Letters, January 9 2014

Casting out for wool donations

Is there anyone out there who has any wool they no longer need? I knit for Babies in Malawi/Uganda and a group of ladies who knit for me have run out of wool, and would love any donations, any colours or oddments.

Either drop it off at 1 Hall Farm Bungalows, Pound Lane, Filby or call 01493 369336 and I will pick it up. Thank you in anticipation.



Differing view on Ferryside fate

What’s important to one person is not important to another.

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Let the demolition of Ferryside Register Office be a timely reminder of what we owe to national efforts to protect and conserve our heritage and what we take for granted at our peril.

Heritage isn’t really about the past. It’s about the future. And it’s about what pieces of the past we take with us into the future. That can be a difficult dilemma as what’s important to one person is not important to another.

Proof of this comes in a response from my post on Streetlife regarding Ferryside...:

“It’s like a lot of things in our town, people are happy to just carry on day by day ignoring the need for development and change allowing our town and its surroundings to stand still, but as soon as there is the slightest flicker of change or someone God forbid is going to make any money by bettering our town and themselves the keyboard warriors and Mercury letters to the editor bandits suddenly appear,

“I tell you what the disturbing thing in this development is and that’s people like you are determined to hold the town back and live in the past. It’s an old empty building that has seen its day but it sits on prime land that can go to better itself, do me a favour if you are so interested in the plot take a picture, have it blown up to A4, put it in a frame and hang it in your hall along with your 1940,s sideboard, umbrella stand and grandfather clock.

“That way every day you can have a good look at it and remember it fondly. Oh, and you suggest there was over 20,000 weddings ....well there is over 12,000 people then that would like to see the place burnt to the ground in that case then, as they ended in divorce. I rest my case...”

What’s important to one person is not important to another, hence why these situations are difficult to know what’s best. But for me I will still stand by preserving national and most important local heritage Norfolk and Suffolk.


Clarence Road,


Thanks to you, I found Yvonne

Could I say a huge thank you to the people who saw my request in the Mercury to find Yvonne, and who contacted her for me. Her daughter Kim has since contacted me with her address in Cumbria so I can keep in touch. Thank you once again and also thank you to the Mercury for printing my letter which proved successful as everything else I had tried got nowhere.



Anger at the misuse of A&E

I am writing in disgust, and abhorrence at the misuse of our country’s A&E departments and ambulance services. Our National Health Service was not set up so that people who want to get drunk, or take drugs on weekends, and especially Christmas and New Year’s Eve, should be cared for by doctors, nurses and paramedics.

The NHS was set up so that every working man and woman, and their families, that had paid their stamp contributions would get free medical and emergency care.

Those people who put themselves in danger by getting drunk, or by taking drugs should pay for the privilege of receiving medical assistance. The cost to the NHS by these inconsiderate people runs into millions of which the NHS can ill afford.

I cannot understand how someone getting drunk, where they do not know what they are doing, think they are enjoying themselves, especially if they cannot remember what they have done or where they have been.

It’s about time the hospitals and health hierarchy got together and sorted out the money-wasting louts.

Name and Address withheld

Looking for oil drilling friend

I hope readers of the Mercury will be able to help me in my search for a former work colleague.

I live in a small village in East Sussex called Rotherfield, and during my younger days I worked on the oil rigs out of Great Yarmouth from 1966 to 1968, Previous to that I worked drilling for oil in the Persian Gulf.

During my time off Yarmouth/ Lowestoft, our helicopter always took off and landed on the area beside and behind Lowestoft train station. I worked with a great bunch of guys from the Lowestoft/Yarmouth areas and one in particular I would like to get in touch with again.

His name was “Tommy” Thomas and we worked for the French drilling firm SA Forex on the Unifor 1 platform on the Leman Bank Offshore.

I wonder if it would be possible to print this in the hope Tom may read it and contact me.

I realise it is a long time ago now and he may no longer live in the area but if anybody who knows him or knew him could they bring my request to his attention. Thanking you in anticipation. I can be emailed at mike@kryscon.fsnet.co.uk



GPs are already overwhelmed

We are told nationally to take pressure off A&E departments by going to GPs with all minor ailments, even visit them at beginning of complaints like colds etc before they get much worse. Can they produce a list of GPs who can accept this facility and who are not being overwhelmed by current demands?

Ebola. We were told we had no worries in this country because any numbers would be small and anyway hospitals throughout the country would have facilities to cope. One case and the lady has to be flown from Glasgow to London. Why?

Immigration. We know we are being overwhelmed and it will get worse. Why not take advantage of people from the military being made redundant with chances of employment virtually nil and many on the sharp end finding it hard to readjust to civilian life and transfer them (complete with redundancy entitlements etc etc) to Border Control.

It could even be lower level of Customs and Excise dedicated to just that.



Too many old, rundown piles

I read with interest the comments regarding the Ferryside building. Now who would be responsible for the running cost of this building: me and the other tax/rate payers of this borough?

We have too many old and rundown piles of bricks now, knock the lot down and let’s have something which looks clean and tidy.


Caister on sea

Hedges overhang are a menace

Just a couple of gripes. I live on Burgh Road in Gorleston and have recently started to take our dog for a walk each day. It’s exercise for the dog and myself now I am retired. I normally walk from my property to Claydon Grove then onto Beccles Road down to Humberstone Road and back onto Burgh Road.

Two issues have come to light. The first is the number of properties that have trees or hedges that spill over the public path outside their front gardens and make half of the path unusable. In a lot of cases the path is just wide enough for one person and even then sleeves are caught on overhanging branches. Surely the owners are responsible for ensuring these trees/plants remain suitably pruned so as not to cause an obstruction?

The second issue is the number of cyclists who ride up and down Burgh Road and Beccles Road either on the cyclepath or on the road without lights. Burgh Road is the worst between 4pm and 5.30pm with workers cycling home after finishing work.

A lot have not even got the sense to wear some light clothing or a high viz vest. This is an accident waiting to happen, either with someone on the pavement being run into by a cyclist or in the worst case on the road with a motorist hitting and killing a cyclist.

Police are quick enough to catch and fine motorists, but I’m sure the law and the Highway Code cover lights for cyclists.


Burgh Road,


Coast fireworks a good night out

What a great night at the California Tavern in Scratby on New Year’s Eve. Bob and Belinda Gillman put on a fantastic night with great music, great food and a fantastic firework display.



Many progress hold-ups abound

I’m sure my opinions may cause some controversy but I am fed up with what I consider progress hold-ups in the borough.

1 Ferryside - at present is a mess, it is not listed so why all the fuss about saving it? If it was worth saving why did it not remain as the Register Office?

2 The Edge - permission took so long that it seems this will not come to fruition.

3 Pasta Foods application for a retail site was turned down. This seems ridiculous considering the Grayling and Frankie and Benny’s recent opening, even further out of town. It is entirely possible it may sway Pasta towards Norwich.

4 An idea to help save the town centre is to turn the Co-op building into an indoor market. The market could then be used as a free car park, for maximum two hours. If this is not feasible then perhaps the M&S premises may suit. It seems the public object to paying for parking, as I do, and this is why the supermarkets gain. Indoor markets in Hull and Newcastle appear to do well and are not affected by weather.

5 Parking fees on the seafront are deterring visitors from staying. The car park south of the Marina Centre is £10 for four hours. Parking meters at the north end of town have been extended and who knows when they will stop?

6 The Waterways is a disgrace. I realise there are plans to tidy them up but why not offer them to an entrepreneur like Albert Jones who is wise as to what the holiday trade trends are.

7 The news that Perenco is moving to Norwich almost certainly means the closure of the North Denes heliport which will be a major blow to the town. Surely Perenco could have been offered alternative office space.



Achievements? More questions

Brandon Lewis thinks 2014 was a year of achievement. (Mercury, January 2).

I can remember the granny tax which still affects many pensioners whilst the rich enjoy their tax cuts. What about the impact of mismanaged benefit reform? Reform is so necessary but is creating big issues for some - hence thriving food banks. Why are we subsidising low pay jobs? Employers should pay a living wage.

Immigration remains a big concern for many locals. We even read nurses and doctors still need to be recruited from overseas. Why cannot we train our own? There would be no shortage of applicants for such quality jobs. Why are we still recruiting builders from abroad when there are so many people who could be trained? I was horrified to witness the queues at the Job Centre opening, dozens of employable people. One needs job creation and growth not Job Fairs.

Is our NHS safe in Tory hands? A&E is in crisis and gains extra funds as the election approaches? Is a four-hour wait a good target? If I went to A&E in pain, I would hope to be dealt with fast! The ambulance service is not coping. Mental health services, already underfunded for years has seen more cuts. GPs are stretched - do we want to wait days for an appointment? Most of us cannot afford private medicine.

Likewise, council services have seen savage cuts which impacts on the care of the elderly and vulnerable. Is this what an ageing population wants? Police budgets are to be cut just as terrorism threats increase!

Further government spending cuts will see more cuts and the NHS needs more funding to cope. Where is the social housing we need after so many homes were sold off?

Many local people struggle with energy bills as foreign companies make huge profits, following Tory privatisation. Rail fares have risen again and services (and our station) have not been improved. Indeed, it is proposed to cut the Norwich-Liverpool link. Disruption and delays are regular. Meanwhile, foreign rail firms take our money. Can Britain not run railways? Not a problem, however, if one is an MP and can travel by car for £90 a time.

More election promises, when there is no money, is the A47 Yarmouth gets half measures and the planning process (to protect newts and badgers) means any benefits are years away. Meanwhile, we have seen, the Acle New Road has a 40mph speed limit for months and regular crashes. Many roads have pot holes galore and will take years to restore.

More funding, after cuts, for flood and erosion defences is good but will the work be done before the next deluge?

Mr Lewis is proud we got “assisted status” but we seem not to have been much assisted! 2015 will be interesting as the people will decide what has been achieved.


Victoria Street,

Caister on sea

Anyone knew my grandfather?

Reading about people who were prominent in Yarmouth before the war, I wonder if there are any people still around who knew my grandfather, Henry Rainer Todd.

He was a compositor by trade but ran the only Steward Pattesons public house on St Peter’s Road, it was called The Lucknow Tavern. The building is still standing, but is now a grocery store. One of his sons, Arthur Rainer Todd was Lord of the manor at Caister.

I would be very interested to hear anything about him. I can be contacted on jbjomahony@btinternet.com



Top marks for care in the East

In the early hours of December 3 I was taken ill at home. I awoke in agony and could not breathe properly. My wife phoned for the paramedics who arrived in no time at all and after a few checks the paramedic called for an ambulance.

Upon arrival they had between them worked out that I had an internal bleed. I was transported to the hospital in no time at all. In A&E the care was second to none, Xray, CT scan and straight to the operating theatre. I was told I had a ruptured spleen and had a 50/50 chance. Well I woke up in recovery and soon taken to ward 5 where the care I received for the next six days can only be described as brilliant and I am now home and recovering well.

When I read of our poor health service it annoys me. As far as I am concerned the East of England ambulance service and all the doctors, nurses, surgeons and all staff in A&E and ward 5 at the James Paget Hospital make our NHS something to be proud of and something we should fight to keep.

I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, you are the best.


Caister Road,

Great Yarmouth

We’re looking for set of bowls

Does anyone have any bowls they no longer need? We are keen to give people coming to the Ageless Opportunities Social Club at the Priory Centre on a Tuesday a chance to learn to bowl indoors. We have a mat but need the bowls and a buffer to enable us to start! We are happy to pick them up.

If anyone can help, please contact me on 01493 743055 or 07747107910 or kate-platt@gyctrust.co.uk.


Great Yarmouth Community Trust

New safety net is now foodbank

Regarding Andrew Grant’s letter, December 26; here are the facts regarding the sanction scheme. These are from the Jobcentre’s “My Work Plan” booklet (WS05/14) which every claimant is given when claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.

It summarises the sanctions (page 39) giving the minimum period as four weeks and subsequently at 13, 26 and 156 weeks (three years) depending on how many “failure” occur in the preceding 12 months.

It lists reasons the sanction will be applied, such as failing to attend an interview, not complying with a so-called Jobseeker’s Direction (which effectively compels a claimant to take certain actions such as opening an account with the much-derided Universal Job Match site) and failure to take part in a mandatory work activity programme.

These are all very much open to interpretation by Jobcentre staff (who are now called “coaches”). I know of people required to sign every day and to do a 35-hour “jobsearch” a week. Basically, requirements are onerous to the point claimants either give up claiming or eventually fall foul of the rules and are sanctioned. Either way, the DWP claims a success as the claimant count goes down. They ignore the corresponding increase in the foodbank queues.

In the same edition of the Mercury, the Cases in Court column gives examples of legal penalties. Taking £75 per week as the amount of Jobseeker’s Allowance (in fact slightly less), we can compare:

Assault and theft, conditional discharge

Shoplifting, conditional discharge

Drink driving £100 fine (less than two weeks JSA)

Drink driving and drug possession £150 fine (two weeks JSA) and so on.

Only a couple of cases involved fines of more than the minimum Jobcentre sanction of four weeks JSA ie £300. Even doubling these fines to allow for costs, surcharges, etc, still comes in at less than that amount. Furthermore, courts have sentencing guidelines and are administered by more than one person on the bench. Account is taken of circumstances and there is time to pay.

None of these controls apply to Jobcentre sanctions, which take immediate effect, at the arbitrary whim of whichever “coach” one happens to get, and which represent a claimant’s entire income regardless of circumstances. The new safety net is now the foodbank, which Jobcentre staff are fully aware of.

I do not see how anyone with even one foot in the 21st century can condone these draconian measures. If anyone believes them to be appropriate, why not bring back the workhouse?


Upper Cliff Road,


Station plays all types of music

In response to the letter, Make New Radio Station Different, January 2 Mercury. Whilst it was interesting reading this person’s point of view, it was based purely on the 28-day broadcast of the station In January 2014.

If this person had in fact accessed the website www.harbourradio.co.uk and either listened to the broadcast or read the programme schedule then it would have become apparent to them that all the genre’s of music they have outlined is indeed covered by Harbour Radio, including music from the 1940s, we also have a jazz show, and also provide blues, country, rock and Christian music shows, as well as many other forms of music.

Harbour Radio has been working really hard to provide the type of music people in the community have requested a lesson learnt from our 28 day broadcast time, we have also provided support with outdoor events, fundraising groups, and live outside broadcasts, as well as having a diverse mix of interesting guests and community groups being interviewed and participating in our shows live on air.

Therefore I believe that Harbour Radio is fit for purpose as a Community Radio Station.

My conclusion is that if you are going to criticise something then please have all the relevant and up to date information available and not rely on information that is 12 months old.


Harbour Radio Presenter

Possibility of a UKIP victory

It would appear there is a distinct possibility UKIP could snatch the Great Yarmouth Constituency from the Conservatives. Where then would this leave our current MP, Brandon Lewis?

As Mr Lewis has done so well for himself since becoming our MP, it would be a shame if his talents were lost to the nation. He and the Conservative are responsible for so much growth in the area. For example, there are so many more food banks than in 2010.

May I therefore urge Tory Central Office to find him another seat away from Yarmouth!



Ormesby St Margaret

Population grown but not the NHS

Having read an article in a national newspaper “A&E crisis the worst for 10 years”, I wonder where the news media and politicians in general are coming from? Regarding the crisis in the NHS, the general public already know the answer and resent being treated as idiots.

The other day on Radio 4 a very truthful, plain speaking senior doctor from the NHS and the minister for health were engaged in debating the A&E crisis.

The doctor stated that no amount of money would be able to resolve the problem because “there aren’t any more doctors to be had.” To make matters worse he said that this year alone 500 doctors had emigrated to Australia. The Minister… well he just waffled!

More worrying to the general public is that none of the so-called experts or articles in the press recognise the fact in the last ten years the population of England, thanks to Tony Blair, has increased by 10pc due to unrestricted immigration.

In my GP surgery alone I am having to wait over two weeks to see my doctor.

Doesn’t the writer of the national newspaper article think this increase in population has, in anyway, put extra pressure on an already over strained National Health Service?

Or is the writer, like so many others, refusing to see what is obvious, all public services are slowly being swamped. The sooner we are out of the European Union the better. The question for me is do I vote UKIP or Conservative?


West Caister

Blackout has stopped walkies

My dog and I never go out at night now, which is a shame. I used to love the walks in the crips evening air which would set me up for the night.

And why have we stopped going out? Because it is so dark I am scared. I live in Southtown and frankly I cannot see one foot in front of my on some of the streets. I seem to recall another reader complaining about this last year.

Two nights ago I twisted my ankle when I misjudged where the kerb was and only just stopped myself from falling down. There was no one about, so thank goodness I didn’t injure myself. No doubt I would have lain in the dark until the rays of sunlight came up.

I’m in my 70s and I should not have to feel so afraid to go out into the streets where I have lived nearly all my life. I wonder, if I had have broken a foot or a leg would I have been able to sue the council for their lack of care.

We are told to be more active in order to keep healthy but locking yourself in at 4.30pm until 6am the next day can hardly be described as being healthy living!

Yes, I have a torch but it doesn’t help all that much. I feel it is time to look again at the issue of street lighting. Don’t just turn them off blanket-fashion in a whole street - at least leave us one or two to light our way.

Name and Address withheld

Thanks for care and respect

Our mother passed away recently at The Elms residential care home in Gorleston. We would like to thank the staff for the wonderful care she received for the short time she was there. She was treated with dignity, respect and much kindness for which the family are eternally grateful.

Mrs WENDY BAYFIELD and family