Letters, June 17

Is by-election not important?

FIRSTLY respect to Cllr Steve Ames, the new leader of the council in answering a resident’s concern in the Mercury letter pages. Perhaps it is a sign of a more open council?

Cllr Ames misses the point about my complaint regarding where the notice of by-election in Gorleston’s St Andrew’ ward was publicised. Important notices demand the best means of informing as many residents as possible. The council website, the library and council notice board certainly do not fulfill that requirement. This is a way of concealing news from the majority, little better than putting it in Bradford Daily Times. We have the Mercury and Advertiser which are widely read by the target audience as acknowledged by their use for other GYBC notices. Was the by-election not regarded sufficiently important to take it direct to residents?

In response to Paul Scales, regular readers know that I have made the point several times that the blame for giving away of the pier rests with GYBC and that Eastport, with the interests of its shareholders in mind, will do what is best for them. GYBC is wholly responsible for not making the new owners responsible for its total upkeep during negotiations. It is part of a conservation area but GYBC are reluctant to take Eastport to task to do something about the state it is in. GYBC did not consult residents when giving our pier away, so I don’t understand the “we”? This together with the other parts of what we feel were flawed outer harbour negotiations is what John Cooper and I are continuing to bring to residents notice. Eastport told us several weeks ago they would have engineers look at the pier structure to see what repairs were needed, and we await the answers.

Eastport has yet to show any reason for our gratitude or good neighbourliness. A meeting with START (who?) and a lick of paint is a start (no pun) perhaps but we need more, a lot more and it is only GYBC who can do this. Why are they slow to do this?


Brett Avenue,

Most Read

Gorleston on Sea

Safety group

merry go round

RE the cancellation of Caister Carnival parade along the roads. The police spokesman attempts to explain the situation by saying that “they will have to consult the Safety Action Group”.

This group comprises 15 people of which nine would automatically talk to each other, or you would have thought so. There are three from Norfolk Constabulary, two from the Ambulance Service, two from Fire and Rescue, one from Traffic Management and one from NCC Road Closures. So they refer you back to themselves! Let’s all join the merry go round.

One final point: Of the two fire and rescue members only one provides phone contact numbers and no numbers are available on the website for the ambulance service.


Claydon Grove


Market Place

birds danger

SINCE retiring, I find I am turning into a grumpy old woman, like on the TV series. But this time I am sure a lot of people might agree about the pigeons and the large seagulls in the market place, and how dangerous they have become. There was time when it was nice to sit and just relax on the seats. But now they are all over the place and they do go for people.

I see people giving them food and they love the chips, but I really think it is getting worse. I looked for a sign to see if it is forbidden to feed the birds and if there is one it must be hidden. The sign in Norwich in their market place is for all to see. Will it stop the birds coming? I don’t think so, but they are a pain and people want to just walk about and not get messed on and attacked. When someone is attacked, then perhaps the council will put up more No Feeding the Birds signs.


Trinity Avenue,


So undemocratic

ONE can understand J Cooper’s annoyance at missing out on being able to stand at the forthcoming by-election. This is just another example of the undemocratic way the “powers that be” operate. A case in point being the disgraceful way the closure of the peninsular road around the harbour was handled. The proposed closure notices were displayed on posts around the harbour’s mouth, thus ensuring as few people as possible were made aware of the plan. As this area remains barren, why can’t those gates be removed to give access back to the people?


Mill Lane,


‘Ministry’ pokes

it’s nose in

THE Ministry of Stupid Ideas has once again poked its unwelcome nose into a local issue in the form of Caister Carnival parade. Will an inspector from the “ministry” carry out risk assessments on children twisting an ankle. Leave our carnival parade alone, I am sure we can manage on our own.



Riverside homes

plan ‘ludicrous’

IT has been said many times that Eastport UK doing their own monitoring was at best illogical. Are we going to see GYBC, a signatory of the 2003 agreement, come out in support of Eastport, as they have in the past. By this I mean, GYBC is on file as saying it will do whatever it can to assist them, using powers of Compulsory Purchase or what ever it takes to make the outer harbour a success.

I am not an environment engineer but I do know the outer harbour was not built as the original plans called for (paid for by the ratepayers). So it stands to reason if the harbour was not built as planned, following the years of research, then who is to say that the loss of the Hopton beach is not the result. A public inquiry is desperately needed.

Michael Boon, former CEO of Great Yarmouth Port Authority stated last week: “The Pier is owned by the Great Yarmouth Port Authority”. This is incorrect; among papers acquired under the FOI act are GYBC documents listing what land and buildings was given “leasehold” to Eastport UK and what land and buildings were giving “freehold”. Gorleston Pier was given freehold, and freehold in my book means Eastport UK owns the pier.

And Mr P Scales’ letter, good hands indeed. Why is it the pier is being allowed to rot, the facility unusable for our declining tourist industry. I did not notice any communiqu� from our cabinet council that gave ratepayers an inkling of what they were planning, and in doing so giving us a chance to object. The ratepayers did not give it away!

Now the homes that developers want to build on Riverside Road. I have much admiration for Mr Terry Hall. But homes built alongside a working river is totally ludicrous.

If those homes are built, industrial land will be lost along with any chance of employment, schools will be over subscribed, doctors will be inundated as will dentists, and traffic will increase. But much worse in my view is our council on past performance will listen to the complaints of any new residents about noise from the businesses on the opposite side of the river and shut them down - more lost employment, then what? Sell the empty leases to IPH to include the land in the outer harbour complex?



Praise for Paget

I HAVE to write in defence of our local hospital, the James Paget. I am an elderly patient in my 80s and have nothing but praise. I have been attending the eye clinic for many years having inherited an eye disease which causes blindness if untreated. I have had surgery twice to help improve my sight and my treatment is ongoing. I have also had emergency admissions twice, having collapsed on both occasions, and cared for on medical wards with the best of care.



Caister Carnival

will go on

I FEEL we must make a few things clear regarding the cancellation of this year’s Carnival Procession as reported in the Mercury. In the first instance it is early days to talk about the carnival’s future being in jeopardy, Norfolk Broads Lions Club will continue to organise the event. Whilst we have the support of local volunteer groups and the general public we will continue and we are indeed sorry to have had to cancel the procession.

Since 1977 we have enjoyed a good working relationship with local police and they have provided all the services required in particular the traffic control systems. Last year they provided a service and I understand verbal advice was given that future services would not be provided. It would have helped if formal written notification had been given to the club.

This year we were directed to Norfolk County Council Highways to apply for road closure authority, this was done and we had to pay a fee. At this time we were supplied with notices of road closures which we posted on the route, these have now been removed. At this time no mention was made regarding the police withdrawal of their services, however quite recently we were advised of this by the highway department.

We were advised to contact a local private company who provide the services we required, however the costs involved proved prohibitive, we therefore decided to cancel the procession. The reasons for this was the responsibility of safety for those taking part, in particular the many young people. The duties to be covered are beyond our membership resources.

We will be holding a parade on the playing field within the arena, participants have been advised, and we invite anyone else who would like to take part to contact Lion David Amiss on 01493 750705. We hope everyone has a wonderful day and supports our local volunteer groups to raise much needed funds.


Norfolk Broads Lions

A dirty world

THIS world is getting too dirty because of all the litter on the streets. Please can we have more litter bins so that people will be able to use them rather than the floor. At the weekend my uncle and I spent the afternoon on Southtown Common picking up litter that other people had dropped. If there were more bins perhaps people would use them more. I am concerned about our planet. Can anyone help?



Wonderful times

IT was nice to see in Porthole the mention of Gorleston Chamber of Trade. It brought back wonderful memories and the good times we had. The names of Robert Carter, Percy Field, Len Fleetwood, Bill White, Bert Hart and Mrs Dot Wright all were good friends. I was the organiser of the Trade Fairs at the holiday camp for a number of years and at the age of 84 I am still active with the Lowestoft U3A; I assisted with the start-up of the Yarmouth U3A. I suppose I am still an Hon Vice President of the Gorleston Chamber of Trade but have not been in touch for several years.


Stradbroke Road


Was appeal letter

deliberately late?

LIVING where I do for the last 35 years, I love the peace and quiet of beautiful Gorleston. I welcomed Jay Jays as a lovely caf� with good food and welcoming staff. However, I did not agree with the council in allowing drink and music as I can imagine the lager louts and drunks that will appear where drink and music are available.

I received a letter yesterday saying as a complainant I could go to appeal, which must be done within 21 days of the letter date. Yesterday was June 9. The letter was dated May 18 – exactly 21 days! Could it have been done deliberately? I can’t answer that but obviously someone should. I would like an answer.


Buxton Avenue


Amazed at new

homes plan

WITH complete amazement I read of the proposed development of residential properties at riverside in Gorleston. It has three points against it which need to be studied before any steps are made towards this proposal.

First and foremost: sewage. This combined with the Morrisons complex will be on land which is going to take a sewer system below sea level into a sewer plant which is already proving to be overloaded, and is quite close to a flood outlet. Add to this the exit of vehicles from riverside and this brings us to point three - roads. I cannot think of one which would give a clear escape from this area. please let’s have a bit more study done on the infrastructure side of this proposal.


Gonville Road


Signs are a must on this stretch

I CAN confirm the need for signs and road markings on Marine Parade (Barbara Tildesley’s letter).

Drivers never slow down, even when they can see you are waiting to cross. As cars are parked on both sides of the road you have to step right out into the road in order to see what is coming in both directions. It’s a case of taking your life into your hands, even when you are crossing from a dropped kerb; especially if, like myself, you use a walking aid – and I don’t hang about, I can tell you.


Marine Parade


Gobsmacked by

these comments

FOLLOWING on from the letters of VM Speller and Steve Hewitt, which I fully support, I would like to amplify some of their concerns and raise the lack of any communication about the changes to First Bus service Number 3 customers, who still stand waiting in Newport Road, not a notice or an explanation from First; how they care about their customers. When written to regarding the service, I have had no reply despite being told they would contact me in 10 days; that was over two weeks ago.

Cllr Reynolds completely gobsmacked me with his comments which had no consideration for the elderly, disabled or the very young for whom walks down Newport Road or Regent Road are difficult, if not impossible. Is the road train best suited for the disabled? Also what about us all in wet weather?

I thought Hemsby was being promoted to encourage tourism. Is that not the remit of Cllr Reynolds? Perhaps he may wish to explain how this change promotes tourism? It would be great if the Mercury can get an explanation from First and the county council who have responsibility for transport.


Mercury website

All answers on council website

LAST week I explained the procedures around notification of by-election nominations, in response to John Cooper’s failure to spot the notice, despite its publication in three separate locations. This week, I’m afraid I have to address his failure to find information about council spending, despite its publication on our website.

Had Mr Cooper gone to www.great-yarmouth.gov.uk before writing a letter to the Mercury bemoaning the council, he would have seen that all of our spend above �500, including on card, has been online on a monthly basis since last November.

Before he goes down the line of suggesting, as with the closing date for nominations for the by-election, that we didn’t let the press know, I shall make the point that when we began to publish this information we made the local media aware of where it could be found.

Every Freedom of Information request that we receive takes time to deal with, as it often requires a lot of information to be collated by staff who are already busy delivering valued public services. At any given time, we often have a number of requests on the go.

Because of this, the law states that we have 20 working days to respond and as Mr Cooper only submitted his request on May 29, we have until June 28 to respond to him. It’s a shame that he couldn’t wait for our response before making an issue of this on the letters page.

It’s also a shame he makes public claim he has asked questions of us that differ from what he has actually put to us via email.

“I am also interested in the gross value of expenditure under �500 from council purchasing card expenses” he states. Well, not interested enough to ask for it.

We will answer the questions that Mr Cooper’s has posed and will inform him we do indeed have credit/purchasing cards. Not for councillors however, but for some members of staff, who use them infrequently.

It’s often cheaper to use a card for some purchases rather than go through the process of raising an invoice and, as is the case with anyone at home trying to purchase goods online or over the phone, often the only way to purchase some items is via card.

We will also let him know when we have spent �500 and over, but while he awaits our response, he can feel free, as can any member of the public, to visit our website and enter “payments to suppliers” into the search box.

Councillor STEVE AMES


Yarmouth Borough Council

How did we not see this coming?

IF the management of Eastport tuned into the BBC TV last Friday night, I’m sure they must have been both dismayed and disappointed by the fact a huge new container terminal and trading port is being built in the Thames Estuary, near to, and incorporating the old Shell depot at Thames Haven. The new port will also have direct motorway links to the South West, Wales and the Midlands.

I know that Eastport has given up on the container trade, but this does really relegate the outer harbour to both the servicing of jack up rigs and the maintenance of offshore wind farms, all of which could have been undertaken by Lowestoft.

This brings me nicely to the lead article in the Mercury last week re the erosion of Hopton and Corton beaches. I was on the original Shoreline Management Plan discussion forum, of which there were 10 meetings. The borough council was represented by Ian Boone, Bernard Harris and Cllr Shirley Weymouth, who also represented Winterton and Somerton.

The chairman was Prof Timothy O’Riordan from the UEA. At these meetings it was pointed out by myself that where there was any projection into the North Sea ie the reefs off Sea Palling and at Caister, the sand built up behind the reefs but eroded the coastline to the south. As the outer harbour had not been built at that stage, the question was asked in open forum – the silence was deafening!

This now beggars the question, was enough research done? Should the outer harbour have been constructed in such a way it allowed both the tide and silt sediment to flow through ie like the old South Pier at Gorleston, so it didn’t affect the erosion process.

At this particular time I wrote several letters to the Mercury expressing my concerns. But nobody listened, and still nobody is listening.

Returning to the erosion of both Hopton and Corton, where has the sand gone? Has anybody looked at the South Scroby Elbow recently which stretches from the harbour mouth south to Corton?

At low tide, this sandbank is now 4-5ft high, and never in my lifetime, 70-plus years, have I witnessed this sandbank to be so prominent. Is this another aspect of the side effect of residual tide and sediment flow, created by the outer harbour?


Caister on Sea

Are fireworks and booze the cause?

I NOTE with interest from the Mercury’s Village Life column that the number of visitors to St Catherine’s Church in Ludham dropped from 7,500 in 2009 to 6,500 in 2010.

In any normal business this loss would be enough to start alarm bells ringing. Is the loss of visitors a coincidence, or could it be because people are finding out that the church is used as licensed premises and Ludham Parish Council holds its annual firework display around the war memorial and war graves?


Malthouse Farmhouse


Still remember the faces 76 years on

THE old photograph which appeared in the letters’ section last week was the old Priory School choir, and the picture was taken in about 1935.

The Priory School was on Priory Plain, and is now the Priory Centre. I am in the picture and can remember some of the girls’ names: Madge Coates, Thelma King, Eileen Jarvis, Joan Page, Dorothy Kirkhgam, Doreen Loades, Gladys Howes, Ethel Fish, Dorothy Warnes, Olive Buckworth, Margaret Clements, Monica Stevenson, Mildred Critolph and Beryl Duffield. Hope this will be of help to Brenda Spearman.


(nee Hammond)

Editor’s Note: We had several phone calls about the picture as well as this letter: Olive Scheller (nee Buckworth), now 87, recognised herself on the second row from top and thought the picture could have been taken in the mid 1930s.

Give this dog mess fine some teeth

LAST week, your paper reported that out of 145 people caught letting their dogs foul the street and not clearing it up, only a paltry 15 in a whole year were actually fined.

I have dogs and take them regularly to Burgh Castle where I have, on several occasions, offered people bags when I see them leave their dog’s mess behind.

This is mostly received with verbal abuse. On the gate there is a notice stating that fines of up to �1,000 will be issued to offenders, so why only 15 fined and why only �1,510 between them? If the fine promised was actually issued, I think it would act as a deterrent to those offenders not clearing up after their dogs.



Parade a sad loss

IT is devastating to hear we are not getting our carnival parade this year.

It has been difficult enough to get enough people involved over the years. Now that we have, and have witnessed the great pleasure it gives to the crowds along the route, we cannot get the roads closed.

The “bucket patrols” of the Lions receive good collections from the crowds and it will be a loss for all.

You cannot have a carnival without a parade, so why should Caister suffer when other areas have theirs? It is most unfair.


Elm Road

Caister on Sea

Brighten up station

I DO think we are the only seaside without a bus service from town to front.

Also, re Market Gates bus station: they should brighten it up, put draught proofing around the waiting seated areas, jet wash or steam clean the pavements in that area once a week, and put up brighter lighting.


Midland Close

Caister on Sea

Much thanks for rallying to cause

AFTER enjoying myself at the Prime Minister’s Poppy Party at 10 Downing Street on Friday, which officially started the Great Poppy Party Weekend this year, I had the pleasure of attending the event in the Market Place on Saturday morning, organised by our MP Brandon Lewis.

It raised just under �200, and was followed by the Poppy Ball at Great Yarmouth Racecourse that evening, organised by Mike Muskett and his team at PKF (UK) LLP. Brandon Lewis was the first MP in the UK to agree to hold an event at the weekend.

Michael’s evening was not only a great success, it was a lot of fun too, celebrating this important 90th anniversary of the Royal British Legion. Through sponsors, a raffle and auction on the night, the event raised �10,500.

On Sunday I joined Malcolm Lake’s sponsored walk in Stokesby, followed by afternoon tea in the village hall. Malcolm was able to rally more than 50 friends to join him and raised �1,043.20. Having talked to Brian Potter, he also confirmed that Potters Leisure Resort collected �770.45 over the weekend too, so all in all, the fine citizens within the borough of Great Yarmouth gave the Royal British Legion their great support.

I would like to thank all those who organised and sponsored events, along with those who attended and gave so generously.


National Coordinator

The Royal British Legion Great Poppy Party Weekend

Legion landmark celebrated in style

LAST Saturday I had the pleasure of taking part in two events in support of the Royal British Legion’s 90th anniversary.

A lot of hard work went into these events and I feel it is only right that they are publically thanked. I would like to thank all of those who helped to ensure that the tea and coffee morning in Great Yarmouth Market Place, was such a success. I was delighted to meet with the local legion representatives, and also the Cubs from the 1st Great Yarmouth, as well as Scouts from the 1st Gorleston and 1st Martham units.

A huge amount of work went on behind the scenes, and I would like to thank Anne Redfern and Luke Osborne from the Great Yarmouth Marks & Spencer, Jay Formosa, Ian McCreadie, Jonathan Newman and Michael Westrup. Thank you one and all!