

Some things one never forgets and although my parents and grandmother are now long gone thankfully I can say how wonderful they were and especially our marvellous and unforgettable memories of South Denes caravan site.

Exceptional happy days.


The Mews,


Paying high price for earlier decision

Further to last week’s letters re the Claydon School scheme.

Regardless of the rights or wrongs of this recently deferred planning application it is very clear that the residents and their homes that are now flooded on a fairly regular basis after “heavy rain” on Burgh and Beccles Road need a quick engineering solution.

A permanent “fix” needs to be found and implemented swiftly in order for this new development to proceed as intended.

What the flooded residents neither need nor want now is what they had in 2011 when Anglian Water provided the same or similar “no objections” letter for NPS who were granted outline permission regardless of 19 serious drainage and flood objections tabled by residents during the consultation.

These 19 flood-related objections were completely ignored in order to achieve the committee’s desired approval for NPS.

And now this well thought out Badger Building scheme’s future is uncertain as a result.

In total 384 clearly defined objections for 114 objectors were ignored by the committee at that meeting.

The minutes on June 15, 2012 show the following question asked by a member of the committee about whether the objectors were appeased by the further information provided by the Highways Authority and other consultees who had raised no objections to the revised application.

To simply say that Anglian Water have produced a letter stating that there is sufficient capacity in their system can no longer be acceptable.

It follows because of recent flooding that this is either false or there are other problems that need resolution.

For Badger to comply with the Environment Agency’s requirements at the time as conditionally required in order to gain approval is also no longer a valid process.

It needs to be accepted that the planning officer is not wrong in seeking further advice because as we can see quite clearly now, had this matter been dealt with before granting the unwelcome and now apparently flawed NPS application in the first place none of this flood/drainage investigation would now be necessary.

None of this is Badger’s fault at all. They purchased this site in good faith with outline planning consent already granted for 110 dwellings subject to development rules compliance.

Anglian Water need to be pushed hard for a fast track solution.

It appears unlikely that any development will take place here now or in the future until this flooding problem is actually seen to be resolved once and for all.


Claydon Grove,


We all need to take up trowels

In reference to the letter about clearing weeds in our area. Yesterday August 2 I saw the Great Yarmouth town mayor and mayoress and another gentleman sweeping the large area of grass outside the Fisherman’s hospital.

They were trying to make the town look better for the judging of the Great Yarmouth in Bloom competition and they were making an extremely good job.

So if we all did as Josie Fitzgerald suggested and cleared weeds where we live we would have a town to be proud of.



Memories of man who dived into fire

This is a photo from the mid-1960s by my father, George Woolford of Pontypridd, South Wales.

It is of Rex Reed the fire diver at Britannia Pier.

We spent many holidays in Great Yarmouth and always stayed at Percy Warnes hotel, the Del Monico on Marine Parade.

The fire diver’s modus operandi was to erect a chalk board.

It read “fire diving here at XXX time”, to attract spectators.

He threw an accelerant, which was possibly petrol, into the sea, set fire to it and dived in.



Smokehouse was motorcycle garage

My mother and father bought the old smoke house, not sure if it was 1945 or 1946. My father Osmund Atkinson died in 1950 and my mother took over with my elder brother, it was our motorcycle garage.

My father started the business in 1927 at 24 Regent Road and on January 6, 1929, married my mother Henrietta Mary at St Mary’s Church, Regent Road.

My brother Richard (Dick) was born June 8, 1930, my sister Jacqueline, July

17, 1937 and myself Patrick, June 23, 1940.

We were all born at 24 Regent Road and left during the war years, my father took over a bomb factory in Birmingham and we lived in Barton on Humber until the end of the war. Dad was in the First World War as an engineer in the Royal Flying Corps.

When we returned back to Great Yarmouth the property on Regent Road had been let so mum and dad bought 137 Mill Road – the old smoke house.

My dad who had not been well for many years sadly deteriorated in health and on February 20, 1950, he died.

Mother took over the complete running of everything, she employed several men, I was put in boarding school at Ipswich as my mother wanted a man to bring me up, knowing full well she would spoil me.

I remember the 1953 floods and that day it happened mother my brother and sister had come to visit me in Ipswich and then the flood came. We lost 57 motorcycles and three cars, it was a real blow to us as it turned out that we were not insured even though my dad was told he had the best insurance we could get.

Somehow mother overcame these setbacks.

I stayed there until 1955 and immediately started work in the garage.

I so remember my mother coming over to my college with the Lambretta catalogues of the latest models in 1954 and she took on the main agency.

Lambrettas sold really well and we were only a small business and I so remember during those years we were selling many makes of machines and of course secondhand ones as well and we were doing over 1,000 vehicles a year which for us was a lot.