Letters, January 13 2017

Yarmouth gets a poor rail service

I quite often get the train from Great Yarmouth to Norwich, and in my experience this is a very poor service.

I also go on a match day to see Norwich play and yes, the train is always overcrowded, however this service on any day in general is always overcrowded and uncomfortable, which means at times it is difficult to get a seat. There is not much incentive for people to use the train as the journey is not enjoyable.

I also find the connection times from other trains arriving at Norwich very unsympathetic to customers who require passage to Great Yarmouth.

The night service of trains from Norwich to Great Yarmouth is inadequate for people in general who wish to enjoy an evening in the city.

In summary this service quite frankly is not good enough.

As I’m on the subject I also would like to see Great Yarmouth railway station looking more inviting to customers who arrive here as first impressions to our great town are not good. The station and roads to it look dull and drab, a simple solution of planting flowers for all seasons may make a huge difference.

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Thank you all at the James Paget

My mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer early October. She was admitted to hospital on December 16. I would like to thank all the staff involved with her care. Even though everybody was extremely busy nothing was too much trouble.

After the operation she was in ICU then moved to ward 4 so thank you each and every one of you. The James Paget Hospital is a wonderful hospital and I for one will always praise it. We should be thankful of the NHS.



Dogs foul on my open plan garden

Because I have an open plan garden, some dog owners think it’s okay to let their dogs walk across it and often foul. I was caught out last summer when watering my plants and stood right in it.

Yesterday, January 7, someone let their small dog foul on my front path, my Mum arrived and not looking down walked straight into it bringing it into my hall and ruining my nice rug. This is disgusting and thoughtless on their part.

How would they like it on their property? Unfortunately the dog wardens can’t do anything unless they catch them in the act, these people walk their dogs very early in the morning when nobody is about. They know who they are, so I am appealing to their better nature and hope they read this article.

Name withheld

Webster Way,


Be realistic over Straight future

After decades of unfilled promises, the subject of dualling the Acle Straight, continues to be the staple diet of the letters column in the Mercury. And decades on, following on from one delay after another, projected costs not unsurprisingly have now reached astronomic proportions.

With the volume of traffic using the Acle Straight increasing year upon year, it is no longer just a simple matter of dualling the Straight. The infrastructure at the Vauxhall and Gapton roundabouts at the Great Yarmouth end is regularly stretched beyond capacity, resulting in huge tailbacks of traffic in all directions.

In these days of budgetary constraints, it is now time for a more pragmatic solution to be found. Ditching the notion, once and for all, of the Acle Straight ever becoming a dualled highway. What is required, are more realistic and economical ways of improving both the safety on the Straight and the dispersal of traffic at the Yarmouth end of the Straight.

Last month, I wrote to Highways England, who are responsible for managing the A47 and A12 roads in Norfolk, making a Freedom of Information request seeking the answer to a simple question. “What were the number of occasions in 2016 when the A47 Acle Straight was closed to traffic, excluding closures for repairs.”

Highways England wrote back that currently they only hold data for the first nine months of 2016. But during those nine months, the Acle Straight had only been closed on three occasions. All of which were due to collisions. Once in March, once in July and once in August.

In recent months, I thought it was more like three times a week!

The lack of collation of reliable and accurate data by any organisation goes a long way I would suspect in explaining why, anything to do with the Acle Straight, keeps on being kicked into the long grass.

As I see it, there are two issues that need addressing with some immediacy. And certainly not left to be raked over, time and time again, in the next decade or the one after that. Firstly, safety improvements. Not just the few extra signs and kerb realignments that are due, rather belatedly, to be carried out in February. That is just tinkering at the margins. Secondly, improvements to the management of traffic at the Yarmouth end of the Straight.

Safety is any easy, relatively low cost issue to deal with. Double white lines and a 50mph speed limit running from one end of the Straight to the other. A 40mph mandatory, not the existing advisory 40mph speed limit, at the Halvergate turn and average speed cameras.

Managing the build up of traffic at Yarmouth can be alleviated by diverting Caister bound traffic away from the Vauxhall roundabout via a spur road. And redesigning the Vauxhall and Gapton roundabouts and adding a third westbound lane by the entrance of the Gapton retail park, which is the cause of much of the traffic chaos in that area.

Both much more economic, realistic and achievable options than dualling. Which, we should stop kidding ourselves about. It is just never, ever going to happen. Simple as that.



Saturday service on bank holiday

In response to two letters in last week’s Mercury. Firstly, the sender who complained about a Sunday bus service on Tuesday, December 27 should note First actually ran a Saturday service on both that Bank Holiday and also on the following Bank Holiday Monday, January 2.

This information was widely displayed on buses, in Market Gates, on First’s website and in the local press. This meant there was a normal service to Lowestoft, Norwich and to all areas of the town!

As to why this person wants the council to intervene is beyond me as all the bus operators are now run without any interference from the local authorities and can decide what sort of service they want to run at holiday times.

As to the suggestion from Bob Ward about laying a road on the track bed from Great Yarmouth to Acle - words fail me! First we should be encouraging cars off the road and not increasing the number and secondly if such a plan was adopted how would cars gain access to this “new road”?

The junctions at both ends of the Acle Straight are already gridlocked at times and this odd suggestion would only make it worse. I can only assume Mr Ward is a car driver!


East Norfolk Transport Users Association

Why not get community fit?

Don’t want to join a gym but want to get fit in a different way? Then why not get community fit for 2017. The Great Yarmouth Community Trust has various voluntary opportunities for people to get involved in, with lots to gain including meeting new people, learning new skills and positive mental health by feeling valued. Whether you enjoy cooking and join the community lunch team, have IT/internet skills people can share in the internet café or have fun with learning in the children’s centre.

Contact us to find out more information or what other opportunities we have. Call me on 01493 743014 or email volunteer@gyctrust.co.uk


Volunteering Co-ordinator

Many subjects up for criticism

In last week’s Mercury, the Winter Gardens, Marina Bowls Club, Marina Skate Club, Gapton Hall area and inadequate public transport were all subjects of criticism of our councillors, not unfair criticism. This is ongoing and follows other decisions of recent times a few of which are:

nBlighting houses eight years ago for non-existent third river crossing Blighting of port business with 1st East plans for “yuppie” housing Giant TV screens

nThe gradual removal of sport facilities, tennis courts and bowls greens on North Drive to replace with car parking

nGeneral car parking policy

nDemolition of the historic Jetty Pier

nFailure to repair the West Bank north of Gorleston Icehouse

If these people were in private business they would have been gone long ago. I rest my case.


Burnt Lane,


Stop complaining, register your view

For decades people have been complaining about the poor state of our town centre but this month we have an opportunity to do something about it. The long awaited draft Town Centre Master Plan is out for public consultation this month and I do urge all who have an interest in the future of our town to take note and register their views.

The draft plan can be found on the Borough Council website by typing in Town Centre Master Plan and events will be held throughout the borough over the next few weeks along with a display in the Town Hall.

Overall, I think it is a good plan although I have several suggestions to make. What is important is that people put forward their views and the planners take note and take action. Great Yarmouth has enormous potential with its heritage and culture and this report must not be left gathering dust on the shelf.



Dualling would allow more speed

It’s that time again to raise the problems of the Acle Straight. I note with interest the issues that Paul Masters raise.

Firstly. I am at a loss to understand how he has driven along that road on a daily basis for as long as he has because if I read into his letter it would seem as though he wants to be the only person using that road when he chooses to travel. He points out that lorries, vans, coaches, buses and tractors all use that same road and are travelling at no more than 50mph so it’s obvious the road is well used.

It is with that in mind we, as “the other road users”, are possibly responsible for him being able to drive along that same road today in that he hasn’t become another of those statistics we so regularly hear of. If I understand his problems he seems to think the only answer to reducing the road traffic accidents is to dual the road and by so doing it would allow him to travel the seven miles or so in a faster time. I ask how many risks do you have to take in order to save 15 minutes on a journey.

As a former fireman once stationed both at Acle and Great Yarmouth it was not uncommon for us to have to attend a road traffic accident in the early hours of the morning when there was very little other traffic on the road, so I ask Mr Masters that being the case how is it the fault of the road?

I agree there are a number of things that could and should be done to improve our journey to Acle and beyond but until these changes get put into place then we, as road users, need to drive in a manner that will not endanger others using that same road. This road never was and never will be a race track.



Burglary has left us traumatised

May I urge all homeowners to improve their security via CCTV, higher fences and locks on all gates and windows (with keys removed). I urge this because on Friday, December 9 while my wife and I were out, a burglar relieved us of £110 in cash and £40 in commemorative 50p coins.

After smashing a rear window the person then ransacked our bedroom.After contacting the insurance company the window was boarded up and eventually replaced on January 5 this year. Our claim was unsuccessful due to a very high excess of which I was unaware.

The whole episode cast a very long shadow over Christmas and new year celebrations and left us both feeling traumatised. As a result of the incident, I have installed CCTV, extra locks etc at an approx cost of £1,000, money I could not afford.

There has been several burglaries within the borough through Caister, North Yarmouth and Southtown. The police and forensic people have been very thorough in their endeavours to find the individuals responsible so I would ask anyone with information to contact Great Yarmouth police station with information.

I also believe the courts when sentencing these undesirables do not take into account the suffering caused to the householder.

I urge Yarmouth Borough Council to install CCTV from Sandown Road to North Denes camp, an area of increased footfall.


Great Yarmouth

Why let the sea claim low land?

The Norfolk coastline has been under threat for many years, but sea defences were built and have been largely effective. Why then do the powers that be feel the time has come to let the sea claim the low lying land around the coast, including isolating the Bacton gas site and indeed, the prospect of losing the Broads themselves? To me it’s pure madness.

People are set to lose their homes, others their livelihoods, their village and community apart from the farmland being surrendered to the waves. Eventually the sea will have to be halted, by which time the coastline will be much longer and vastly more expensive to defend.

There are two petitions for the public to sign. one in some outlets around the coast, the other online, at petition.parliament.uk/petitions/167171. If you have a problem in the link, search for Fight for Funding for an effective coastal defence scheme. It’s the online petition which requires 10,000-plus signatures to make the government take notice. Why then have the vast majority of Norfolk people failed to sign it? Don’t they care?



Shocked to hear about flooding

With reference to the report on the Gorleston Area Committee meeting at the library on December 13 (Mercury, December 16), some details were left out. We were shocked to hear the experiences of the residents who live near the White Horse roundabout, regarding regular flooding and sewerage problems. Half an hour was spent with each resident relaying their experiences.

One lady had lived in her home for 50 years. The carer had to walk through sewage to get to the front door and clean her shoes afterwards.

I was there to hear the latest update on the White Lion steps. Someone asked if the residents in the nearby houses had a reduction in their council tax!

Council leader Graham Plant mentioned that thousands of pounds had been spent on legal fees. Pity they didn’t contact a contractor straight away and send a few lorries over to clear the rubble from the steps – a public right of way – and the responsibility of the Norfolk County Council, instead of leaving it for what will be five years in April.




Keep the lights burning at pub

Thousands of people, young and old, local and visitors, have enjoyed the hospitality and entertainment put on by the Queen’s Head at Burgh Castle since it was built some 134 years ago.Now on our watch the local press tells us demolition is the order of the day, followed by the suggestion that affordable housing could fill the empty site.

The local council advises, that in this instance no permission is required to demolish, but a planning application would be needed to build.

The Queen’s Head, managed by Dawn Rising and her team, offers a fine range of food, drinks and accommodation at fair prices in a competitive market and is without doubt a fine example of a local amenity.

With over 50 years of small business involvement I am aware how difficult it is to operate at a profit, but it can be done. Let 2017 be the year the resident of Burgh Castle and its many visitors support and keep the lights burning bright at the Queen’s Head.


Burgh Castle

Dualling the Acle Straight is vital

Your correspondents raised some interesting points regarding the Acle Straight and it is encouraging that our MP has announced some safety improvements are to be made to it. However, it is vital this road link between our town and Norfolk and the rest of the country should be dualled if Great Yarmouth is to prosper.

It is difficult to understand why our planners can even consider another bridge, which will doubtless take years and probably overrun on costs. I accept some sort of lifting bridge is envisaged but operating it would always consume time and slow down traffic in the process and the already overloaded western bypass would not be able to cope.

There are two heavily congested roundabouts and an inadequate swing bridge, a large retail shopping centre, and a school for good measure, to be considered. Perhaps we should revert to the good old days of horse drawn wagons and a toll booth at Vauxhall!