Letters, February 6 2015
Council was BID ballot holder
I was astonished to read in the Mercury that the council have gone back on their agreement to hold off sending red letters on the BID levy invoices pending the result of the appeal to the Government.
How can the leader of the council, who has been voted to represent us, renege on a statement he made in front of 180+ local business operators? As the council and BID committee have failed to respond to our requests for information and the BID committee cancelled our arranged meeting recently, I would like to publicly question the following misinformation:
Trevor Wainwright stated the BID was nothing to do with the council, his exact words were ‘If anyone is saying it is the borough council doing this, it is not’ - GYBC were actually the ballot holder.
GYBC and the BID have confirmed that the ballot result was correctly published but, despite numerous requests by us and Brandon Lewis MP, have failed to provide a copy of this. Why?
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The BID and council refuse to acknowledge something has gone wrong with the ballot as indicated by the low voting turnout (just 19pc compared to a national average of 46pc) and confirmed by many business owners who have stated they failed to receive a ballot paper. I can therefore only assume they are calling these business owners at best incompetent and at worst liars.
As our emails have gone unanswered, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly invite Mr Trevor Wainwright and Mr Alan Carr for a meeting to discuss these matters and the many more anomalies in the process (which I cannot fit in here!) in more detail.
- 1 Ghostly photos show deserted Yarmouth in lockdown
- 2 Minke whale washes up on beach
- 3 Tributes to much-loved Laura, 28, after Covid death
- 4 Warnings for snow and ice in place across region
- 5 Council pay out six claims to drivers after car park ramp damaged vehicles
- 6 Discount hobby shop The Works 'could run out of money'
- 7 Firearms collector, 72, jailed for having illegal shotgun and pistol
- 8 Neighbours oppose off-licence over crime fears
- 9 Inquest rules 'witty and strong-willed' 26-year-old's death accidental
- 10 Atlantis Tower up for sale after owner signs ‘outrageous’ loan deal
I am from the ‘real world’
After reading the letter in last week’s Mercury, I thought it might be a good time to tell people my real story and why I wanted to get involved in politics.
I didn’t study politics, in fact at the time when most people are studying at university I was going through quite a difficult time as a young single mum. My first day at university was on the same day that my youngest son started school. Having gained a Masters Degree in Psychology I decided I wanted to give something back to the community. I went to work for Home-Start, Supporting families and at the same time continued my volunteering with Women’s Aid amongst others.
I saw so many people struggling day to day and I saw so many problems that required big changes. Like others, I was disappointed with politics and, in particular, politicians. I went to a meeting to express the depth of my feelings and I was challenged to be the change myself. So here I am. Trying to change things for the better.
Over the last two years I have tried to prove I am different. I pride myself on being judged by my actions, and not just words. I want to bring politics back into the hands of the people and have pledged to take my community involvement to the next level, having a peoples panel of local residents helping me make decisions in Westminster.
I have met over 30,000 residents and am fighting in every community, every day.
If you are looking for an MP from the “real world” you just found her!
Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Great Yarmouth
Many parts of town destroyed
I could not agree more with the Editor’s word last week on applauding borough councillors’ stance on the Old Custom House and the ancient Port and Haven Commissioner’s Office, though I wish the council had more foresight than hindsight.
Too many times our councillors have destroyed parts of our historic town, then said after the act “with hindsight we should not have done that”.
I defy anyone in the council to prove to the stakeholders and local community that use the river port, to openly supply documentary evidence that “gifting” these two historic buildings to a private company was done in the way the outer harbour project was sold to the stakeholders and local community. Never once from 2000 to 2007 did council members and officers, who were members of the Port Authority and Eastport Great Yarmouth Ltd, set up to oversee the outer harbour project, state that we would lose our river and offices and warehouses to a company that is an investment fund.
These two buildings are another example of councillor’s poor foresight. If in 2007 those decision makers had complied with the 1986 Outer Harbour Act the fortunes of Great Yarmouth would be light years ahead of what we have now.
I am nearly in my 80th year and would dearly love to see the outer harbour successfully operated by stakeholders that have known the port since the 1960s, but whilst those councillors and officers hide behind commercial sensitivity, this port will get nowhere.
JOHN L COOPER
Beach dog hurt our pet Jessie
At about 7.30am on Friday, January 23, behind the Marina Centre in Great Yarmouth, my wife was walking our 13 year old and timid, black smooth-haired Lurcher, Jessie, on her leash, when two dogs running loose on the beach approached them.
The smaller tan coloured dog was friendly enough but the larger black dog ran at Jessie with teeth bared. A woman then appeared.
Jessie cried out and my wife asked the woman to call her dog off. She replied her dog was only “joining the pack”. Not knowing the damage done to Jessie my wife returned home. We then discovered the attack had left a gash in Jessie’s tail that was gushing blood. There was so much blood it soaked and ruined her bedding and dripped over the carpet.
Thankfully Haven vets were just opening and we drove straight there. By the end of the day they had sewn up the two-inch gash in the blood vessel in her tail and stitched the wound. Jessie continues to improve.
As good as the vets were they required paying and so far it has cost us about £350, so if the owner of the dog who enjoys “joining the pack” so much, reads this or someone who knows her tells her, perhaps she may feel responsible enough to repay some of the cost.
Who owned Billy Fury convertible?
I live in Coventry and wonder if your good readers could help me find the original registered owner of a car I have owned now for around two and a half years. It’s a 1967 factory right-hand drive Ambassador Convertible originally red but now green.
It’s been said that it was owned new in the UK by Billy Fury hence the registration number OVB 3F and driven by him when he visited Great Yarmouth in the late 1960s, on tour along the seafront.
The records now at DVLA Swansea only go back to 1977 and I wonder if any of your readers have any information or photos or anything in fact that relate to the car. I would be most grateful for any reply and I can be contacted on email email@example.com or phone 02476 305065.
Cataract surgery very well done!
I would like to add my praises and a big thank you to Mr M Raja and nurses and staff for the excellent treatment and kindness shown both times my husband went into the James Paget Hospital for cataract surgery. Well done JPH.
Tories have also done a u-turn
I see the local Tories and Labour groups are angry about the u-turn of UKIP over local car parking charges. What about the u-turn of the Tories? Their last election manifesto stated “our radical proposals include reversing seafront car parking charges, making Caister car park completely free and introducing two hours free car parking in many of the town centre car parks”.
They have even gone against the local MP’s view that “local shops should not be penalised by hefty car parking charges”!
The local Tories promised a 2pc cut in council tax so I wonder what their alternative budget and what cuts are proposed? UKIP also want cuts in spending so a chance to unite so we can see what more cuts look like? They are supposed to support local retail centres yet hike car park charges but at their conference gave the impression car park fees are not a cash cow..
The great loo debate is back.The proposed closures are a further example of cuts that need to be made to meet the government’s required spending cuts.
The Conservatives promise more spending cuts to levels of the 1930s. We need to spend more on things like the NHS where we have seen the ambulance service, A&E, waiting lists, mental health and social services struggling. Fine if you have private health care but not for most.
Likewise, I agree with Chris Ashdown that we need MPs who are in touch with the real world. The Sutton Trust reports that 35pc of MPs went to independent schools whereas 7pc of the population attend such schools. A further 27pc went to selective schools. 90pc went to university (including 30pc to Oxbridge reflecting the dominance of entrants from the private schools).
Many MPs have no work experience of the real world coming from a life in political circles or exclusive professions and become career MPs. Are these the best people to represent ordinary workers?
Unfortunately, many decisions are made by out of touch people whilst many people want public services but are unwilling to pay the necessary taxes.The choice in May is tax cuts (mainly for the rich) or proper public services.
Fun charity quiz for Centre 81
The Annual Charity Quiz, run by The Rotary Club of Great Yarmouth is only a month away. The club raises funds at this Charity evening for mainly local projects. This year some of the money raised is going towards helping Centre 81, an organisation close to the hearts of many local residents.
We are looking for teams from throughout the Borough and, no, it’s not too late to enter! We can each do our bit in helping some of the less fortunate people in the Borough. If you enjoy a fun evening testing your brain against like-minded quizzers, this evening could be just what you’ve been looking for! Tony Mallion will handle the evening in his own inimitable way and there are trophies and prizes for the winning teams. Entry fee for teams of four players, including food at the quiz, is just £50 but if you are playing for a registered charity the fee is reduced to £40. The whole event kicks off at Lynn Grove High School on Friday 6th March at 7pm. We’d love to see the hall packed out for an evening of charitable fun. For an entry form and details email firstname.lastname@example.org or text to 07778 553631
Rotary Club of Great Yarmouth
Any pictures of old mortuary?
Does anyone have any photographs of the old mortuary as I would love to see them. My grandparents lived behind it and as a child I lost many a ball over the wall.
Also I wonder if anyone has pictures of the classes at Northgate School befire it was bombed? I would love to see them.
Mrs V KEYZOR, nee Fiddy
A cross-legged visit to our town
Are Great Yarmouth borough councillors completely intent on destroying this town, while they wallow in their ivory tower with all its mod cons and refurbishment which incidentally we’ve all had to contribute to. They now see a facelift for the rest of us and visitors alike to negotiate the town and surrounding areas cross-legged due to their latest idea of closing down more public conveniences. Have they not cottoned onto the meaning of the word “convenience”?
Perhaps it’s their intention to convert those closed toilets into flatlets, to scrape more money in their coffers, as has been done on Hall Quay/Stonecutters Way.
What with their latest thoughts and arrangements they propose for car parking in the town they may be soon the only ones left to consider as everyone else may have left. Would the last person in town please pull the chain and switch off the lights.
We already pay for the police
Should Belton with Browston Parish Council pay for a PCSO? Whether they pay all or go halves with another village the answer to this question is No. We already pay for the police in the village through our council tax so why should we pay twice.
If the Parish Council has money to spare then they should be looking to spend it on the upkeep of the village, perhaps give the caretaker (who does a good job in the time given to him) more hours.
Nuisance calls are increasing
I wonder if any of your readers have had a similar experience to that which I have had with their telephone service?
My telephone/broadband is supplied by Virgin and I recently upgraded my computer online to give me a faster speed. It was advertised as being provided at no extra cost? I then received an email showing my monthly direct debit would increase over and above the advertised February increase. Included was a charge for a “call barring” facility which, as I do (did not) not receive nuisance calls per se, I refused to have and had the cost taken off my monthly charge. That was on a Monday, January 20.
Between that day and Thursday, January 23, I received some 20 nuisance calls. Some verbal and others, the phone having rung, were silent. Each time on dialling 1471 the number “was not known”.
On January 22 I received a Virgin Media customer service request for feedback from the initial encounter with them on the Monday. In my reply I pointed out that since refusing to take up their offer for “call barring” I had been inundated with nuisance calls! I asked if they had sold my number to anyone.
Psychologically I now hesitate to answer the phone being stressed every time it rings. That was until Sunday when I received a mother of all nuisance call beyond belief. The caller failed to identify himself when I asked and said he was outside my house and wanted me to let him. After refusing to identify himself I said nothing and just listened. I then endured a torrent of vile, abusive language. Remaining silent seemed to annoy him and he signed off with more vile language.
The police, bless them, were round in a flash but what can they do apart from check out the area? Not long ago you could put a code into your phone (BT) for free that would stop all incoming phone calls that withheld their number. To activate *65(hash), to deactivate, (hash)65(hash) simple!
These abusive calls are not restricted to Virgin as I have it on good authority that BT customers are now experiencing the same. As most of the victims of phone-based scams are OAPs why is there a reluctance by the phone companies to provide this service for free when they have the technology?
Name and Address withheld
Drivers showing many faults
Too many people are using mobile phones while driving and also do not clear their windscreens from ice before starting their journey. They could be prosecuted. I would be really interested to see how the police are going to put this into action when at the moment there are drivers driving with light bulbs out and using mobile phones. I recently counted at least 14 vehicles with bulbs out. They need to be stopped as a Mercedes car I thought was a motorbike only had its offside light on.
North Yarmouth Road Safety Group
Tell us the price of Pontin’s site
The meeting held last Wednesday at Hemsby village hall attracted over 140 residents to air their views concerning the future of the old Pontin’s site. Borough councillor Shirley Weymouth called the meeting, following the exhibition a couple of weeks earlier, because residents were concerned at proposals for 200 houses, pub/restaurant and a Co-op store. The pub/restaurant plan has been withdrawn.
Present at the meeting were John Winstanley representing site owners Northern Trust, Graham Plant GYBC, and Paul Wells representing MP Brandon Lewis who was in Parliament and could not attend. Also present was Dean Minns, planning control officer at GYBC, Glenn Taylor representing policing and Keith Kiriacou, vice chairman of Hemsby PC.
Many pertinent questions were asked of John Winstanley most of which he tried to answer but the one he would not or could not was how much did Northern Trust want for the land? He said interested parties were invited to put forward their ideas and what value they would put on the land. This has been the crux of the matter all along.
Entrepreneur Simon Middleton put forward a proposal in 2009 for an Eden of the East project which would have been a brilliant use of the site but he could not get Northern Trust to name a price for the site. They wanted him to give detailed plans of what he intended to do and the value that he would put on the site etc.
This is not how business is done. They stated the site was up for sale via Savill’s estate agents but how can you sell something without stating the price?
This land is a protected prime holiday site and should remain so. If allowed to go for housing it will set a precedent for all other applications for housing in Hemsby, and this could sound the death knell for Hemsby as a destination holiday village.
There are already sites in and around Hemsby due for housing development that have been put on hold and can be developed anytime. The Pontins land should remain for holiday business because this is where the jobs are created and brings money into the village, a housing development won’t.
Local residents expressed wishes for a school, medical centre, leisure and holiday facilities etc. A show of hands indicated not one person wanted homes on the site. This message could not have been made clearer. Everyone was asked to fill in a questionnaire to register an opinion and these would be collated and presented to the planning department before any application for housing is considered.
Northern Trust, please put a price on the land and give businesses the chance to buy it and develop it for the holiday industry. GYBC planning department, please listen to the people of Hemsby. No more houses. We have spoken, have you heard?
UKIP listened to the public view
In reply to Valerie Pettit’s letter in the Mercury last week. I asked for clarification regarding Caister toilets (not the whole report as suggested). I thought we had put forward a report to leave the northern parish toilets until discussions had taken place with parish councils and businesses, clearly this wasn’t the case.
Having agreed the above at the working group we presented the report to full council only after that did we receive the results of the public consultation!
And this clearly stated that the 47pc of the public were not willing to reduce the number of toilets (18pc indifferent 35pc willing). Those are the two reasons I voted against it.
Is Valerie now saying she is astounded that UKIP (including me) listened to the public after Labour has just spent over £7,000 on the consultation. Heaven help us if Labour are still running the council next year.
Cllr KAY GREY
UKIP Group leader
Why bother with costly survey?
On the issue of the closure of the public toilets, Labour leader Trevor Wainwright was quoted in your paper last week berating councillors who had gone against a working group recommendation and saying they “might as well have not bothered having these working groups.” What?!
The council commissioned a very expensive survey of the electorate which showed that the least popular option for cost-cutting was the closure of public toilets, but he and his council chose to ignore that, so why bother with the survey if they pay no attention to it’s findings. This is hardly a shining example of democracy.
A warning over vote being taken
Whilst looking into the matter of the Greater Yarmouth Tourism BID I would like to issue a warning to everyone. It appears that if a vote is passed somewhere which affects you but you have no knowledge of, you are required to look on a website (of which you also have no knowledge), and to see the result of something that you do not know exists! You will then be expected to pay for this as this is now legal to do so.
Yes I am sure that what I have just written all sounds like absolute nonsense, but I am afraid that seems to be the law. This is happening at this moment to up to 1,000 business rate payers in Great Yarmouth.
So the moral of this is that in your ‘spare time’ look on every website to see what is happening as this may have an impact on you. In addition to that, never trust politicians, councillors and board members!