Letters, February 19 2016

Sewage system is overloaded

I attended the last parish meeting at Bradwell with the invitation of Anglian Water to be present. I listened to all the questions that were in written form and which were handed to the Anglian Water representatives the day before this meeting.

I sat there for an hour listening to their answers and was asked by the chairman for my comments,

The answers given by Anglian Water, I thought, were just a load of waffle, it was that they would inquire, or would look into, what was under their five year plan! No straightforward answers were given as to why flooding was being experienced over decades within the Parish of Belton, Bradwell, and Fritton.

It has taken three years by my fellow borough councillors and myself to get Anglian Water to the table to discuss the problems and all they could come up with was “We are looking into it.”

With the new build of housing going up in and around Bradwell they could not guarantee these would not be added to the sewerage system that is already overloaded. What the parishioners want is larger holding tanks, more powerful pumps, and larger discharge pipes to deal with what already is an overloaded system let alone with new houses being added to the system,

MP Brandon Lewis was not in attendance but sent a representative who did not contribute to the discussion. So you have the parish councillors, borough councillors and county councillors fighting in your corner but we have yet to hear the views from our MP.

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County Councillor

Lothingland Division

Drifter crew played euchre

It was interesting to see this article about the demise of euchre as I remember seeing the older members of the steam drifter Pre-Eminent playing this in the cabin in the late 1950s when I was cast off in her.

The fact that it possibly originated in Devon and Cornwall is quite feasible; it would almost certainly have come to Yarmouth via the fishing fleet who worked those areas every year fishing for herring and many people from Yarmouth and Lowestoft moved down there permanently. When i worked for Everards and was down in Cornwall I was accepted as a local!

It would be a shame to see euchre disappear; possibly the Time and Tide Museum could get a written copy of how the game is played because it is part of the social and fishing history of Great Yarmouth.

My father, who was cook in the drifters remembered it being played on the drifters in the early 1900’s though he never played it.



Indoor ice rink for Amazonia

Re the Reptile house at Amazonia. I would like to suggest as not only tourist attraction but for locals as well an indoor ice rink. It was a popular attraction where I came from maybe it could work here



Writing on wall for social homes

Brandon Lewis’s Tory posturing in his From the Commons article in the Mercury, February 5 shows just how much his “just for profit” party regards those in need in the UK today.

His comments regarding Margaret Thatcher’s 1980’s Right to Buy scheme for council tenants seem to indicate it transformed housing solutions. Frankly, that decision to sell off housing stock at discount prices rates alongside the introduction of the Poll Tax and the sinking of the Belgrano.

Council, or social housing as it is now referred to was started in 1919 to address the housing shortage after the First World War, finishing in 1980.

As a result, the number of suitable properties available has declined in epic proportions, leaving many with no hope of a property with an affordable rent. The private sector rental market now commands rents and conditions that will make your eyes water.

Is this progress? I think not. David Cameron now intends to blow up council estates and extend the Right to Buy to Housing Association properties.

The intervening Labour Government did little or nothing to rectify the situation, but at least they did encourage existing council tenants to take part in “Tenant Participation” with the chance to interact with the council with regards to upkeep of their homes, estates and service delivery.

Trouble was, existing tenants on the whole couldn’t be bothered, leaving it all to a small number of tenant groups and reps to try to improve our lot. To be honest, if you have never supported your local groups and you feel dissatisfied with the current situation then you have only yourself to blame.

In my opinion, having been a committed and active tenant rep for over 13 years at local, borough and national level, I can see the writing on the wall.

Soon, possibly within the next 10 years or so, social housing will cease to exist.

If you haven’t got a property by then, then you probably will never get one. Good luck.

Homes for heroes… how soon we forget.



Court will go on meting justice

For the past few months Great Yarmouth Magistrates Courthouse has been the subject of intense scrutiny because of the Government’s need to cut costs and at the same time improve the judicial system in England and Wales.

After going out to consultation to interested parties, assessing the viability, facilities and access to the building it was decided at the report stage to be the Courthouse to serve both the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft judicial areas.

The announcement on Thursday, February 11 confirmed that to be the case, and what has become an iconic building which is seen when entering the town from the A47 will continue to administer justice for the foreseeable future.

Tributes must be paid to all these people and organisations who took the time to complete the questionnaires and emphasise the importance of having a court in Great Yarmouth to ensure that justice is served locally, and will embrace the additional work from Lowestoft.

Those people include Tim Wooldridge, Pam Breeze, Vi Bell and the Retired Magistrates Association, Graham Plant and Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Brandon Lewis MP and his staff. Without them and no doubt the many others who contributed the situation could have been different.

Great Yarmouth and Gorleston has a proud history and the magistrates court has played its part (in various forms) for over 800 years and long may it continue to do so and serve the people of the borough and surrounding areas.


Help find this kind stranger

I don’t know if you have a section asking for help from the public but if you did would you be able to publish this:

I’m trying to find a stranger who helped my parents. My Dad was out walking their Great Dane when the dog collapsed in the middle of the road and couldn’t get up.

A very kind stranger stopped to help him get the dog up. And even took them both home in his van.

This man has a beard, drove a blue car/van and possibly works for the environment in some way! I know it’s not a lot to go on but my parents would really like to thank the kind gentleman who didn’t just drive past.Please contact me on email at kainechris83@gmail.com



Pleased to see dog poop action

Re the on-going problem of irresponsible dog owners, and replying to the article in last Friday’s Mercury.

I have a dog and pick up and take home no matter where I walk with it. I am so pleased to read that Hemsby is really knuckling down to getting to the root of this dreadful topic. Can’t believe with so much mess in a certain area and no one knows who the culprits are.

Do these totally irresponsible so-called dog lovers have no children or grandchildren with toddlers and prams or pushchairs which need to be considered?

Have they never stood in a pile and thought oh dear that’s not nice, it’s best I pick up my dog’s mess now?

Gorleston, Bradwell, Belton… it’s all the same. I fear a lot of these activities take place when it’s dark, so could the authorities not consider night cameras high up in certain areas. Who knows, a lot of money could be made from fines.

Who knows, a lot of money could be made and it would might make these ignorant people think twice, but I won’t hold my breath!



Cormorants do fly in V shape

In response to the letter in the Mercury February 12, this lady obviously knows nothing about cormorants. Cormorants do fly in a V shape the same as geese, however they can be identified as cormorants as they fly in silence unlike geese.

Cormorants can feed at sea in which case they will return to their roost near the coast. However around the Norfolk Broads cormorants live and feed on the Broads such as Filby and Rollesby then return to roosts in trees at dusk.

Cormorants can also feed at night on lakes/broads when they are less likely to be disturbed. Whilst it is generally recognised they are sea birds they, like many seagulls have moved inland.

A good point of reference for your original letter writer would be http://ypte.org.uk/factsheets/cormorant/daily-life


Mill Road


Geese do not fly out to the sea!

Ms Haworth’s comments regarding the letters that Mr Burkinshaw and I sent to the Mercury I found to be very insulting. I don’t claim to be an expert myself but I do know the difference between cormorants and geese.

Geese do not fly out to sea they fly in over the North Sea to spend the winter months here. Some geese are very vocal when they are flying, they don’t eat fish, they are found on the marshes as they eat grass and other vegetation near to dykes, lakes and rivers. Cormorants do go to sea to get fish and at times they will take fish from lakes and fish farms.

I think Ms Haworth should get in touch with Chris Packham and he will tell her that cormorants go out to sea to feed and that they fly in a V shape formation, returning to roost between mid-afternoon and dusk.

I am now looking forward to seeing the pigs perched in the trees she tells us about.



Hospices? We need the facts

I have noted a great deal of publicity surrounding some works at Gorleston on Margaret Chadd House by East Coast Hospice, surely this leads us to think we are soon to have a hospice?

How much longer will we have to wait for a built and sustainably operational hospice? Surely the generous supporters, contributors and those generally interested in our region getting palliative care facilities deserve transparent and honest reporting.

So many questions appear to be unanswered…

What is the board of trustees best estimate for when the hospice will be built and operational? Is the build cost of £4m current and accurate?

What are the contingency plans for inevitable overspends?

Does this £4m include the first year’s operational costs?

What are the annual operating costs of the hospice and are accurate forecasts in place? It has been previously been mentioned at £1.8m; Brian Potter, sadly no longer with us, wrote about this way back in 2012. How is it proposed to raise annually said operating costs?

Is a strategy in place for recruitment of key personnel? Would or should this include the use of external agencies to secure the best talent for the hospice?

With a paid grants administrator, what grants/grant pledges have been secured? When is the proposed retail expansion, as stated on the charity’s website going to materialise?

What are the 19 conditions that are being or have been met to meet planning permission?

Surely as the generous giving public, which will fundamentally build and provide the funds to operate the hospice, we deserve the best information to allow us to judge which options we should decide to fund when it comes to palliative care in our region, whether it be East Coast Hospice or Louise Hamilton Centre/Palliative Care East

The dream only becomes a reality once the hospice is built and operational!



Local expertise will help port

Recent happenings at the outer harbour have brought to light the terrific struggle the white elephant is having to get up off its knees. Peel Ports Group is going to need help from earlier local participants in their venture working together to get this enterprise back on its feet.

With their experience, coupled with the knowledge of Peel Ports Group, we should be able to see some improvement with some progress.


Gonville Road,


Care in the day ward wonderful

I spent a day recently in the day ward of the James Paget University Hospital. From the moment I was admitted I experienced nothing but great care and kindness. Nothing was too much trouble for every member of staff.

This is a very, very busy ward and the care shown to everyone was wonderful. I read such bad reports but my care was great. Well done everyone.


Bridge Meadow,


Ban cars on the Lower Prom

The rise in road accidents, where drivers have lost control of their vehicles, is quite alarming. It is difficult to comprehend at times as to how these vehicles have finished up in the positions they did.

Many of these accidents have resulted in life-changing injuries, more often than not to innocent bystanders. Gorleston seafront is once again growing in popularity, due in no small part to those individuals who have made significant investment in their businesses in and around the seafront. With this increase in visitor numbers, I have real concerns about safety on Gorleston`s Lower Esplanade.

The mix of cars and people, particularly the very young, on the Lower Esplanade is not a good one. There is not a single barrier or bollard to stop a vehicle, should it go out of control, mounting the narrow pavements on either side of the Esplanade.

The ideal answer would be to ban parking on the Lower Esplanade altogether and to hard landscape over the parking bays. Such an amenity would provide visitors with an area where they could relax, without the constant worry of having to dodge vehicles manoeuvring in and out of the parking bays, which is particular hazard when walking through the car park, too and from the beach.

There would be no lost of revenue to the council as parking in this area is currently free of charge. The nearby pier car park has plenty capacity for those people who just want to park up and, “watch the sea”. The car park fees on the pier are more than reasonable and are significantly lower than elsewhere.

I don`t know when the last risk assessment of the area was made but it seems to me the current situation is simply an accident waiting to happen.


University Crescent,


Carry on with bubbles blow!

I am sure his many friends and clientele will wish to join me in congratulating “The Diving Barber of Deneside”, Phil Jones, on his long career beneath the waves as a recreational diver.

Even in this day and age, with so much underwater activity on TV, the general public have only a vague idea of what this unique sport is all about. With its emphasis on fitness, safety and self reliance, combined with caring for one’s diving buddy, it appeals to both sexes, families and all ages.

The range of interests, from marine archaeology and biology and photography to history, travel, navigation and seamanship is almost limitless. It appeals to most people and, in Philip’s case, I must add his input into the East Anglian branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club which was founded in Great Yarmouth in 1954.

In particular his dedication in introducing new members and assisting in their early experiences has been invaluable for 50 years and contributed in no small measure to its success.

May he continue blowing bubbles for many years to come.



Hopton site link to the Iron Age

Whatever is going on in the planning office at Great Yarmouth Borough Council? When the development control committee pass an application for further development of 15 bungalows on a site in Hopton, not only after the chairman stated last week, as reported in the Mercury, had been a drainage problem with properties built by the same contractor at the Oaks in Ormesby.

Also, the application on which they have now subsequently passed on the piece of land they are now going to build on was originally rejected by the same committee due to it being an Iron Age barrow burial site.

It makes one wonder what goes on behind closed doors prior to formal applications being distributed for comment and whether these returned comments are taken seriously. I feel the planning process needs to be investigated and independently audited, not by a council approved body!

Perhaps one possible change to policy should be to invite interested suitable personnel to sit on the committee, (with a vote) from the areas where development is proposed to establish that future planning applications are carefully thought through. If changes to the process are not drastically reviewed, then how can councillors sitting on the planning committee be given any credibility by the general public for future development in their respective areas?



Watch phantom poop scooping

Great idea to clear up dog mess but do the people doing it realise they have created a new breed of dog walkers: “phantom poop-scoopers”, Glance at any magistrates courts list in the Mercury and you will see prison sentences are suspended, fines often not paid and community work often not done.

That leaves the three cardinal sins in today’s world: child not at school, any car crime and dog mess. Fines for these usually exceed much worse offences.

Dog owners will tell you that every time the dog squats down to do something it does not always materialise. However, someone may be watching from afar, so we now have to get our little black bag and go through the motions (sorry!) of collecting absolutely nothing just in case. We are “phantom poop-scoopers”!



Cormorants, not flying pigs!

In reply to Angie Haworth’s letter on Friday, February 12, we are regular dog walkers at Lound and have seen these birds in the early morning and late afternoon on most days. They are definitely cormorants, certainly not flying pigs!

We have seen them on the water and been able to identify them. There are flocks of geese flying over too, but these can always be heard before you see them; the cormorants fly silently and higher than the geese.


Gordon Road,

Great Yarmouth

Help us trace John A Parker

We are researching the family tree of the Parker family who originated in Great Yarmouth, and readers of the Mercury and other local papers throughout England have already been of considerable help, but there is one remaining branch we have yet to trace.

Alfred J Parker was born in Yarmouth in 1911, and married Evelyn E Harvey in 1936.

Alfred was lost at sea when the HMS Jervis was involved in a collision with a Swedish vessel off the Northumbrian coast in the year 1940.

We believe Alfred and Evelyn had a son, John A Parker, born in 1939, but have been unable to discover what happened to him.

The only hint we have is one of Alfred’s cousins thinks John may possibly have been a publican at one time.

If any of your readers can supply us with even a tiny clue as to his whereabouts or fate we would be extremely grateful, as we are also trying to locate potential beneficiaries of the estate of a member of the family who died intestate last year.

We can be contacted on 01502 511546 or emailed at flautodolce@corystes.plus.com.



Restore Oulton Broad lifeboat

Having spent over five years at South Broads lifeboat station in Oulton Broad as a crew member, it was a very sad day when the RNLI pulled the plug on what was a change of direction, a lifeboat station that supported an inland waterway system.

I was lucky enough to be able to join the fantastic team at Lowestoft lifeboat station where I had a few years as a crew member.

Having served at both stations a typical shout at these would be totally different with the South Broads team dealing with holidaymakers on the Broads and the Lowestoft team normally assisting more experienced or professional seafarers.

I have to agree with the coxswain mechanic at Great Yarmouth and Gorleston lifeboat station and would ideally like to see the South Broads resources put back in place.

The closure of the lifeboat station at Oulton Broad was the wrong thing to do and I would love to hear input on this from the coastguard teams locally and the other emergency services



Thanks for night shift medic care

My family and I would like to thank all the staff who worked the night of Wednesday, February 10 in A&E when my mum was taken in at 6pm. They were exceptionally caring to my mum and the family and couldn’t do enough for us considering the doctors were on strike.

They went out of their way to care for mum and put the family at ease when she passed away.


Lark Way,


I’ll be the new clerk at port!

Good money will not necessarily produce good results!

We notice on the Great Yarmouth Port Authority website the position of Clerk is being advertised. There seems to be no mention in past or present editions of the Mercury that the port needs a new clerk, what does this mean?

It seems the GYPA appears to have not yet complied with the 2015 Harbour Revision Order. There has been no action that one can see around the river and outer harbour that the new owners have put in place that the stakeholders local community are aware off.

I have, with others spent eight years on highlighting many questions on why we did not get what was promised in what the borough would receive in exchange for £20m and the river port. I would be very pleased to be offered the position of Clerk to the GYPA.


Burnt Lane