Letters, February 3 2017

We will be worse off outside the EU

Harold Macmillan, when Prime Minister, once replied to a question about what had driven his policy decisions by saying, “Events, dear boy, events.”

Events are exactly what has lead us to cosy up to Mr Donald Trump. In seven months, the UK has moved from being a member of a group of civilised, Liberal Democratic nations, working together in a flawed but honourable way to improve society and prevent armed conflict in Europe, to aspiring to become an offshore tax haven for big business.

I am sure this was not in the minds of people when they voted to leave the EU last year. The unprecedented crash in the value of the Pound against the Euro and Dollar has already increased the price of holidays and fuel dramatically. Food prices are beginning to rise and will continue to do so as the effects of devaluation kick in.

Commododies which are imported or rely on imported raw materials will increase in price inexorably.

All this before we lose access to the EU Single Market.

HSBC is to move its European operation to Paris. France is likely to become HQ for NATO, Germany will become Euorpe’s unopposed financial power house. The government is proposing an exit from the EU which will make our situation very much worse than this. Mrs May has continually stated that she wants to help deprived people and those “who are just managing”. What is proposed will do exactly the opposite.

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Everyone, except the very rich, will be worse off. The minimum requirement needed in exit talks is continued access to the EU Single Market. Without this everybody’s standard of living will drop further. If enough MPs vote against triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, then a rethink on leaving the EU can take place.

If not, we are all likely to go to hell in a handcart.


Brasenose Avenue,


The young had fun and it cost nothing

I cannot believe the stupidity of some of our councillors, but then what do they care about footfall in the town centre - it is the same with most MPs. When I was a child, long ago, Great Yarmouth and Gorleston had four roller-skating rinks - yes, four.

In the winter time in Gorleston after the holiday camp had closed for the season we had two separate indoor rinks to which we walked or biked.

In Great Yarmouth they had the Winter Gardens in the winter for roller skating. In the summer Great Yarmouth had a lovely open air skating rink the south side of the Winter Gardens and Wellington Pier.

Now we have a chance of an open air site at the end of the Market Place, which space wise is adequate, I looked at it last week and for the life of me cannot understand the mentality of adults who deprive youngsters and adults of outdoor and/or indoor sporting pleasure.

We also had two lovely outdoor swimming pools heated by the sun no less, full to the brim, especially Gorleston’s which was half the size. Stay there all day with a packed lunch, no session swimming.

We used to queue in May to get our season ticket and to be the first in the pool which was normally 50 degrees in this month - it was fun.

I am just grateful I was young during these times. You could have fun for next to nothing, parents trusted you, no worrying about checking on your movements every few minutes with their mobile phone. The cinema was the same, you could stay inside and see the film again or the bit you missed by coming in late.

Just look through the archives of the Fifties and you will see for yourself.


Ludkin Square,

Great Yarmouth

Force-by-force data is long overdue

Interesting to note that Policing Minister Brandon Lewis is proposing to publish force-by-force misconduct data, an idea I had published in the letters column of the Daily Telegraph of July 11, 2013.

How long before this mind-concentrating policy is extended to comparing overtime and sickness rates of the 43 forces?

The cost to the taxpayer caused by the inexcusable delay in the implementation of such an obvious management tool, which highlights statistical anomalies justifying credible answers from all concerned, must be massive.


Habgood Close,


How will our MP vote in Parliament?

As 71.5pc of his constituents voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum, contrary to his open support for a “stay” vote, can I encourage Brandon Lewis as a Remain supporter to use his column in the Mercury, to tell the people he represents, how he will now vote in the recently enabled parliamentary vote?


Clarence Road,


We’re 60! Village school reunion plan

Oh my god we’re 60! A reunion is being held for former pupils of Martham Secondary School on February 11 at 8pm at Hemsby Social Club. If you were born 1956/1957/1958-ish you are invited to our school reunion, this includes wives, partners, husbands etc. Any old photos and memorabilia would be great.

Please pass the date on to anybody who you feel may like to come along to talk over our school days and catch up with old friends. Contact Pete Starling 07768842732 email pstarling@btconnect.com Tony Bowgen 07949175104 email ambowgen@aol.com




The disgusting state of public toilets

I had the misfortune to need a toilet, while shopping in the town centre. The nearest was behind the shops near to the old Town Wall at Market Place.

I was disgusted, at least 12 cubicles were closed and two were so disgusting I wouldn’t use them. the whole area was so totally uninviting. Surely money could be found to upgrade and make them more presentable. Everyone needs a toilet sometime! There is only one other in the area at the car park in Market Gates.

What do visitors to the town think? Yarmouth is rapidly getting a bad press. The fire in Regent Road destroyed the indoor market and bowling alley, and there are a number of empty shops. It can’t be very inviting to holidaymakers.


The Close,


Appalling state at Gapton Hall road

As a daily commuter from Ormesby to Gorleston I am appalled at the standard and lack of road surface maintenance at the Gapton Hall roundabout, particularly approaching the traffic lights from the Breydon bridge direction.

I notice that the local highways department has been allocated £12m to improve the local transport system I suggest that some of this money is spent improving the condition of existing highways, potholes etc.

The wear and tear on my vehicle is of concern to me as it will be to other road users. An immediate remedy is required before claims of damaged suspensions are submitted.



Town Centre master plan has good ideas

I too have viewed the master-plan to revitalise the Town Centre but not being very good at visualising, I find it difficult to comprehend all the strategies involved.

But what I do know regardless of the money spent in providing this plan, any new development is to be welcomed. I agree with Anne Edwards, that this may be the dawning of a new and vibrant town.

So I do find the rather negative letters to be somewhat discouraging, but of course we all know from experience that in the harsh light of even yet more austerity, parts of this scheme might not see the light of day.

I am more of a Pollyanna than a Jeremiah and have already arrived at the destination when our town again is a vibrant entity all year round. Our councillors are castigated but theirs is an unenviable task and should not always be meaninglessly denigrated. I genuinely believe the majority do want the best for Great Yarmouth and I do not consider them to be ‘dead wood’.

It is so easy to continually criticise but to be proactive is the much harder course. Now with the casino plans re-emerging and the Star Hotel taken by new owners, there is a resurgent feeling that outside sources are seeing something vibrant and worth investing in and we should start believing too.

During last Summer, when the sun did shine for weeks on end and even with that unforeseen hit of that disastrous fire, Regent Road was heaving. So we must be doing something right and I quote “Great Yarmouth is England’s most popular east coast seaside resort”. Of course this vision must be all year round and engage everyone in the promise of good times to come.

Living through the great recession and even now in more uncertain times, it is easy to say we have seen this all before but our town does have a great deal going for it, even with its inherent deprivation. It needs positivity and a bit of bullish yes, we can do this and what is more a conscious optimistic belief because what is the realistic alternative?


Winifred Road,


Airshow cancelled: Many will lose out

So, the life thread and prosperity to small businesses in Great Yarmouth and surrounding areas has well and truly had the door shut in their faces this week.

The air show has been cancelled because the organisers were not prepared to pay the extra cost of security, £120.000, what is that in grand scale of things? Absolutely nothing.

What about all the businesses that have been planning ahead to accommodate this air show. Let’s just mention one of many sectors that will lose out.

Hotels have booked customers to stop in town or even out of town. Are their losses going to be compensated?

What will happen now is simple Great Yarmouth will lose this event for ever because it’s certain the show will take place elsewhere: Clacton just down the coast.

What was the tourism levy set up for? Surely for the event mentioned above to improve tourism and benefit everyone.

What is £120.000 investment for the future? Absolutely nothing.

How much money has been collected for the Greater Yarmouth Tourism BID since 2015 when the levy was started?

What investment has been made from the tourism levy? Has it actually been spent for the genuine purpose it was introduced for – tourism?

And while I’m finally thinking about this unbelievable decision I want to hear from our MP Brandon Lewis. What does he think? How about him considering stopping this tourism levy and giving it back to the local businesses. Or better still fight for some compensation to help the businesses that will now suffer the consequences.



We need to defend our health service

Last week I was taken ill in the middle of the night and found it necessary to call the emergency services.

I am very aware of the pressures the NHS is under and I was reluctant to put a further strain on this already overstretched service but the attention and care I received was outstanding from the call handler, the paramedic and ambulance crew, the nursing staff and the doctor. I was dealt with calmly, competently, and with a sense of humour in spite of the late hour. Thank God for the NHS, we need to defend it diligently.


University Crescent,


Street screen? This stirs memories!

I have seen and read the plans for the proposed town centre regeneration. To my dismay the plans propose a so-called “temporary street screen” for the town centre, to showcase the planned cinema. After all the costly fiasco with the previous ones has the council got poor memories?



Greenacre school reunion change

This is to inform people that the venue for the Greenacre School reunion has had to be changed due to unforeseen circumstances. It will now be held at the Golfers Arms on the same date, February 3 at the same time 7.30pm.

The reunion is for those who left the secondary school before 1962 and tickets cost £15. Anyone interested in coming along should send an SAE with a cheque made out to Greenacre School Reunion. Look forward to seeing you.


11 Olive Road,

Great Yarmouth

Lucky escape from the Haven Bridge

With regard to your article on the Great Yarmouth Haven Bridge. In the late 1950s I was an apprentice electrician with Boardley and Roberts. The electrician and I had the task of installing new contact cables through the tunnel which ran from control tower west to control tower east, also lighting in the counterweight hall. The safety system was Harry the operator who would shout down the stairs: “Clear out, bridge going up 15 mins.”

I was working up the ladder, no warning had been given and working on the light when I heard the panels coming out and 600 tons of bridge descending on me. I quickly descended and ran out.

When the bridge was back in poisition we found the ladder crumpled up. Harry apologised.


Sandringham Avenue,

Great Yarmouth

Good to see this panto in January

Had to write to say how much we enjoyed the panto at the Marina Theatre, Lowestoft. What a boost to a dismal January! It was so well done, all the acting was brilliant and scenery was well done and all went along wonderfully. I was laughing so much that I had tears streaming down my face!

Well done Lowestoft! Looking forward to the next one! It is so nice and welcoming to have one in January instead of most of them being in December.



Why is bus station being ignored?

Great Yarmouth Borough Council wants to improve the town centre from the rail station to King Street including moving the market stalls and planting trees. Why has Market Gates bus station not been included?

The council should realise not everyone arrives by train and car; people arrive by bus from Lowestoft, Norwich, Cromer, Beccles, and by coach from London into the grotty bus station. It is dark where Market Gates shopping centre goes over it, particularly from Iceland to McColls. The orange lighting is useless and has been for the more than 20 years I have used the bus station. There are not enough seats or bus shelters or information where to get bus timetables – or a waiting room.

As a visitor I would like to see the following improvements: 1 white LED lighting making the area brighter. 2 more bus shelters for passengers who at present wait where it is cold and draughty. 3 more bus timetables of First, Anglian, Border, Sanders. 4 use a disused shop as a waiting room and information desk. Improvements could be sponsored by local business and the concrete pillars could have murals of old Yarmouth on them painted by local art students to help brighten up the area.




Our journeys were all about the buses

Seeing the story about Doreen meeting an old friend in Bangkok - a blue bus - made me smile (Mercury, January 27). I haven’t caught a bus for years but it made me think about travelling around the town as a teenager and how fondly we remember the most everyday things.

Thinking about the routes and bus numbers was like a journey into the past. I have no idea if any of them still exist, presumably they have all been re-drawn in the intervening 30 years.

Seeing the No 4 bus, a single decker, lumber round the corner on Avondale Road, Gorleston, as I waited at the bus stop was always a welcome sight. If I missed it it meant a quick dash round the corner to Lowestoft Road to pick up the double decker red one.

And if, heaven forbid that one eluded me too, it was all the way down to the High Street to wait outside Boots for the 8. Most annoying.

On the way home I could either get the 3, 4, or 9 (to Gorleston beach). If it had to be the 8 it meant a long trudge up the hill. The only compensation however was the chance to pick up an iced bun from the high street bakery to fuel my trek, and possibly a stop at the old garden centre to look at the plants and pictures (now houses).

On one occasion I recall not having enough change to travel home and gambling on the 2p falls to win the fare. Happily I won but it was a risk I would hope my children wouldn’t have to take today!

Travelling by bus is a great way to get to know your own town as the apron strings are cut. It’s a pity more young people aren’t allowed the freedom to find their own way instead of always being ferried around by mum and dad, head buried in a screen.



Let’s look forward to casino and hotel

All I can say about the airshow being cancelled is ok, let’s get on with being the attraction we are. And we have a casino and new hotel to look forward to on the seafront!