Letters, December 9, 2016

Do views south of town not count?

Once again it looks like Gorleston does not exist, according to Great Yarmouth Borough Council as all viewing dates planned for people to view the plans for the third river consultation and have their say are all held in Yarmouth. Do councillors not realise the majority of the people who use the river crossings already in place do not go into Yarmouth they head along the A12 to get to the A47. So do the views of the people living south of Yarmouth not count as these plans should also be displayed south of the river in Gorleston, and their views taken into account?



nSince Mr Kilpatrick sent his letter, the borough council has added dates in Gorleston for the consultations, which are: Monday December 12, Tuesday January 10. Saturday January 21, all from 10am to 4pm at Gorleston Library

Consultation is a PR exercise

I am in favour of the fullest consultation regarding the proposed third river crossing. However, strategically much more important, the planned programme of so-called consultation is directed at the minority of taxpayer residents. Those who can attend an event pre-Christmas - what crazy planning - or in January, and weather dependent.

Most Read

Surely an investment of this magnitude, needs a detailed publication sent to all taxpayers, or those that ask for one. This paper should spell out the detail of the council’s thinking. Their conclusions from their pre-work, their thinking as how the crossing will remotely impact on the traffic flows from and to the A11 and A12.

What assumptions have led them to guesstimate the number of jobs boost? Their views about risk analysis, both financially and operationally? In addition the paper should identify what work, what thinking, what views have been explored to the viability of the whole investment given that the Acle Straight (presumably) is status quo. Only after this sort of communication, can the council truly say “We are seeking consultation on our plans”.

The spirit of such a plan has to be that, at a later date, the council then communicates their amendments, comments, analysis or whatever. To expect the taxpayer to be able to sensibly comment from an artist’s impression and some qualitative comments seems to me to be nothing more than a PR exercise.


Burgh Castle

Gorleston’s ice house important

The importance of the Gorleston ice house and the adjacent quay should not be diminished by it not having medieval associations. Ice had been used for many years to keep fish fresh after it had been landed, particularly at Billingsgate Market, and for transporting salmon from Scotland, but Samuel Hewett of the Short Blue Fleet was a pioneer of the use of ice to keep fish fresh at sea. Samuel Hewett’s first ice house was built at Gorleston in about 1845/6 and by 1846 Robert Hewett, managing the fleet at the Gorleston end, had arranged for ice to be brought from the Broads as an alternative to its importation from Norway. To give some idea of the quantity of ice needed it is stated that a typical fishing smack picked up 18 tons of ice per trip.

I believe Hewett built four or five ice houses in total over a period of time along the Gorleston and Southtown bank of the river, of which the one at the foot of Ice House Hill, Gorleston, is one of only two that remain. Consequently, it is an important aspect of Gorleston’s heritage that the ice house and the quay on which it stands should be conserved and repaired.


Lowestoft Road,


Lots of good news but get out more

Good news last week but why do things take so long? Councillors and officers should get out more and see what is going on.

Good news that the council hopes to save £90k a year by hot desking. My office was hot desking over 25 years ago. Our council by being so behind the times has cost us hundreds of thousands of pounds..

Good news that the corner behind Clarks may get a revamp. Why did planners not get it right first time years ago? There is, of course, an empty café next door which has been left for several years with old tatty posters on the windows and dereliction inside. All good for our image!

Good news that our MP, after axing government funding for the town, has realised we need to repair our roads and the A47 upgrade needs to be progressed. It is crazy that snails can hold much needed improvements and allow more crashes and possibly lives to be lost. Conservatives need to realise that improvements to our lives need taxpayers to pay up or things decline. Already potholes are returning to the Acle New Road.

Now we have BhS, M& S and TSB empty is there a case for relocating the library into the centre to increase footfall? The former Co-op has two floors still empty and many town centre buildings’ upper floors seem to be unused with some very tatty. There is so much to do to revive our fortunes.


Victoria Street,


When we die we cease to exist

A while ago in Thetford I chatted with a member of the Watchtower Society, also known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. His movement believes when we die we cease to exist – there is no punishment in hell for a sinful lifestyle and no eternal suffering for sinners after judgment day ... when they are thrown into the lake of fire (see Revelation 20:11–15). I asked him how he understood this Bible text: “And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day or night” (Revelation 14:11).

He had no sensible reply.


Albemarle Road,


UKIP could fall into third place

Front page of the Mercury last Friday was news of a new political party. There is a saying “there is strength in numbers”! UKIP started off in our borough with just a couple of councillors, by the next election they had enough to become the second party ahead of Labour.

Now, when the country is in political turmoil we have two members of UKIP deciding they would like more limelight by changing their commitment to voters. They decide to reduce UKIP’s numbers by starting a party that has no chance of getting anywhere.

All they will achieve is, if UKIP does not field contenders to replace the two absconders then Labour will kick UKIP into third place, which in turn would throw the UKIP voters trust in their faces. And trust is a big thing in politics. On trust, the road to Brexit was started by UKIP and in a national referendum by a large percentage Great Britain wanted out of the EU. So much for trust when, without recourse to UKIP voters, we have grass roots deciding Brexit was not for them.

Then we have Boris Johnson telling the world he likes the free access to borders, it will make his job easier to achieve a better deal on trade if free access was available.

It seems to me there are two visions of democracy: we have the voters that look to the elected to get the best deal for the ratepayers, then there are the elected using the wants of the voters to further their own progression.


Burnt Lane,


Festivals mark Bible’s teachings

It would appear your serial letter writer Mr Barkhuizen is rather reluctant to reveal which particular Christian sect he belongs to. Perhaps we could narrow the field by looking at some of his beliefs (or rather non- beliefs). He doesn’t believe in celebrating Christmas. Now, if we are to believe in the truth of the Bible, the birth of Christ must rank as the greatest event in the history of the world. God himself becoming man and dwelling amongst us. Although the actual date on which Jesus was born is not recorded, surely this does not preclude Christians worldwide from designating one day in the year to give thanks and celebrate such a momentous occasion.

He doesn’t believe in celebrating Easter. This is the time in the year that Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. Quite simply, without the resurrection there is no Christianity. Surely this is something to remember and celebrate. Mr Barkhuizen forbids us to celebrate this occasion on the grounds that in the dim and distant past, a group of people performed fertility rites in the Springtime. What utter rubbish!

I would like to ask one question: If Jesus was to return to Earth today, would he head for the self-righteous group to which Mr Barkhuizen belongs, or is it more likely he would be out with the Salvation Army at midnight as they demonstrate their practical Christianity, providing hot drinks, food and comfort to the less fortunate members of society.

We are living in the Age of Grace, Mr Barkhuizen. Try showing some.



Ormesby St Margaret

Will Retroskate area be car park?

We are fast approaching the time when it seems the full borough council are to vote on the future of the Marina Centre and the Retroskate arena. The Marina Centre management, Sentinel/Pulse have, I believe, already signed a 15 year contract with the council for the premises and have said the arena does not figure in their plans, however they do want extra parking and so, by inference, the objective seems to be to demolish the Retroskate Arena and replace it with a car park. There are currently a total of 110 parking spaces at the north and south of the building which are designated for centre users only, unless a minimum fee of £10 is paid for up to four hours.

In the peak weeks of the summer and on the occasional weekend throughout the year the two parks sometimes do get full but this is, without doubt, due to its use by visitors not using the Marina Centre.Why are they using it? Quite simply it costs £8.80 to park for up to four hours on other off-road seafront car parks and so there is no deterrent whatsoever in the extra £1.20 it costs to park on the Marina parks.

In these days of the tightening of the public purse it is ludicrous to spend what will be several hundred thousand pounds of ratepayers’ money demolishing a well used existing facility, making good and then building a car park simply to create extra parking space for what the Marina Centre management hope will be extra footfall, despite the fact there are numerous other very successful gym-type facilities in and around Great Yarmouth.

Rather than demolish and spend ratepayers’ cash, on what is actually just a hope or projection, surely the answer would be to restrict the car parks to centre users only (pay and display as at present), evaluating after 12 months and then if found to be necessary create extra parking, for example on the east side of the building or nearby. Hopefully commonsense will prevail, however I am sure many ratepayers will be closely watching to see how their local councillor spends our money.



We will still have blockage in artery

A third river crossing (don’t tell anyone, would it be the fifth)? Whatever shall we still suffer from a “blockage in the artery” – the original cart track Acle Straight?


Falcon Court,

Great Yarmouth

Park and ride is a merry-go-round

I fully endorse Peggotty’s comments on the Postwick park and ride car park. Way back in January I phoned county hall and spoke to the appropriate departnment regarding the lack of signage, In fact I was given a number to confirm my call and told the subject would be passed on. In subsequent visits to the car park I consoled myself that signs would appear upon completion of the project; to date no signs.

It beggars belief that on such a major construction only buses have a direct exit, the motorist has to join what I can only describe as a merry-go-round to find a route to Great Yarmouth. Maybe planners in their foresight had the Fred Flintstone TV commercial for a building society in mind, certainly not progress or clarity!


Palgrave Road,

Great Yarmouth

Labour has a Tribune Party

So we now have another Tribune Party, but which declares itself to be non-political. There is already a Tribune Party in existence, founded by two wealthy Labour MPs, Sir Stafford Cripps and George Strauss in 1937. It had various fortunes and misfortunes over the years but always tended to support the left of centre politics. In the 1990s it all but died due to its closeness to Neil Kinnock, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, but was reformed by Clive Efford, MP for Feltham in 2005, and was open to backbench Labour MPs only. After being almost dormant it was revived on November 2 this year.

I cannot see how any group setting itself up as a party can say it is non political. It would be akin to a group setting up and calling itself the “Whigs” and saying they are non political. Here we have two former political party members now serving as Independents on the council and who have attracted other former members of a political party in order to start a new party. So do the current Independents intend to sit on the council as the Tribute Party, in the hope of getting other members elected as councillors?

It is interesting they registered with the Electoral Commission the day before the revival meeting of the Labour Tribune Party on November 2. My opinion is any breakaway group who adopts the word “Party” has to have a political bent and I fail to see how they can progress as a Tribune Party in this borough with Labour having a similar stance.


Anson Road,

Great Yarmouth

Wardens can be a lifeline for elderly

I was very interested in reading your letters last week re cutting wardens in sheltered housing complexes. I used to be one for nearly 10 years and a very rewarding job it is. They should not do away with them. Older people like a friendly face to talk to, some people do not see anyone and they are their lifeline. Plus when they are not well they do not like talking into a machine on the wall, they need a sympathetic ear.

My duty as warden was to visit every morning and make sure they were okay and have a chat, laugh and joke with them which made their day, and available in the evening if need be. They only want to cut wardens to save money.

Name and Address withheld

Does Jesus really care about cards?

Dear, oh dear, oh dear, Mr Barkhuizen. Your letter from last week clearly spelt it out to us all, how even the most trivial of things going on in today’s church really get your goat.

I mean how dare children make cards, sing carols and make cakes, in churches. Does Jesus really care? I don’t think so, as surely He is much more concerned with child abuse, poverty, homelessness, injustice, racism, violence, crime, greed - generally speaking, all that is rotten with this world. He doesn’t give a hoot about card-making, singing carols, making cakes and Christians celebrating the birth of Christ.

Look into why we have Christmas, Mr Barkhuizen and why it is celebrated on December the 25th.Yes it was originally pagan, but it was Christianised many years ago.

There is nothing wrong with Christmas as long as we don’t take Christ out of it, and remember what it is all about. The problem with your many letters, Mr Barkhuizen, is that there is no message of the love of God in them, only judgementalism and condemnation, which people do not like. Have a nice day, Mr Barkhuizen,and a happy Christmas.


Turin Way,

Hopton on Sea

Most descended from immigrants

I found Mr Anders Larson’s letter rather confusing and I cannot believe, as he appears to suggest, that any of your correspondents have a wish to support “far right” movements wherever they may be.

Most people in the UK are descended, albeit remotely, from some immigrant ancestor tucked away in their family tree. To mention just a few we have had Romans, Danes, some chaps who came here in 1066 and completely changed our society, protestants from the Low Countries and refugees from Nazi Germany and they were all accepted as citizens. Surely this cannot be construed as racism.

What does cause serious concern now is the sheer numbers coming to this relatively small country and the consequent overloading of its infrastructure.

Our NHS and education system, our police and housing and many other aspects of daily life are all under great stress. As a nation we do our best and even send huge sums of overseas aid abroad but we must bear in mind that we have a duty not to leave an impoverished economy for our children and grandchildren to cope with.


Seafield Close

Great Yarmouth

People wanted for over 50s project

If you are over 50 and have a long term health conditions (eg diabetes, depression, arthritis, COPD, high blood pressure) and are keen to try a range of new activities we would like to hear from you!

We are looking for 12 people who would like to “Start my week here”. This is a new 10-week project to help people over 50 to try out new clubs or activities. It is based at The Priory Centre and will run on a Monday, starting on January 16 at 9.30am. There will be weekly opportunities to visit different groups and see if that activity suits you. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Please contact me for more details and an application form or call in at Priory Centre reception.

If you do not go to any clubs at the moment, are over 50 and have a long term health condition this could be your chance to try something new. Places are limited.

I look forward to hearing from you by calling on 07747 107910 or emailing kate-platt@gyctrust.co.uk


Great Yarmouth Community Trust

Thanks for help in raising money

I am writing on behalf of Edward Worlledge Primary School regarding the “Jo’s Last Wish” campaign.

Recently Kallum and Jack came back to Great Yarmouth for a short visit. They spent a day in school, visiting their old classes and catching up with their teachers and friends.

Kallum and Jack have settled very quickly into their new life in the United States and they have both made new friends at their local school. Both boys have picked up American words and their accents are already changing.

The adoption process which is currently being processed should be complete in January 2017. We would like to thank everyone from the Great Yarmouth area and further afield (individuals and local companies) one final time for their generosity in donating money and supporting all of the fundraising events to make Jo’s Last Wish come true.


Homeless plight is food for thought

As we approach the Christmas holidays think of others who might be in a situation that is far worse than worrying who is going to have what presents, the trimming on the tree and what size turkey we are going to buy. On December 6 I was going about my normal daily living when I remembered I needed to get something for tea, so I pulled into the Aldi store and as I drove in on a cold already dark, foggy evening I saw a man sitting on the wall wrapped in a blanket with a trolley with bags, an obviously homeless person. Everyone was just going about their own business, but to me the thought that someone would have to be spending a night out in a doorway was a thought that played on my mind.

I had just been to McDonalds with my two teenagers and had bought a chocolate doughnut which one didn’t want, and they both commented on the sad sight of the man.

I got my item in the store as well as a Cornish pasty and a bottle of water, and took it to the gentleman sitting on the wall. I said hello would you like this and pulled out the pasty and water. He told me he hadn’t had anything and was most appreciative and very thankful, and also he had no teeth so it would be lovely.

He began to tell me how he had arrived in his situation and I thought about the spare doughnut in my bag I said would you like this and he said lovely.

He explained he had lost his home and had then been offered a caravan by someone to sleep in with no heating but at least it was a roof but that had been towed away as well due to where it was parked and now he found himself homeless.

I would say he was probably in his 60s, early 70s. When I left he wished me a lovely Christmas and thanked me for my kindness.

Thinking about the Good Morning TV Million Minutes Campaign which Teresa May is backing, it is about pledging time to the elderly voluntarily over Christmas, it makes you think at little kindness can warm the heart and go along way even on a cold evening. We often just walk past the homeless with not much thought to how they have ended up in that situation and often being quite judgmental.

So before we rant about our mundane tasks to the build up of the holidays think of others who would like to be in that kind of situation to probably worry about their Christmas dinner.



Thanks for return of precious medal

I would like to use your letters pages to thank the kind person, or people, who picked up my uncle’s medal and handed it in at St George’s Theatre. I had taken it with me to the recent Remembrance Sunday service in St George’s Park and was surprised when I later found it had gone missing. The medal means a lot to me and I am glad to be reunited with it.