Letters, December 2, 2011

Empty church is

sad indictment

FOR personal reasons, on a recent Sunday, I attended the service in St Nicholas Parish Church in Great Yarmouth rather than attend my usual place of worship. St Nicholas is a magnificent building worthy of the accolade recently bestowed on it as a Minster. Truly it is second only to the great cathedrals of East Anglia as an inspiring place of worship.

In that, as a place of worship, if it were only appreciated and used more by the people of Yarmouth where “use it or lose it” holds true!

Sadly, on attending the 10am service that day, I thought that I had entered an empty building.

The week before, I had attended the Remembrance Day Service in St George’s Park where nearly 1,000 good people had attended. I find it hard to believe that St Nicholas, with only four other churches in competition, can only attract a congregation of 20 or less from Yarmouth as a whole. A sad indictment of the town!


Most Read


West Caister

Local press was


I HAVE been moved to tears while watching the parents of Milly Dowler, Madeleine McCann and Diane Watson during them giving their evidence with controlled dignity to the Leverson Inquiry into media standards and phone hacking.

I feel so sorry for these parents having to re-live the loss of their children and disgusting treatment they have had to endure by the gutter press. It has also been shocking to watch ex-high level employees of the News of the World and News International trying to justify the actions of the press. Clearly no lessons have been learned by these people.

The main reason for my letter is to thank the editors and editorial staff of our local press, TV and radio whose reporting during the loss of our daughter Mia in 2004 was considerate, compassionate and supportive. We were at all times treated with respect and did not feel any of the reporting to be biased.

Fleet Street could learn a lot in the correct manner newspapers should conduct themselves and their “stories” by reading our local papers. Long may the high standards prevail. I hope our local media is not tarnished by the muck being raked in the gutters of Fleet Street.



We are lucky to

have hospital

I AM saddened by all the recent criticism of James Paget Hospital. I have been there for treatment on numerous occasions during the past three years and the care has always been exemplary. During a visit last week, one young nurse said to me patients are now coming with a hostile attitude and she is beginning to hate coming to work; another told me they are finding it very difficult working under such a cloud of negative comment.

There may well be some problems as there are in any institution; but the management is aware of them and is trying to put things right. Meanwhile please let us not tar the whole hospital with the same brush. We are very lucky to have such a resource on our doorstep and let us be grateful and appreciative of all the excellent work done there.


Heather Gardens


Paperwork not

the full answer

WITH reference to the article regarding the James Paget Hospital by Peter Franzen, interim chairman of the NHS Trust Foundation (Mercury, November 18); I would like to make the following comments.

First, I must stress the times I have visited the hospital as an out-patient, I cannot praise enough the medical staff for their professionalism, courtesy and friendliness. My concern is that Mr Franzen states there are areas of concern which are being addressed, one being that “in future matrons will be regularly auditing paperwork of every patient in the hospital to make sure no one slips through the net”.

As someone who trains personnel as Internal Quality Auditors I emphasise to them that just checking completed paperwork does not necessarily mean that, (excuse the pun) “all the boxes have been ticked”.

An effective audit does not just only check documents for correctness, but the information recorded should also be verified through observation and communication, in this case with the patients. If you go to a restaurant invariably during the meal the waitress/waiter will inquire if the customer is satisfied with the meal to verify if there are any problems.

A good rule to work to when auditing is a quote from Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations – “Take nothing on its looks, take everything on its evidence”.


Quantec Management Consultancy, Hopton

Why not re-open

peninsular road?

FURTHER to the questions raised at the public meeting at Gorleston Pavilion Theatre on November 21 regarding the closure of this road for public access can we (the public) ask the GYBC and our MP Brandon Lewis to clarify the following and why this road remains closed to the public in an open letter published in the Mercury?

(1) At this meeting a resident stated it had been confirmed to him in a letter that this public road had only been closed for the construction of the outer harbour and could be re-opened when this phase had finished; if this is the case why has this public road not now been reopened to the public?

(2) But the GYBC stated at the meeting it was HM Customs & Excise that required this road to be closed. If this was the reason there is now no longer the need for this road to remain closed to the public because there are now no Customs & Excise requirement for the following reasons: it is no longer a container port; the first container ship that moored there had to leave because the sea swell was making it unsafe to unload containers; the container cranes have been removed and resold at a significant loss; it is not a cross channel ferry port and there are no plans to operate a ferry from it.

The public were not consulted about the loss of the public road around the peninsular from South Denes to the seafront.


Address withheld

Parking permit

axe is wrong

NOW that Cllr Charles Reynolds has admitted he got it wrong over the proposed parking at the lower promenade Gorleston, maybe he can admit he is also wrong to try and abolish parking permits in Great Yarmouth.

If they go, come the spring and summer it is going to be a complete shambles with holidaymakers trying to park for free down the side streets and residents not being able to park near their homes. At one of the meetings about the parking Mr Reynolds said holidaymakers would still use the paid parking on the seafront.

Who is he trying to fool? If there’s free parking available then that’s where people will park; only when the streets are full will they pay for it. Day trippers will be here for the day and into the evening if the weather is good so when people come home from work good luck on trying to find a parking space. I appeal to all those people living in Yarmouth that received the letter about the possible removal of residents’ parking to tick the box that supports keeping it. In the letter sent with the proposed scheme it states t it could bring the cost of a permit to �75; please note the words “could bring”. It does not mean it will be that much. In the Resident’s Association letter you will have also received, a more realistic price of �40 a year could be achieved. Please do not ignore the letter. To keep the parking everybody needs to tick the box.


Nelson Road North

Great Yarmouth

Stop complaints

about the Paget

I AM fed up with hearing nothing but complaints about the James Paget University Hospital. I have recently had cause to spend five days in their care and can only praise everyone I have come into contact with and offer sincere thanks for their truly inspiring level of care and sympathy. This was my first experience of hospital and I was amazed at just how cheerful and uplifting the staff could be despite the horrible jobs many of them have to do over and over as part of their caring profession. Well done to all and please keep up the good work.



Pier parking deal

not cut and dried

THE news just gets better and better, firstly the borough council scraps the universally hated proposal to extend parking on the lower promenade, and now it appears we may have an answer to the other “hot chestnut”, the deterioration and removal of parking facilities on the Gorleston pier.

It is of course great news that the Scott family is in discussion with the Port Authority to provide a resurfaced pay as you go parking area on the pier, and I wish them every success. However it is clear the deal is by no means cut and dried, because, understandably, it is conditional on Mr Scott being satisfied he is “doing the right thing for his business”.

In the event of the deal falling through (perish the thought), would the Yarmouth council pursue the matter further by entering into negotiations with the Port Aurthority themselves? In fact I am surprised they haven’t done so before, because if Mr Scott could, why couldn’t they.



More injuries to walkers on paths

MARTIN Dodd (November 18) and Mrs D Barker (November 25) are correct about the cyclists they refer to, but it needs keeping in perspective. There are far more injuries and fatalities to pedes-trians on pavements by vehicles than by cyclists. For example in 2004 there were no pedestrian fatalities caused by cyclists on pavements. There were 15 serious injuries and 47 slight injuries. There were 30 pedestrian fatalities by cars on pavements, 354 serious injuries and 1920 slight injuries. The figures for all other motor vehicles are also considerably higher than those for cyclists. It does not excuse the cyclists, but there is a general perception that it’s only cyclists who get away with so much. Considering the wider safety picture, cars cause far more death and injury to pedestrians than cyclists. It might be facetious exaggeration to suggest that if the police fully dealt with all drivers going 10mph over the limit, never mind other driving offences, the courts would be in session 24/7 but take my point?

Many cyclists ride on pavements because of a genuine fear of the behaviour of drivers. Strictly speaking it’s illegal, but many of those pavement cyclists ride with consideration to pedestrians. Surely it’s better overall for pedestrians that they are on bikes rather than cars.

We cycling activists are constantly peeved at the inadequate penalties given by the courts to drivers who have killed or injured cyclists. Some drivers have got nothing more than a few points on their licences for killing cyclists.

It’s unfortunate when writing letters of this sort that one has to “play up” to the perception cycling is dangerous. A study of accident data reveals it’s not. I therefore urge the anonymous writer to re-consider not cycling with her children to school. That said, John Huggins is not wrong. The ridiculous situation with many school runs is that parents argue they use the car because there are too many cars on the roads to make it safe to walk or cycle.


CTC Right To Ride Network rep for eastern England

Google Eastport

FOLLOWING the public meeting in Gorleston concerning the pier, I would like to suggest to readers that they Google “Eastport Scrutiny, 8th.February 2011”. This report and previous submissions on that page show in great detail the complexity of the dealings between Great Yarmouth Borough Council, the Port Authority and EastPort. It also gives details of the financing arrangements made.



Jetty is part of

town’s history

THE idea of water ski-ing off Yarmouth beach is, I am sure, as daft as it sounds. For too long we have stood by and watched this town’s history torn down, or should I say replaced for the future. How much will such a new attraction cost against the refurbishment of the jetty. So what if the jetty has been rebuilt more times than my son’s building blocks, it’s part of what’s left of this town’s history and we should save it. What’s next on our council’s agenda, demolish the Winter Gardens because it’s going to cost too much to repair. Well after sitting on your hands for so long borough council, do something before it costs more.



What did the

meeting achieve?

NOW the euphoria of the parking meeting in Gorleston has died down, I would like to ask everyone did it achieve anything except for the council to say it wasn’t proceeding with the car park on the Promenade? For me, having thought about it, I realise none of the three councillors or Mr Packham gave me any reason to have any confidence with the council hierarchy.

I once asked, does the council have a rapport with East Port? Do councillors read what we write in the Mercury? Are they and people from EastPort prepared to meet those who are unhappy with the situation in regards to the harbour? I feel the council cabinet could have nipped the pier parking issue in the bud long ago with a peppercorn agreement with EastPort when they have known for quiet some time the feelings of the people that voted them in.

Surely commonsense should have got them into some discussion with Eastport.

Are councillors in awe where the board or spokesman of EastPort are concerned? We have not had a meeting with Mr Baillie or Ms O’Toole from EastPort but, as had been said many times by John Cooper and Dennis Durrant and their merry men and women, they would welcome any open forum and I am sure no blood will be shed. I am, like Captain Lucas, happy there is a private company doing business here, but where is the employment promised in regards to the harbour? And while I am writing this, why have a no presence of Customs and Excise?

So people of Great Yarmouth borough, do you still feel all your questions were answered?


Yallop Avenue,


Historical point

of boundaries

REGARDING Ben Woods’ article “No to plan to join Yarmouth” I noticed an interesting historical point from the map titled Eastern Region Boundaries Commission for England, Initial Proposals, Great Yarmouth. Hemsby and Winterton are now called East Flegg whereas before they were previously said to be in West Flegg. When Yarmouth was just a sandbank, the Isle of Flegg as it was known, was completely surrounded by the rivers Bure and Thurne with the “Hundred Stream” flowing into the North Sea at Horsey. The island was almost divided into two by the Muck Fleet stream which connected the Trinity Broads (Ormesby, Rollesby and Filby) to the Bure. All villages to the south-east of this watery incursion were in East Flegg whereas those to the north-west were in West Flegg.

The irony of this situation was that the location of the parishes gave rise to strange demarcations. Although Caister was in East Flegg; so also was Billockby, whereas Winterton and Hemsby were in West Flegg.

From Saxon times, manors and villages were grouped together as “a hundred” for legal, taxing, ecclesiastical and even military purposes. They were thought to consist of 100 extended families. The two Hundreds of East and West Flegg were the smallest in to Norfolk and probably among the smallest in England. This means the land around here was (and is) very fertile as it supported a large population in a small area and must have been considered to be rich as indicated by the number of churches that were built.

I have no strong feelings as to changes of the Parliamentary Boundaries but such alterations are of interest to those like myself, who call themselves historians.


Lawn Avenue,

Great Yarmouth

Knife crime fear

I SAW on the Mercury the website the report about Poundland being fined for selling catapults that are unsafe. If you go to another shop in Yarmouth, they sell every sort of knife to anyone. There is more knife crime than any other.



Not doing young

any favours

RE the person who replied last week to my letter about the traffic outside the school at Hopton at drop-off and pick-up times. First,my letter was not aimed at parents who live outside the village, nor was it about cycling.

It was directed towards those parents who live in Hopton, where the school is only half a mile away, and then after dropping their children off, or picking them up, then drive all the way home again where they live only a stone’s throw away. The school is within easy walking distance. It is just sheer laziness, and they are not doing their children any favours as they are not getting any exercise.

Of course it is understandable on rough days, but not when the weather is fine and warm.

As for their being some speeding along Coast Road, how can this be, when there are so many cars parked, and where a sleeping policeman was put down outside the school some time ago? And where also a few parents let their children out on the road side of their car, not the pavement.

As for giving way, or not giving way in this instance, how can we when there is a long line of cars parked on Coast Road, and there is nowhere to give way.


Hopton on Sea

Girls on lorries

RE the letter of the herring smell and buses (November 25): I remember the buses with wooden seats during the last war. They were not specifically to transport the fishergirls, as they rode on flatback lorries, with a handrail in the centre and steps at the back. No way could the fishergirls travel on buses in their large oilskins and fingers dressed for protection in their work of gutting etc.


Burgh Road,


I worked on the

old blue buses

THE two recent letters with reference to the old corporation buses with wood slatted seats made interesting reading for me because I worked on them throughout the 1950s. The government allowed the corporation to buy 10 of them, with fleet numbers 14 to 23, during the war. They worked well into the 1960s.

Although they were not bought with the special purpose to transport fishergirls, the garage foreman Cyril Tooke always allocated one of them on the No 2 Newtown Fishwharf route to leave the fishwharf at a time to pick up the fishworkers when they left off work. They were painted very dark blue during the war, and after the war they were painted a much brighter blue with cream trim, thus the reference to buses with yellow windows.


Sturdee Avenue,


Well done, but...

I WOULD like to congratulate Cllr Reynolds on his integrity and honour, in admitting he made a wrong decision on car parking in Gorleston. Could we now hope he will display those same qualities in reversing his decision to abolish residents’ parking in Great Yarmouth?


St George’s Road

Great Yarmouth

People power is

proving a point

FOLLOWING the public meeting about the pier, perhaps democracy is still alive and people power is proving a point. That is encouraging, and what is even more encouraging is that local businessman Mr Rodney Scott has been allowed to intervene. If he does take on the car park it will be good for his business, but I believe he also genuinely has the interests of Gorleston at heart. I wish him every success. A little more give and take from us all, a little more goodwill and understanding from the council, and maybe we will achieve that all year round Christmas spirit.


Links Road


Herring girl mum

MY mum was a herring girl, gutting herring until midnight some nights. Not so much luxury as buses to and from work. The transport to their lodgings was on the back of the fishcurers lorries with boxes for seats, open to the elements. No health and safety then. The wooden seats referred to in the blue buses, called “utility seats”, were fitted in buses all over the country as soft seats were not readily available at the end of the war years.



Seafront needs

new investment

I LOVE Yarmouth and believe it to be a great place to live and very welcoming to holidaymakers who come year after year. Sadly despite the makeover of the Golden Mile itself and amenities like St George’s Park in recent years the place needs new investment and new ideas and attractions. A new regional casino will create jobs but what about the seafront? Neither of the piers barely reach the sea except in seasonal high tides and the landlocked jetty is about to be dismantled.

Without new attractions, Yarmouth’s appeal as a holiday resort will wane and that is why Yarmouth Council needs to promote new ways to make the town appealing to visitors. A Cable Ski facility 100 yards off the beach where the jetty used to be is one such idea (Mercury, November 25) - there is certainly the expertise among local companies to position the necessary platforms but it would require private sector operator. Most of our attractions are privately run and ones like the Marina Centre (previously council-run) has been given over to a Trust to operate.

Your readers will get a much better idea of what Cable Ski is if they click on www.cableskibenidorm.com then choose English version and then see pictures and video. Yarmouth can’t afford to stand still. The North Beach, Waterways and Boating Pool and also looking jaded. Marram grass has moved progressively from Salisbury Road to almost the Britannia Pier - one giant dog toilet created where there was once open beach.


Borough Councillor

Yarmouth Central & Northgate

Worried about

welfare of pike

I AM a keen pike angler and have recently been upset about the number of pike deaths on the River Thurne. This river was once the countries premier pike fishery but the recent attention gained by a number of anglers who are simply after their 15 minutes of fame has left the fishery in a terrible state.

These anglers don’t care about the welfare of the fish and the recent number of reports of fish deaths made for grim reading. The insistence of local media to report possible sightings of monster pike attacking match anglers roach only makes the problem worse.

I am not saying we should ban pike fishing but people who do decide to try and catch one of these amazing fish should make sure they are capable of dealing with it. I truly believe the Thurne system will not be able to sustain this amount of pressure for much longer.



Debunking history

READING the account by Else Hopp of abuse towards civilians by Russian troops on driving the invader back into Germany (a conflict in which more than 20 million Russians were killed), I wonder if these perverse and disastrous episodes were the consequence of earlier political manoeuvres. Quoting an author of modern history: *“Chamberlain seems to have thought that Hitler’s removal would expose Germany to the danger of a communist takeover.”

*Debunking History by Ed Rayner and Ron Stapley


Falcon Court

Great Yarmouth

A ‘feeling’ it was

to cost more!

LAST year I was obliged to collect an envelope from the Post Office for insufficient postage. It did, of course, cost me an extra �1 charge. It contained a charity-based Christmas card from my niece in Kent. I was the only one caught up in this cost out of the 40 cards she had posted to various parts of the country.

This week, I took an envelope to be costs in Great Yarmouth post Office, just to make sure. It went easily through the allotted measure but when I took it to the counter I was told the lady serving me could “feel something else in it” and that 2nd class delivery would thus cost me 58p. The “something she could feel” was the two little rubbers holding the robin onto my card. So beware!


Rampart Road

Great Yarmouth

Saving costs of


IN response to the letter “No Sense to Councils Merger” (November 25), I should like to point out to Mr Hudson there is no question of merging councils as he suggests. What is being explored at the moment is for a shared chief executive and senior management team only, working across the three councils, Breckland, South Holland and Great Yarmouth to save management costs.

Yarmouth Council is already sharing services with Norfolk County Council and other partners, and the Labour group recognises there will have to be additional collaboration between councils in some shape or form, to make additional savings for council tax payers.

We, as a Labour group, believe the geography of this proposal does not stack up, and we would be looking for closer working relationships with Waveney District Council and Norwich City Council with whom we have far more in common.

The Conservative administration which has been in control of Great Yarmouth Borough Council for the last 11 years will make the ultimate decision on this proposal.


Magdalen ward

Leader of the Labour Group

Good to see the

Paget at the top

IN a recent letter to The Mercury about the James Paget University Hospital I made the suggestion that if a university hospital fell below inspection standards it should lose the use of the word university in its title until it had “regained” its stripes.

I have seen no comment from either James Paget nor the University of East Anglia (UEA) about this suggestion so I assume they would agree this approach? However this week it has been reported the UEA has pulled a number of trainee nurses from the hospital, although insisting this is a temporary measure. They have decided to arrange alternative practice experience for the registered nursing students concerned.

It was great to see elsewhere the James Paget came out top of the 17 hospitals in the East of England for the quality of doctor training in emergency medicine. The clinical lead for this area, Mr Duncan Peacock, said he was “very proud that our trainee doctors have such a high satisfaction with the clinical training we provide”.


Park Road

Gorleston on Sea

Meeting audience

was, ahem, older

IT was a treat to read the Mercury last week and see on page 70 about the activities of the youngsters. Many choose to take an active part in different things, encouraged by their parents. Also, in the photograph on page 7 of the Gorleston public meeting, it was noticeable that most of the interested caring audience were, shall we say, older. So what about all those in between, say aged 18 to 35? Are they mostly just caught up in relationships or more likely the use of the internet, requiring little personal contribution?


Mill Lane


Hope the Paget is not privatised

I CAN’T help having a horrible feeling that criticism levelled at the James Paget is heading towards the outcome that has befallen Hinchingbrook Hospital in Cambridgeshire. I am sure that anyone who has received, or is receiving, treatment can vouch for the quality of care at the Paget. I hope the criticism is not a bid to soften us up to accept private intervention, and as the letter quoted by the three MPs was unsigned, I find it incredible it warranted a visit by the Health Minister.


Tyrolean Square

Great Yarmouth

Worry over lack

of free parking

ALONG with many local people I am pleased Yarmouth’s council’s proposals to extend the parking on the lower promenade at Gorleston have been dropped. I was however concerned at the suggestion to remove parking from outside the shops on the promenade and convert some of the remaining places to disability parking.

At first sight this may seem attractive but it would considerably reduce the number of free parking spaces. Of course there may be more parking available on Gorleston pier but there will be a charge for this.

I think that many local people who like to visit this pleasant area on a regular basis would find it difficult to find free parking and older and retired people who are not disabled might find it expensive to have to pay for parking on a regular basis. If this meant they went less often it would not help shop keepers there. All in all it might be a case of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’


Ormesby Road


I have no fears

about the Paget

ON the evening TV news, November 25 I think, a woman came on to remark again about the James Paget University Hospital. I believe she was from the Care Quality Commission. She said it was because food was placed on a patient’s bed, and taken away not eaten after 90 minutes, and one must assume therefore no questions were asked for the reason why. As many patients and ex-patients who are quite satisfied and have no complaints regarding the James Paget Hospital, I suggest you make your views known to the Rt Hon Andrew Lansley MP, House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA . Your views will never be known if you do not tell someone. Thankfully some letters are printed in the Mercury. I must add, I am in my 87th year, in the future who knows? But I have no fear or worries about going into the James Paget as a patient.


Queens Way,