Letters December 28, 2012
Borough is singled out
LAST week we learnt of the further government cuts being made to council services throughout Norfolk. Of course you’d expect me to be very concerned about the way in which this affects the county as a whole – and I am- but on Thursday I was astonished and appalled by a particular piece of vindictiveness to one of our most hard-pressed communities.
Great Yarmouth, a proud old town that dates back to before the Norman Conquest, has suffered more than most from changing economic circumstances over my lifetime.
It has seen the decline of the fishing industry, food processing, the UK holiday market and North Sea gas exploration to name but four body-blows to it’s economy.
On top of that it has been saddled with some of the worst roads and infrastructure of any comparable town.
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But whatever external forces have thrown at it, Yarmouth has fought back - just as it did when half its population had to move out of the old town during the war and the Rows were gutted like a herring.
Everyone knows that today Great Yarmouth suffers some of the severest cases of deprivation in Britain.
- 1 Jail for 'Jekyll and Hyde' builder who made customer 'fear for her life'
- 2 Woman in her 20s among 31 Covid patients to die in five days at hospital
- 3 'Business as usual' as shopping mall enters administration
- 4 13 cars targeted in tyre-slashing spree
- 5 Man, 23, knocked off bike during robbery
- 6 Council pay out six claims to drivers after car park ramp damaged vehicles
- 7 Wetherspoon pubs reveal reopening plan after 'zero' sales
- 8 Man in court over Norfolk Broads' boat break-ins during lockdown
- 9 Another Norfolk branch of Outfit shuts for good among 31 more closures
- 10 Timeline: When should you receive the coronavirus vaccine?
Unsurprisingly, Yarmouth’s electors kicked out the Tory administration at last May’s election and put Labour in control.
So perhaps I shouldn’t have been so amazed to learn that this Conservative and Liberal Democrat Government had singled it out for the worst cut in funding in the whole country.
I heard the minister’s words about “shared services and greater efficiency.” Clearly he doesn’t seem to know what Yarmouth has already done to cut top management.
And did he say the same things to Yarmouth’s Tory leadership in all the years up to May this year when they were in charge?
He could easily have done so since the very minister is none other than Brandon Lewis, the town’s own MP.
It comes to something when Yarmouth’s own MP singles the town out, from everywhere else, for special hardship.
I have always believed any elected politician’s first duty is to act as an advocate for the community that he or she represents.
Equally I have assumed a constituency is entitled to look to it’s MP as it’s champion in difficult times, regardless of local party allegiances. Perhaps Yarmouth’s MP thinks differently, but I suspect the good people of Yarmouth do not.
County Cllr GEORGE NOBBS
Leader of the Labour group
Why are First the fall guys?
MAY I through your publication, express my dismay at Michael Castle, Yarmouth central and Northgate ward councillor over his Boxing Day bus service comments.
If I can’t get to an event then I don’t go. If I cannot afford other modes of transport other than using public transport, then again I don’t go. And there have been times during my life I have had to go with out getting some where I would like to be.
There could be the argument that nurses, ambulance drivers, and the police all work over the festive period which is correct, but they are emergency services and I believe if they were able to get at least three days off over the festive period (Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day) they would all jump at it.
And lastly, and I think most importantly, there is more than one bus company in the Great Yarmouth area, so why are First always the fall guys when somebody has got some grievance?
We are not a major resort
IS Councillor Mick Castle actually living on the same planet as the rest of us? He says it is a disgrace that First Bus can’t do buses on Boxing Day. Is anyone else providing bus services on this day? No.
He compares Great Yarmouth to Blackpool and Brighton and refers to Yarmouth as a major resort.
There is no comparison; you only have to look at their Christmas lights and events and you soon realise we are no longer a major resort.
Visitors to our town arrive at a grotty railway station and even more grotty bus station with little or nothing going on.
If Mr Castle wants comparisons then let’s treat our council and our MP to a chocolate fireguard. If Yarmouth is to be Great Yarmouth again it will take more than just one company running a Boxing Day bus service.
Do yew watch for thar drink!
HAR’S wishin thar editor, thar Mawthar Anne Edwards and thar boys wot print the paeper and thar shops wot sell it and thar readers a roit Merry ole Toime.
Do yew watch for thar drinkin ana droivin so yew dornt git caught. If yar need ta hev a drink, woy dornt yew leave thar car behoind and git a taxi. It sevs yer a lotta hassle in thar long run if yew git caught. Mark me, it just aint warth it.
Thart said: Wishin yar orl well ana heppy New Yar. Orl thar best and ‘do you keep a troshin bor!’.
THE BOY JIMMY
Museum? We can do better
LET’S have more headlines like last week’s where the two banks have “had the door slammed in their face” in their attempts to take over two prime retail units in the town centre. They’ll be back though.
Another good story was the approval of plans for a new �20m hotel at Hemsby. In both stories the Mercury was also transparent enough to name those supporting the ventures.
We can’t do much about some things of course - petrol prices and energy bills, for instance, and the fact that we are stuck with the “parachutist” Brandon Lewis, who appears to not have the interests of the borough at heart, for another few years at the very least.
One thing among many we can do is related to the story the previous week about the embattled Nelson Museum. A pitiful 3,000 visitors a year, many of them from out of town I suspect, when 8,000 are needed to break even. And the borough has a population of more than 90,000.
We can do a lot better. Do each of the local schools go at least once a year? Perhaps the banks could have their cocktail parties there?
Ridiculous idea of job sharing
PEOPLE of my age remember the Thatcher era, when the manufacturing base of the country was sacrificed for the service-based companies. She had no mandate to do this, just as the Cameron Government has no mandate to privatise the NHS.
You cannot trust the Conservative party to do anything for the everyday people of the country. Brandon Lewis is just like his masters; the last Conservative council had the ridiculous idea of sharing jobs and services with South Holland Council.
Our present Labour council stopped it going ahead, so along comes our MP and gives the town a kicking - unless the present council falls in with what his mates want.
Mrs Thatcher destroyed the Midlands and engineering; this lot will destroy the rest given the chance. If you want to keep the NHS and many other things you have to fight for them.
I voted Labour for policies
IN May, I voted for a Labour council. If I wanted Tory policies I would have voted Tory. Brandon Lewis MP is “blackmailing” the people of Great Yarmouth as stated by a Labour councillor. He is forgetting the will of the people who voted for a Labour council. He has told the council they must follow the old Tory policies to get back some of the funding taken away from them.
Mr Lewis should represent the people of Great Yarmouth as they voted him in. I hope at the next election he is voted out. The new Labour MP for Corby said he was not there for his career “I am the people’s MP”. Shame Mr Lewis does not think the same.
MP could offer leadership
BRANDON Lewis is in danger of becoming the MP who helped wreck Yarmouth as cuts are piled on cuts. (Mercury 21/12).
The local council funds would have been brilliantly managed by the years of Tory control so there can be surely little scope for cuts yet we asked to cut and cut again. Norfolk County Council, of course provides most services and has been Tory for years.
Certainly scope for cuts there. �2m of community grants were announced last week. Most seem to be worthy activities but some could have been met by the old approach of more fundraising events.
Many of the grants provided funds to benefit a small number of people and not the wider community. Others could have been funded by parish councils. If Brandon Lewis was such an amazing ex council leader, he should be offering his leadership to find the cuts but also assisting in identifying funds to lead Greater Yarmouth back to greatness rather than further decline as spending power is taken out of the local economy by the cuts.
Incidentally, I stiil await the news of the abolition of subsidised meals for MPs in the Commons, and how can the A47 upgrade occur with a Government and councils committed to cuts for years to come?
Caister on Sea
Help find the Nelson heroes
I’M conducting a study of the men who served with Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. Six men from Great Yarmouth served on board HMS Victory plus others who served on other ships in the fleet.
Was one of these men your ancestor? John Church, William Flemming, Charles Nichols, Robert Philips, James Sherman (James Sharman) and John Thorling?
If you have any information on these men or other Norfolk/Yarmouth men who served with Nelson could you please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any help would be very much appreciated.
B F PATTERSON
Scratby hall’s magical show
AFTER Scratby waiting so many years for its own hall in the village, last week showed how much people are appreciating it. I have just returned from a wonderful evening of Magic of the Musicals held at the new hall in Scratby. It was like spending an evening at a local theatre! It was well organised and well supported.
I would just like to take this opportunity of thanking all concerned in organising this evening and look forward to more events in the future!
LYNDA HOUGHAM (Mrs)
Town has the ability to adapt
AMIDST all the understandable gloom that besets our town - and the benefits cuts which compound that misery for 3,670 unemployed people and their families as they do their best to struggle through, I remain confident we now have most of the ingredients for success over the coming decade.
Anyone reading the Mercury letters pages might not think so but despite the stream of letters saying that the Outer Harbour is a “white elephant” there are local companies winning contracts and taking on new staff in the South Denes. Just drive down there - brownfield land coming back into port use - firms like Gardline, SeaJacks and many others ready to expand.
Thousands of new jobs in prospect with the impending offshore windfarms and the new Nuclear Power Station to be developed further down the coast at Sizewell.
The Enterprise Zones in the South Denes and on Beacon Park will also obviously help with that process. This just would not have happened without the new East Port.
I don’t think the 22,000 tonne grain shipment aboard MV Maraki which left the port earlier this month should be ignored either - it is another marker for the expansion of trade that will come when the world recession eases.
Now we urgently need the Government to invest in our new 3rd River Crossing into the South Denes and the dualling of the Acle Straight. If they wanted to make a real difference that would be �200 million well-spent.
In the tourist industry we have significant new investment to look forward to by Richardsons at Hemsby, a new Premier Inn and Brewers Fayre Restaurant and Pub on the A47 approach to Runham Vauxhall and the even bigger Edge regional casino and leisure complex on the South Denes. These projects will all create much-needed jobs for local people.
The election of the new Labour council is also very significant because it prevented the damaging council merger with Breckland and South Holland that was being forced through by the outgoing Tory administration. Yarmouth would have been totally marginalised in an organisation run from 100 miles away in Lincolnshire.
The council is of course being starved of cash by the Coalition Government – the worst settlement of any council in the whole country!
Notwithstanding this unfairness Trevor Wainwright and his cabinet colleagues have taken the strategic decisions - sometimes quite tough - to help manage the loss of �10m in government grants over the next three years.
Yarmouth’s success in the past has been its ability to adapt and change - and to innovate. A positive “can do” approach to planning - building on the new Local Plan - can help provide the jobs and new housing we so desperately need.
A very Happy New Year to one and all.
Town Wall Road,
The slaver of fuddyduddies
I WAS talking to my old friend the other day and in our conversation, I said “You know who I mean - Whatsisname.” “Oh yeah,” my mate replied, “he used to work at Hartmans.” That was when I told him about a conversation I heard when I was about seven years old, and lived in High Street, Gorleston. Bert Thompson and Fred Smith met up in the backyard and this is roughly how the slarver went.
“Morn Bert orite?
“Yeah, not too bad Fred.”
“I was torken bout you yesterday to old Ooojar, you know, him who married that pretty dark-haired little party, thingammibob’s daughter.”
“Oh, I know. Cor, I hint seen them for yonks. Is old Thingammi still about? I hint seen him on his bike for a while?”
“I think he passed on”, said Fred.
“Oh dear, I bet watchamacallit will be put out. He was always in the Commodore with him.”
“Cor, I hint bin there since old misery gut took over, he’s a funny old codger. I liked Wussy best, he was good behind the ramp.”
“Yeah, I liked im,” replied Bert.
“They tell me little Thingamajig has gone away on the trawlers agin. He must luv it out there, blessisart. Anyway, Fred, better git gorn for her with the rollin pin comalookin for me. See you later old cocker.”
“Hello, you little snot. You bin earwiggin? Why are you with the mauthers? Gorn, I’ll clip yar lug little monkey, clear orrf.”
What a couple of lovely old fuddyduddies they were.
Who owns two Caister cats?
COULD the person or persons who own two young cats - they have pink and blue collars on and live in the area of Manor Road, Caister look out for them once in a while.
The black and white one spends most the day around my garden and sleeps in one of my sheds. The owners obviously took the trouble to put collars on them but as they are young, presumably they will need adjusting as they are growing. Also, as one, the black and white one, is female, has she been spayed?
I do have a cat of my own and really don’t want the worry of someone else’s. Could they just give me a ring to let me know they are being cared for. I’m on 728846.
Mrs I WOODS
Caister on Sea
Technology = lazy brains
I HAVE heard many excuses and reasons for the unemployment figures, but I have yet to hear someone mention what I think is the real culprit. For myself, I blame modern technology... that little can of worms inside the ipod, the computer, the mobile phone and all the other little gems of modern living.
Children no longer talk to each other; they communicate by pressing buttons even when sitting next to each other. Youngsters can no longer work out your change, even just for a �1 purchase, they can only give you what the machine tells them to. Unless you use email, you are scowled upon. Ebay is putting many little people out of business, more fodder for the unemployment figures.
If you use the telephone you are punished by press this, press that - another tin-animated voice saving yet another person having to think up an answer or using their own voice. Whatever happened to personal achievement, satisfaction from being able to do a good job?
We know, of course, it’s all swallowed up in technology, lazy brains, idle hands, boredom. Why such accent on athletics and exercise? Well, that’s all in place of hard work and graft to earn a living of course. let the machine do it for you. Why should you have to think? Have you noticed how irritable they get if you expect them to do it themselves? Eventually they will never be able to, and when the whizzkids shut it all down there will be absolute chaos.
Yes, some of it is good, but like everything else it is now taken to extreme, one person needed instead of three, no wonder there is a recession and high unemployment figures. The machine rules the world.
H E LANGSTONE