Letters, February 17, 2012

Road worst bits

been ignored

JUST wanted to congratulate the Highways Agency on the recent road repairs to the Acle Straight. They seem to have repaired all the good bits leaving the worst affected areas completely untouched.

The section in question is on the Acle-bound carriageway, about 200-300 yards past the Halvergate turning on the bend. It must have taken months of careful planning to completely miss this part. It makes me laugh every day, as the repairs end just at the point where the problems start.

Well done. They have once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and wasted our money on things that didn’t need doing.

Worth mentioning that, as a motorcyclist, the damaged stretch is in the path of a motorcycle and trust any accident that is caused because of the failure to adequately repair the road will result in an appropriate payout of compensation.

Even better, the agency could give an indication of when this section will be repaired?

Most Read



Anyone seen my

thatching thesis?

IN the late 1960s, I loaned a thesis on Norfolk Reed Thatching to someone in Great Yarmouth. We moved away to Ipswich and my thesis was never returned. It is of no great value but represents a piece of my life which is of interest to my family.

If anyone has knowledge of my thesis I would be most grateful if they would contact me. I taught at Styles Secondary School for five years until 1967.



Passionate for

Regent re-use

I WAS very pleased to see the letter from Michelle Swift about the Regent Theatre. I am, and always will be, a complete theatre nut, as I was electrician and stage manager at the Britannia Theatre for several years.

It has long been a passion of mine to see the Regent used again as a proper theatre. Great Yarmouth does not have one that can be used in the winter, somewhere cosy and warm where you could watch a good play or musical and is easy to get to. Local groups such as drama, dance etc have nowhere to go. The cost of reinstating the Regent would be quite high and I doubt if it would ever do better than break even, but it would do a great service to the people of Yarmouth and surrounding areas.

Perhaps the place to start would be a Friends of the Regent group, to raise enthusiasm and some cash and who knows what might follow? I don’t think it’s a problem attracting big names as long as you are prepared to pay. Will the people come? If it’s cosy, warm and friendly and the shows are good, you are in with a chance.



We are lucky to

have the Paget

I DO not often write to the press so I hope I will be allowed to give my opinion on three topics.

First, the James Paget Hospital. I have been an “in and out” patient more times than I can remember, and never once could I find any fault whatsoever with the care and attention.

I think some people just like to moan. The media are a lot to blame – they never give a good report about the NHS. We are lucky to have such a system - if they lived in some countries they would have to pay through the nose. I am old enough to remember when we had to pay - I would not like to go back to those days.

Second, a theatre in Yarmouth? Wouldn’t it be lovely. Yes, there is one in Lowestoft but not everybody is able to get there and back, Also not everybody wants a variety show. A good musical or drama would be great.

Third, there was at one time an open place in front of the Hippodrome, but you see open spaces do not make money!



Regent Theatre

is a real gem

HOW I agree with the letter in the Mercury, February 10, regarding the Regent Theatre. What a wonderful asset it would be for Great Yarmouth as we have lost so many of our entertainment venues for live theatre over the last few decades, namely The Regal, The Windmill, The Wellington Pier and The Aquarium.

Do not the council realise what a gem we have in The Regent Theatre? It was modelled on the Drury Lane Theatre in London and I understand the interior is still intact as the walls were covered in hoardings to protect the architectural features during it’s time as a bingo hall.

Come on Mr Ames wake up, Yarmouth needs a real live theatre in it’s town. We have already lost too much of our heritage through bad decisions made by short-sighted councillors. This is our town, listen to the people.



Oh dear, royal to

alight at station

I READ with interest the letter concerning the amusement arcade blocking the view of the Hippodrome Circus building. I remember when the Russell family owned the circus and that each summer a temporary tent-type structure was erected on this ground, housing a Kentucky Derby game, slot machines, bingo, ice cream and donut stalls. I understood that some sort of legal covenant was in place to prevent permanent building on the site.

Unfortunately after the Hippodrome was sold in the late 1970s this order must have been revoked. In view of the fact that amusement arcades now struggle to make ends meet, this decision now seems short sighted in the long term.

On another subject: As much as I think it’s great that Prince Charles is visiting our town, am I the only person to feel acutely embarrassed by the fact that the first view our future king will have of Great Yarmouth as he alights from the royal train is of Vauxhall Station and the surrounding area?



Some buildings

past sell-by date

IT would seem my letter relating to the removal of the Vauxhall Bridge has upset someone. Never mind, I am entitled to my own opinion. Just because my opinion differs from the opinion of Mr Gibbs it does not mean I am griping.

I believe that too much time and money is being spent on buildings and structures which have, quite frankly, passed their sell-by date.

The Winter Gardens ceased to be “winter gardens” many, many years ago. It has been used for many things since then just to justify its existence, including a beer garden with an Oompah band, a skating rink and a children’s fun house.

The construction of the Town Wall was commenced in 1275 having been granted a charter by Henry III in 1262.

This is a significant part of the whole town’s history and should rightly be preserved. Much of the southern end was revealed when the houses on the west side of Blackfriars Road were pulled down.

Nelson’s monument is also mentioned. I did in fact work with the project leader in this restoration from a back office point of view. What has not been mentioned is the restoration of St George’s Church which stands at a major road junction.

Alternatively, should the old suspension bridge have been restored instead of building the current Breydon Bridge? Should the old General Hospital have been restored instead of building new houses? Should the old Vauxhall Station marshalling yard have been kept instead of building the Asda store?

No, I do not and will not, support the restoration of the Vauxhall Bridge. It is an eyesore, a blot on the landscape and should be removed at its earliest opportunity.

“Yarmouth is an Antient Town” and it always will be. It does not need the restoration and preservation of ancient relics to prove it.


Suffield Road


Cats still leave

their mess

I AGREE with all Mrs Theresa Whitmore said about dog fouling. (Letters, February 3) And I’m sorry her grand-daughter was attacked. However, keeping a cat does not solve the problem. Cats may not be vicious, but still leave their mess for others to clear up, often in the garden, and where children play. Think about it.


Hopton on Sea

Why start gas

main work now?

WHO is the pea brain, and I insult the pea, who decided to upgrade Regent Street, the Golden Mile and others at the beginning of the tourist season. Why can’t they start in late September?

Here we are in a recession, with people struggling to keep businesses running and along comes National Grid and Morrison Utility Services to put the boot in.

I am sure they do not live in the area. If they were from this area they should realise the impact such work would have on the community. They say this will help secure a safe and reliable gas supplies. If it’s not safe why have they waited so long, why not start now?

What I also want to know is what Councillor Ames and Reynolds, and the other members of the council are doing about it.

As I have said many times, the council need to act now in helping bring work to the area, not build houses and add to the out of work population. Let’s face it, May and the elections are not far away, do the people of Yarmouth think their councillor has done enough for them.


Yallop Avenue

Gorleston on Sea

Where were the

path gritters?

DID they forecast snow? Yes. Did they say there was a chance of black ice? Yes. Did they help the elderly and infirm? No, did they heck.

In this day and age you would think it should be standard procedure for the council to clear or at least grit pathways and pavements for the elderly and infirm. Something as simple as buying a loaf of bread etc at the local shop becomes a dice with death.

What do roadsweepers do while the snow lies? Why can’t they and community service workers clear the paths and pavements?

Apparently our warden reported how bad the pavements were along our bungalows but to no avail. She did say there was a grit box at the community centre but unfortunately I could not walk to the centre, let alone bring back a bucket of grit in fear of falling over. You would think that in 2012 there would be a strategic plan in place.


Beatty Close,

Great Yarmouth

Restore Regent’s

splendid facade

RESPONDING to the request for comments; having been disfigured, could the fa�ade of our Regent Theatre be restored to its original splendour?


Falcon Court,

Great Yarmouth

Free parking one

a week, plea

RECENTLY, I listened to a government minister’s statement on TV about a campaign to promote town centre shopping. Great Yarmouth mainly relies on tourism but there has been a lot of concern lately over many closures of shops and department stores in our town centre.

We all know it is mainly due to out of town shopping and online shopping in some cases.

I feel, and I am not alone, that our out of town shops have one big advantage: free parking facilities.

Many people feel like me that it would be a good idea if our three town centre car parks were free to park in, on one day a week. This would help promote town centre businesses and bring in residents from nearby villages – just one day per week, that’s all.

Something needs to be done before we end up with just charity shops and offices, and become a ghost town. But even charity shops and coffee houses need to sustain custom to survive.

The revenue that may be lost from car park takings would, I feel, be gained in the long term coming from business tax, from shops that may have previously been closed.


Audley Street

Great Yarmouth

Gorleston play

field a disgrace

I HAVE just returned from a short walk through Edinburgh Avenue playing field to the crematorium with my grandchildren.

I now have a bike, pair of shoes and trousers to clean which are covered in dog’s mess. The playing field and pavements are covered. What would these irresponsible dog owners have to say if all dogs were banned from the field?

I expect the grass verges would suffer even more. Some are left to roam in the dark without leads so obviously the owners cannot see to pick that mess up. Others just walk ahead completely ignoring the fact that they have a dog with them. Will we ever be able to see the end to this irresponsible behaviour?

My apologies to all those responsible dog owners who clean up and enjoy their walks.


Edinburgh Avenue


Tip’s penalties

are ridiculous

I WONDER how many of your readers are aware of the restrictions which exist at Caister Tip. My husband took six bags of plasterboard from our demolished kitchen ceiling to the tip.

He asked where he should deposit the rubbish and was told only one bag was allowed to be left per week. He even had to sign a receipt to make sure he did not return in the restricted time with any more plasterboard. Otherwise he had an alternative choice of paying �20.

I understand improvements are being made to update Caister Tip but surely in the meantime the population in the catchment area should be allowed to deposit their rubbish without such ridiculous restrictions or penalties.


Ormesby Road

Caister on Sea

All the best to

brass band pal

AS an old pal of mine from my time with Great Yarmouth Brass Band I would endorse everything written in the article although I first met Ron at the band room at Precasters on the Riverside in 1956/7 when he came out of the army but unfortunately could not join the band at that time due to work commitment at the post office.

We do not see each other much these days the last time being in 2007 at the National Brass Band Championships at Harrogate but on that occasion I was playing with Amington my current band. May I through your paper wish Ron and Yarmouth Band (I was a founder member in 1955) all the best for the future.



Bus fares drive

us back to car

ENCOURAGED as we all are to get fitter and save the planet the family decided that walking from Bradwell to Yarmouth would be good for the environment, their health and save money on petrol and parking. A pleasant walk in, managing to circumnavigate McWhatnots despite the gravitational pull of their five year old, who was certain that chicken nuggets are THE healthy option.

It was great for them to stroll around our town with that slight air of superiority and complacency that comes to those who have walked that extra mile to stave off global meltdown. Having made this gesture they were sure that using public transport and taking the bus home would not reduce their Judgement Day Brownie points and they would still be in the black on their daily costs spreadsheet. The bus pulled up on schedule near Haven Bridge, they got on.

“Two adults, two children, Long Lane, Bradwell please.” A �5 note was offered to the driver and mouthed “�8.20 please,” in a manner normally reserved for those with hearing difficulties.

“One way, two and two halves, Long Lane Bradwell?” The driver replied: “Correct”.

The family realised there and then they were not going to join Greenpeace, improve their cardiovascular rate or help ease town centre congestion. Their car would be used for all journeys even when petrol reaches �5 a litre as it will still be cheaper than public transport.

Name and Address withheld

A nation of dog

lovers? No

AT 8.45pm on Tuesday this week, a man knocked on my door to inform me a dog was tied to the lamp-post outside the shop across the road from me. I went over and the dog was distressed, scared and shaking so no-one could get near it.

I rang the police who said it was not their problem, so I rang the dog warden to be told by some woman that the dog warden was not on duty and I would have to ring back in the morning.

I then rang the police again to be told there was nothing they could do unless the dog bit someone. Surely prevention is better than cure, and I honestly believe if anyone touched this dog it would have bitten them.

Another person also rang the police to be told hard luck not our problem. She then rang the RSPCA and was told they would turn up, but we waited and waited before ringing them back. They then said “sorry no room for the dog so cannot help you.” Another lady took the phone to try to persuade them to come out but no-one wanted to know.

By then this dog had been tied to the lamp-post on a short leash for over an hour.

As it turned out, the owner came back and said he had forgotten he had left the dog there, so thank god the dog was okay and no-one got bitten, but how many times has this happened to other dogs in the area, why is there no one to help them in these situations.

Three other ladies were there, willing to come forward as witnsses plus my 18 year old son and also the shopkeepers. There were other people as well.

I just want it known that as the dog-loving country we are meant to be when it comes to the crunch nobody wants to know.


Seashells guest house

Great Yarmouth

Hippodrome was

in clear view

IN reply to the letter, “A shame iconic building hidden”, February 10, the answer is that the Great Yarmouth Hippodrome Circus building could originally be seen quite clearly on the promenade from its inception in 1903, until it was sold by the Billy Russell family and executors in 1978.

There was always an open space between the road at the front of the Hippodrome and the promenade walkway, with booths and sideshows on the vacant site. However, when Russell’s executors sold the circus building, which was bought by the form of Jack and Peter Jay, at the end of the 1978 summer season, the forecourt site was sold separately, acquired by amusement traders and eventually became an amusement arcade. Thus, the circus building can no longer be seen from the seafront apart from the topmost towers.


Yarmouth Circus Historian

Tiptoe through

the dog muck

I THOUGHT the local council were supposed to be catching these people who let their dogs foul the footpaths and grass verges.

Well, they obviously have not been round by the fire station and South Quay area. There is a song called tiptoe through the tulips, and it’s more like tiptoe through the dog muck.

Has anyone from the council seen the mess round there. It’s people who don’t clear up after their dogs which gives us dog owners a bad name.

When the grass gets cut it flies everywhere and it stinks. But one thing I do find funny is when we have a Maritime Festival (surprise, surprise) it’s all gone.

The reason they don’t catch these people is because the people who don’t clear up after their dogs is that they take their dogs out in the dark.



Hotel demolished

for Hippodrome

I REFER to the letter (February 10) ‘”Iconic building hidden”. When George Gilbert built the Hippodrome in 1903 he had the very same thought, that it should be seen from the seafront. He achieved this by buying and demolishing part of the Bath Hotel (now the Flamingo Amusements) to make an open area in front of his new Hippodrome.

It is only in more recent times that development has been allowed on this open forecourt. No need for an artist’s impression, see the 1910 photograph on this page which shows the Hippodrome in all its glory from the Marine Parade. I expect Peter Jay would like to be able to recreate this open space today.

As a point of interest, in the six-week season of the show Tally-Ho, produced by the great circus entrepreneur George Hengler, 120,000 people passed through the doors.


Local historian and author

Yarmouth builder

of the Empire

FURTHER to Peggotty’s article (February 1, Through the Porthole), I felt I needed to inform you of further information regarding the Gem and Empire Theatres. My great grandfather, James David Harman, who owned J David Harman Builder and Contractor of 20 Palgrave Road, Great Yarmouth, was the builder of both of these wonderful theatres. I have enclosed a picture of the building of the Empire under construction.

Mrs ANGELA CHILVER (nee Harman)

Caister on Sea