Letters, February 27 2016

Cast adrift on a perilous ocean

I read with concern the plight of poor Rev Peter Paine. Whilst 95pc of international trade is reputedly transported by sea, there seems to have been a decline in particular areas of our maritime economy.

Our town bears witness to this regression, and we need look no further than Great Yarmouth’s prize winning white elephant, formerly known as the outer harbour.

Now, after many years’ service in his missionary Rev Paine, like so many others, finds himself cut adrift in a perilous ocean of uncertainty.



Picture brought back a memory

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Referring to your supplement Scenes of the Sixties, I recall an incident one evening in July 1961. My 12 year old nephew asked if I would take him on his favourite ride, the big wheel at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach.

Having his request granted and the ride beginning to turn he asked: “What shall we do if this ride breaks?” I assured him it had been turning on numerous occasions so it was most unlikely. That did not placate him and by now his anguish was turning to terror, so I decided to call the operator and ask him to let us off.

This was unnecessary because luckily for us it was our turn to alight. Having walked only a few yards there was a weird crunch followed by screams. I looked up and said you were right Ian – the wheel had broken! Forthwith I believed in premonitions.


Falcon Court,

Great Yarmouth

It won’t return to our England

I read with interest, Mercury February 19, of a survey conducted over four counties on people’s views to stay in, or get out, of the Common Market, The result was a third of people are undecided, or don’t know, a category which I come in.

I wonder if those who say they know how they will vote base it on one thing only, which would effect them or theirs only, rather than the bigger picture, which will effect our children, grandchildren for years to come.

I think being the fifth richest country in the world, we didn’t get there by being a member of the EU, just a nation of hard-working and cautious people. Having said that, I think back to when we married in the mid-Sixties, what a struggle it was just to put food on the table, and set up a home, working on average 60 hours a week.

I wonder if foreign people would have struggled to move here then, it was quite rare to see other nationalities in those days. But don’t forget we’ve (Anglo Saxons) only been here 1,500 years. Now, looking at my children and grandchildren, there is a difference, has being in the EU done this for them?

In 1975 I was, like many people, unsure how to vote, but it was put over to us it would be just for trading, so voting yes was quite easy. And I think that by being a part, lots of business has benefited by it and in turn we all have. The downside is we didn’t know we would lose so much decision-making in running our country.

Unlike now, with many ways to communicate with the nation, it may be we will be told more before we have to vote by those who know more. But I don’t think it will ever go back to being our England, for better or worse.


Ormesby St Margaret

Five of us run Open Christmas

Regarding the Halifax Giving award I have just received. I have been misquoted on the Open Christmas Great Yarmouth Event. It intimated I have run this event single-handedly.

I have helped to organise this event for 18 years, originally with Mike and Rosie Hope who founded the event and for the last five years with a committee. There are five of us who jointly run the event so credit should also go to all of them for the hard work we all put in.



Editor’s Note: After a telephone chat with Joan we are pleased to publish the above letter. The details were supplied in a press release from the Halifax and printed in good faith.

Port chaplaincy important role

Pulling the plug on the port chaplain may surely be likened to throwing out the baby with the bath water! Sometimes we forget the debt we owe to those who “go down to the sea in ships” and who ride the often stormy and lonely waters to provide everyday necessities for all of us at home.

To be an important port, which does not provide a chaplain to minister to their needs and comfort them and their families in times of stress and hardship is indeed unthinkable in these so-called altruistic modern times!

Despite the cuts, I can only hope and pray the Mission to Seamen will rethink their pending decision and that marine businesses will step in to provide the vital funding in order that this important service will be maintained for our precious seafarers and keep body and soul together.


Links Road,


So where park campervans?

Every Friday morning for the last seven years I have volunteered to lead a basketwork group with the blind and partially-sighted at the NNAB office in Great Yarmouth. For the last 36 years we have had a small campervan as well as a car.

Most times I take the car to basketwork and park on Stonecutters Quay car park. Two Fridays ago, a 90 year old friend needed to go to the James Paget Hospital for a check up and as he can’t get into the van my wife agreed to take him to the hospital in the car, and I took the van to Yarmouth.

I parked as I usually do and used my residents pass to get three hours for the price of two (a brilliant idea I must say at this point). On returning I discovered a parking ticket on the van informing me I was in an area that excluded campervans. Very surprised as I have parked a campervan in the town for many years, I check the noticeboard and indeed found out no campervans are permitted.

For how long this has been the case I do not know. I wrote to the borough council explaining I was unaware of the rule but this cut no ice and disappointingly I had to pay the fine, even though I was helping members of the community.

We have, since then, checked all borough council car parks and found they all display the same and campervans are not permitted to park. Obviously I can understand no overnight parking of campervans is allowed, but during the day? Why?

Our van and many others only take up one parking space. So if you come to Great Yarmouth with a campervan where do you park?

The only place we found was on North Drive where the parking meters are not under borough council control. This does nothing to bring visitors to the town centre however, especially during the winter months and I suspect it would be very difficult to park in summer unless you were particularly early.

This seems to discourage a proportion of holidaymakers from coming into town and bringing revenue with them.


Heather Road,


Let visitors see more of our sea

We believe the Amazonia building should be replaced with the area grassed over and used for seating, leisure and picnics as suggested, letting everyone see our beautiful beaches and sea. Too many buildings obstruct the long views of the beach.

Often visitors to our seaside resort wonder why it is not on show.


Trafalgar Road,

Great Yarmouth

Resorting to petty politics

In response to Cllr Colin Aldred’s letter in last week’s Mercury, it is most disappointing he has resorted to petty party politics. MPs undertake their work in Westminster from Monday to Friday, that’s where they are elected to represent us, in Westminster, holding meetings, lobbying minsters, and attending debates.

Much of their work is aimed at securing funding and investment for their constituency, such as the Coastal Protection fund and A47 improvements, That is where decisions and work is done, not sat in constituency offices. On that day Mr Lewis was in fact holding a debate on housing and planning in the House of Commons.

We know from working with Mr Lewis on this issue he has held several meetings with Anglian Water and assisted in getting the company to attend Bradwell Parish Council to answer questions.

Also, If Cllr Aldred had taken the time to note the format of the meeting, the chairman asked for written questions in advance. As such, there was no discussion, the chairman allowed each question to be responded to in turn by Anglian Water. The chairman did also comment that a representative from Brandon’s office was there as an observer.

In relation to the responses, some did lack the detail required, but Anglian Water promised to respond in writing to all attendees, which they have subsequently done. We would hope that regardless of political beliefs, all elected representatives work together to ensure we get this matter resolved for the community of Bradwell and we would encourage him to communicate with others in a united force to achieve what we have to date with works being completed by July 2017.


Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Why isn’t airfield opened up?

The North Denes airfield in Great Yarmouth has needed alternate aviation interests for years. I have asked on many occasions why has it never been opened up to fixed wing GA. It would be interesting to compare North Denes with Beccles, re visitor traffic.



Need to pay for public services

I see the council is considering the budget for next year. This is an annual event which is largely controlled by central government and the desire to cut public services.

The whole issue raises questions about how far we want to see the town develop or face decline. To succeed one needs to invest. Years of underspending has seen a backlog of things that need to be done to improve the town. One cannot stay in the past.

We need to realise if we want good public services, we need to invest in them. The elderly and disabled presumably need care and this needs to be paid for. We need an adequately resourced police to counter the threats we face.

If we want NHS services, which face increased demands because we live longer they need to be paid for. Good maintained roads and improved roads like the A47 cost. A pension crisis has developed so the retirement age has been increased with some people facing major changes to their retirement planning, with women badly affected. Pensions need paying in for adequately. Education has underperformed in Norfolk, social services has been heavily criticised. Much of this is due to under investment. Villagers love their buses and if we are to avoid a Beeching axe like the railways had, services need paying for.

The Tories scrapped plans for one unitary council which long-term would have saved money. The idea for a shared chief executive is interesting. It raises the question if one only needs half of one why we had a fulltime one for years. It raises the question about how a CEO who is fulltime can suddenly find time to do two jobs!

If we want the town to develop, we need to invest. If we want public services to meet our needs we need to pay for them. No-one wants to see taxpayers money wasted but there is a fuss when one seeks to reduce services.


Victoria Street,


Year extension to bowls club?

Although there have been several letters published relating to the Marina Centre development, I feel I would like to add my “two penneth”.

Sentinel who are now operating the Marina, approached the bowls club to tell us we had to go. There was no consultation. Was it assumed the bowlers would all go quietly into the corner and die?

After discussions with councillors the development plans have had to be reformulated and alternatives costed for the council to make a decision on which way to proceed. Commonsense would indicate to most people that hundreds of additional people will not suddenly appear to use all the new gym and fitness facilities proposed in the original plan.

It has even been suggested a future failure of the Marina would result in a prime seafront area becoming available for say a casino complex?

Bearing in mind government guidelines relating to provision of sport/fitness facilities for all ages it seems bowling should not be removed from the centre.

Continued delays, because plans have not been finalised, means the bowls club is unable to enter next years county competitions and individuals, with transport who are able to play at Browston, may leave if they can find vacancies within teams.

I would have thought a one-year extension by the council for bowls would not be too much to ask, giving time for completion of proposals and a decision to be reached .



People need the chaplain’s help

I read with interest your article about the possible lack of funding for Rev Peter Paine as our Port Chaplain( 19 February). Hopefully businesses will come forward and help to finance this very important role in our town.

As he states he provides a holistic approach to the welfare of seafarers and their well-being. These people do need this type of valuable support and information he can provide and this service should not be discounted. His realistic approach to the demise of the funding from The Mission to Seamen is graceful in the face of on-going cuts all organisations are faced with now.

I agree with your leader that it is an unthinkable situation his role should disappear in a port such as Great Yarmouth and this will be a stain on our long held and respected character of being supportive to seafarers and providing them with practical and spiritual help.

These men are cut off from their families for months at a time and naturally problems associated with this situation will arise.

So if a dispassionate and independent person such the Port Chaplain can broker sensible and pragmatic solutions, so much the better. The Seafarers Centre is also such

a necessary outlet for making contact with families and enjoying a genuine home from home atmosphere.

This should not be beyond the scope of businesses connected with the port to rally their support for this cause. An humanitarian response and spreading the financial cost should not be beyond all interested parties, because surely to enhance the lives of seafarers who perform such necessary work against every element our unpredictable climate can throw at them is just as much a moral issue as a financial one.


Winifred Road,


Very lucky to hear a cuckoo

I have ruffled a few feathers! Your Norfolk correspondents don’t seem to have a sense of humour. I am so glad Esther Aldred is knowledgable and confident in stating the difference between the bird species.

Also, another interesting fact from other correspondents is that “cormorants fly silently and higher than geese.” Honking geese. Whatever next, cawing crows?

However, I was very lucky this morning to hear the cuckoo, must be all this mild weather and red sky at night. Keep on troshin’ Norfolk mawthers.


Station Road,


Dog poop? What about horse poo?

While the clampdown on dog poo is a welcome move, what about the horse mess. In Hemsby I came across no less than five mounds of the stuff. Five too many in my view and one on the beach.

Horse’s mess is 20 times the size of dog poo. Owners should have some responsibility for this as it gets on shoes, pushcairs, car tyres and it’s a disgrace. I think we need to address this problem as well.

On another point: nothing more has been said about the closure of toilets in Yarmouth and the surrounding villages, and whether they are remaining closed for the summer.

Why is it in Walcott, a much smaller coastal village, the toilets manage to stay open all the time when larger resorts such as Hemsby with more to offer cannot. I met several people on the beach at half-term looking for toilets. An update would be welcome.


The Pastures,


Bowls club offer is ludicrous!

It seems Great Yarmouth Borough Council is using prevarication and delaying tactics in its efforts to destroy Great Yarmouth Indoor Bowls Club. The latest idea, and only offer, is we can remain at the Marina Centre until December.

This is totally unbelievable, quite ludicrous in fact, as they know we have to plan the whole of next season, September 2016 to April 2017 by the end of April this year.

This offer is a death warrant to all our external activities, both social and competitive. We cannot enter any national competitions that can lead to the English Championships where members have represented Norfolk in the past. Nor can we enter the county leagues.

In May 2014, the council’s steering committee appointed consultants to investigate sport and leisure. This was followed in June with a consultation workshop with key stakeholders.

We were not informed or invited, nor did we receive the subsequent survey distributed to parish councils, clubs and governing bodies.

A Sport, Play and Leisure Strategy was produced in November. On April 1 2015, an interim contract to run the Marina Centre was agreed with Sentinel Leisure Trust. Still we were not consulted.

Finally on May 30 2015, the borough council agreed a 15-year contract with Sentinel Leisure Trust. We can only conclude our fate was sealed. Four months later, after no consultation, we were informed we had been axed from the Marina Centre and did not feature in redevelopment plans.

This saga is a disgraceful reflection on the way our elected cabinet and council behave with seemingly no regard for our length of tenure and quality of life, and depriving local residents of indoor bowling facilities for the next 15 years.



Great Yarmouth Indoor Bowls Club

Cinnamon Trust to the rescue

I am a mobile dog groomer, covering most of North Norfolk, taking my two dogs with me. Over the past four years, I have built up quite a rapport with some of my customers.

One of them called me on February 11, and told me his wife had passed away that morning. Paul (not his real name) is partially sighted and quite disabled, who relied solely on his wife for all his needs.

He had two little dogs and two old cats which he loved dearly. His wife cared for all the animals but she had told me they were Paul’s pets really.

However, I visited Paul that day, concerned for his welfare, to find neighbours were there caring for him, next of kin had been contacted, and also social services to find out what help he was entitled to. I could see everything was being taken care of.

However, on the Sunday, his neighbours called me, telling me Paul had been taken into hospital, he too had become seriously ill and his future was in the balance.

In the meantime, they would see to the animals and let out the dogs, as the dogs were now totally alone in the house. This, however, could not be sustained long term. I suggested they call The Cinnamon Trust, which they had never heard of.

However, there appeared to have been a misunderstanding with Trust, as they thought they were required to re-home the animals. It was not made clear the animals needed a foster home until Paul was in a fit state to come home, or make a decision, after his bereavement.

I made contact the following day (Tuesday), and the Trust asked me for as much information as I could give them about the animals, and the owner.

Later, that same day trust representatives visited Paul in hospital, explaining who they were and what they could offer him in the way of fostering care for his dogs and cats, until he was able to return from hospital, and he broke down in tears. Only that morning he was confronted with the possibility he may have to lose his pets (as well as his wife) and was left with no option.

Fortunately, The Cinnamon Trust was able to offer him another option!

On the Wednesday I was told by Paul’s neighbours the dogs had already been taken to their foster home by The Cinnamon Trust. They were so impressed by what they had experienced from The Cinnamon Trust.

I, too am so impressed with The Cinnamon Trust, and the speed at which they worked. It took them two days, from knowing about the problem, to seeking and finding a suitable foster home, transferring them and at the same time keeping all those involved updated.

I hope to also become a member of the charity in due course. Animals are lifelines to a lot of people, especially when they lose loved ones.



Motorists helped after accident

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all motorists who, on Friday, February 18, at approximately 7.40pm on the Ormesby bypass, stopped to help my son, his fiancée and their friend after a road accident, which involved a deer.

Thanks also to the ambulance crew, police and doctors and nurses at the James Paget Hospital


Address withheld

Help us out on Euro referendum

I don’t know if other readers are still having doubts how they are going to vote at the referendum, I am for sure.

I wondered if councillors could arrange some sort of public meeting, where hopefully the public could ask questions to councillors, and get their views, to help us decide whether to vote to stay in or leave the EU.

It would be helpful to be able to ask Councillors with different views, we could then perhaps see how the end result of this referendum will affect us in our individual lives.


Nursery Terrace,

Great Yarmouth

Pass the word for school reunion

Were you born between 1949 and 1953, and did you go to Caister school. If so, you are invited to a school reunion which will take place on 13th May 13, from 8pm to midnight at Caister Community Centre (this is the old Beach Road junior school).

We would love to see you, so please pass the word on and come for a catch up.


Chapel Corner,

West Caister

Wear the Veterans Badge with pride

Calling all Armed Forces Veterans. All ex-serving members of the Armd Services (RN, RM, Army, RAF), for any length of service, are now entitled to receive and wear, with pride, the Veterans Badge.

Most will have received the badge but for those who have not there is an application procedure. This also applies for replacement of originals lost or damaged.

Anyone who qualifies for the Veterans Badge and needs any help in the application process, then please contact me on 01493 393843.

TERRY BYRNE 13 Winmer Avenue Winterton-on-Sea NR29 4BA