Letters, January 16 2015

Paramedics were very professional

A few days ago I had to phone for an ambulance. They arrived within five minutes. The paramedics were professional and thorough in their diagnosis. A very grateful member of the public.


Bately Avenue,


We need school and burial site

The exhibition last week in Hemsby village hall was very well attended. The majority of the local people are concerned with the existing infrastructure of Hemsby to be able to cope with another 200 homes, when the drainage and sewer pipes we have are not coping now.

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The medical centre is not in an ideal situation and parking is a real issue, yes, you can park on the burial ground car park but for those who are not too good on their pins it’s no joke trying to cross the road, which is at a main road junction with The Street and Kingsway.

Patients are being sent over to Martham Surgery already, which is proving a problem for those without their own transport and have to rely on relatives, friends or the very sparse bus service.

I understand the school has spaces for about another 40 children but the playground is not big enough now to facilitate anymore, let alone cope with the numbers that would be generated by another 200 homes. There is no room for expansion of the school because it is completely surrounded by housing.

The village doesn’t need another pub/restaurant; we have at least six now and some of those are struggling. The proposed Co-op supermarket would create further competition for the existing Spar shop and the Post Office causing loss of income for them. Co-op itself is closing several of its own stores through lack of footfall and profits so what makes them think they’ll do any better here in Hemsby?

The burial ground is filling up fast so where are all these people going to be buried etc in years to come?

It’s so easy to say let them build 200 homes on there but the infrastructure must be put in place before any new building starts. We all know it’s an eyesore but just slinging up houses is not the answer without the long-term consequences being considered. We must cater for the existing residents before another 400–600 people arrive. These are several of the issues facing any would be investor and planning departments concerning this site.

The site is so big it could accommodate umpteen different uses eg sports and leisure facilities for young and old - many of which are already in place such as the swimming pool and go-kart tracks etc, a new medical centre, new school/college, sheltered housing and space for a burial ground, and new pumping station to alleviate the flooding issues, as well as holiday homes.

Hemsby has always been a holiday village with thousands enjoying our beautiful beaches and amusement arcades and the like. People have been holidaying here for many years and love it to bits. Long may they continue to do so.



Pubs fighting for custom now

Having attended the public exhibition for the old Pontins site in Hemsby. I noted with interest that Cllr Shirley Weymouth seemed to be the only councillor there! I am of no political persuasion but in an election year did any of the other parties send representatives?

The room was full of very angry people, who had very valid concerns. What does our MP Brandon Lewis think or is he too busy making political friends in London to care for local people.

At what point does Hemsby become a small town and not a village? Where are the families of these 200 new homes going to work, access healthcare, attend school and be buried? Why does the village need another pub? The pubs and clubs in the area are fighting over themselves for the little custom there is.

The road into the village is not wide enough to support the extra traffic to the new Co-op (deliveries and shoppers) and public house. By all means put houses on the site but not 200.

Will a free pair of wellies be given as the area is prone to flooding?



One of our best years to date

Norfolk Broads Lions Club had a very busy December with the Christmas sleigh visiting various villages North of Great Yarmouth.

This was one of the best years we have had with the weather and we would like to thank everyone who came out and waved to Father Christmas and generously gave to our band of collectors. I am pleased to report we raised £4,514 this year for our charity account and this will be distributed to various local good causes and some wider ones in the coming months.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all who assisted us in getting the sleigh up and running and in our collections. Thanks to Hemsby Inshore Lifeboat, 901 Troop Marine Cadets of Winterton. Thanks also to Tesco of Caister who allowed us to collect in their car park.

If anyone is interested in learning more about Lions, we welcome new members and I can be contacted on 01493 850570.



Norfolk Broads Lions Club

Not all of us have internet access

In reply to the letter in last week’s Mercury from Rev Linda Turner from Harbour Radio: It must be remembered that not all people have access to the internet at home so are unable to listen to the station’s current output and therefore can only rely on what was broadcast during their 2014, 28-day licence.

I am glad the Reverend does promise most of what I mentioned will be included in the schedules, should Harbour Radio win the bidding for this licence. However again from her comments it appears the different genres of music will be broadcast in specialist programmes, tucked away in the scheduling, at a time, most likely evenings, when radio audiences are much lower.

What I want is for the style of music I mentioned to be included in the daytime output of the station to cater, as again I will stress, to the population of this area who are an older group of people by far, and do not want a non-stop Top 40-based format that most commercial stations pump out day after day.

Name and Address withheld

Bus fare rise a lovely surprise

What a lovely new year surprise. Why have bus fares just gone up again specially when we hear the price of fuel is falling daily? My Great Yarmouth high five ticket has jumped from £6.50 to £7.50, where is the justification of that?



Importance of registered sweep

There’s quite rightly been a lot of publicity recently regarding tragic chimney fires at Hickling, Smallburgh and Rickinghall to name a few and the sound advice from Norfolk fire service regarding having your chimney swept regularly.

It’s also vitally important home owners use a “registered” sweep. The easiest way is for people to use the ‘sweep search’ facility on the website for the National Association of Chimney Sweeps. I have been to too many chimneys that have not been swept properly and have been subject of a chimney fire or a disaster waiting to happen. If a registered sweep is used then he/she will leave you confident it is safe for the household to use or, if not, will give you written notice outlining the dangers or deficits with your fire appliance.

It’s not just a case of passing a rod and brush up your chimney, it’s having knowledge and training to ensure the chimney flue is properly cleaned and left safe to use. The dangers of a chimney fire have been well documented but there are also dangers from carbon monoxide poisoning from poorly fitted appliances or poorly maintained where a trained (registered) sweep will spot these dangers and give advice accordingly.

It’s unfortunate at the moment that anyone can go out and buy a set of rods and brushes and call themselves a chimney sweep without any training or knowledge. Would you allow an unqualified electrician or gas engineer to work in your home?


East Coast chimney sweep

Strong winds batter wreaths

Just a polite notice, I went to the crematorium at Gorleston and because of the high winds we have had recently there are lots of flowers, wreathes etc blown over and need attending to.



Dismay at what not included

I attended the Pontin’s site planning presentation along with many other Hemsby residents and was surprised at what was included, with no benefit to the village and disappointed at what was not included to improve life in the village.

Hemsby does not need another pub as there are at least five in the village which are open all the year round plus several holiday site bars. Village pubs are closing all over the country and opening another could mean the closure of some of the existing ones.

Another big question to ask, is there a need for another village store, I have my doubts. The proposals include about 200 dwellings, the village infrastructure cannot cope with existing population let alone another large development.

What concerns me is what is not included.

There is a need to extend the village burial ground for the next generation, compulsory purchase of part of the land near the existing cemetery would be ideal.

A new school to replace the existing pre-war one would be ideal for the village.

A new surgery with a patient’s car park is essential as the present relevantly modern surgery and dentists are near to capacity and a new surgery would relieve the centre of the village from traffic chaos that exist at the moment.

No development should take place until Anglian Water sort out the sewage system as we have had numerous properties flooded over the years and again only 12 months ago so another 200 dwellings will cause further problems to the village. Anglian Water have spent a lot of money in the past but parts of the village are still vulnerable and they have failed to tackle the real problem.

I support the idea of a village public meeting but I fear it may be irrelevant as the developers would had done their pre-application work and would be confident of development of the site.



M&S expansion in 1960s vision

It’s one of those ‘if onlys’ of life. As a sixth former in my final year at the then Technical High School in 1967 I edited the school magazine in which we took a detailed look at the future of Great Yarmouth’s town centre.

This meant a trip to the Town Hall and spending time with the planners and their ambitious model of how things could shape up as we moved into the 1970s (that scale model remained on the wall of the planning department for years afterwards).

Market Gates Precinct was central - as was a proposal for three multi-storey car parks - with a significant scheme which saw Marks and Spencer almost doubling in size, expanding across Theatre Street.

Only Market Gates ever saw the light of day, but what a difference a much larger M&S might have made. Even at the time it struck me as a brilliant idea. Whatever happened to it? The store would not have ended up as the poor relation to Lowestoft which continues to enjoy investment and a fresh modern look while Norwich has grown to be one of the group’s largest in the whole UK.

Yarmouth sadly lagged behind and on Saturday it was with sadness we bought some clothes for the very last time bidding farewell to the shop and finding it hard to accept it will no longer be with us. A commercial decision no doubt but still a mystery and huge loss.

No doubt the new food and cafe development at Gapton is state of the art but it doesn’t sell clothing and who knows what the increased traffic will be like? Back to Lowestoft then.


Lowestoft Road,


Keep some of camp buildings

I was saddened to read of the proposals to the former Pontins Holiday Camp at Hemsby.

It states that they intend to build houses, a pub-restaurant etc on the site. The developers put in for planning permission in the past to build houses, residential home etc but were turned down. I believe it was something to do with the drainage system. Residents living nearby state it was causing flooding around their properties.

I first visited the camp in the 1960s when it was owned by Maddisons, and when they put on shows for locals. I then visited it in 1971 when Pontins first opened for the season, I used to go there in the evenings to watch the shows and listen to the bands.

In 1972, I went to work there as a kitchen porter, I also worked there in 1973 and 1975. I really enjoyed my time there. The last time I was there was a few years ago when they had a jazz band perform there.

If the developers get their application passed for develop-ment, they propose to build so many houses on the site, plus a pub-restaurant and supermarket.

They should think of retaining some of the original buildings as in five years time the camp will be 100 years old. I would like to see it returned to its former glory as a camp.


St Margaret’s Way,


I had nothing but kindness

May I please take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to manager, staff and customers at Tesco stores who came to my assistance when I was taken ill on New Year’s Day.

Everybody was so helpful and kind including the two ladies in the ambulance crew who kindly cared for me and took me to James Paget Hospital. The accident and emergency department was very busy but their care and kindness from my arrival time until my evening discharge was nothing but outstanding and kind.

I am registered blind and 89 years of age, it is so wonderful there are so many kind people who helped me.



Praise for care given to husband

One hears so much about the cruelty and bad care given in our care homes, but I cannot praise Claremont Lodge in Caister enough. My husband was in there for just over a year suffering from dementia, and they have been kindness itself not only to him, but to myself and all the family.

The manager and all the staff, including the chefs, have taken their time with him seeing to his every need. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them all on behalf of my late husband, myself and the family.


Swain Court


Was missing jet flap scrapped?

I refer to the article by Peggotty (Mercury, December 18) “Mystery of the missing jet”, concerning the wing flap from the USAF F-100 Super Sabre recovered off Darby’s Hard by the dredger Admiral Day in 1998.

At the risk of besmirching the name of a very good museum, I fear you are avoiding the obvious in this matter, namely that the flap has probably been scrapped.

I can certainly confirm the flap arrived at Flixton in 1998. The late Alan Hague, who was curator at the museum for more than 35 years, was the person who identified the flap and subsequently wrote to Mr Sharman acknowledging receipt of the piece.

In 1998 I was recovery and research officer for the Flixton Air Museum. At the time I was responsible for all aviation archaeology activity and associated research at the museum. I was not at the museum site when the flap was delivered but saw it the following Sunday and gave it a ‘Stage 1’ clean prior to a corrosion inhibiting process being carried out. I also passed Alan some details on the crash to use in his letter of thanks to Mr Sharman.

The museum has an F-100 on display outside and it was a simple matter to check the flap was identical. It would have made a really good exhibit, especially considering what a narrow brush with disaster Yarmouth had when it came down.

When last I saw the flap it was stored in the open near the front left-hand side of the Blister Hangar at Flixton. At the same time the museum was under great pressure to carry out a major purge on scrap metal which had accumulated on the field at the rear of the hangar, and which had picked up the unfortunate generic title “Bob’s rubbish”. The clean-up was warranted by the impending arrival of the Boulton and Paul Hangar from Ipswich Airport.

I parted company with the museum in 2003 and in 2004 a great deal of aviation archaeology material which had been thrown in a large scrap-metal skip at the rear of the hangar, or on an adjacent pile, was disposed of. Whether the flap which Mr Sharman entrusted to the museum was amongst the items disposed of I would not now like to say, but in view of the fact their archivist has found no record of it and it is not at Flixton now, I think we must assume the worst.

Incidentally, while there are still a few items including a propeller blade held by the Fritton Lake Country Park, there is now no aviation museum, USAAF or otherwise, based there. The collection which was set up there closed down in the late 1980s and most of the contents were distributed to other local museums - including Flixton.


Holly Road,

Oulton Broad

Let’s have lick of paint at station

When, if ever, will anything be done about our railway station? Having been forced to paint up the surrounding buildings (or be fined) isn’t it time the current rail operators are forced to do likewise?

They spend £20m on Northampton’s new state of the art station but can’t afford a lick of paint for Yarmouth! Perhaps Prince Charles can do a return visit - at least then we will have hanging baskets for two days!



Add my praises to health staff

I would like to add my praises and a big thank you to the ambulance crew, doctors, nurses and all staff in the A&E at the James Paget Hospital, also the doctors, nurses and all staff on ward one. I could not have asked for better care when I was taken there after New Year’s Day.


Seaward Walk,


Convent school reunion planned

There will be a reunion for all past pupils of St Mary’s Convent, Kirkley Cliff Road, Lowestoft on Saturday, May 23 in South Lowestoft. Tickets are available now, the cost is £8 and this will include a buffet. Anyone who was a pupil up to the time of closure is very welcome. For more details and a ticket please ring Val McCurdy on 01502 581761 or 07773 070345


London Road South,


Co-op is part of the community

Like many people I am very dismayed and upset at the forthcoming closure of the Co-op. I have lived in the area nearly all my life and have seen the passing of many of these local and necessary shops.

My parents happily ran one in Cobholm for many years, so they are embedded in my DNA.

The Co-op is not just another shop, it is a integral and significant part of the community. The staff are very friendly and polite and the whole place engenders a feeling of warmth and camaraderie.

I pop in there several times of day, exchange pleasantries with neighbours and the whole shopping experience is a ‘feel-good one’.

I did email the head office and obviously realise there are economic factors involved but I feel that the rather short notice given to the customers and more importantly the staff is a matter which needs investigating.

Basically one month is harsh and it is the time of year when gaining employment is difficult. Presumably they did not want to spread gloom and despondency in the season of goodwill and also risk the chance of alienating customers as this profitable time of year! Three months notice would I feel be more appropriate and reasonable.

The Co-op does have an ethos of providing not just convenience stores but a necessary customer-face outlets to their loyal customers. When there is a local elderly population, this is an extremely valid reason for them maintaining a presence in the area.

We live in a fragmented world and this shopping experience, rather than the big stores cannot be emphasised enough. I sincerely hope that this closure is not a done deal and there may be room and opportunities to manoeuvre in a reasonable and mutually beneficial way for staff and customers alike.

I would hate the sentence “I must just slip to the Co-op” to be omitted from our minds forever.



Thanks for giving in my handbag

I would like to thank the lady who kindly handed my handbag to the bus driver on the 5.45pm Martham bus on Friday, January 9. You have restored my faith in human nature. Many thanks.

Name and Address withheld

High tides plight of the Lydia Eva

Last weekend the very high tides threatened damage to the ship-to-shore gangway area of the Lydia Eva steam drifter on the river near the town hall in Great Yarmouth.

As a result of prompt action by Lydia Eva volunteers no damage was incurred. Such is the commitment of these people to keep this vital part of Great Yarmouth’s heritage safe that Bob Burman, Ernie Artis, Sean Baker,John Nobbs and Paul Witton worked through the weekend to keep her secure.

We at Lydia Eva are extremely grateful to two crew members from the ship Iceni Spirit which was moored nearby. When they saw Lydia’s plight they offered their assistance and helped prevent extensive damage to our cherished ship.

As a result of a recent article in the Mercury concerning our funding requirements we received several messages of support and help with funding, among which was a cheque for £250 from a lady who lives in the Yarmouth area.



Please consider next generation

Having read reports in your paper last week, following the proposals for the derelict Pontins site, I am amazed at the apparent apathy shown by residents as to its possible use.

Being a new resident of Hemsby, I feel that the older residents will only agree to what they feel this site should be ie recreational.

This is fine and may produce some income during the holiday season but our year has 12 months!

Surely it would be to the benefit of all if this eyesore, which it now is, can be developed to the benefit of all residents, not just the younger and “fitter” generation.

I cannot but see that the benefit of a shop, pub and increased residents will increase the income to our economy and then perhaps we can provide this recreational use that seems to be the top priority.

I am sorry, but I just feel that whatever is proposed will be rejected by some of the stalwart residents. Hopefully these people will take note there is a generation to follow us (yes, I am also an older resident), who should have the benefit of a successful and viable economy in which to live and enjoy the benefits of life in such a beautiful area of Norfolk.

Please re-think and let us get this site developed to the benefit of all. If we do, at least visitors will not put off by this neglected area of land on the approach to our beautiful village.



Aunt remembers Zeppelin flight

I was talking to my aunt this last November. She is 104 years old.

She was saying that as a little girl she remembered her mother leading her out of their Great Yarmouth house to watch a Zeppelin fly by. Aunt Lillian Wade, nee Major, seemed to remember the Zeppelin was on fire and heading out to the countryside. She lived in the Rows possibly Kittywitches.

Her father George Major weñt to work for the Trinity Service and was based in Yarmouth on the lightships and became a Master (captain).

Later they learned the Zeppelin came down at Theberton Hall near Leiston. Many years later she was to marry a man who worked at Theberton Hall and in the village church there is a lot about the Zeppelin coming down. The people who died in the Zeppelin were buried in Theberton Church then later interred at a German cemetery near Lichfield.

My aunt lived here until she was 99 years old and then moved to Old Waltham, Grimsby, South Humberside to be near her son, his wife and the grandchildren.

My aunt’s mind is very clear and she has so many memories. It’s lovely just listening to her.



Massive response to bowls appeal

Thank you very much to everyone who responded to my letter in last week’s Mercury. We have been offered an astonishing 28 sets of bowls.

Some people did not leave a contact number so I have been unable to contact them – my apologies.

And as we have been offered so many sets I am not able to take all those offered.

I have been touched by the stories I have been told by those donating them. Some bowls have come from as far as Western Australia where they were played in championship games. Others owners have sadly died and relatives are keen to find a good use for their bowls.

So again many thanks to all those who have so kindly donated.


Priory Hub Manager

Great Yarmouth Community Trust

Grateful to the wonderful people

Through the Mercury we would like to say thank you to all the wonderful people who have donated money to our Great Yarmouth Stroke Group. We are just so grateful.

We would also like to thank Centre 81 transport which our members use; Phil on the phone is so helpful and Mark the driver shows such kindness to our members with a smile – not forgetting the other drivers and our wonderful volunteers.



Births growth is not unexpected

Thanks to the Great Yarmouth Mercury last week I was able to vent my frustration in a letter. The great British news media (in general) and politicians, have shown ineptitude when confronted by the facts.

In my letter I tried to draw peoples attention to how a sudden 10pc increase in the population, since 2004 (ala Tony Blair), would inevitably swamp public services.

This was a fact continuously ignored by politicians and the national press in their coverage recently of the hospitals’ accident and emergency crisis.

True to form, this week, the politicians, and the news media, have now come up with yet another misleading explanatory seeking headline ignoring the realities of life. Once again they have ignored that mass immigration into this country is a major part of the on-going problem.

Apparently our schools are now being swamped by a “sudden spike in child births”. Surprise, surprise! On BBC News this week it was reported that 900,000 more children will have to be catered for in the education system due to a “sudden spike” in child births.


West Caister

UKIP wrong on Palestine vote

I happened to come across a UKIP entry in December’s Advertiser giving Stuart Agnew’s slant on grants to Ukraine and the overwhelming vote in the EU Parliament in favour of recognition of Palestine. This, readers will know, follows similar overwhelming votes in the UN, UK and elsewhere also.

Far from being an error as Agnew argues, or irrelevant and merely symbolic as others have arrogantly claimed, this is in reality an essential prerequisite for meaningful peace negotiations.

His assertion that the EU has no right to do this because Palestine is as yet non-EU is typical of UKIP strategy in Europe which is to destroy everything European in the interests of narrow-minded British nationalism which in reality serves our country ill.

Ironically Israel is nominally registered as being European and thereby gains lucrative trade and other benefits including arms, medical, scientific, academic, arts, sporting, not only agricultural, as a result, yet its government pays no heed whatsoever to EU, UN, UK international or humanitarian law relying on the US veto to excuse this.

Palestine on the other hand is effectively allowed to be its dumping ground even though the mandate to care for it was solemnly taken on by the British at Versailles in 1917.

Mr Agnew and his UKIP colleagues will need to inform us better than this if they have any pretentions to garnering British votes let alone being elected to government themselves.


Caernarvon Road,