Letters, December 5 2014

Gorleston jet crash

Gorleston jet crash - Credit: Archant

Jet crash details are missed out

I read with interest the account of the F100 crashing into Darby’s Hard 27th October 1964 but I think that one part of the story is missing.

At that time I was a 16 year old motor mechanic working in a garage on the south corner of Baker Street/Riverside Road. This garage was not open to the general public except for MoTs as it was at the south end of the Eastsacks paper sack factory and we were fully occupied maintaining the factory’s fleet.

The factory has been altered over the years into smaller industrial units and the only recognisable part is the old office block which is now used I think by the Kingfisher boxing club.

The main entrance door to the workshop looked out onto Baker Street facing north. We were by this entrance when we heard the plane approach and looked out. It appeared on our left coming from inland. Two things were noticeable - he was flying very low and slow and we could clearly see the pilot was still in his cockpit, also the engine was sounding very, very rough.

One of my workmates remarked: “He’s in trouble, must be heading out to sea to ditch it.”

We watched it fly over the river, the fishwharf and out to sea, then, show over we went back to work.

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A minute or so later we heard a dull “whump”, looked north and saw a thick pillar of smoke so we all dived into a car and drove to investigate. When we got to Darby’s Hard all we could see was smoke and flame - no sign of the plane at all. At first we could not work out what had happened then somebody said it must have been the jet because in the sky two others were circling.

Strangely the fire was rather silent but we noticed some popping sounds, then a police car turned up and told everyone to move back because the popping was live ammunition going off!

So what happened? We did not see the pilot eject so I assume after he got out to sea the engine blew up and caused the plane to do a U-turn but there was no mention of this in your report so I wonder whether anybody else saw it head out to sea.

The three guys I worked with were Douggie, Brian and Martin. I don’t know if they are still about but I am sure their memories would be the same as mine.

So if it did do a U-turn as I’m sure it did, why was no mention made of this in your report?

Douggie lived in the high street overlooking the river and when he got home found a broken bedroom window and a mis-shapen .50 slug on the bed. The window was repaired courtesy of the USAF.

Within 12 months of this incident Eastsacks closed down and we went our separate ways. I have not seen any of my former workmates since.


Caister on Sea

Celebrate the fall in unemployed

For the past two weeks we have had a few articles criticising the current government on benefit reform. Local unemployment is down to 1870 or a fall of 33pc in just over a year!

This is something we should be celebrating not questioning. Any fall is welcome and in my opinion it doesn’t matter how many sanctions are issued or any other tools to get people into work. For every example of someone getting sanctioned I know of someone who deserves it!

If you are on JSA you look for work or do what you are asked. If not you are sanctioned, it’s simple! There are 605 people in Great Yarmouth who have been on JSA for over a year of these 175 for over three years! If no sanctions existed these figures would be higher.

Thirteen years of a Labour government encouraged a culture of benefit dependency and a belief by a significant minority that the state owes them a favour. Under this government the tide has turned in favour of reforming the welfare system to ensure that working is the only and best way to better yourself and your family!

If a Labour government won in 2010 we would still be in recession have higher unemployment, higher taxes, higher immigration and a growing benefit dependency culture that started in 1997 which is slowly being untangled now. I for one would have this government that has spent four years repairing 13 years of damage by Labour!




Local UKIP have sprung to life

After several months of slumber with little news and few updates on their local website, UKIP have sprung back to life.

I am not sure how giving £100 to a local dance group is the height of good news or a waste of public money. The defection of Cllr Mrs Hacon never got a mention and she is still not listed as a UKIP councillor!

UKIP are leafleting about their latest General Election candidate. Quite a lot going for him with very strong local links and commitment to the borough. A local businessman and councillor so he will know about the inherited problems.

Unfortunately, the leaflet tells us little about the policies of UKIP. We may vote UKIP and get an ex Tory who will continue the current policies. What do UKIP plan for the NHS? How will they fund funding gaps which has put pressure on GPs, A&E, mental health and social care for elderly and disabled?

The Government said the NHS was safe with them but there are gaps everywhere. Do UKIP candidates depend on the NHS or have private plans?

UKIP want public services cut to fund tax cuts. What will be cut? Are the tax cuts mainly for the rich? How can you have tax cuts and maintain public services like the NHS? How will they manage the deficit which remains a big issue and give tax cuts?

What will UKIP do to stop consumers being ripped off by profit hungry foreign (mainly European) energy and rail companies?

What are UKIP policies on social housing, benefits, pensions, education, tuition fees? Will cuts in policing continue in spite of threats from foreign terrorists? Why not save money and abolish police commissioners and quangos which the Tories failed to address fully?

I am not sure we even know what UKIP policy is on immigration if comments at the recent by-elections is anything to go by. Certainly the Conservatives and Labour failed to get to grips with the issue which has put so much pressure on public services.

It seems some of the electorate are so fed up with the Tories and Labour that UKIP is seen as the answer. For others unbridled immigration sees UKIP get their vote. Many are unsure if Labour can be trusted again. Locally, we may vote UKIP and end up with an ex-Tory but a least a local one!


Victoria Street,


Taking from poor for rich

The Sheriff of Nottingham is alive and well and has moved to Great Yarmouth taking from the poor and giving to the rich.

The inequity of the levy on small independent traders has been well documented and I see no need to go over old ground but I would pose the following questions to David Marsh.

Why the lack of publicity regarding the documentation and meetings which was highlighted in several excellent letters in last week’s Mercury. It seems the whole process has not been carried out in either an open or democratic manner. The responses from some of the valid points raised seem to be somewhat casual and cavalier.

How were the Board Members selected and what criteria was used in this process and who decided this criteria? What, if any, arrangements have been made for re-election? What are their Terms of Reference and who decided what these are?

Who decided to base this levy on rateable value? This only serves to highlight the inequity of this system. Most of the larger participants have daily income in excess of the annual income of the smaller independents yet their contribution is capped meaning that the smaller independents levy is substantially more pro-rata on any comparative affordability criteria. So those least able are subsiding those most able to pay, taking from the poor and those least likely to benefit and giving to those most able to pay and most likely to benefit.

What is the contribution of the local councillors and sitting Member of Parliament in all this fiasco. In such a sensitive political area as Great Yarmouth they will soon be seeking our support and yet have alienated thousands of their electorate. I am emailing our MP with a copy to the Prime Ministers Office I would suggest others may like to do the same, then someone somewhere might listen to our voices.



High Street, Gorleston

Only the Golden Mile will benefit

With reference to the bill that I, like 1,200 businesses have received concerning the tourism tax levied on the whole of the great Yarmouth area for the so-called tourist improvement scheme. I have no recollection of receiving any letters concerning a tourism levy.

The only people to directly benefit from this levy will be those on the Golden Miles, Regent Road, the Hippodrome, the hotels, holiday camps and the Pleasure Beach.

Our business is in Fritton, some six miles from Yarmouth with only an hourly bus service and we are more likely to see a lesser spotted woodpecker than a tourist.

This is a ploy to get all businesses, large and small, to supplement those who already do very well from the tourist trade, and the borough council which faces difficulties with cuts in government funding.

Those of us with small businesses out in the rural area will not see any return on this pernicious tax, neither will our voice be heard with regards to the BID spending. Some of us find it difficult enough to pay the business rates without having a further 1.5pc tax bill thrust upon us and we are not all about tourism direct or indirect.

If 1,200 businesses were each sent four letters, not to mention the cost of sending the bills, then the committee has already wasted £2,544 of presumably ratepayers money on postage. And if this is legal and found to be a brilliant idea for those tourist barons of Great Yarmouth then what is to say that next year there will not be a levy of 5pc or even 10pc to be paid. It really is not a good idea to antagonise the businesses who work hard to make Great Yarmouth a viable area to do business in.


Fritton Plant Centre

BID tax another nail in the coffin

The Great in Great Yarmouth has been redundant for decades. The borough council, regardless to which party runs it, have squandered millions over the years. What has the council done for the business/residents of this borough? Absolutely nothing, except raise the borough’s taxes for all. Now this BID tax been brought in under the disguise of encouraging more visitors to come to Yarmouth and spend their money here. What a laugh.

The fireworks in the summer are a joke. The Christmas lights and tree are dismal: more wasted money. If these actions are what the council expect will draw the visitors to Yarmouth they are living in cloud cuckoo land. Why should all business be expected to pay this tourism tax? It should only be applied to the businesses connected to the tourist industry. Not chant the mantra one tax fits all, it doesn’t.

Is the council going to wait until all businesses close down and more people are on the dole, brought on through the greed of the council and their lack of financial savvy? Enough is enough.


Olive Road,


Lifeboat babies slogan disgusts

How could Caister lifeboat use such a disgusting slogan as Caister Babies Never Throw Up? This takes bad taste to a new level.


St Georges Road

Great Yarmouth

Political silly season is here

It seems we have arrived very early at the political silly season as we are already received political propaganda leaflets. They come from would-be or even failed politicians.

In the last week alone I received three such missives that in my view were certainly expedient with the actual truth. Not only do politicians from all the major parties fail to listen to and act for us, the local residents and voters, but they make claims that appear to be certainly far from true.

Or perhaps these claims are deliberately unexplained and misleading.

I give one example. This claimed the Conservatives have ensured that much of Bradwell can’t be used as a through road for heavy goods vehicles. That is hardly true today; the greatest threat to Bradwell from heavy lorries some years ago and still today is that of lorries running up through the Gapton Hall industrial estate then along the narrow residential roads of Bradwell to reach the A143.

To avert that problem in the 1980s I was a more or less Independent county councillor and was able to arrange for a heavy lorry road restrictor to be built at the boundary between Gapton Hall industrial estate and residential Bradwell.

The evidence and pictures of how and when this road restrictor arrived is quite factual and was reported in our Yarmouth Mercury at the time. This protection for Bradwell residents has worked really well over the years despite the occasional foreign lorry drivers and odd British ones who appear to be unable to read the many English road signs informing them of a road restriction. So they carry on regardless and block the route.

Well, those are the actual facts, the Conservatives had no part in getting this facility for Bradwell, so why not tell us the whole truth. If a prospective councillor cannot be clear and tell us the exact truth about things as they are in his or her propaganda sheet I wonder how well he or she would be as a councillor?


Busseys Loke, Bradwell

Amazing staff at the James Paget

Our 93 year old Aunt Phyllis recently suffered a massive stroke. She was admitted to the stroke unit at the James Paget Hospital. Despite Phyllis’s poor prognosis, the care she subsequently received was second to none.

All of the staff were amazing in the love, support, respect and help they gave. Nothing was too much trouble and the dedication and devotion, shown by all of the stroke team, were unfailing. We frequently hear bad press about care of the elderly... how nice to be able to praise a section of the NHS.




Astounded by public sympathy

Following the passing of our Brian, we I have been astounded by the very public outpouring of sympathy and condolences we have received.

All the beautiful flowers and many, many thousands of letters, cards and donations have been overwhelming and a great source of comfort, and indeed emotionally moving for which we are truly grateful.

We have read every one and have found great solace in your heartfelt condolences. It has been a source of great pride to recognise how many people Brian touched throughout his life. He would have been in disbelief and genuinely honoured in his modest way.

All of the letters, from friends, colleagues, the Potters Resort team, as well as many hundreds of guests, have reminded me of individual episodes of our life together. I have laughed and cried in (almost) equal measure.

We must also thank all of the TV and newspaper media who kindly recognized Brian’s life with their impressive coverage to their respective audiences. In particularly I must thank and indeed praise Nigel Pickover and Stephen Pullinger at the EDP and Anne Edwards at the Great Yarmouth Mercury for such thorough research and sensitive tributes to Brian’s life.

A great tribute and honour that the Great Yarmouth Town Hall and the RNLI Gorleston and Great Yarmouth Lifeboat station for both ceremoniously flying their flags at half-mast, and at recent award ceremony’s your respect was collectively demonstrated in standing ovations. Brian would have been so very proud and certainly humbled by all these touching tributes.

It would be almost impossible for us to thank everyone personally and answer each of your letters individually and so we are grateful to our friends at Archant Newspapers who have kindly agreed to publish this letter as a warm and heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you.

On behalf of myself, Jane, John and Celia, Amelia and Harry Potter, I thank you all.



Acle Straight is ignored again

Nick Clegg announces Roads funding: £15bn to be spent on schemes for England, does not include improving the Acle Straight, despite the many deaths that have occurred.

The Acle Straight is more perilous by the fact that on either side are deep water-filled ditches, but does Westminster care? Of course they don’t, that is why they do not intend to spend a single penny despite 60 years of campaigning.

Invariably the joker at the front doing 42mph increases risk, nevertheless central Government share in the guilt by their lack of investment. Of course, the Government will argue the case is complicated, the fauna is almost unique in all of Europe, the ecologists argue against such a scheme and in view of such wonderful fauna, the human cost is insignificant.

I note that UKIP does listen to the concerns of local people. Perhaps we residents of Great Yarmouth might want to consider how little the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour value our lives. When it comes to the next round of elections, I suggest we seriously listen to what UKIP has to offer.


Beccles Road,


Excellent care while in the JPH

I wish to thank the James Paget University Trust Hospital for all the care and excellent treatment I received from their wonderful staff. I was in hospital for 12 days and the staff looked after me really well and the cleaners did a great job keeping the short stay ward very clean. The meals were of very high standard. Thanks to all the staff on the short stay ward and central treatment suite.



Harbour Road campaign latest

Thank you to all who participated in the Great Yarmouth Harbour Road campaign poll and expressed support.

Following the encouraging results of the poll, Mary Kent and I are planning a get-together of a group of people to be held in late January/early February (to avoid clashing with Christmas and, possibly, the worst of the winter) – the exact date and time of day will be decided based on the preferences of the majority of those wishing to attend.

This group will draw together all the information we can gather on the process that resulted in the closure of the road and plan our next steps, most likely a broader public meeting. If anyone feels they could contribute in any way we would be pleased to see them.

Please call or email using these contact details if you plan to attend: email greatyarmouthharbour@hotmail.com or call 01493 202201 and please leave a message.



Speed restriction increases danger

As a daily user of the A143 from Bradwell to Belton, I am concerned about the overall road safety. The temporary 30mph restriction following on from the old dual carriageway to the Belton crossroads is now more dangerous than it was before.

On many occasions I have seen near misses due to drivers either overtaking me, or overtaking towards me in the other direction. Tailgating is another issue.

I agree the 30mph restrictions are important and should remain for both the Belton crossroads and the New Road turn off, but I can see no reason to have the restriction in place between the two roads. It is a long stretch and I can understand why frustrated drivers are overtaking me as there is absolutely no point to the speed restriction. Laws are laws, but they do need to make sense.

This stretch of road is not going to be modified as part of the project and has no current disruption that would impact safety.

The stretch between the two roads should be raised to 40 or 50mph which will remove much of the frustration. Another solution would be to add a permanent roundabout at the Belton crossroads, which has always been an accident blackspot.

I have also been surprised at the apparent construction of houses before the new roundabout. Would it not make sense to build the roundabout first, to bring safety and normality back to the New Road junction before building any new houses? Summer 2015 seems a very long time to get a roundabout up and running.



Why not drop parking prices?

Who’s stupid idea was it to come up with spending £10 in a shop and get 70p back. Big deal. I wonder how many people spend £10 in one shop, apart from palmers, BhS and stores similar.

Surely it would be better to drop car parking charged to 50p an hour. I think people would like that much more. But I don’t imagine that would happen although it would certainly encourage more people to come into town.

Sit around the table you councillors and think about it. It’s not rocket science.



Old school land is a green lung

Thank you for the informative article regarding the old school land being sold for homes in the Mercury, November 4. It refers of course to the Old Claydon School site that is neither “scrubland” nor “an area that needs developing” regardless of what our council leader might think.

It is a valuable “green lung”, an “open space,” something I as a child had plenty of and something denied to our children today as we continue to develop sites that are easy targets whilst ignoring the eyesores littering our town and seriously in need of development.

I was surprised to see the Sold sticker attached to the For Sale sign and it now appears the sale is being negotiated with Lowestoft developer Badger Building.

My first involvement with GYBC wanting to develop this site was in 2005 and the current planning consent confirmation letter issued is dated June 15 2012.

This consent was granted following a protracted series of objections by concerned residents that prevented this site from being developed earlier. I cannot see any new application being treated any differently.

The issue was not any single matter, but this site was granted approval and nodded through, although conditions set as preconditions in the recorded minutes of the planning committee meeting of 2006/2007 had not been properly addressed in full by the applicant.

My principal concern is if this site is being marketed by NPS, without full disclosure of any condition, then the accuracy of any estimated cost of development will be seriously compromised. This could lead to the developer seeking to have any onerous and difficult conditions relaxed by the sellers when negotiating compliance regarding the reserved matters which in the Agreement run to 35 pages.

After such a long, fraught and protracted planning process to arrive at the present outline consent, any final approval must be based on accurate, detailed information which addresses the concerns of the many objectors to the initial application.

Anything less than total honesty and absolute clarity regarding all parties negotiations and full disclosure of any amended “agreement” between the parties involved must be made public, anything less cannot be acceptable.

Planning consent for this site is undoubtedly “conditional,” there are 19 paragraphs of descriptive, onerous text attached to the consent letter and there are a lot more with respect to the “reserve matters,” that are addressed in the aforesaid Agreement.

All of these preconditions prevent and/or delay the start of any development or occupation of the site, some deal with Tree Preservation orders and one deals with the use of cars and the agreement regarding an interim travel plan.

The applicant’s attention drawn to the fact this permission is the subject of a Section 106 Agreement dated 15 June 2012 in respect of the area of open space, affordable housing provision, a contribution towards the provision of cycle/pedestrian link improvements and very importantly, (not the promise of, but) “the implementation of a travel plan.”

It is little wonder that Norfolk Property Services found “that the development cost was too high”,

I have serious concerns over the wildlife and habitat developed on this site over the unoccupied years and have no wish to lose the abundant bird life that includes green and spotted woodpeckers, all of the finches and tit families, robins, blackbirds, thrushes and the like which all breed regularly.

Also of concern are the squirrels and a bat colony so now would be a good a time for local residents to contact the wildlife organisations that will deal with these matters of protection on any new submission.

All concerned local residents, need to keep watch on the progress of this sale to ensure nothing is given away that will enable the land transfer to be effected without full and evidential compliance by the developer regarding all of the “reserve matters” and all other site development preconditions.


Claydon Grove,


Membership of Greens growing

The press has noted and remarked on the rapid rise in UKIP as a political force and this is fuelled in the main by defections from former Conservative Party members and supporters. However, it has been observed that all other political parties have lost many members and supporters.

What has not been really noted by the press is the fact the Green Party has bucked this lost support trend in their gaining literally thousands of new paid-up party members.

So who are these new members? We have discovered by talking to them that they are people who have seen promises made and constantly broken by the traditional career politicians from all the main parties.

Some years ago the Greens were dismissed as the “hug a tree party” but that was in the past. The Greens are now run by sensible, very committed and honest members of our community and not by untrained career politicians.

As such the Greens have developed aims and objectives that will benefit us all as the ordinary people in society, not just benefits for wealthy shareholders.

Such has been the increase in Green Party support and membership that now they plan to contest all the local elections in 2015 and will be offering honest and realistic policies.


Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Great Yarmouth

Green Party

Lucky to have such a hospital

I would like to thank the doctors, nurses and ancillary staff at the dermatology clinic at the James Paget for the attention and procedure I received with my condition.

We are extremely lucky to have such wonderful service at our disposal. Also thanks to the Newtown Surgery for my referral.


North Denes Road,

Great Yarmouth

Health system at breaking point

Brandon Lewis congratulated himself and his government’s record on the NHS during his recent Harbour Radio interview. He stated that mental health services had much improved in the county under his watch.

The evidence points in the other direction Mr Lewis. The BBC last Saturday reported that 50 patients from Norfolk were residing in beds outside the county due to a lack of funding and shortage of beds.

The campaign to save mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk reports that the £40m cuts to be made by 2018 are having a devastating impact on people who rely on mental health services.

Nurses have reported of unmanageable workloads and a system at breaking point.

Norman Lamb, the deputy health minister, himself has admitted the situation is totally unacceptable (although doesn’t seem to want to take any responsibility).

If Mr Lewis had attended any of the well attended consultation meetings in Yarmouth and Carlton Colville regarding changes to mental health services, he may well have an idea as the level of anger felt by the public and service users on this issue.