Letters June 24

Let’s get things out in the open

THIS backwards and forwards by Messrs Durrant, Cooper and the new leader of the borough council, Steve Ames, has now reached the stage where the council, yes the council, should give their voters the chance to speak in an open forum.

It’s about time the council, and that includes its former leader, stood up to be counted on their actions and what they see as the future.

And when I say future, I mean immediate future and not two three or more years down the line but now, for Great Yarmouth.

Yes Mr Ames, we know there is a website, but a face-to-face confrontation is always the best, or are councillors worried about what might happen in an open forum.

You can nominate a neutral chairman, start the forum at a good time, like 5pm or 6pm, and finish no later than 11pm. No question to take longer than, shall we say two minutes, or that can be decided by a mediator.

I know the council will give excuses that we would have to pay for a hall, or the councillors’ time, but if it puts to bed all that is wrong or right with the outer harbour and so on then at last everyone would be satisfied. I think councillors should give their time for free.

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If the forum is successful, then we could, if need be, have another, and perhaps, as a mediator, we should have the unbiased editor of the Mercury?


Yallop Avenue


Cyclists need to rein in a little

HAVING encountered two dangerous incidents recently, regarding cyclists using the path through St Nicholas’ Church in Great Yarmouth, I feel something should be done to prevent these potential accidents.

The obvious answer would be to ban cyclists altogether, as a mere sign saying No Cycling is not at all effective.

Could the answer be some form of staggered half-barriers which would encourage these cyclists to at least slow down, if not dismount altogether.

It is a shame, really, that a minority cause this problem, when the pathway between Ferrier Road and Sainsburys is such a useful short cut for so many local residents. It does seem such a shame that in this day-and-age some people do not respect the safety of others.



Another case of a rushed job?

HERE we go again! Yet more information being withheld concerning the outer harbour and its consequences. This time it’s concerning the Hopton Beach erosion survey commissioned by Great Yarmouth Port Company (whoever they are). What is there to hide?

As the outer harbour is the biggest project ever to be undertaken in the town, it is unbelievable that Brandon Lewis, as our MP, seems to have no opinion on the matter.

It is ridiculous that in such a technological age we can get a man on the moon but we can’t fortell the effects of a structure on the tides! Or perhaps it was all rushed through without proper consultation?

Unfortunately, what started off as a golden opportunity for Great Yarmouth has turned into flotsam and jetsam.



Address issue of access roads

IT was good to read a new era of glasnost being heralded in by Councillor Steve Ames as the leader of Yarmouth Borough Council. In his letter to the Mercury he does well to educate the interested as to the processes of local government, somewhat different in style to the luxury of being an MP.

Perhaps he could also either publicly address the calls such as Pauline Lynch’s comments in the Mercury about the centuries-old access roads along the harbour being closed with the advent of area 51? If not publicly, I’m sure the Mercury would pass my personal contact details on to him, as I would like to know why the original application of a secure customs area for a container dream, which doesn’t now exist, is still in force.

Previously, I have been tied up with process from the borough council, Norfolk County Council, highways agency and Eastport on the road access issue. Educate me on the path to establishing proper process as you took the time to point out to John Cooper, or as with glasnost, does that mean we go forward with an airbrush over the past?


Clarence Road


Please join fight against unfair bill

I WOULD like to ask your readers to help with our campaign to highlight the unfairness of proposals contained in the UK Government’s Pensions Bill.

We support the move to bring women’s state pension age in line with men’s at 65, but we are objecting to the speed of the increase for women to 66 by 2020, six years earlier than it originally planned. As a result, around 330,000 in Britain women will, at very short notice, have to wait an extra 18 months or longer before claiming their State Pension.

I and many other women across the UK feel this is unfair and will hurt hard-working women, many of whom have worked for 40 years or more. Many of us have worked in relatively low-paid jobs or part-time because of caring responsibilities and these changes will mean real hardship especially to those with poor health.

We are asking MPs to ensure the Pensions Bill is amended to ensure that any increase to the state pension age beyond 65 does not start until at least 2020.

Readers can take action by sending a state pension age campaign postcard to their MP, asking them to stick to the coalition government’s original timetable. To request copies of the campaign postcard, or to find out more about the campaign visit www.ageuk.org.uk/spa.


Fulmar Close


Why no school staff at parade?

ALONG with family and friends I attended the Winterton 901 Marine Cadets’ passing out parade event at Flegg High School on June 11.

I was, along with everyone, amazed and delighted to witness the best of local youth dedication, skill and effort by all concerned.I cannot speak too highly of this marvellous youth organisation.

I am under the impression that no school staff attended. Two-thirds of the cadets on parade were pupils of the Flegg High School.

The mayor of Great Yarmouth was in attendance along with the head of Norfolk County Council and many others from far and wide.


North Market Road


Please give us some answers

WHY the secrecy over the findings of the Hopton beach loss; if the council is so confident of facts on monitoring the movement of sand, then publish.

Also in the Mercury, for the second week running, our new council leader has been outspoken. Will he please continue in the same openness and answer the bullet points below.

In the Mercury, Mr Richard Packham is quoted as saying the council defended the public interest. However, in defending our interest the borough council:

Was party to giving away Gorleston Pier with no safeguards to its future.

Was party to gifting the profitable parts of the port to IPH, allowing prime buildings to be sold off with the words: “It was Great Yarmouth Port Authority not the borough council.”

Sanctioned the giving of all but one of GYPA shares to IPH, losing the borough any controlling interests?

Placed the burden of Haven Bridge and West Bank on to ratepayers.

Was responsible for leases not being renewed to companies on the peninsular that in all probability will cause companies to leave Great Yarmouth with a loss of jobs.

Was aware the outer harbour was built differently to the intensive surveys ratepayers paid �1.5m for.

Was aware of the Department of Transport’s “Modernising Trust Ports” so why did they not make sure stakeholders and the local community were kept fully informed?

Hopefully Cllr Ames who stated under his leadership the council would be open and transparent, will divulge why these things were allowed to happen.


Burnt Lane


Someone needs to tackle owners

WE need a dog warden! The dunes by the lighthouse are covered in dog mess and I have, on several occasions, challenged owners to pick it up.

I have noticed a car pulls up every day, the dog is let out while the owner turns away and then the dog gets back into the car and it drives away. This happens in the car park near the lifeboat station.

I use a mobility buggy, and if I can make the effort with my dog, I am sure the able-bodied should be able to do so.

Also, regarding the birds danger in the Market Place, they were here before us and they, like us, are God’s creatures and have a right to this earth as well.



First is the worst we’ve ever had

ONCE again, First Bus are in the news. This must be the lousiest bus service we’ve ever had.

On Friday, June 17, once again, the number 2 bus failed to turn up, leaving people standing about for nearly an hour in Trinity Avenue, most of them elderly, with walking sticks. It is too far to walk up to the top of the road when people’s legs are bad, as it’s all uphill.

No Sunday bus – even that’s been taken away, yet people used to go up town to meet their friends for lunch. Surely another company can provide a bus service. Please come back, banana buses. Your drivers were lovely, always ready with a smile or joke, and you were always on time.


Rambouillet Close


I was one of the girls, circa 1933

THE photo printed in the Letters pages on June 10 was of the Priory Girls School and it was taken in 1933 or 1934.

I think it was either the whole school or the choir as I’m almost sure the man is Dr Hayden Ware who took us for music, and Miss Smithdale who was our music teacher.

I can recognise Violet Moore, May Coleman, Winnie Christmas, Marjorie Botwright, Inez Cullingford, Holly Adams, Eileen Houghton, Peggy and Molly Bell, Betty Ship, Joan Burton and me, Dorothy Harvey.



Who polices the disabled bays?

ON Sunday, at Asda, I was amazed how many people who were not blue badge holders thought that it was okay to park in bays clearly marked for disabled people.

On Saturday, I visited Tesco and, unable to walk very far and being a blue badge holder, I parked in one of the bays. Someone parked in the bay next to me, with a young child and they got out and both ran to the store as it was raining.

There are signs that say drivers who are not disabled or entitled to park in these bays will be fined. I wonder if this ever happens and who polices it, as it seems a lot of people seem to flaunt the rules?


Palgrave Road

Great Yarmouth

No drunks – just the slightly numb

RE Barbara Tildesley’s letter in last week’s edition of the Yarmouth Mercury, I agree that Jay Jays is a lovely caf�, with good food and welcoming staff, and I think they should all be praised for the amount of time, effort and thought that has gone into it.

I am, however, rather perplexed at her fear that the council licence for drink and music will result in an influx of lager louts and drunks.

Judging by the average age of the clientele, myself and friends included, it will merely result in some gentle, but discreet alcoholic glows and a mild rendering of some old songs with half the words missing, because we can’t remember them.


Beccles Road


Many thanks for kind donations

MAY we through Letters thank the audience from our Celebrate Mozart! concert on Saturday evening for their generous donations to the St Nicholas’ Church Preservation Trust – which amounted to �260.

Not only is St Nicholas’ a place of worship, it is also used for many secular events. The Great Yarmouth Choral Society has performed many concerts in its magnificent setting over the years, and we feel it is arguably one of the best venues in East Anglia to perform in. The next musical events are the Wednesday lunchtime recitals which start on July 6, 12.30pm to 1.15pm, and feature organ recitals by John Stephens.

Light refreshments will be available from the Visitor’s Centre. After each recital there will be a retiring collection in aid of the Organ Fund. There’s no better way to spend your lunch hour!



Great Yarmouth Choral Society

Be afraid of this slide into secrecy

JUST where does openness, freedom of information and transparency begin and end in our country today? D Notices to gag the media, injunctions by the rich and famous to block information, and confidentiality agreements to hide information made in our name by our own council – even to the extent of lodging certain documents at the county record office with a 30-year embargo.

This slow but sure slide into secrecy and big brother attitude, plus public apathy, really scares me and so it should, readers.

A headline in last week’s Mercury reads Confidentiality Clause Stalls Erosion Survey. Council managing director Richard Packham, in defending the council from accusations that it hadn’t defended the public interest when involved with the outer harbour, said: “GYBC have been very active both as part of the discussions and ensuring monitoring has been effective and I refute suggestions otherwise”.

I would ask the MD what commercial sensitivity has to do with a serious problem of erosion which has caused anxiety and concern to two major employers causing one to pay �100,000 to investigate the circumstances? No less the anger of residents at the loss of beach and possible cliff erosion.

The two companies are not only major employers but pay massive taxes to GYBC as do residents to look to their interests.

The dilapidated Gorleston pier is part of a conservation area. Looking after our interests?

The council dealings with Eastport, which should be open and transparent, are tied up so tightly it is almost impossible for us to get any information via the Freedom of Information Act. Why? Looking after our interests?

How can a commercial company be allowed to keep secret investigations they have made which were part of the negotiations with GYBC etc to protect our coastline? Cllr Steve Ames has set a new precedent in writing to Mercury letters in reply to residents’ concerns. Surely the managing director should follow this example?

In a similar vein as looking after our interests, I wrote to the current mayor about two weeks ago regarding the old courtroom in the town hall which is being removed, asking for his assistance and opinion, and giving my own suggestions. I await a reply.


Brett Avenue


Our best wishes go to Valerie

WE all wish Valerie Howkins a happy retirement. Perhaps few people know that one of her greatest kindesses was the installation of a sculpture at Somerleyton Hall, dedicated to Sir Kenneth MacMillan of Yarmouth, the great choreographer, and to the arts, in memory of her late son.


Lovewell Road


Not as clear-cut as led to believe

RE: Mr J Cooper versus Mr S Ames last week regarding council spending. It seems the waters are still cloudy. Mr Ames states that notices are available on the website. Yes they are, but he states they are available at “Payments to Suppliers”. There are several sections where I would look for this information ie accounts, invoices etc, not payments.

Mr Ames states that nomination notices of the by-election in Gorleston are displayed at three locations. I checked and confirm notices are displayed in the foyer of the Town Hall.

However, anybody going to Great Yarmouth or Gorleston library will be unable to see them as, apart from no notices being in evidence, there are actually no noticeboards at either location. He also states he will let Mr Cooper know when they spend under �500. As this is not a legal requirement I will not hold my breath. What is the difference in an under �500 spend by a councillor and a member of staff?


Claydon Grove


Service left a bad taste in mouth

MY friend and I have just returned home after a nice holiday in Great Yarmouth. The weather was beautiful and your beaches wonderful. However, one lunchtime we went to one of your caf�s in Regent Road, and, as one who has been in catering all my life, I would never treat a customer like I was.

I asked for two toasted sandwiches, two �clairs and two milkshakes but was brought normal sandwiches.

I pointed out I had ordered toasted sandwiches, the girl tutted and took mine back, not my friend’s.

A lady then came over and demanded �1.10 for a toasted sandwich. I said I wasn’t going to pay as it was not my mistake – and she took away my �clair! She argued I was wrong but then said perhaps it was my accent. If I had been in the wrong I would have apologised but we felt we were treated like second class citizens because we were elderly