Letters, February 1, 2013

Banks would increase footfall

Reference the council block on the two banks moving into town centre sites as detailed in the Mercury, I’m afraid I do not understand the thinking.

Gorleston High Street has a representative of each of the four major banks plus one or two building society type places… hardly an empty shop in sight, if any.

It’s all very well waiting for more retail to come to the town centre but looking at the standard of shops which have failed to remain in business in Great Yarmouth what exactly are we waiting for?

Surely it would be an idea to increase the footfall in the town centre as a start, which these banks would do, in addition to (equally importantly) smartening the place up a bit, all of which in turn would surely make the place more attractive when the retail companies carry out their location assessments?

In my humble opinion our town councillors need to take a reality check and rejoin the rest of us in this century, living in this new European collective as we do.

Good luck to the banks, at least someone has faith in and more importantly is prepared to invest in Great Yarmouth.

Most Read


Caister on Sea

Page One story inspirational

I am responding to Miss Farmer’s comment “Was front page really the best?” for the feature “I lost 20 stone”. I think it is a sad reflection of society if a positive story of achievement should not be considered front page news.

Everyone I have spoken to said they found the story inspirational. Please keep positive stories in the headlines.


Great Yarmouth

Labour needs to live in real world

Councillor Ron Hanton is right, the Labour Party does need to live in the real world. It is after all a world their government created. It was Labour who spent up to the hilt. It is due to their wasteful spending there is now no money left in the pot.

Councils across the county have to tighten their belts thanks to Labour’s waste. Great Yarmouth is no different. The Labour Party here in Yarmouth need to start taking action rather than simply trying to score political points.



Candidate seems to be a striver

The next general election could be interesting. The Labour Party are reported to have selected a woman who seems to have faced the problems that many of us face and a striver who kept going to rise above them.

Lara Norris seems to have struggled on benefits at one stage, worked with ordinary folk with Home Start and recognises the importance of the local community and living in the area.

Brandon Lewis has not impressed many of us. Many of us had high hopes for change but did not expect what we got based on his promises.

His background is miles from the experience of the average Yarmouthian - an annual salary of over £65k (plus expenses and subsidised meals), privately educated with a degree from the private Buckingham University, free private health care and life insurance and £400 an hour consultancy fees as a private school director. (House of Commons Register of Interests.)

One wonders if he will take flight to a safe seat or be de-selected locally. The next general election in Yarmouth could be interesting. I wonder who UKIP and the Lib Dems will field, if anyone?


Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

Owners too lazy to pick up mess

I was very pleased to read the front page of the Mercury regarding the dog fouling which we all know is a tremendous problem in all areas, and I apologise to the non dog owners saying here we go again, more dog problems.

We live near the Green Lane Playing Field in Bradwell, and it is always pleasant when we hear the guys playing football, the scouts, and the children playing on the swings and on the green, but we also regularly walk our dogs around the area and see the “culprits”, who do not clear up after their dogs, especially early morning and late nighters.

So let’s look at it from a different angle then, the people responsible I am sure are either a mother, father, aunt or uncle etc. With the onset of the snow you could hear the children playing and making snowmen, what a great thought rolling up the snow and getting a handful of you know what, could these be your children, grandchildren, friends, relatives, who are playing and who could be at risk in the future.

We are only too aware of the complications that dogs mess can cause, so spare a thought for all your friends, relations, grandchildren etc and hope they do not pick up more than they bargained for whilst having some fun on the green, the blame lies on you!

I hasten to add I am a responsible dog owner and get immense love and affection from our animals but how could you walk away and leave it there for all to see, in fact, we are regularly picking up more than our pets share on the green.

I cannot believe how close to the bins it is, but still they are too lazy to pick it up, you see the owners look around, see no one and walk on and leave it.

If you cannot be a responsible dog owner then let them do it in your own back yard please.

Name withheld


Banks played part in crisis

Most people are aware of savings that must be made in all departments of national and local government to bring the deficit under control.

Cllr Graham Plant conveniently forgets this, also the Conservative party conveniently forgets the hundreds of millions of pounds this country had to borrow to bail the banks out.

We know the Labour government borrowed too much but don’t put all blame onto them as the banks played a huge part in putting us in the situation we find ourselves in at present.

The Conservative party held power in Yarmouth for long enough over the past few years and did nothing to help the situation in the town.

Had a link with a neighbouring council been found, I don’t think there would have been so much controversy over sharing services. I urge the present administration to push on and achieve objectives the last Tory council failed to do.



Cash squandered by Tory council

From Cllr Graham Plant’s letter last week: GYBC should concentrate on using tax payer’s money properly, rather than being self-serving. Money that could be saved by sharing management and services (as set up by the Conservatives) should not be sneered at by Labour. Any money saved is a good thing for local people.

Talk about calling the kettle black! It is Cllr Plant’s name on the agreement that took the kilometre of Yarmouth quays back for the ratepayers to pay for, add that to the Haven Bridge that he lumped on the ratepayer, I work that out to £2.6m since the port was given away.

Mr Plant, your £1.8m is but a drop in the ocean: we won’t talk of the big screens, the million on being sued by the gardeners, and all the grants your party squandered. Heaven help us.


Burnt Lane


Primark, come to our town!

I have heard Barclays bank is keen to go into the M&Co store and Lloyds TSB wants to go into Burton/Evans. I know we have Spar and M&S for food but since Iceland moved further afield (as did Tesco) we could do with another supermarket in the Market Place. As for the vacant Vergo store, wouldn’t it make a fantastic Primark?


Mayoress 2003-2004

Pavilion panto was memorable

I have just spent a memorable afternoon with my grandchildren at the Gorleston Pavilion Theatre. The panto Dick Whittington was superb, from the beautiful singing of Dick to the zany comedy of Jack and Jill. not forgetting the rest of the splendid cast especially the baby rats who really did enjoy their part in the show. An afternoon of absolute enjoyment. Well done all of you.



Yes, I accept your invitation

In response to the letter from Peter Kirkpatrick (Mercury, January 25) “The Farce that is Local Politics”.

After winning back control of Great Yarmouth Borough Council in May after 12 years of a Conservative administration, I am more than happy to accept Peter’s invitation to attend an open meeting, to allow members of the public to ask me, and my cabinet members open questions from the floor.

I would be happy to host this meeting at the Town Hall, and would encourage residents to attend when a date has been confirmed.


Magdalen Ward

Postcards? We need wardens

Re Dirty Dogs: This is an issue I have been having with the council for some time and it is not going away.

I would like to know how this latest piece of nonsense is going to work? Giving out postcards to everyone so that they can report the dog fouling? Do they expect members of the public to go and ask these people their names and addresses? I don’t think so, I for one would not do that.

Surely the money would be far better spent on paying for wardens to be on patrol during the dark hours. This is when the people of Yarmouth are walking their dogs. More rubbish bins are needed to put the mess in and instead of taking these people to court make them clean up the mess and scrub streets, this would be a far better deterrent as the people who do not clean up are not likely to pay fines. I agree that licences should be brought back to pay for all these necessary measures.


Salisbury Road

Great Yarmouth

How did trains turn around?

Perhaps this should be directed to Peggoty, but I was sitting at home the other night reading the Mercury about the Southtown and Vauxhall stations and I thought how, or whereabouts, the steam trains used to turn around to go back to Lowestoft/Norwich? I have asked my friends and none of us can recall how, perhaps one of your readers can help us?


Humberstone Road,


A vibrant arts community here

Further to her letter in the 11 January issue of the Mercury, Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust appreciates Vivienne Rainsbury’s concerns about plans to create a gallery at 133 King Street. All comments and views are welcomed. This project is a response to the vibrant arts community in Yarmouth and the recognition that it deserves more resource, and the views of local artists are obviously going to be taken into account.

The initiative demonstrated by the Guild of Artists and Craftsmen in setting up the Guild Gallery in otherwise empty retail space in Victoria Arcade is a good example of the enterprise that exists locally, and indeed two members of the Guild contributed to a series of in-depth interviews with local artists which were referred to in preparing the Trust’s feasibility study. These interviews revealed many of our artists exhibit to much acclaim elsewhere in the region but seldom, if ever, in Great Yarmouth (see http://eastcoastnettransitions.wordpress.com/).

Yet, as rightly pointed out, the recent very well presented Arts Festival exhibition in Yarmouth Minster provided ample evidence of the aspiration, quality and scope to be sourced here, and how such showcasing of artists’ work can successfully attract regional visitors as well as residents interested in the arts.

The Trust concluded the range and quality of creative output in Great Yarmouth would benefit from a dedicated and purpose designed space where artists can hold secure one-man shows presented in a professional manner.

This will not be a funded gallery as the SeaChange Gallery in Market Row was and will need to be run as a self-sufficient business, but King Street promises to be an accessible central location and hopefully the new gallery will be warmly supported as one opportunity, amongst others, to celebrate the arts in Great Yarmouth.

Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust

Bridge disaster fundraising day

I am having a fundraising day for the 1845 Great Yarmouth Suspension Bridge Disaster memorial, Saturday, March 23 in the Priory Hall, which was founded because of the disaster.

I have been collecting prizes from local businesses and due to their kindness it is now forming into a great raffle, there will be stalls etc. If anyone has any unwanted gifts, or would like to help in anyway, which would be most welcome, you can ring me on 01493 271100, or I will be collecting again in a couple of weeks in my doorway next to Palmers.



Let’s have port answers please

Time is running out for GYBC cabinet and officers for clarity on the giveaway of land, the inner harbour, south pier and nearly £20m in public money (a substantial amount of which was cash and assets of NCC and GYBC ratepayers) for an investment we neither had control over or any part in the ownership.

Time for some honest answers from all those involved. Cabinet and officers, who promised 1,000 jobs, a ro- ro ferry and regeneration, not forgetting how we were kept in the dark before during and long after the negotiations. Spin was the order of the day and still is. Buying time hoping for a white knight to appear - well not for at least two to three years Eastport now says, despite being told to “expect exciting news only a few months away” by Eliza O’Toole at the NCC scrutiny meeting last September.

Our “leaders” appear to have had had only one object, which was to be the heroes who eventually brought an outer harbour to the borough so much so they approached a project without a road plan. You don’t open a shop in town without knowing the footfall, and the outer harbour stumbles from hope to hope.

The outer harbour only survives because of the inner harbour once owned by the Port Authority, which was a trust port, of which we were all stakeholders.

Buoyed up by the talk coming from EastPort of how they were now communicating with residents I posed the following questions to Eliza O’Toole:

1 As it is now four months since the September NCC scrutiny meeting you attended when you promised us good news regarding the outer harbour. Are we getting close to this and if it doesn’t materialise what other options are there left to give our town the enormous boost in employment promised?

2 You also stated the project was a success, what do you regard as success when since July, 2012 the outer harbour has been mostly empty? Presumably the success has been the inner port? What percentage has been contributed by the outer harbour?

3 When you said the port was profitable you were unable to quote figures. Are you now able to support this statement with the figures?

4 Please would you tell me how communications have improved in the last two years?

5 I understand yourselves and the two councils have a confidentiality agreement concerning the outer harbour negotiations which I understand you informed a government office was for six years. Please would you confirm this?

I got an immediate reply but no hint of an answer!


Brett Avenue,


Nice to read all the good news

I would like to thank the staff at the Mercury for all the hard work they do to give Yarmouth people the pleasure of reading the paper. Someone complained about Fitness 2000 being on the front page in the story about the lady who lost 20st in weight.

I disagree very strongly. It is so nice to get good news on the front page of the paper. Keep up the good work. People of all ages go to Fitness 2000, and with all health conditions, not only people who are well and who use the gym to exercise and lose weight. I have seen people who have had strokes, breathing problems, depression, losing weight and many other problems. You don’t feel out of place.

I was frightened when I first went. I thought everyone would be slim and fit but how wrong I was.


Butt Lane,

Burgh Castle

Could flooding

happen again?

I ENJOYED the supplement in last week’s Mercury about that dreadful night of 31st January 1953, and although I was only 14 years old at the time I remember the details as though it was yesterday.

My father had a fishing boat on North Beach, and in the early evening a group of fishermen, Jim Hellingsworth, ‘Porky’ Blake and Billy Nichols came around to our house on Middle Market Road, to tell my father that a high tide was running and the boats were in danger.

By this time the lower deck of the Britannia Pier was underwater and the wash from the breakers was up against the sea wall. We made the boats secure inside one of the tennis courts on the north seafront, when a call came through that boats were needed on Bank Plain, Town Hall and North Quay to rescue people trying to get back from Southtown and Cobholm who were stranded at Haven Bridge.

As my father’s boat was already loaded onto a boat-trolley we pushed it down Euston Road, across the Conge to North Quay and began to rescue stranded people at the bridge. There were people trying to get back to the Gorleston side of the river and the emergency services organised those people on the footpath on the south side, and those wishing to come into Yarmouth use the north side.

By this time the water was well over the river walls and down North Quay and we were pushing 8 to 10 people at a time to safety. It was now about 10pm and high tide was supposed to peak between then and midnight. No such luck: it just kept rising. The bridge was closed and we ferried the remaining personnel out of danger’s way.

At 14, I was terrified with the water slopping over the tops of my waders, but to my father who had been second coxswain on air sea rescue launches, this was just another rescue. By the time we got the boat trolleyed up and pushed back to it’s secure mooring [inside the tennis court] it must have been at least 2am in the morning.

Could it happen again? The answer is yes, given the same tide and wind conditions. Flood defences have improved along with river defences, but the Achilles heel is, as it was in 1953, the coastline between Walcott and Winterton. All of this area behind the sand hills is below sea level. A North Sea surge could flood through Horsey mere and flood the Flegg villages and marshland through the back door.



Caister Parish Council

MPs scared of public opinion

YET again we find ourselves in the position where the Conservatives and Labour have copped out on a vote on the EU.

Last week we saw David Cameron give his long awaited speech on our position in the European Union, and I feel it was as far from the “tantric” climax that he promised, amounting to nothing more then a farce. It relies on so many ifs and buts; with negotiations, which the PM will back no matter the outcome, and then of course he has to win the next general election.

All in all, his promise is as reliable as a chocolate teapot. Let’s not forget his “cast iron guarantee” of a referendum if he was to be elected in 2010, a referendum that has yet to materialise.

The 2011 census figures for Great Yarmouth show an increase of nearly 250pc from Europe and the Mediterranean since 2001, and I dread to think what could happen to this town when the European Union opens the floodgates to millions of unskilled and unemployed Bulgarians and Romanians, giving free access into this country.

We already have understaffed hospitals and inefficient public transport systems, this borough - and many others like it - are simply not able to continue like this.

The only thing the Conservative-led coalition is doing to in any way hinder this immigration is to consider a negative-ad campaign to deter potential immigrants, and all we get from the opposition is a rather blunt “No” from Mr Milliband.

With the populist approach to recent politics, it’s a surprise the main parties didn’t announce a referendum intention, as soon as the polls showed the majority of the people wanted it. Just goes to show those in public office are scared of the public opinion.