Letters, February 28, 2014

Where have all the traders gone?

Paul Apostili stated in his email last week that we should “spare a thought for our poor market traders; working in all weather, always cheerful and doing their best to survive in difficult trading conditions, I hope the people of Yarmouth continue to visit our market and support those hardworking people”.

When was the last time he was in the Market Place? For the past few weeks there have been hardly any traders there on Wednesdays and Saturdays, so all weathers doesn’t count, does it? And when I buy from the stalls I have yet to come across a cheerful trader, they hardly speak except to take your money. On a couple of occasions I have been left standing at a stall waiting to be served, while a couple of traders chatted away among themselves.

The lack of stalls in the market is also picked up by Roger Silver in his letter last week.

And yes, businesses are closing and moving out. If we want to get any back in we need to clean up the place. Be honest, if you had a business and a choice of where to open it up, would you really pick Yarmouth? Its other main problem is footfall, there isn’t enough of it all year around, so businesses don’t get enough trade or profit and they go elsewhere. That’s why the smaller shops, old or new, keep closing, you can only buy so much of one product.

It is really only food shops that reap the benefit, because everyone needs to eat.


Most Read

Great Yarmouth

No still water in outer harbour

Very simple answer to why no containers here: the outer harbour is not suitable for working container ships or ferries. To do either of these operations you need still water, a ship going up and down the quay even one metre will result in severe damage to ship and cargo.

The range up and down the quay was almost certainly the reason the captain of the Arklow boat refused to use the outer harbour and went in the inner harbour to load. Any seaman will recognise the problems of what is known as a hole in the wall port ie open to the sea running in.

Like many coasting men I worked some of these ports in Cornwall and I am sure there are some of your readers who will have known Dean Quarry and Berry Head where we used huge tractor tyres as springs on the mooring wires.


ex mate ft Everard and Sons

Difficult job in difficult times

Perhaps John Stevens should look at the reason why our Labour council is having to increase parking charges in the borough. Maybe if he took the blue blinkers from his eyes he would see that Brandon Lewis has taken £10m from the town’s budget and if we all want our services to be maintained they have to collect the money from somewhere else.

Carry on Councillor Wainwright, you and your colleagues are doing a very difficult job in very difficult times.



Govt punishes those with least

I read the article on page 20 about the Great Yarmouth’s Jobs Fair, to be held next week, and supported by the Mercury, 3Sun Group, and CH2MHill, and was very encouraged by this.

However, underneath there was a large advert for Brandon Lewis MP’s Job Fair. How come? Is Mr Lewis trying to grab this event for political gain? In which case all the jobs will be short term, seasonal and zero hours contracts.

This ghastly government is intent on punishing the people in society that have the least, pushing them into the clutches of the money lenders, and worse, despite this country being one of the richest in the world.

Oh, but we have forgotten – Mr Duncan-Smith says he wants to restore “The Dignity of Poverty”.


Avondale Road,


Restore town, heritage-style

Excellent letters last week about the decline of our town centre. Cobholm Miniatures is a fascinating shop of models and many books on our local heritage with related displays.

It is all very well trying to market the town for the history and seaside attractions but most visitors will want to look at the shops and hopefully buy if the goods are there. The town centre is a big let down with some shops empty for years, charity shops galore, litter and a declining market - excellent for chips!

I would like to see the town centre shops restored to a heritage style to make the centre distinctive but there is no chance of that as the corporate bureaucrats insist on corporate image.

It is clear the private sector will not revive our town centre. The search for profits leads then to create and locate to out of town sites with yet another proposed. Shops used to be leaders in architecture, can that be said of the out of town sites? Why Hughes, who rescued Bennetts, want to go into the former Two Bears Hotel is a mystery as the former Bennetts stands empty!

It is not just the former Co-op that is a big worry but M&Co and A4E. There are many smaller shops around the town and I wonder if they could be attracted to a more central position.

Likewise, if empty space above shops was let as flats and perhaps the former Connexions centre and empty pubs nearby converted to homes, more shoppers would be in the centre. Parts of King Street may be best returned to residential and the shops may do better in the centre. Traditionally people lived in town centres and form a ready-made customer base.

Most towns charge for parking and in effect one rents the land which has potential other uses and could be sold off. Sainsburys refund parking charges when a purchase is made and one wonders if a scheme could be extended. Could not an experiment be funded to see if free parking makes a difference?

Our town centre cries out for help - cries which are ignored as Government cuts pile up.


Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

Painting on my wall in Clacton

I recently stayed in Great Yarmouth with my boyfriend and visited Jane Hall’s art exhibition at Great Yarmouth Library. I totally agree with the letter in last week’s Mercury from Jenny Johnson of Falcon Court. I was so impressed by the postcard paintings that I bought one for myself. This now hangs on my wall in Clacton-on-Sea. Keep them coming Jane!



Cyclist, 14, fined for speeding!

This is just an interesting story that my best friend, Gary Mondon told me recently. It was in your paper, 1958, in Great Yarmouth and he was 14 years old.

He was riding his bike over the bridge over the River Yare. A police car pulled up beside him which was a black Vauxhall Velox (speed cops). The “Copper” wound down his window and said: “Hey Sonny, we’ve clocked you at 32mph in a 30mph zone.”

It was dusk at the time and the polcieman also asked where were the cycle’s lights.

Young Gary replied the lights were “next to my liver,” and was promptly ordered to pull over.

He fined Gary £2 and 10 shillings for “speeding” and £2 pound 10 shillings for being “lippy”. It was printed in the Yarmouth Mercury as the first speeding fine for a pushbike in England at the time. Gary’s dad gave him a good ticking off, because he had to pay the fine at Great Yarmouth Town Hall, and he had to pay his dad back with his paper round money.

Gary and I both live in Tasmania and have done for years.



Tied up dog bit me on ankle

On Tuesday afternoon last week, I was walking along Gorleston High Street on my way home to Yarmouth and passed some dogs on leads tied to a post opposite Iceland.

As I went past, one of the dogs attacked my ankle and bit me. In shock, I didn’t hang around but went on to Yarmouth’s medical drop-in centre to seek help. I also contacted the police because my main concern was the dog might have attacked a child.

A week on, I’m badly bruised, in discomfort, and have a deep cut about five centimetre long across my right ankle. The owner of this animal needs to know what it has done to me and if it has done it once it may well do it again.

I work in a local supermarket and have heard from customers about another two unrelated incidents regarding dog bites in the Yarmouth area just this week. Owners need to be more responsible for their animals and look after them properly or not have them at all.



Tory budget plan irresponsible

At last week’s budget council meeting, the Conservative opposition proposed an amendment to the budget for 2014/15. In a time of austerity, this proposal would have resulted in increased expenditure of over £600,000 and an increased reduction in 2015/16 budget of over £1.2m.

In light of the fact that Great Yarmouth has had the biggest budget reduction in the whole country, this proposal was either naive or irresponsible.

Between 2011 and 2014/15, Yarmouth has seen a reduction of £7.7m or 38pc in its annual income. Next year it will be £8.8m. Add in this proposal and next year’s reduction would amount to £9.8m.

At the same time as this Conservative proposal for extra expenditure, the Minister for Local Government, our own MP Brandon Lewis, is constantly asking the Labour-led council to reduce our spending and make savings across the council.

I wonder if Cllr Barry Coleman, who made the proposal, had really considered the financial implications for the council, the demands from government and the needs of the wider community of Yarmouth. During the last two years, the Labour leadership has fought to maintain services in the light of these massive cuts. We have worked tirelessly with the officers to address this issue as the plans we inherited in 2012 had savings of only £50,000.

The Conservative proposal indentified both savings made last year and savings the council holds in the bank as the way to fund their spending spree.

The proposed extra expenditure did not generate any income for the council and was aimed at discretionary rather than statutory services. At a time of worldwide recession a responsible opposition would have produced a clear way of funding by making complementary reductions elsewhere. Following the budget council meeting, the project group met next morning to begin the hard task of producing a balanced budget for 2015/16.

The national Conservative-led coalition government will continue to reduce the income for our borough and, knowing this, I find the local Conservative councillors’ economic thinking incomprehensible.


Cabinet Member for Transformation and Regeneration

We have frozen council tax

It was interesting to read in the Mercury last week the report “Battle lines drawn as parking charges go up.” Parking charges have not gone up in the town centre, and have in fact been frozen since 2009.

It then went on to give Great Yarmouth’s Conservative councillors’ “alternative vision” where they laid out their proposed amendments to the budget, which amongst other things included slashing Council Tax by 2pc.

This proposed 2pc cut would cost the council £94,000 and would only save a council tax payer in a Band D property £2.98 per annum or just over 5p per week. It would only be based on the amount of council tax, set and received by Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

For 2014/15 Yarmouth Borough Council has received the largest proportional reduction in its spending power by central government, of any council in the UK, a massive 13.8pc% or £1,123,439. Yet the local Conservative councillors wish to make this situation even worse.

In spite of this, our administration has frozen council tax and protected frontline services for residents; these same residents who are facing an unprecedented squeeze on their living standards by this coalition government.


Magdalen Ward

Hope for more work on erosion

I live in Hopton and like most residents I’m concerned about the coastal erosion. I’m appreciative of the current repair work that has been ongoing since last April and hopefully the more major work that will be done, assuming that planning permission is granted.

It is good to hear that Potters Resort are going to apply for planning permission to put a sea defence in front of their property and that Bourne Leisure have already applied.

Imagine my surprise and disgust, on reading in our latest Village News, that one of our own parish councillors has objected to the Bourne Leisure application.

Given that these people are elected to “act in the best interests of people in the village”, it beggars belief that somebody in this position would actually object to something that can only be of immense good to everybody who lives here.


Hopton on Sea

Nice to see the busy market

Nice to see a busy market on a sunny day last Saturday. Not so nice to see litter blowing around.Thanks to Michael who continues to do a great job picking up rubbish. His pride in Great Yarmouth is an example to us all.


West Avenue,


Dog poo culprit: I’m watching!

Dog poo is a problem in Hemsby; many paths and streets are littered with it. Especially in Pit Road and this is a road where the local junior school is situated and the children and their parents have to run the gauntlet every day trying to avoid the poo.

I live on Newport Road and have a noticeboard in my front garden and somebody is in the habit of letting their dog foul right in front of it. I will be setting up a camera to catch the culprit and publishing it in this paper to shame them, and also report them to the local authority. If the person responsible is reading this then my message is clear: you are under surveillance, please clear up, take it home with you then bin it properly.

This is happening all over the village, so to all you irresponsible dog owners, clear up after your dog and make our village a cleaner, healthier place to live in.



Where has the respect gone?

Just imagine you are the only one, the young man said. Then I wonder why I keep being told no-one cares about anyone anymore.

I wonder why immigrants would want to come to Yarmouth where no-one says “Good morning” or smiles, but try to gain points for doing nothing.

Shop assistants know not how to smile or treat customers in the same manner as years ago and rather are inclined to treat you with contempt. My experience of late is such that it borders on abuse because they have no idea how, or why, I try to show respect. They don’t understand.

I lost my partner two years ago, she always said it would be bad! For me I find it worse. Thank God I have some close friends. Now I am made aware how some old folk lie dead for a week, or when nobody knew or cared.

I find ex-servicemen are treated with some contempt. I ask why have young folk no ambitions except to push a pram and swear at folk who get in the way. I ask again, why would anyone want to live in Yarmouth with its strewn rubbish and dog mess – and abuse you get when you complain.

Remember the saying: You reap as you sow. Wake up and put the Great back into Yarmouth.


Havelock Road,

Great Yarmouth

No cash to fight the developers

A sign of the times is the increasing usage of the expression “cash-strapped-councils” weaved into many a community based story, usually when the long held views and expectations of what a council does for us no longer happens.

If Eric Pickles and Dave Cameron are really keen on freeing up society from red tape, then perhaps a good place to start would be to lift the lid on aspects of the law, that is increasingly being used to act as a block against reasonable efforts to progress a counter argument to those holding large purse strings.

Faced with tame barristers many councils have waved through proposals for large supermarket developments as they can’t afford to put the public purse up against perhaps a one-sided-view, this has happened locally along with similar shenanigans to establish causes of cliff subsidence two years ago in Gorleston.

Perhaps the answer is closer than we think, what about fixing average speed cameras along our A12 “Cresta run” bypass, they don’t even need to be on all day, just between 0700 and 0900 would swell the cash-strapped-council coffers to take on the faceless men in grey wigs.



Someone design a poo-catch bag!

There have been many letters regarding dog fouling of our streets and footpaths. Surely someone could design a bag to be attached the dog, so, as it drops down to pass its motions, it is collected in the bag.

As many dogs have coats, leggings and foot pads they would think they are special.

With a minimum of £500 fine for fouling, the bag would be a cheap alternative.

The other alternative would be for all dog owners who use the streets and pathways to purchase some land for dog’s exercise. Also this would have a great advantage of having children’s play areas free of dog mess. Again, someone found with a dog on a children’s play area would be fined a minimum £500. All in the matter of health and safety.



Caister on Sea

Grammar class of 80 reunion

We are organising a reunion for the class of 1980 from Great Yarmouth Grammar School. That includes those who left in 1980, or 1982 for those who went on to the sixth form. The event is at 8pm on June 6 at Allens Bar in Yarmouth. Any pupils or teachers interested in attending can visit our Facebook page: Class of 75-80 Grammar School Reunion, or alternatively send an email to gygs1980@talktalk.net

We look forward to some great reminiscing! Michelle Tambling (Ellis), Phil Ball, Lois McCormack (Harman), Denise Casey (Pitts), Stephanie Hart (Driver) Sue Gallie (Joel), Carolyn Harvey, Ann Gray (Minter).



Hunting for Peter

I am looking for a Peter Simms who lives, I believe in a warden-controlled flat in Great Yarmouth. I can be contacted on 07938 861776.


via Facebook