Letters, July 29

Sad day for our coastguards

THE news that the coastguard station is to be closed and the service moved to Humberside is another example of no one listening to people with local knowledge. It’s obvious that lives will be put in danger, not to mention yet more people thrown on the dole. Great Yarmouth is a Maritime Borough and as such should retain its own coastguard.

It’s a disgrace that the opinions of our own brave lifeboatmen were not represented sympathetically in the Commons, and party politics ruled the day!

PAULINE LYNCH

Bradwell


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My tribute to our dedicated staff

ALTHOUGH I cannot comment on the actual closure by the Government of Yarmouth Coastguard station, I can correct some of the inaccuracies in the story that you printed last Friday.

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1 You head the story with Lifeboat Centres; we are not Lifeboat but Coastguard.

2 Staff will be allowed to apply for new roles within the service at any of the remaining centres or coastal locations, all jobs are on open competition

3 We are not called handlers and the staff at the remaining stations will still be trained coastguard officers

4 Our local MP Mr Lewis needs to be more aware that at present Yarmouth is a 24-hour station and has never not had officers on duty; we may have asked Humber to assist if we are shorthanded, but there has always been staff on duty in the Yarmouth control room

5 The statement that there will be two main co-ordination centres plus a daytime one at Dover is not correct. That was the old proposal. There will be a main UK centre in the Southampton and Portsmouth area with 24-hour stations at Falmouth, Milford Haven, Holyhead, Belfast, Stornoway, Shetland, Aberdeen, Humber and Dover. With a single manned London station.

6 The statement that there will be an extra 32 volunteer Coastguards in the Yarmouth station’s area is totally false. There will be an extra 32 sector managers to be added to the total UK and NI staff, bringing them back to the 1996 level of just over 90. These officers are the ones who train and recruit the Volunteer Coastguards, who will remain as before as a front line service.

Finally, further details of how the service will operate will be forthcoming in the coming months. However, I would like to pay tribute the professionalism of the staff at Yarmouth who have stayed resolute throughout this traumatic time and will continue to do their duty right up until the station closes. A date for this has not yet been set.

COLIN TOMLINSON

Rescue Centre Manager

Yarmouth Coastguard

Poor response to a critical change

CAN anyone believe the response to the axing of the East Anglian Coastguard service, by our elected Member of Parliament, Brandon Lewis! “It’s a shame we will be losing jobs.”

Still, never mind, worse things happen at sea. Do the people this directly affects think it’s a shame? Does he expect them to merely up sticks and move to sunny Humberside.

“Come on, get a grip, this is people’s livelihoods being messed about, let alone public safety.

Well Mr Lewis, I’ve got news for you: You were elected to represent and protect the interests of the local electorate.

JIM MALLARD

Beach Road

Winterton on Sea

Parking is just fine the way it is

COUNCIL deputy leader Charles Reynolds doesn’t know what he is talking about when it comes to parking in Yarmouth (“Axe for town park scheme” Mercury, July 22).

This is, in fact, the second time he has tried to axe the scheme and I am confident once local residents and businesses are given “the chance to have their say”, he will again get a resounding “No” from those who remember the previous free-for-all parking chaos in the residential streets behind the seafront.

People who live in those terraced streets – without the benefit of private garages and off-street parking, like the permit scheme as it is and they will vote overwhelmingly to keep it. It has significantly improved their quality of life over the past six years.

Parking charges in Yarmouth bring in a million pounds a year in revenue and in the 2009 and 2010 seasons aggregate profits of more than �600,000 were earned to spend on public transport, residents parking and CCTV intiatives. Why won’t Cllr Reynolds acknowledge that, apart from Beach Road, Caister and High Street, Gorleston, all those pay and display car parks are actually in the town areas of Yarmouth itself.

He hasn’t got a mandate from the public for what he is trying to do and, for what it’s worth, his party hasn’t either, because nine out of 10 councillors in the town are Labour. Residents’ permit parking isn’t really a political issue because all major seaside resorts use it to protect their residents – Blackpool, Bridlington, Brighton and Bournemouth and the rest – Tory or Labour Councils – no difference.

The difference here seems to be most of the powers that be on our council live in the northern and southern parishes. They are totally out of touch with the challenges faced by people in the town area. Cllr Reynolds has made it a political issue – but he will not prevail.

Cllr MICK CASTLE

Yarmouth Central & Northgate ward

Birdbath is back!

THE Mercury last week printed a piece about the theft of a birdbath from my front garden. I am pleased to say that as a result of this item, the birdbath has been recovered and now is back in place.

May I take this opportunity to thank the person concerned for their help in finding this object. I know that the local birds will also be happy as we have had a magpie, wood pigeons and smaller birds searching for their “local” watering hole!

MIKE RANDALL

Blake Road, Great Yarmouth

Theatre and staff both excellent

I WENT to Gorleston Pavilion for the first time on July 23, as I had been waiting for months to see saxophonist Julian Smith.

What a lovely theatre, I so enjoyed going there. The staff were excellent and I would certainly love to go there again. I am so pleased they invited Julian Smith there as I want him to have the recognition he rightly deserves! Please Gorleston Pavilion, invite him back.

And maybe, Yarmouth, you could invite him to do a summer show as I am sure there are many saxophone music lovers out there as the theatre was full. Well done Gorleston Pavilion.

MARY KING

Email

Seafront was big disappointment

HAVING read the letter from Pauline Lynch (Mercury, July 22) I felt I had to express my opinion about Great Yarmouth.

Having met relatives from Malta, I asked if they would like to drive along the seafront to see what Yarmouth had to offer.

We had a pleasant meal at the Carvery at the Castle in Caister, leaving there just after 9pm on Tuesday evening, and drove over Jellicoe Road bridge on to North Drive. What a disappointment!

Had Yarmouth closed down (as have many of the Market Place shops)? The Venetian Waterways, a childhood treat for me, was all closed up, as was the boating lake.

Ah well, on to Marine Parade, where I thought there would be life to show the Maltese visitors but no, Joyland, the Adventure Playground, Marina Centre, Sealife, Model Village and the Pleasure Beach were all closed, at 9.30pm. The only places open were the amusement arcades and guess what, nobody was in them.

What a disappointment as I had praised Yarmouth up to the hilt as a premier resort.

I have now had to change my opinion. Come on traders, wake up, this is 2011 and folks want to do and see something after 7pm.

DAVID LAKE

Hilldene Avenue

Romford,

Essex

Thanks for your words of praise

I WAS quite chuffed to read a very complimentary letter in the Mercury. I do not seek praise or heroics for trying to help the Help for Heroes campaign and raise funds for Blesma as an old soldier.

I do not know the name of the writer to thank him/her.

As a result of the publicity I have received, I have been asked to open the fete at Martham on Sunday, August 7, for Help for Heroes, which my special charity, the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association (Blesma) works very closely with. I look forward to meeting people there.

JOHN GREEN MBE

Address withheld

Why not fill our town with music

REGARDING music in the Market Place in Great Yarmouth. Myself and those sitting around me were pleased to relax and listen to some decent music; and again, a welcome to Richard Stark and Andrew Hubbard.

How pleasant not to have tin can music thrown at us from open window cars thumping loud enough to rattle the cups in my kitchen as they pass. Like many others, I like music, all sorts, and admire those able and willing enough to give others pleasure from the talent they enjoy, whether it’s trumpet, violin, organ, pipes, big bands, small bands or just plain singing. Quiet music is food for the soul and is as welcome to some as lively music is to others. Let’s have it all.

Some holidaymakers sitting near me remarked what an ideal setting the Market Place was where you can sit and eat and be entertained for free at the same time. They wanted to know if it happened every day. They were pleased with the shops also.

So come on Yarmouth, upgrade. Get St George’s theatre up and running and then let’s have more music, more singers and even more buskers in the Market Place.

You never know, we could claim to be a Stratford on Avon or even a Covent Garden by the Sea!

HELEN E LANGSTONE

Rampart Road,

Great Yarmouth

Don’t mess with permit scheme

AXE for town parking scheme? No. I should like to put in writing we are totally against the removal of this scheme.

My partner and I moved into Trafalgar Road to run a guesthouse in 2006, before the scheme started, and parking was absolute chaos for local guesthouses, with potential guests leaving because they were unable to park. At least, at present, we know they will get parked within the permit area.

There are plenty of car parking spaces for day trippers to park, without the need to use the parking permit zone.

What other holiday resorts or towns these days allow free parking for visitors? If the scheme was scrapped, day trippers would obviously take up all the available free street parking first and then resort to pay and display. This would obviously take revenue away from the existing car parks and pay and display areas plus cause extreme problems for guesthouses within the permit zone.

Cllr Reynolds’ remark that “we want to send out the message that this town is open for business and car-friendly” is quite ridiculous. I thought the whole point these days was to encourage people to use public transport – whatever happened to the proposed Park & Ride?

Perhaps he ought to come and see at first hand what it is like for parking, especially during the busy season and bank holidays, and see how much worse it would be for local businesses if the scheme was not in place.

How na�ve of the council to believe the revenue from the scheme would not decrease over the years as visitors became more aware of the restrictions.

Why on earth did they not introduce an annual increase in the cost of permits, at least in line with inflation, which would have gone someway to offset the deficit?

The WARREN GUESTHOUSE

Trafalgar Road

Great Yarmouth

Why not simply increase fees?

HOW can you run a residents’ parking scheme and complain it is running at a loss, without increasing parking fees?

If this scheme is not working, why is it that all the councillors who live in the parking zone have permits? In the early 1980s when canvassing Priory Gardens and priory Plain, the number one complaint was the inability to park near homes. Other people’s cars were parked, sometimes for weeks, in front of their houses.

When permit parking was introduced in this area there was a 90pc take-up of permits. The council car parking income has declined this summer. Does the council believe the abolition of permit parking, creating town centre free parking spaces, will help this problem?

Cllr MIKE TAYLOR

Central and Northgate Ward

What a totally appalling move

AS the local councillors for Nelson Ward we are totally against the recommendation from the borough council’s car parking strategy steering group to scrap the residents’ parking scheme. It is an appalling decision. Not one of the committee members who reached that decision live in or represent the area.

It will not affect any of them on a personal level unlike the residents who live there. They have no concept of the difficulty that residents face on a daily basis to be able to park close to their homes. The introduction of the parking permit scheme was to help such residents and this has been working well. The argument from the committee is that the scheme is not paying for itself.

Tell us why this hasn’t been looked at before and changes made to make it more viable? The introduction of pay and display parking would be a start.

The suggestion from Norfolk County Council that the scheme remains in place for another 12 months was not even taken into consideration.

With the abolishment of this scheme, the people who are parking elsewhere will inevitably return and park in these residential areas for free. Therefore the revenue for paid parking which many of them are using will also be lost. The residents who live in the area, who let’s not forget are also ratepayers, have been let down. We have already heard from many very unhappy locals and we suspect this is just the beginning…

KERRY ROBINSON PAYNE

MICHAEL JEAL

VALERIE PETTIT

Why does this shortfall exist?

FOLLOWING the front page article on axing the permit parking for residents, it is not clear why the scheme is creating such a shortfall.

I appreciate there was an initial cost in setting up the scheme with road signs and notices and there would be some administration costs ongoing with issuing the permits.

If existing council staff are dealing with this administration and Great Yarmouth had traffic wardens already in place, the �80,000 rise in the deficit over the last two to three years appears puzzling. If extra staff were employed to run this scheme, is the shortfall due to staff costs, and would there be job losses if the scheme was axed?

The amount of permits issued as published would mean the annual income to the scheme would be in excess of �50,000. On the face of it, it would seem successful with the knock-on effect of increasing the use of car parks and on-street pay and display schemes.

I understand Great Yarmouth wants to attract people. Cllr Reynolds states: “We want to send a message that the town is open for business and car-friendly.”

I believe the majority of people would expect to pay to park as we all do in most towns and cities around the country. I believe it is far better for residents to pay a fee to enable them to park easily outside their own property.

Mrs C PYZER

Great Yarmouth

We would pay more for permits

WE, The Priory Residents Association, are appealing against the decision of a proposal to scrap the permit parking scheme (Mercury, July 22).

We live in a small cul-de-sac, a stone’s throw from the Market Place, and have been fighting for many years for such a scheme. If it scrapped we stand very little chance of being able to park near to our homes, because at the end of our cul-de-sac is a very busy nursery, and adjoining that is The Priory Centre which caters for many educational classes.

Add these car users to market traders’ vans and town workers parking all day and you will see our problem. Most of our residents are retired people, shift workers and housewives who need to park during the day near to their homes, and there is nowhere close by for us to park if our two roads are full (this includes a small area of Priory Plain).

We, as residents, would be prepared to pay more for our permits if required, so why cannot the permits remain whilst putting in meters for those from outside the area?

It’s okay for the likes of Charles Reynolds to vote in favour of scrapping the scheme because he probably doesn’t live in the town centre. We agree with Michael Jeal that scrapping the scheme shows little consideration for the residents who live here 52 weeks of the year. Perhaps, if car parking charges were lowered, more people would come into the town to shop, because with more business premises closing and high car park charges there is no incentive for people to come to Yarmouth.

The “whole picture” needs to be looked at because scrapping this scheme is NOT going to bring people into town.

PRIORY RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION

Fining visitors is not way forward

HAVING read about the possible axing of the residents’ parking scheme, it seems that once again the visitors are being given priority over the residents.

Why is it that numerous residents’ parking schemes have been running for years in other parts of the country (Norwich is the nearest I can think of) without the constant threat of abandonment?

The economical management was seriously flawed if they expected to run a scheme based on the profit received from parking fines, after all, once bitten twice shy, and certainly not the way to encourage visitors into the town. I can see the publicity adverts now: “Come to Great Yarmouth and park where you like, the money from your fine can then subsidise our residents’ parking scheme”.

Is there a genuine reason why some of the money made from all the pay and display machines cannot be used to subsidise the scheme, and benefit the local residents who have suffered, until four years ago, the constant driving around looking for a parking space.

Mr Charles Reynolds and his steering group should be made to come and live in our area for a period during the summer months and try parking after the 6pm watershed when there is already a “free for all”.

They could then experience trying to park in the evening, particularly whilst the Hippodrome has its evening performances, no offence to Mr Jay, and on Wednesdays when the fireworks are set off at the Jetty. They would certainly want to retain the residents’ permits then, and in fact would probably extend it until later in the evening.

His quote: “We want to get the kids, mum, dad and granny out of the car and start spending in the town” is immaterial to the permit scheme; have they not cottoned on to the fact that many people have not got the money to spend freely and in many instances can only just afford a holiday at all.

Incidentally, I am not surprised only 91 replies were received in response to the consultation letter. Having spoken to several long-time residents in our immediate area, they said they received no such letter; why they do not know.

MOLLIE TIMBY

Lancaster Road

Great Yarmouth

For our sakes –listen to voters

WHAT on earth is going on with our MP who thinks it is okay to close Great Yarmouth Coastguard station. He said in an interview on television that money has to be saved. So is money more important to Brandon Lewis than saving lives?

Surely Mr Lewis was voted in to represent the people of Yarmouth; he should be fighting tooth and nail to keep the Coastguard station operative. Waveney MP Mr Aldous, as I read in the Lowestoft Journal last week, is trying to keep the station open.

I would like to know if Mr Lewis has a conscience, if one life is lost because of the local knowledge that will not be available when the station closes. Having been at sea for a considerable part of my life I know how important it is to have local knowledge when engaging local lifeboat and coastguard services.

It makes me wonder what other issues Mr Lewis has with representing his constituents.People will remember come the next general election.

Come on Mr Lewis, represent your voters and listen. After all, that is what Mr Cameron says the Conservative party is good at doing.

COLIN ALDRED

Groomes Close

Hopton on sea

Disappointed at council response

AT the Conservative-led Great Yarmouth Borough Council meeting on Tuesday night, I asked the leader Cllr Steve Ames if the council had, or will, oppose the closure of the Coastguard Station.

Whilst disappointed, I was not surprised to find out the council has no intention to lobby for the retention of the Coastguard Station or for the jobs that will be lost. On safety: Cllr Ames shared the local MP’s view that local knowledge will be maintained by those working at the Humber Coastguard Station.

On a more positive note I wish to congratulate Richard Howett MEP who unlike the local Conservatives has publically opposed the closure of the Coastguard Station standing up for local jobs and public safety. Those wishing to respond to the consultation on the closure of our coastguard station have until October 6, 2011, to do so. The document is available from http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/

LEE SUTTON

Willow Way

Martham

No place for poo

I WOULD just like to say to dog walkers that go up and down Claydon Grove regularly, that my neighbour and myself have no objections, except to the minority that hang their used dog mess bags on my foliage and stand them on my neighbour’s wall.

If I see them do this in future, I will follow them home and repay the gesture. People who have a dog can at least take the poo home or use one of the bins provided on Burgh Road. It’s disgusting!

JULIE ELLIS

Email

Good to savour our local wildlife

LAST Wednesday evening, I was on my way to north Yarmouth and I decided to walk through the cemetery to savour the peace and quiet and enjoy the wildlife; I was not disappointed. I had hardly stepped out along the path when I noticed a proliferation of what was once a rare sight, namely a tin cannicus especially of the lager variety.

Further along the path I was treated to yet more delights. Amongst a glorious tangle or honeysuckle and brambles, there were strange blue and white blooms strewn from branch to branch, caught like strands of gossamer. On close examination, I discovered these blooms had convenient handles for easy gathering.

Eagerly I pressed on and soon came across a family who had been granted exemption from the “no dogs” rule as they were clearly training two dogs to appear on Britain’s Got Talent. One of the adults was training the dogs to leap up and swing by their teeth from low branches. This exercise was obviously quite difficult and required many attempts and broken branches before it was decided to call it a day and leave the debris as proof they had exercised their well earned exemption.

As I came to the end of my walk, I reflected on how man has shaped the environment. I hope we will continue to encourage and protect these valuable new species so future generations can enjoy them for many years to come.

JOAN DONOHOE

University Crescent

Gorleston

Let’s push for more openness

WITHOUT accountability responsibility can’t be assessed. Have we learned anything from the Murdoch fiasco?

Why have GYBC and NCC ensured details of what many believe to be flawed negotiations being hidden for 30 years? Why do they want to avoid accountability? Commercial sensitivity is given as the reason. I ask what is so sensitive that ratepayers who have contributed and lost so much cannot be told?

Our country and borough is moving towards more and more secrecy and we are all to blame because we haven’t demanded accountability or punished our leaders through the ballot box. If residents would only come forward to express their thoughts, not only on the outer harbour but also the other cases stated last week where council inefficiency has cost ratepayers dearly we would a have better run country and borough.

At the moment councillors know we can be ignored because of our apathy.

Politicians may talk of an open society but they don’t mean it, we need to fight for it.

DENNIS DURRANT

Brett Avenue

Gorleston

Still no solution to Cyprus crisis

JULY 20, 1974, was a Black Day for Cyprus. This small island in the Mediterranean Sea, was invaded by Turkey. Almost 200,000 Greek Cypriots fled in terror before the advancing Turkish Army, and were never to be allowed to return to their homes.

Thirty seven years on, and still no solution, and no return to our homes and towns.

Where are the big powers, who went to liberate the people of Iraq and Afghanistan? Why are they not liberating the Cypriots from their ordeal and helping find a solution to the problem?

But Cyprus unfortunately only produces olive oil and not crude oil – that is the difference! And what is more hypocritical, they are now trying to put Turkey in the EU, through the back door, without solving the Cyprus situation, without telling us where are the 619 missing people and with no respect for human rights.

MIRIAM KIKIS

North Quay

Great Yarmouth

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