Letters, December 19 2014

Where will our children live?

As a local resident of Norfolk, I know I can’t be alone in worrying about our housing situation and where the next generation are going to live? Surely, with an election around the corner, there needs to be more of a serious local debate about the homes we desperately need in our community.

The increasing need for affordable homes and big shortfall in supply means house prices are becoming out of reach of our pay packets. Home ownership is at its lowest level since 1987 and renting from the private sector is eating up more and more of our hard earned salaries.

I am part of the Yes to Homes campaign, which is helping to create a lifeline for people who are renting, trying to get on the housing ladder, or stuck at home with only dreams of moving out.

We all need to be prepared to join in the local debate with our Norfolk councillors to tackle this problem, and think about how we can get the right homes in the right places at prices that are affordable for everybody in the borough.

We need more local voices saying Yes to Homes so our community leaders take notice, and more importantly action, to deliver those homes.

If you join the campaign, together we can make them listen. Please sign the petition for more of the right homes, in the right place, at the right price at www.yestohomes.co.uk

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Nuffield Crescent

Great Yarmouth

Schools not so deep in doldrums

In a week when Norfolk schools educational achievements have once again been under the cosh, the series of musical evenings hosted by students of Gorleston’s Lynn Grove High have proved conclusively that good quality and enthusiastic teaching will produce students passionate about their subject who have the confidence and ability to demonstrate and share their often exquisite skills.

These concerts were not about tuneless star struck, X Factor wannabees, but about students who were enjoying the learning process and proved to us by their excellent performances that Norfolk’s educational future is not as deep in the doldrums as Central Government blanket statistics would have us believe.


St Nicholas Court,


Dual Straight for safety’s sake

The saga of the single carriageway has dragged on for many years and I do not see it being rectified during my life.

There will always be other “more needy” projects ministers will want to add to their list of personal achievements, environmentalists will always argue against it on the grounds any improvements will harm the environment (forgetting of course that gridlocked traffic with engines running will continue to emit exhaust fumes), motorists will continue to be frustrated that everybody knows the A47 is terrible and nobody gives a hoot about the economic effect it has on the town.

On Thursday morning I witnessed the tailback of traffic, bumper to bumper, stretching all the way from the Vauxhall roundabout to Acle, unable to move due to the bottleneck at the Yarmouth roundabout.

Traffic leaving Yarmouth was also hampered because a motorcyclist was only managing 35-40mph so caused a tailback heading away from town. It is not just motorcyclists at slow speed, it is slower moving agricultural vehicles, wide loads, cyclists, caravans... all contributing to the inability to permit others to make reasonable progress.

And then there are the unfortunate motorists that suffer a vehicle breakdown and have no where to pull over out of harms way, effectively blocking the main arterial road in and out of town.

A suggestion in last week’s Mercury proposes a solid white lines down the middle of the road, to prevent overtaking...

The law on solid white lines is quite specific in that motorists cannot cross or straddle the solid white lines unless it is to access adjoining premises or a side road.

Motorists can cross the line provided the road is clear, to pass a stationary vehicle or overtake a pedal cyclist, horse or road maintenance vehicle if they are travelling at 10mph or less.

It is my experience slow moving traffic is usually travelling at 15-25mph so other motorists are not permitted to cross the solid white lines to overtake the slower mover.

There is also another aspect to bear in mind - and that is emergency vehicles. This seven and a half mile stretch of the A47 has water-filled dykes either side and very limited road surface for manoeuvring. When emergency vehicles have to respond with blue lights and sirens, there is precious little room for them to negotiate traffic.

With nowhere to go, the motorists should not be tempted to drive onto the grass verges because there are culverts which can damage vehicles, cause them to bounce back into the traffic flow, if not into the dykes.

Emergency vehicles do not have carte blanch to ignore the Highway Code. They have limited exemptions but do not include crossing solid white lines to overtake moving traffic, overtaking on blind bends, overtaking near the brow of a hill or a hump back bridge.

If we are to expect the emergency services to respond to our 999 calls in a realistic time frame, we must ensure that the roads are wide enough and safe enough for them to do so, day or night.

It is my opinion the A47 Acle Straight in its current configuration does not meet this need.

To do so it must be dualled even if it has a lower speed limit of 50mph, it would then enable traffic to make reasonable progress and possibly bring life back to our economy.

Name and Address withheld

Yes to A47 being ‘no overtaking’

With reference to Marie Field in last week’s Mercury: The Acle Straight becoming a no overtaking highway with a solid white line down the middle.

I made the same suggestion to the police in the early 1970s when I was breakdown driver for Mann Egerton on South Quay. I pulled many a car or lorry from the dykes and I realised it would be a safe way for that kind of road, but my words fell on deaf ears at the time.


Elizabeth Crescent,


Wonderful care at James Paget

I would like to say a big thank you to the nurses and staff on the SSMU ward at the James Paget Hospital, for the wonderful care shown to my husband during his terminal illness, and the kindness and consideration given to myself and my family during the week we spent there with him. Nothing was too much trouble and everyone was absolutely amazing, I cannot thank them enough.


Springfield Close,


The history of Christmas tree?

Last week, my wife and I went to a Pentecostal church in Norwich. To my astonishment a Christmas tree stood inside the door. Few Christians seem to know that this brightly decorated tree comes out of paganism. During the Saturnalia festival, which took place around December 25, the ancient Romans hung evergreen branches on their homes.

They also decked trees with bits of metal and images of Bacchus, the god of wine and ritual madness. The Saturnalia, a time of feasting and gift-giving, honoured the god Saturn. On December 25 the Romans celebrated the birthday of the sun god, Sol Invictus (the Unconquerable Sun).

As Jesus was probably born in September (see the link below), Christians who follow “Christmas”, with all its pagan echoes, on December 25 unknowingly celebrate the birthday of Sol Invictus and not of Jesus! In any case, God’s church, described in the New Testament, never observed Jesus’ birth, just His death for our sins – that those who obey Him may receive eternal life.

God’s apostle writes to the church in Galatia: “You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have laboured for you in vain” (Galatians 4:10).

See more at http://ow.ly/FIqBC.


Albemarle Road,


Sea anglers must clean up rubbish

As a very keen sea angler, who regularly fishes Gorleston beach, last Saturday, December 13, when my colleague and I went fishing on the beach, we arrived early on the Saturday morning and before we could begin fishing we spent 10 minutes picking up fishing line, newspaper, empty cartons and carrier bags!

Fisherman say that people moan about fisherman, I can understand why as some just do not seem to know where the black bins are situated on the lower promenade and on the footpath at the top.

Come on lads, it only takes two minutes to put your rubbish in a bag and put it in the bin, let’s keep the sea anglers name a good one!

Name and Address withheld

Come join our Christingle

Everyone is familiar with the phrase “Christmas is coming”, and also, as we approach our 37th Christingle Service at Great Yarmouth Minster, with the phrase “Christingle is coming”.

This year’s service is on Christmas Eve at 3pm, and once again we are combining Christingle with the annual Crib Service.

At Christingle, families, friends and children come together to bring their offerings for children and young people in need - in return those presenting a Christingle envelope, containing monies the children have collected, will each receive a lighted Christingle to process, in candlelight, around the church.

This procession makes a memorable climax to a truly children’s Christmas service. A great moment for both children and adults!

We do hope many, many of you will come to the Minster on Christmas Eve. We make 300 Christingles, but if you wish to make your own, as we know some groups do, please do so. All proceeds go to the Children’s Society. We thank you for your support over the last 36 years, please continue, your help is needed more than ever.


Christingle committee member

Meeting to talk about levy bills

Following all the comments over the past few weeks regarding the Tourism Levy BID, a meeting has been arranged for those who have been issued with a bill for this. It seems many businesses were unaware of the Levy until the bill came through from the borough council so this is an opportunity for anyone who feels they were not given the appropriate notice to come along and see if by standing together we can make our voices heard. The meeting is on Sunday, December 14 at 4pm in Marshels Bistro at the Indoor Market, Regent Road. At the time of writing I have been unable to get a list of all businesses affected by this Levy so if you know of anyone that may not be aware of this meeting please pass on the information.


Fitness 2000

Door wreath is deemed hazard

My mother has rented a council flat for more than 20 years, and throughout that time has had no grievance to raise - until now. Every year around Christmas time while putting up the decorations, mum has put a seasonal wreath on her front door - a simple welcoming sign to visitors, causing no problems for anybody.

Why then has she received a letter from the council, from a “jobsworth,” the content of which suggests a single wreath on someone’s door is an obstruction and a hazard to other residents. I consider this to be totally unnecessary and an unwarranted harassment of a lady who is simply trying to celebrate Christmas in her usual way. Ebenezer Scrooge has apparently re-generated in the Town Hall! Shame, and bah humbug!

Name and Address withheld

Festival of Carols a sheer delight

The 64th Festival of Carols at the Hippodrome was a sheer delight to attend. The children and young people were wonderful, singing and playing a variety of carols and Christmas songs with enthusiasm! Praise and gratitude go to Rachel Salton who organised the event and to the music teachers and musician friends who inspired, encouraged, conducted and accompanied items. To the Great Yarmouth Schools Music Association I say well done, it was a superb concert, for me beginning the journey of Christmas celebrations for another year.



Spread the word about reunion

GYHS Class of 1966-73. Following an initial search for girls who started at Great Yarmouth High School in 1966, we have had a very encouraging response from a number of people, all of whom have expressed an interest in a school reunion in 2015.

The power of the internet has helped but, with a few people yet to be traced, we are hoping the Christmas season will bring them back home where, hopefully, they or their family will read this letter and contact us to learn more details. Boys who joined us in the sixth form are also included, as are the girls from the Convent School. Contact email address class66to73@hotmail.com