Letters, January 25, 2013

Are we all in this together?

IN response to letter from T G Rifkin in last week’s Mercury, re questions for our Tory MP Brandon Lewis, did he visit a food bank over Christmas, take out a pay day loan or turn his heating off?

I suspect the answer to all of these questions is a resounding no, but I believe he must be feeling the pinch as I have recently read in a national paper, the Conservative Party is in the process of trying to raise Tory MPs salaries from the present approx £90,000 to £127,000 a year plus of course expenses!

But of course we are all in this together.


Alderson Road,

Great Yarmouth

Most Read

Well done First on snow Friday

I WOULD like to say well done to First Bus for keeping their buses running on Friday in all the snow. But even more amazing was that the buses were on time in Belton.

I really had expected it to be difficult to get my my GP appointment but not only did the bus turn up it was on time on the way there and on time on the way home.

I know how difficult conditions were, and some bus companies were not operating at all so I have to say well done and thank you.



Sharing services makes no sense

THE sharing of services by Great Yarmouth with South Holland makes as much sense as Greater London sharing with Birmingham, the distance involved is about the same and the savings would be about the same except the expenses in each case would be much higher.

There must have been something in it for our previous Conservative councillors.

They are the same as the Tory Government, they would sell their grandmother if there was a profit in it.

There is one exception of course and that is the inner harbour and the land that goes with it, they gave that away to a multi-national company and we might find out why one day but I won’t hold my breath. I hope the present Labour administration fight it all the way in spite of our MP.



Accusation has been ignored

I NOTICE Brandon Lewis completely ignores the accusation levelled against him that he has personally pushed for Great. Yarmouth to suffer the worst cuts of any town in the country for personal-political gains.

He doesn’t seem to understand that we’re not simple Norfolk folk and we can see when we’re being sold down the river for one man’s gain.

He needs to know we will not tolerate it. We will vote him out and vote in a local man or woman who cares about the town of Great Yarmouth and wants nothing but the very best for it and will work selflessly for the sake of all it’s residents.

I had to smile sadly when he wrote that “this government...has done much to help Great.Yarmouth”, help like making the biggest cuts in funding for the council of the whole country and trying to blackmail a democratically elected political body.

Oh, and having some meetings about the dualling of the A47.



Better off without

government help

ON page seven of last week’s Mercury, Brandon Lewis gave an example of the government’s help to Great Yarmouth as “fixing the welfare system by making sure that finding work is always more rewarding than claiming benefit”.

On the same day, the Government published figures which showed that George Osborne’s decision to cap benefit increases will put 200,000 more British children below the official poverty line.

If that is Messrs Lewis and Osborne’s perception of help, then Great Yarmouth and Great Britain might be better without it.



Bring back the dog licences

RE the letter about environmental rangers to increase patrols in Great Yarmouth.

It is not just the town that need patrols: Riverside Walk (poo alley ) from Newtown to Caister is awful. There were 22 piles in the middle of the path without all the dumped bags when we went along there. Our grandchildren love to cycle on this path safe from traffic, but it has become a dog toilet and a health hazard.

There should also be a fine for not putting the bags of poo in the bins provided; it might be a good idea for the rangers’ uniforms not to be too visible as well as a return of the dog licence to pay for the rangers. Just because we are not in the town centre don’t leave us out.


Caister Road,

Great Yarmouth

The farce that is local politics

THIS country has for many years been blighted by the “gutter press” who have fixated themselves to a political party for whatever reasons that seemed to benefit their own political opinions.

The Great Yarmouth Mercury, as reported on January 18 in the Opinion column has fallen on the sword and declared it’s middle of the road stance. Well done them.

Local papers should always report local matters as they happen, without bias or spin.

I have always respected the Mercury for its reporting, and its publishing of readers’ letters.

The Opinion section, for those who missed it, commented on the farce that is local politics in Great Yarmouth.

Politics have no time in the governance of the running of the borough. I have witnessed the pettiness of many councillors, who should know better. Spoilt schoolchildren would be an understatement.

Opposition in Great Yarmouth Borough Council means opposing anything the ruling party wishes to introduce, without due regard to the best wishes of the town. The ruling parties should also engage with the community.

A few years ago, I asked the leader of the controlling Conservative party, Cllr Barry Coleman if he would stand up in a public debate and answer questions from the floor in a session hosted by myself. He declined.

I now ask the leader of the ruling party the same question. Cllr Wainwright, at my expense, will you attend an open meeting to allow members of the public to ask you and your committee open questions from the floor?

Will the opposition party care to join in the debate?

I will send an email to the party leaders to see an expression of interest, and will publish details of a possible meeting in due course.

Those who wish to support me can contact me at peter.kirkpatrick@virgin.net 01493 733578 or at 07957 714719.


Ormesby St Margaret

Heroes of the night saved us

LAST night, January 20, my family and I went through a pretty awful ordeal when travelling back from Winterton to see my grandparents.

We got stuck in a snowdrift between Winterton and Hemsby, a road that has open fields each side, there was no one around and the car could not move.

At last a car came along in front and we flashed them so they didn’t get stuck in the deep snow as well, but instead of turning around and going the people got out of the car and ran to us through the deep snow through the blizzard.

Then more and more people came; these people were all complete strangers to us but were willing to help to get us out of the snow.

My partner tried to get the car out with help from others pushing but nothing, the tyres just kept spinning, then a gentleman came and said he had made some calls and a family in a Discovery came and dug us out and towed us through the snow to safety while at least five other people were pushing to keep us from sliding sideways.

My two children, aged nine and seven, were in the back of the car and very scared.

I want to say there are still some great people in the world and without their help we would not have been able to get out.

Karl from K&A Cars and his wife were brilliant; as I said, I don’t know any of these people, but they all pulled together.

I am so grateful to all who helped.



Let’s keep snow, people friendly

ALTHOUGH not being keen on snow I am now thinking please give us more. I have found it brings out the friendliness in everyone.

This morning, while walking my two daughters to a spot to go sledging I found that every single person we passed spoke to us - yet on a normal day they wouldn’t even raise their heads.

So let’s keep the snow to keep people being friendly!



Weather never closed school

AS an ex-Priory school pupil who left the borough many decades ago, I found myself, in exile in Yorkshire, nostalgically recalling my childhood - on hearing an item on Radio 4 news today; that the headteacher of the Priory School had heroically kept the school open in teeth of the elements.

My late father, Ernie Thompson, was a much loved teacher of many Bloaters who were privileged to attend the Priory, as was his mother before him, Virtue Golder, and I don’t recall the weather getting in the way of our education, since we were raised as devotees of the cult of Canute; whether they did nor not is, of course, a matter for speculation.

Since the weather which Yarmouth is now enjoying was par for the course for our generation, it is good to see the present incumbent is maintaining the tradition of stoical resignation to fate exemplified by our local hero, Horatio Nelson, and I suggest all citizens who might vaguely recall my presence in the sceptred town have a celebratory tot in the Wrestler’s, in commemoration of our semi-Artic childhood, for auld lang’s syne, in a day or two.



I blame lack of shallow water

RE Paul Scholes letter last week in the Mercury asking why the seals were coming ashore on the beach at Winterton.

I would like to offer a suggestion – a lack of shallow water. Pre aggregate extraction, there were shallow areas along this part of the coast, suitable for seals to bask – Scroby island and various other sandbanks.

But now some of our shoreline gradients have gone from a gentle 1:100 or more to a ferocious gradient of 1:4, moving gentle gradient beaches to a cliff face scenario in others.

Due to marine aggregate extraction of millions of tonnes of our shoreline they are taking away the seals’ environment and seriously affecting ours. By creating this deep water they are causing coastal erosion.


Gonville Road,


WE asked for your memories of the East Coast Floods in 1953; here are more recollections from people affected by the devastation.

Sat on stairs and watched water

ON the evening of January 31 1953 I was a 17 year old living in Southtown going on the bus to see my girlfriend on North Drive. On reaching the old Regal bus stop, I overheard two drivers saying that the river was over the top.

I decided to go back home and only just made it after warning two of our neighbours and then Breydon burst through.

My mother was a semi-invalid and my dad working away. I managed to get my mother upstairs with the help of my very much younger brother.

Just then, the lights went out and the water poured in and I sat at the top of the stairs, torch in hand watching it creep up. We were rescued on the Monday morning by rowing boat.

I lost touch with my girlfriend for six years and then we met again. We were married four months later and we have been so for the past 52 years.


Chestnut Avenue,


Waded in water chest deep

I CAME out of the army on January 19 1953 and on the night of the flood I was at the Floral Hall.

At 10.30pm we were told there was a flood risk and the sea was up to the windows. Talk was Cobholm was flooded and there was no way of getting home as Southtown Road was flooded so I stayed at a friend’s house in Gorleston.

In the morning I walked along the railway line as there were no buses and the roads were flooded as far as the suspension bridge. I worked my way to Crittens Road where I lived, by this time the water was up to my chest.

My parents were upstairs; they had managed to get all the small stuff up but most of the furniture was floating about.


Ormesby Road,

Caister on Sea

Cat saved her newborn kittens

I WAS only 15 at the time. I was in the house on my own and my cat had just had kittens which were in the cupboard under the stairs.

It was about 8.30pm when my brother came running in telling me to get my coat on as we had to get out.

I lived in Abysinnia Road and as we went out the front door I would see a wave of water coming towards us from Blackfriars Road.

We spent the night in a house on Northgate Street. In the morning, being worried about my cat, I decided to go home but the road at the north end of Tower Street was flooded. By the time we got to our home’s back passage the water was up to my chest.

In those days people didn’t lock their doors so it was no trouble getting in the back way and furniture was floating around but on the table was my cat and all her kittens. She had managed to get them out of the cupboard one by one.

We were very lucky that day as the manhole cover at the end of our passage had been washed away unbeknown to us.

SHIRLEY HODDS (nee Thompson)

Ormesby Road

Caister on Sea

Gorleston has the best beach!

AS a musician I have worked in all the major seaside resorts in this country. Recently in the national papers they have been saying that Brighton has one of the best beaches - no way! Gorleston is the best.



Labour should not be sneering

IN response to Bernard Williamson, GY along with many other councils across the UK are feeling the effects of former Chancellor and PM Gordon Brown’s fiscal structure that left a financial cliff edge for all local governments.

He withdrew the Working Neighbourhood Fund that GY relied on so much, along with other grant schemes. And how is it being addressed, the local MP and DCLG Minister has arranged transition payments of £3.2m for 2 years, £6.4m in the initial period, for GYBC to arrange, and change, the inefficient and expensive way the council operates.

During the first year of transitional funding the then Conservative group negotiated a joint management deal with Breckland and South Holland which was successful, would have in the first year saved around £160k, and indicated further savings of around £1m year on year therafter, with better procurement and other efficiencies that develop, and Breckland Council is proving that now.

Labour have had the second year of that money, worth around 3.2m, what have they done with it, if they had made proper preparation for the end of the transition period there would be no problem.

Bear in mind 40 plus councils have changed, shared management and services, saving upwards of 30m in the first few years, year on year savings, without a transition fund, many are asking why is it GY is getting this money, it is recognition of the issue.

£1m savings through shared management and services, £1.8m from DCLG would have left the funding gap at £200k, a possibility of up to £660k from Coastal Communities fund, and GY is in the black with a good prospect of a sustainable future.

Labour in GY went to the polls with their manifesto saying no shared management, no shared chief executive, surely they costed it and knowing the financial implications why are they now complaining.

Did they mislead GY residents?

It is all hard earned tax payer money and should be spent on services, not back office costs.

The current and proposed top down silo management structure of GYBC is not sustainable or responsible in the current economic climate, produced in part by Labour.

The Local Government Finance Settlement provides the ideal incentive for GYBC to improve its financial structure and provide real value for money. If GYBC can show that it is taking proper steps towards financial efficiency, it will receive £1.8m in support from the central government, and is available for 2 years.arranged by GY MP Brandon Lewis.

This is being called blackmail and bribery by Labour

GYBC should concentrate on using tax payers money properly, rather than being self serving. Money that could be saved by sharing management and services (as set up by the Conservatives) should not be sneered at by Labour. Any money saved is a good thing for local people.

The GYBC Chief Executive was leaving in May before the election at no cost to the ratepayer, he is now getting upward of £150k, (NCC Chief Executive is going for £35k,) the new GY Chief Executive will get more than £100k pa, that position would have been shared and paid for by 3 councils under the shared management arrangement.

It was Labour that set up the unsustainable Local Government Finance Structure in the first place - the government is taking the tough decisions necessary to fix the issue, and that is not more of the same. It was mentioned by the Labour leader of GYBC at the Council Meeting last Thursday, that the last Labour Government gave millions to GY.

The real truth is that along with all other Councils in the country, that funding had to be applied for, meet funding criteria, and the cost of the application met by the applying council.

The previous Conservative administration in GY had to jump through Labour Government hoops to acquire that funding. Did we cry blackmail and bribery, no, we did what was necessary to acquire funding for the residents of GY.

It’s about time this administration grew up, smelled the coffee, understands that Labour put us in this godawful mess, and needs to work hard to get us out of it, along with the rest of the country. Start thinking about residents, and save them money


Bradwell North

Please support the Bloaters

I AM writing this in the hope businesses or organisations would be kind enough to consider sponsoring the town’s football club in some way this year.

As you may be aware from articles in the local press at the beginning of last year our club nearly disappeared midway through the season, fortunately we found a sponsor who helped us complete our fixtures. We also have a new committee whose aim is to keep our club alive and build toward the future. It goes without saying that without the people we have at our club who donate their time (voluntarily) we would sink.

We are trying to make our club part of the community. We have already secured funding to open up as a youth club (opening night will be announced in the Mercury shortly ) and are currently trying to secure funding for a senior citizens day group, a young adults arts and music group as well as other community activities. To achieve this, firstly we must ensure the club survives.

We can offer sponsorship deals from as little as £50. Our aim is to raise funds to cover the costs of playing at the Wellesley and keeping hold of our community clubhouse. Any sponsorship would be gratefully received and publicised, something donated for us to raffle to raise funds would also be much appreciated. Even simply entering our lottery would help us. We even need people to donate time on matchdays as gatepersons, stewards, hospitality or in whatever capacity you may think you could help. Volunteers would also be required for our youth club and senior citizens activities.

For more details contact me on 01493 859587 or email sandysauce@hotmail.com


Club Secretary