Letters July 1

Floodlights were start of troubles

I READ in the Mercury, June 17, that a resident of Hopton was concerned there may be problems if floodlights are installed on the village’s playing field. She is right to be concerned, very concerned.

Take note of what happened when King George V playing field was developed in Caister in 2003/4. Nearby residents were invited to a meeting with the council and we expressed concern about noise. However, we were promised a sports hall on the fields with sports and social facilities for the whole community, so we were looking forward to it all happening.

What did happen was a very different kettle of fish. Far too much money was spent on the bowls club; a beautiful green, but used by a tiny minority of Caister residents. There was insufficient money to build our sports hall.

All we got were new changing rooms for football and cricket and an incredibly noisy all weather court with floodlights for basketball etc. This was placed too near our homes. I complained but was told it was a legal distance.

No basketball games have ever been played there to my knowledge, it is just used for football and teenagers crash their footballs into the back boards.

The placing of the all-weather court has brought the hooligan element our way too; they target our fences and gardens with their footballs and the language is appalling. Most residents on the eastern side of the field are elderly, housebound, or both.

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It isn’t funny when you have huge teenagers banging on your door and aggressively demanding their balls back.

Caister playing field committee, which is supposed to manage the field, just say they have no money for repairs and fob us off. They don’t care about residents’ problems. All we can do is call the police when anti-social behaviour gets too bad and they do their best to be helpful. Teenagers are often by the pavilion, banging about and drinking until the early hours.

Perhaps Hopton youth is more civilised than in Caister. But be warned Hopton, it could turn into one huge headache.

Name and Address withheld

Teach people to use existing bins

IT was so nice to see a six year old girl taking an interest in the town, and I do agree that Great Yarmouth does get in such a dirty state. I don’t think we need more bins, but people need to be educated to use the bins we have. I have seen people drop their rubbish near a bin.


Burgh Castle

Our lack of pools beggars belief

I REFER to the letter from Mr Kerridge entitled “Swimming record a disgrace”, which recently appeared in the Letters columns.

I find the revelation that Yarmouth has the highest levels of non-swimmers in English coastal towns utterly deplorable. In the past our town boasted several pools with adequate facilities for teaching and training swimmers and there was no lack of keen instructors.

Indeed the successes of our competitive swimmers in those days was said to have put Yarmouth and Gorleston on the world swimming map.

The rot really set in with the wanton destruction of our well-loved, healthful open-air salt water pools in Yarmouth and Gorleston, where so many learned to swim and were of adequate size for international galas and British National Championship meetings to be held.

The eventual provision of the Marina and Phoenix pools, which provide such limited facilities and inadequate space for spectators were no substitute. What a shame Hugh Sturzaker’s dream of a pool at the James Paget Hospital was never allowed to come to fruition! It really does beggar belief that around six local school pools, which provided excellent facilities for teaching young children, have been scrapped.

To me the most alarming consequence of measures which deprive youngsters the chance to learn to swim is that we saddle them with the risk of accidental drowning throughout their lives. In addition they are being deprived of the multiple benefits in health.



I felt so sorry for the elephants

IT is very welcome news that the ban on wild animals performing in circuses has been proposed in the Commons. Having lived near the Great Yarmouth Hippodrome as a child, I was privy to going backstage and at times helped to feed the animals.

They all appeared well looked after, but the ones I felt sorry for were the elephants, who seemed far too big to be caged. However, on summer mornings at about 6am the keepers would sometimes walk the elephants across Marine Parade down to the beach.

How they loved their little bit of freedom. Unfortunately, in the late 1980s this practice came to the attention of the then environmental health department, who banned the visits as being dangerous, as young children might be trampled under foot! I was so incensed I tackled them, pointing out that it was hardly likely there would be many small kids on the beach at 6am.

But the damage was done, and those poor creatures were never again allowed their morning constitutional! A nanny society gone mad even then.



It just shows that people do care

DRIVING home through Caister on Sea one evening this week at around 9.30pm, we came upon a number of cars parked on both sides of the road.

On the edge of the pavement lay an elderly gentleman on his side. His head was bleeding, his bag of shopping lay strewn nearby. A number of motorists had stopped to come to his aid. One lady phoned the paramedics for help and within minutes, a paramedic had arrived and rendered assistance to the old gentleman.

I am writing to highly compliment this young man and the speed and efficiency of his response, and to commend all the people who stopped to help.

Well done, you caring folk of Yarmouth and a great big thank-you to our wonderful paramedic service.


Beach Road,


Player soon got rid of shoppers

GREAT Yarmouth is depressing enough looking around at the empty shops and a few more yet to come.

On what started as a nice day on the market along comes a trumpet player. Well, if you weren’t depressed before, you were by the time you had listened to his repertoire; the Old Rugged Cross and such like.

Lovely if you are at a funeral but, please, do we really want to listen to that in town. The crowd of people soon started to disperse and I even heard one say they were off to Lowestoft. And these were potential customers for Yarmouth.


via Mercury website

There must be a better use of land

SO, another 100 homes to be built. Why? If it goes ahead it means 300-plus people needing electricity, gas, water, doctors, dentists, schools, and work, and we know there aren’t many jobs in the area; so another 200 odd people on income support, and an extra burden on the council and social services.

Yes, I paint a black, but true picture. We don’t need more homes, we need more jobs for the people in the area already hit by redundancy and for youngsters leaving school or university looking for a job.

Why not use the area to attract new businesses? A larger Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, an Ikea, or firms like that. How about attracting engineering firms that would train some of our youngsters, or boat building – anything that can teach our youngsters a trade?

Or what about a market which sells produce from the area? That area can be used in a much better way than building more homes and placing the many services under more pressure.

For once, the mayor had a great idea, and surely there are many people out there who have a useful input into that piece of land, other than building on it.

We are a tourism area, well supposed to be, so I would urge readers to send their ideas to the Mercury to better the area and give more work to the people who live here, and need it.


Yallop Avenue


Could not find a way to mark AFD

JUNE 25 was Armed Forces Day in the UK; I searched the local press in vain to find any event celebrating the chance to pay tribute to our troops, I found nothing. This does not necessarily mean there was nothing, it could be any such events were not publicised.

Lowestoft advertised something, Weybourne had an event and there were two in Norwich but there was nothing obvious in the Great Yarmouth area.

Even the military cadets in the Market Place on Saturday had nothing to indicate it was AFD, at least not in the time I was there. “Super gran” who is doing a skydive to raise funds for the British Legion was holding an AFD flag in her photograph in last week’s Mercury, and good on her, but that was about it.

Surely this cannot mean that in this part of the UK we do not support our forces in these troubled times, I cannot believe this to be the case. Perhaps by the time that this letter is published, the Mercury will be carrying reports of the activities that I missed.

Perhaps we can do better next year. Remember that supporting our troops does not have to mean supporting the conflicts in which they are engaged.


Caister on Sea

This was simply petty-minded

I PAID a visit to my local beach, Gorleston, and was pleased to see a man selling fresh seafood from a van, so I treated myself to nice fresh crab for my tea.

I told the trader I love crab and all seafood and looked forward to calling another day.

Sorry, said the man, but I have been told to move on by the police; someone had called them to complain he was trading there.

How petty to stop a man making an honest living and providing a good and needed service to the community.


Oxford Avenue,


Report warrants apology at least

RE the report in last week’s Mercury, “Discriminatory Ofsted report angers mother”.

I would like to point out to your readers there are many more parents at Peterhouse who are angry over the Ofsted‘s discriminatory report stating that children who receive free school meals are lower achievers than those that have to pay.

Are we really to believe that to have a proper substantiated assessment of how a child is doing in education today we must first check to see if they are entitled to a free school meal?

To use such a method is not only discrimination and an insult to all the parents concerned, but also leads to future problems for parents when their children are mocked by the families that can afford to pay.

In fact, since this report was made public there has already been comments made by some parents stating those children receiving free school meals are bringing down the levels of education for their children, not the desired result one would want for a school that has serious problems with bringing parents and school management together.

I noticed from the article that Ofsted commented using the words “Method of identifying a particular group”. For many of us parents this again can be construed as referring to dividing our children into social classes by using such terminology. Many parents will now be asking themselves whether their children are being treated equally when such divisions exist, are promoted by the school and Ofsted and widely publicised.

Furthermore, it is not only wrong in the parents’ view to use such terminology, but also the mathematics of this method of judging children’s educational achievements is totally flawed.

Let me explain in simple terms. Peterhouse is situated in an area of high unemployment, parents are struggling to find work or they do not have enough available working hours per week to be excluded from the right to have free school meals for their children.

There are other parents who are single mothers or fathers that can’t seek work until their children reach a certain age, or can’t afford the childminding costs.

Then there is another group like myself where parents are either disabled, or incapacitated themselves, or have children with learning difficulties which prevents them from seeking work.

Also, there are many other parents again like myself who have children eligible for free school meals but do not benefit from this right due to their children refusing to eat school dinners.

Personally I and other parents believe there should be at least an apology issued from the school and Ofsted.


Magdalen Way,


Heritage walk was a real treat

ON Tuesday, my sister-in-law and myself went on the heritage Seafront Walk advertised in your paper. We were surprised to find that, apart from the guide, a very friendly and informative gentleman called Leonard, we were the only ones there.

The plus side for us was that we had his attention to ourselves and what an interesting walk we had. We were shown many of the seafront buildings and told some of the stories about them. I won’t spoil it by telling all, just to say go along, it’s a real treat.


Eccles on Sea

Staff fantastic – system rubbish

I SPENT a frustrating hour and a half today (Tuesday) visiting the “dump” at Caister where I found long queues of traffic waiting outside on both occasions.

The dump is being regularly closed for up to 15 minutes at a time to allow full bins to be changed for empty ones. This seems to be a regular occurrence with the time between closures getting shorter. When it re-opens it can take a further 15 to 20 minutes to clear the backlog of traffic waiting outside the gate.

It is obvious this site is now, and never was, fit for purpose, and badly designed with little thought for the layout. The dump needs to be redesigned where a twin bins system can be implemented, one in use and an empty one waiting to take over. I can only point out as an example of a well-laid-out and efficient depot utilising this system as the one that serves the populous of Billingshurst in Sussex.

On a brighter note, the staff at Caister are, without doubt, doing a fantastic job of making the unworkable work. When visiting I have always found them efficient and helpful to the general public. Not only that, but they too are sympathetic to the frustrations of the general public aware themselves of the shortcomings in the depot layout.


West Caister

We value your feedback at First

I WOULD like to apologise to Mrs O Johnson for the bad experience she recently received on the No 2 First Bus service (Mercury, Letters June 24). In response to the comments:

No Sunday bus – due to the reduction in reimbursement for concessionary fares, we had to withdraw the Sunday service in March 2011. There are alternatives to cover the loss of the service.

These include: Service 6 covers Shrublands Estate evenings and Sundays, which is normally served by the 2. Parts of the Sunday service 2 route is covered by service 8, which runs every 30 minutes at nights and on Sundays. Two stops were left unserved on the 2 route, Seawake Close and Selwyn Road. The nearest stop to Seawake Close is Magdalen Way/Trinity Avenue, served by the 8, and Selwyn Road is close to Pine Green, served by the 6 and 7 every 30 minutes. Specific journey: June 17, 2011.

At First we appreciate customer feedback and I would like to ask you to contact our Customer Services team via: 08456 020121 or write in at: Customer Services, First, Rouen House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RB. This way response can be recorded and researched.


Marketing and Communications Co-ordinator

First South East and Midlands