Letters, December 24

Action urged

over gritting

COULD I through The Mercury Letters pages congratulate Norfolk County Council and its continuing campaign to publicise the fact it has sufficient stocks of road salt to see us through the winter.

Now that we have got the message could we ask the county council if it could find the time to stop talking about it and actually get down to putting some of it to use by gritting the roads, or is it looking just to maintain the stock so it may boast about it when the TV companies come calling.

I travel regularly between Hemsby and Lowestoft and gritting lorries seem to be a rarity and only then after the problem has developed and snow and ice are in place. You used to be able to depend on the bus routes being treated but apparently not now. Whatever happened to gritting to prevent a problem? At this rate they must have sufficient salt stocks to go through several winters.



Most Read

Demise of a

fine beach

AFTER an association with Gorleston beach of 80 years, I feel I am now watching the demise of one of the finest beaches in England, brought about by certain obstructions that have caused the area to flat-base or level, bringing about what I am calling a 12-hour beach.

This means a terrific beach on a low tide, with no beach at all on a high tide. I have watched with interest as this levelling has been assisted by tractors pushing sand towards the sea, rather than the shore. Now this procedure has been spawned, it is irreversible. I await with anticipation the coming spring tides.


Gonville Road


Port comings

and goings

WE are advised in The Mercury each week to go on to the web to learn of shipping in and out of our port. This information is, I am sure, of interest to all readers of The Mercury, including those with no access to a computer.

Could I ask therefore, whether this information could be made available each week as a regular feature?


Warbler Close


l Editor’s Note: Thanks for your letter Mr Dove. This isn’t the first time we have been asked for the information to be printed. We used to publish the comings and goings of the port weekly, as you probably remember, but when the new port owners took over they decided to discontinue sending us the information for printing. There was no reason given.

No Gurkha was

a stranger to dad

IN response to Ian MacDonald’s inquiring letter regarding my late father, Eric Williams, referring to his sponsorship of Havildar Lachhiman Gurung, VC’s children’s education, I would like to shed some light on this selfless act.

To father, no Gurkha was classed as a stranger. After serving with the 4/8th Gurkhas in Burma 1944-45, he found them to be a most friendly, loyal and fearless race of men, always with a smile on their faces. This had an everlasting effect on him, to which he sought to repay their loyalty to this country of ours, by doing what he could, either by personal sponsorship or by the many fundraising events he was involved with alongside the Gurkha Welfare Trust.

As so many others who quietly champion a cause, be it Help The Heroes, Barnardo’s, RSPCA, it was carried out not for personal recognition, but to help where he could and bring that cause to the attention of others.

Family and his many friends would agree that to have been acknowledged for doing this work, would have mildly embarrassed my father, but would have pleased him now to see that the cause had been recognised.

The brave Gurkha soldier still fights for this country alongside our own British soldiers in Afghanistan and other places of conflict around the world. They continue to need our support as much now as ever before. If by highlighting my late father’s generosity in this way, serves to promote awareness of this cause, I am sure he would be deeply gratified.

Donations or sponsorship are gratefully received by the Gurkha Welfare Trust, via the internet at www.gwt.org.uk or write to: The Gurkha Welfare Trust, P.O. Box 2170, 22 Queen Street, Salisbury, SP2 2EX.


Burgh Castle

Bastion of


I AND others have tried on many occasions to telephone Great Yarmouth Town Hall for advice, assistance, etc. Often I have had to wait up to 20 minutes before a call is acknowledged. The majority of times it is simply not answered.

It is an absolute disgrace that the most important building in Great Yarmouth, a building housing staff who should be easily contactable by telephone, especially to ratepayers with problems, to newcomers to the town and to outsiders, continues to remain a bastion of inaccessibility. Having spoken to a councillor about this problem, he admitted there was nothing he could do.

What is happening to this town?



We deserve

better than this

ERIC Pickles’ announcements last week gave Great Yarmouth one of the worst local government settlements in the whole of England. Cuts in Yarmouth will be more than twice the national average of a 4.4pc cut despite the borough’s proven need – still one of the ten most deprived areas despite over a decade of Labour government investment.

This is a disgraceful betrayal of local people who were promised so much about “fairness” from Tory MP Brandon Lewis and council leader Barry Coleman. The loss of the East of England Development Agency will compound the loss of government grant – millions have come to Yarmouth in terms of new infrastructure but political spite is replacing that body with a LEP with little or no public funding to back it up.

Instead the people of Yarmouth will be treated far worse than areas of relative prosperity – rural Dorset will actually get an increase (however small). We deserve better than this.


Leader, Labour Opposition on Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Celebrating the

birth of Jesus

I REALLY had to write to answer E Barkhuizen’s letter (December 17) about Christmas.

Over time an event that took place many years ago will, in the telling, change in some way, we all do this when retelling a story. Does it really matter?

The fact is Jesus was born, he came to save us and what we celebrate at Christmas is his birth. It may have been December 25, it may have been June 24.

What is important is that we celebrate such a momentous event, and that it did happen. Putting all the glitz and ballyhoo to one side, we must never forget we are celebrating His birth.


Mission Place

Great Yarmouth

Rebirth of the

sun marked

OH dear, E Barkhuizen not only disapproves of Halloween but also Christmas. He wishes to know why Christians celebrate a pagan festival. I think he has almost answered his own question.

He tells us that on about December 25 the pagans celebrated Yule, the Romans celebrated the feast of Saturnalia. They also celebrated the birth day of Mithra, a Persian god. However, he does not seem to have noticed that this is all around the time of the winter solstice, which this year is December 21. This is the time that the day is shortest, and from now on the sun will appear for longer and longer so it is logical that people will celebrate the rebirth of the sun which is what the pagans are doing at Yule, and the Romans were doing with Saturnalia.

The Persians quite logically did so with the birth of Mithra. Nobody knows when Jesus was born so some date was needed to be decided by the early Christians to celebrate and what better day than the day the sun is being reborn. There was of course the bonus they could take over the other festivals and make them Christian.

I am not sure how much debauchery was involved in the Roman celebrations but they do seem to have been rather good at that sort of thing. In the case of the pagans, once it was clear that the sun was going to return then it was good time to eat up any supplies that were surplus to what needed to be stored for the rest of the winter – hence our celebratory meal.

Of course under Oliver Cromwell the puritans banned Christmas, which could have been one of the reasons why we decided to restore the monarchy.


Royal Naval Hospital

Great Yarmouth

Nothing wrong

with this date

WHAT a killjoy your correspondent E Barkhuizen is, berating us for celebrating the birth of Christ.

Even though we don’t know the actual date that Jesus was born in Bethleham, this does not in any way preclude us from designating December 25 each year as the day in which to celebrate the birth of our Saviour.

However, I would surmise from his comments that he is a member of one of the many offshoots of the Christian religion. Perhaps you’ll tell us which one Mr Barkhuizen? In the meantime, perhaps you will allow the rest of us to get on with celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas.



Ormesby St Margaret

The point is, He

WAS born

FAR be it for me to point out an error in the Letters page but shouldn’t the first paragraph of the letter “I beg to differ on colour of blazers” be under the heading “Why celebrate a pagan festival?”(Mercury, 17/12)

Mr Barkhuizen says “nowhere in the New Testament does it say we should celebrate the birth of the Son of God”. I totally agree, however when my three children were born I was so overwhelmed and happy I wanted to tell everyone and share my joy with them. How much more so then to celebrate the birth of the Son of God, the One who brings hope to the hopeless, peace to the weary, love to the unlovely and joy by the shed loads to the sad. If that isn’t worth celebrating then I don’t know what is?

Mr Barkhuizen seems to suggest (incredibly) that people think that Jesus was born on December 25 and goes on (and on) about pagan practices associated with that day. No one really knows the day that Jesus was born, it might have been August Bank Holiday for all we know.

The point is not when He was born but the fact that He WAS born and December 25 is as good a day as any celebrate. Those of us who claim to be Christians should be offering light and life to all those who don’t know God’s love. People don’t give a toss whether I have a Christmas tree or not but they sit up and take notice when God offers “new lives for old!” – to paraphrase a famous panto line. After all, Jesus is for life not just for Christmas!


The Mews


Hardly on the


IT is interesting to read of the views of Cllr Barry Coleman and his achievements and view of the prospects for the future. This shows an amazing failure to see we are in decline.

The north and south seafronts need renovation with some work needed at Gorleston too. The area around the rear of the Town Hall could have become a civic complex rather than have been empty.

Gorleston Pier is a disgrace and a missed opportunity for leisure or even development; dozens of shops are empty including some in the Rows with one site an eyesore and empty sites in King Street, Regent Road and the seafront. There is plenty of litter around partly due to a shortage of bins as well as some untidy people

The A12 approach road needs further landscaping as it is hardly an inviting entry through an industrial area; there remains an A47 bottleneck between Acle and Blofield; there are no through rail links or electrification (like Kings Lynn); our coach station has few facilities and fewer coaches. Runham bridge and surrounding area is another eyesore.

There are high levels of unemployment including among the young with few signs of hope plus the loss of the Connexions service, and finally we have low education attainment and a failing college. The health of the population is below the national averages and a part of Northgate Hospital closed.

The new harbour is subject to controversy, while Bristol opens a new container port facility next year.

Hardly a town in the ascendency. One only needs to see other areas with vision developing. There is too much complacency and talk with no action. With The Tory cuts things can only get worse. While many of these issues are not the role of the borough council, they have an influencing and marketing role and should have an achievable vision and seek to diversify the local economy.


Victoria Street




AS a supporter of the National Autistic Society (NAS) living in the area, I wanted to make other local people affected by autism aware that the statutory guidance for the Autism Act 2009 was published on December 17.

This is a landmark victory following three years of campaigning by the NAS and their supporters. This guidance sends a clear message to all local authorities and local NHS Trusts telling them to ensure they are meeting the needs of people with autism. Now this has been introduced, people can start campaigning locally to make sure that the lives of people with autism are improved.

I urge people to take action now by contacting their local director of adult social care services and asking when they can expect reforms to happen. This can be done directly through the NAS website by visiting www.autism.org.uk/dhguidance.


Falkland Way


We want a

public inquiry

CLLR Coleman is again in complete denial of what his critics are saying are the facts about the outer harbour. Great Yarmouth Borough Council refuses to give us answers to many of our questions and even our MP repeats the same spin as do councillors.

Unless they allow our group to put forward evidence at the scrutiny meeting in January it will be a total whitewash. What we really need is a public inquiry which will be investigative, not those responsible investigating themselves. We also need the opportunity to be able to state our case as GYBC and EastPort have done in the Mercury and EDP other than just in the letters column, because contrary to what the council leader spins I believe the greatest majority of thinking residents want answers.

Millions in public money and liabilities for residents have been put into this project. If mistakes were made we have the right to know – it was our money. We have also “given” in other ways, Gorleston Pier, the road on the peninsula also the prospect of paying for a third river crossing which is only needed because of the outer harbour.

In the report they repeat it was �18m of public funds which brought in millions of private investment. Not accurate, because the “public funding” figure must include the assets and viable business of our river port which was gifted to IPH. The value of this must be in the order of �45m plus the extra �1.5m paid by Norfolk County Council and GYBC which had been used for funding investigations, plans etc for the project. The true figure is hidden from us at the moment in the archives of Norfolk Record Office for 30 years.

Fact one: Cllr Coleman says nothing has been given away, so how about the loss of Gorleston pier? I understand EastPort was given the freehold and is responsible for its upkeep and repairs but the council, although it is in a conservation area, refuses to do anything about it. It even backed EastPort when it was suggested it might need to be closed. Get our car park back please?

Fact two: In the last 24 days there have only been two boats in the outer harbour, well three if you count the one that went in and had to come out and go into the inner harbour because of the swell. The 17,000-tonne Draco isn’t talked about because it took 11 days to turn around and two of these were spent in the Roads because it couldn’t handle the swell. The grain loader is reputed to handle 1000 tonnes per hour.

Fact three: The inner harbour is doing well in its own right because of its reputation and record of safety and this is what is earning the money to keep the outer harbour afloat.

Fact four: Whose research was it that made the outer harbour go for containers?

Fact five: Cllr Coleman also says “the report appears to endorse the view of the outer harbour taken by the vast majority of people”. Has he got statistical evidence of this bold statement because everyone who has spoken to me tells me everyone they know has voiced objections to the current state of the project and the council’s lack of explanation.

Fact six: This report states 500 to 750 new jobs over 15 years. What happened to the 1,000 we were originally told? How many jobs has the grain operation provided? How many jobs has the aggregate operation provided? How many from Seajacks? If, and it is a big if, we manage to get wind farm work in what form will it be and how many new jobs will it provide? Mr Freeman has already stated there is insufficient space for decommissioning.

Fact seven: The councillor says other ports have the same problem of swell. The only problem at other ports is when there is a high wind and the containers swing about, which is unavoidable. Were the hydraulically modelled outer harbour plans changed to get more quay space and is this the reason for the swell problem?

Fact eight: Why did GYBC want EastPort to have the Harbour Revision Order which would allow it to make compulsory purchases on the peninsula and be a sovereign state within the borough? It is being objected to at the moment and may go to an inquiry.

Mr Coleman, we don’t need a whitewash based on a report done in retrospect with the benefit of hindsight. We want a genuine public inquiry with all those involved questioned and the public in attendance.


Brett Avenue


Where’s money

for drainage?

SPLASHING along Market Row in Great Yarmouth, from side to side to avoid the pools of water in the centre, one can’t help wondering why money hasn’t been allocated to provide drainage in such a well-used thoroughfare.


Marine Parade