Letters, January 15 2016

Retail parks a thing of past

I am not surprised the managing director of Marks and Spencer has parted company. They closed a perfectly good store in the town centre of Great Yarmouth and opened a food store in a retail park which is hardly used. Wrong decision at the wrong time, as the town centre is now showing a resurgence as opposed to retail parks, which are seemingly a thing of the past.



Once land gone, gone for good

The Great Yarmouth Borough Council meeting on December 21 included the adoption of an updated “new” local plan. This includes the building of 7,200 new homes in the borough, 32pc (2,300) in Lothingland (Bradwell, Belton, Burgh Castle, Hopton, Fritton and St Olaves).

Much of Fritton and St Olaves includes land owned by the Somerleyton estate and grades 1 and 2 agricultural land; and Bradwell and Hopton has probably reached its development potential. It would therefore appear the majority of the 2,300 new homes are destined for Belton and Burgh Castle, villages with inadequate infrastructure, amenities and resources.

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Bradwell, Belton and Burgh Castle have had, and continue to have, problems with the sewerage system. Anglian Water has stated its sewerage system can cope with increased demand emanating from further development when it is unable to cope at the moment. The 50 year old system was installed when the population of Belton and Burgh Castle totalled 800.

Most of the numerous seasonal holiday camps are now tantamount to residential, placing huge demands on the sewerage system, with many of the camps occupied for all but four weeks per year. In Bradwell, children have been confronted with raw sewerage on their way to school with the obvious risk of contamination and disease. In Belton and Burgh Castle roads have regularly been flooded with raw sewerage and incursion houses.

The 2,300 new homes would result in an estimated 3,500 additional cars on the rural roads in Belton and Burgh Castle, residents of the latter village already complaining about the amount of traffic using Mill Road and Market Road. The closest shop to the new houses being built on both sides of the new A12/A143 link road is Tesco Express in Belton, this will also doubtless generate even more traffic in Belton.

The only available school is Moorlands Primary Academy which currently has 300 pupils (capacity 315). Post 11 year old education is not available in Belton or Burgh Castle. The nearest is up to three miles away with no free bus service and the need for students to cross the very busy A143.

The villages have no doctors’ surgery, dental practice, bakers, butchers or greengrocers. Access to primary health care is exacerbated by the fact the closest surgery is not easily accessible via public transport. The proposed development equates to an increase in the population estimated to be 6,000, taking it from 5,000 to 11,000, plus 9,000 weekly holidaymakers for 11 months, which equates to a total population of Belton and Burgh Castle in excess of 22,000, twice the population of Beccles.

The essence of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is localised decision-making focused on sustainable development and I suggest this proposal fulfils neither criteria. The NPPF also promotes the use of brownfield sites as a priority, as opposed to the destruction of agricultural land.

The regeneration of derelict areas of Great Yarmouth and Gorleston, the use of the 1,300 empty properties in Yarmouth, development of uninhabitable properties and brownfield sites in the borough would provide affordable habitation and alleviate demand on agricultural land - when gone, it’s gone for good.

The jobs are then where people live, which equates to less traffic and an increase in demand for local shops and businesses subsequently regenerating demand in the town and halting its current serious decline.



Help me with relative hunt

I have been looking for relatives of my dad John Edward Berry. His mother was Emily Sarah Myhill, born in 1887. She had two daughter called Ivy May and Lillian Stella. My great grandparents were Robert Myhill, born in 1856 in Rollesby, and Harriett Catchpole, born 1859, in Caister. My gran lived in row 136 Yarmouth where my dad was born in 1911.

Are there any readers who can help me piece things together. Thanks in anticipation.



No interest in rail passengers?

Greater Anglia last month ran out of trains. Now no direct services to London at weekends (Mercury, January 8). Yarmouth lost most through trains years ago.

The Norwich-London service typically (delays excluded) takes just under two hours. Norwich to Cambridge takes about an hour and a quarter and fast trains from Cambridge to London take about 45 minutes. Thus the alternative route is about two hours.

Yarmouth users will need to add another 45 minutes or so.

Why cannot trains be routed via Cambridge and passengers not be inconvenienced? The coaches just need some locomotives hired in. Crews need route knowledge training. Is it the impact on Abellio’s profits? Is it the nonsense of privatisation where they have no running rights by that route? Is it no interest in passengers? Is it no imagination by managers? The rail companies get paid for their losses caused by disruption.

Why could the route have several work sites being upgraded on the same days to reduce the days of disruption?

Meanwhile, our MPs continue to back privatisation of the railway which every week shows its deficiencies. We face years of this inconvenience and are paying increased fares for the service! Crazy! I see our MP uses his car a lot more these days which costs the tax payer a lot more.


Victoria Street,


Trying to trace phone finder

I dropped our friend off on the evening of Tuesday, January 5 on Stafford Road, Southtown. He got out of the car but had not shut his door properly. My daughter was driving so I got out of the car to shut the door securely and not realising at the time my mobile phone ended up travelling from the middle of the car to outside.

My daughter got a missed call later from me but I was with her at the time and had not called her so she called the phone and a lady answered saying do you know whose phone this is as we found it on Lichfield Road. I asked her to drop the phone off in the morning to our friend’s house at Albany Road and said we would pick it up.

They took the phone to our friend but they only told them they live on the corner of Gordon Road. We want to try and trace who found my phone as I wanted to give them a reward for finding it .

Please could they contact me on 01502 567427 or 07443 857092.



We’re looking for a charity

Palmers (Great Yarmouth) Ltd staff committee is looking for a new registered charity to fundraise for. We raised £5,600 for our last charity, the Leah Wilby Foundation.

If any charity would like to be considered please write with full details of your charity, to: FAO Staff Committee, Palmers (Great Yarmouth) Ltd, 37-39 Market Place, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk NR30 1LU.


Staff committee

Signposting on new road please

As the new road and roundabout near Bradwell becomes known, would it help drivers coming from Beccles and Bungay to see a signpost to the James Paget Hospital at the roundabout? Also, to reduce traffic through Gorleston from Lowestoft, wouldn’t sooner notices at the northern end offering the Beccles, Bungay, Norwich directions, improve traffic flow to everyone’s advantage?


Mill Lane,


We have some

allotments to let

May I through your column make people aware that the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Allotment Association has a few allotments to let. We have 14 sites throughout the borough.

The majority of the allotments to let are in the Yarmouth area. Gorleston is virtually full up. A full allotment is some 250 square metres. If this large area is too much, then half allotments are available. The cost for 12 months for a full allotment is around £31, half an allotment is around £18.

Now is the ideal time to take a tenancy, the next two months giving time to prepare for early spring planting. Tending an allotment has a great deal to offer. Fresh vegetables and soft fruit can be produced for a greater part of the year. Added benefits are helping to keep you fitter and the social element is rewarding.

If anyone is interested call our general secretary Ivor Dunscombe on 07557 458002 or myself on 01493 658750.



Great Yarmouth & Gorleston Allotment Association.

Panto was just


We: grandson, mum, grandma and granddad; have just returned from enjoying the final performance of the Cinderella pantomime at St. George’s Theatre - a wonderful experience. As with everyone around us, we laughed and laughed. We loved the parcel full of broken china and the watery honey scenes, the dancing children, the Ugly Sisters with their traditionally outlandish costumes, the singing, Buttons’ clever timing but most of all the fact that all those taking part were enjoying it too.

Every performance has been a sell-out with many people returning for a second visit. I can only think that Mike Randall (Mercury letters, January 8) left his sense of humour behind for his visit. Oh, yes he did!



Pantomime was clever and local

On Friday, I attended and thoroughly enjoyed the Cinderella pantomime at St George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth. All the cast were well rehearsed which led to polished performances.

The script was carefully structured and presented confidently with some clever made up bits, which enhanced the character and local feel of the show. The songs were well sung too. Children and adults in the audience took pleasure from the experience.

The backstage crew provided quality staging, costumes, sound, props and effects. Cinderella’s dress change was amazing!

The choreography and high standard of dancing also demonstrated the talent we are lucky to nurture in Great Yarmouth.

I would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work which combined to create an uplifting and fine production.

Will definitely look forward to Robin Hood next Christmas



Bah humbug to bad reviewer

On Sunday, my wife, grandson and myself attended the last performance of the St George’s Theatre production of Cinderella, which over the years has become a family tradition as an after Christmas treat.

We approached, entered and were seated, with I might add with some trepidation on my part after reading Mike Randall’s review of the show. After about 20 minutes or so I began to wonder if this was the same panto he had attended, as I found the show to be funny, slick and stimulating for all the family, by an enthusiastic cast with plenty of funny ad-libbing, the costumes were colourful and vibrant, and I found it a well-produced performance.

I do not know if Mr Randall has ever attended a panto before, but it is a well known tradition, wherever the panto is performed in any town/city to mock that particular area in a funny satirical way with no real malice meant, to which most members of the audience enjoyed. I must therefore conclude, Mr Randall, Bah Humbug Sir!

We are already looking forward to their next production of Robin Hood.


Alderson Road,

Great Yarmouth

Researching the fire service

Last year I had some letters printed asking for history and information on Norfolk Fire Service. I’m continuing with my research for my book. I have changed the focus of my book. I’m looking at the time I have been a Norfolk Fire Service enthusiast which is from 1991-present.

If anybody has any photos of fire engines, incidents and any information on Norfolk Fire Service Please contact me via email Chriswisken1988@gmail.com or this address: 26 Weavers Croft, Harleston, Norfolk IP20 9PY.



No transport to new school

Regarding the new school at Thamesfield Way, I am concerned about the location,

How would the vast amount of pupils get there? There is no public transport, which means parents will be dropping their children off with already congested roads around this area. It will be mayhem.


Burgh Road


Marie Curie cash is handed over

I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who kindly donated a prize for the raffle I held on behalf of Marie Curie, the response was brilliant. The raffle raised £540 towards this great charity, thank you once again to all involved.

Those who donated prizes included: Browston Hall, Bar No.1, The Cliff Hotel, Bodymatters, Playstax, St George’s Theatre, Dexia, Fusion, Jesters Diner, Sealife Centre, Thrigby Hall wildlife park, Frankie & Bennys, Retro Skate, Britannia Pier, Rumbold Arms, Harrison’s, Cozies, Marina Centre, Music Lovers, Regent Bowl, Kevil Arms, QD, Lowestoft Marina Theatre, Morrisons, Wilkinsons.



What are these hatched areas?

I drive up and down Browston Lane into the new link road several times a day.

Please could somebody at the highways department explain to me, and no doubt other road users, why there are areas of hatched off road with raised edges on the corners of the kerbs leading in and out of Browston Lane where it joins with the new road?

I don’t understand why they are there. They appear to serve no useful purpose. They just seem to be a hindrance by making the corners very tight to negotiate.


Browston Lane,


Help with our family research

We are researching the family tree of Alfred Robert Parker, who married Harriet Eliza Veale in the late 19th century and had nine children. We have managed to uncover the history of eight of these, but are still trying to find the descendants of their son also named Alfred Robert Parker, who married Harriet Gallant and had a daughter, also Harriet, a son Alfred who was killed on the SS Jervis in 1940, and sons Stanley and Jack.

We believe Stanley was once a bus driver in Yarmouth but that is the limit of our knowledge. If any of your readers are able to give us any information about Harriet, Stanley or Jack, or any of their descendants we would be very grateful. We can be contacted on 01502 511546 or by email flautodolce@corystes.plus.com.



Richard played Bodysnatcher

I would like to correct an error I made in my account of the U3A History Group’s performance of The Mummers’ Play, which appeared in last week’s Mercury. I omitted to mention that Richard English played the part of Thomas Vaughan, the Bodysnatcher of Great Yarmouth.



Did we see the same panto?

As a steward at St George’s Theatre who welcomed in hundreds of men, women and children to the pantomime Cinderella. I saw it five times and was equally impressed on every occasion by the talent displayed in what was a brilliant, traditional panto with all the necessary components. So I was rather perplexed by Mike Randall and his damning letter (January 8) and had a surreal experience we had not actually seen the same show.

I can assure him the Ugly Sisters and Buttons did know their lines and displayed a timing that was comically and rigorously adhered to. Going ‘off piste’ with dialogue is one of those necessary elements and the sketch with the parcel posting was a good illustration of this.

They were outrageous with costumes and make-up to match and elicited some good old fashioned booing whenever they appeared. Buttons again cranked up his part to a superb level and had a voice that actually sent shivers down your spine.

This to my mind and the majority of the audience was great entertainment with the necessary ‘straight acting’ from the Baron and the delightful Cinderella, Fairy Godmother and of course Prince Charming. He had no accolade for the lovely dancing from Nabjab.

I do accept the claim I am biased and I love our local theatre which has enriched many lives in our community and beyond but this panto I truly thought was great and it deserved its many accolades and great support from panto lovers everywhere.

It broke all box office records and as people left the theatre they were beaming and many came up to tell me how brilliant they thought it was. Children including all the little girls who were so beautifully dressed for the theatre appeared enraptured and a good time was had by all.

By the way I think we all have a good sense of humour living in Great Yarmouth and can take a few innocuous ‘insults’.


Winifred Road,


Blown-off roof tiles mystery

How many occasions have we to see scaffold erected at the north-west corner of Falcon Court to re-fix blown-off roof tiles? Apparently it is the only section on the estate prone to recurrence. I realise it is easy to criticise but am confident there is sufficient expertise in the trade and management to permanently remedy the fault.


Great Yarmouth

Local villages are in a litter mess

After coping with exploding computers, printers running out of ink then conking out, I hope I have managed to sort the above problems out and to get down to some serious letter writing. I am a bit late in sending in a letter of support for our local litter picker who was rather upset at some unjustified comments about his work. One of my jobs is a volunteer for the Broads Authority/Suffolk Wildlife Trust at the local water company wildlife site to pick up litter.

I also go out into the surrounding countryside because people asked me to do so. I did get a thank you from members of Somerleyton staff who thought I worked for the council.

The local villages are in such a mess litter-wise it would take ten of the likes of the litter picker, working full-time, to make a dent in this problem because as fast as you pick it up people dump more!

So give people like the litter picker a break, he cares about the village and surrounding countryside as do I. Also the summer months bring a large increase in the amount of litter dumped, now I wonder why?


Butt Lane,

Burgh Castle

Cramped swim was out of order

I like to take my grandchildren swimming and I, like a lot of parents/grandparents, have found the Marina Centre’s family swim on a Friday the most reasonably priced swim, but I will be giving it a miss for a while.

My two grandchildren and I, and about 50 other children and adults, were corralled into a roped off area of about 25ft wide by about 30ft long and 1ins to 4ft deep. While I defy anyone to swim in the shallowest end, the 3-4 ft end was a melee of arms, floats, coughing and spluttering.

I looked across to the much larger roped off area and saw four children and three teachers at the swimming lessons.

Then, after collecting another bruise from the melee of young arms, I located my two grandchildren and left the froth of the pool.

While I know now the Phoenix pool is closed, when I phoned the Marina Centre on Friday to enquire if family swim was on I was told yes, no mention of swim club. Upon arrival and payment there was no mention of swim club, not a notice on the desk, walls or doors.

Upon leaving 40 minutes later I asked to see the manager and he informed me the details had been put on their web page and is now on the printed timetable. No good for me then, so I asked for a refund and was told it was not possible but I could have a voucher for another swim. But at reception we were told since the new management they no longer did vouchers.

I am now in receipt of my entrance fee and hope the Marina Centre will still be open for my business after the swim club returns to the newly-refurbished Phoenix.

Name and Address withheld