Letters, June 5 2015

The promises: Now we will see

Our town has a Tory MP and a Tory led council. (Mercury, May 22). This inspired me to see what their ambitions are as described in seven election leaflets. It is quite a list aimed at winning the elections with little regard about how the schemes will be funded.

A47 improvements have been discussed for years and the accidents continue. The DFT say there is no congestion which does not match my experiences. Moreover, the maintenance of roads continues to decline -the A12 to Lowestoft is almost dangerous in places.

Last election we were told railway station improvements were needed and little happened. Now re-development and a service to Lowestoft is proposed in spite of losing our direct London trains and threats to Liverpool trains from Norwich (not Yarmouth of course).

Free car parking is the solution to the town centre decline - excellent idea but how will the money lost be replaced or what services will be cut? The last tine Tories controlled the council they did nothing to sort out Caister car parking farce.

Neighbourhood neglect is to be tackled with rubbish clearance, weed clearance, grass cutting and dog mess. There is only so much volunteers can do. It would be good to start at the bus station with its filthy litter bins, pigeon mess, gum and safety rails damaged. How much and where is the money?

More affordable homes and inappropriate development resisted with developments matched with services like GPs. Do the people of Martham and Caister see it like that?

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The NHS budget is supposed to be increased and schools are going to be improved and funded. Pensioners, who are keen voters, have their benefits protected. There has been little about cuts, apart from benefit cuts, but will we still be safe on our streets as police cuts bite or will terrorism be tackled?

On top of all these superb ideas we can look forward to council tax being held (or even cut) and income tax cut. What a wonderful town!

There is one big problem. The Tory Government is set to cut public expenditure, including council funding and to cut taxes. How can all these very desirable developments be funded? Have the electorate been conned and set to become more disillusioned with politicians? We will see!


Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

Blame stupid, selfish drivers

The road could probably do with several red flashing “High Casualty Route” signs scattered along it but spending millions and moving the dykes will never solve the problem of stupid, selfish drivers.

I’m talking about those who never indicate, never look both ways before pulling out at a junction and believe that a long straight road is an invitation to speed without a thought for the consequences.

The Acle Straight is what it is - drive it accordingly people!



We are the poor county relations

It seems they are talking about better rail links, London to Norwich, but what about the road links to the coast? In June 1999 as a Caister Parish Councillor I managed to get a deputation to visit Lord Whitty, Roads Minister at the time, to question the dualling of the A47. He was a waste of time!

On October 12, 2001 I questioned why we don’t qualify for dualling – Brighton and Blackpool have a motorway to within a whisker of their seafronts. Maybe we should have the Party Conferences here! I also pointed out that in the East, we are the poor relations, or maybe it’s the quality of our MPs.

My next point is, on November 30 2012, people had questioned the feasibility of going over marshland, even though naturalist Percy Trett had said only six frogs and a toad may be displaced. Surely, they could run the new road alongside the railway to Halvergate Bridge and then move over to the existing road.

My last grouse on this entry is, the powers that be think it’s more important to hide traffic around the Stonehenge site on the A303, than make a road like the Acle Straight safe. They are negotiating to put the road through a tunnel.

Even the MP does not think dualling will help, so what chance have we got? May I say that holidaymakers think it’s nice to cruise along and enjoy the view, but local people have work to do and need to overtake the people travelling at 30mph.


Eastern Avenue,

Caister on Sea

Speed causes the accidents

I regularly travel this road at all times of the day and night in all weathers. My observation is that it is not the road, it is certain drivers.

The main problem being speed, so why not put up a 50mph limit with an automatic fine from speed cameras both ends of the road. That would soon stop the speed! Also for this stretch a no-overtaking rule may help, at least until they decide on a dual carriageway.

This must be addressed now before any more injuries or death.



A47 injuries and deaths disgrace

The front page of the Mercury (May 29) today sums it up nicely “Stop the talking shop and act now”. The carnage will absolutely not stop until the A47 Acle Straight is properly dualled from Acle to Yarmouth.

As Police Inspector Chris Brooks says: “Dual carriageways are inherently safer because vehicles are travelling in the same direction and there is a barrier between opposing lanes of traffic.” It is an absolute no-brainer.

It is three decades since I was first elected in 1988 to represent Yarmouth residents at Norfolk County Council and over all of that time the continuing waste of life and serious injuries inflicted on the Acle Straight has been a disgrace.

Just about every road in England with this volume of traffic has been dualled long ago - mostly back in the 1960s and 70s - but this vital link for Yarmouth and Lowestoft on the coast to the main motorway and dual-carriageway network still waits for proper dualling a half a century later.

We must assume the new Tory Government and MP Brandon Lewis will indeed honour their pledges to make improvements to the Vauxhall and Gapton Hall Roundabouts on the approaches to the town as part of A47 improvements promised for the 2015-20 Parliament.

As for “safety measures” for the Acle Straight though, I have to tell Mr Lewis we have been there before when the last Labour Government spent hundreds of thousands on coloured cats-eyes, reduced speed limits, signing etc. with absolutely no beneficial effect. Only proper dualling will do!

As the local county councillor for the Acle Straight I am delighted the county late last year resolved overwhelmingly to make the dualling of the Acle Straight the priority scheme for A47 improvements post 2020.

The key is the narrow strip of grazing land between the road itself and the Yarmouth to Acle railway line which will enable work on constructing a new carriageway without blighting use of the existing carriageway during the building works. County has already initiated the start of talks with the Broads Authority and other environment interest groups with a view to getting an agreed line for dualling that does not adversely impact on the Damgate Marshes SSSI at the Acle approaches.

I hope your readers will welcome this “can do” approach which is key to getting the scheme into the Government’s highways programme for the 2020-5 Parliament.


Yarmouth North and Central

Impose speed restrictions

As the Highways Agency’s A47 feasibility study only refers to congestion and protected species, which has no relevance to accidents, it appears it will be some time before any major improvements are made.

Is there any reason why the same restrictions that apply to the road through Burlingham cannot apply to the Acle Straight. These are 50mph and no overtaking. Accidents through Burlingham have been reduced considerably and the same would apply on this road where most accidents are caused by speed and overtaking.

This is a simple but very effective method to introduce.


Yarmouth Road,

Ormesby St Margaret

Please join us and save festival

The Gorleston Competitive Festival was threatened with closure this year as the current committee wished to resign en bloc and have completed many years of sterling festival running. An article in the Mercury explaining the need for a new committee left many people secretly hoping someone else would step forward I suspect.

Sadly only one brave person did, so during the festival running this year the committee members announced it would be the last.

We recognise the value of the festival as a fantastic, supportive platform where children and adults can gain valuable experience in competing against others and receiving quality feedback from experts in their instrument who are employed by the festival committee. The organisation of the event is a lengthy process but well worth the work. I am sure that anyone who has taken part in the festival would agree. We could not let the festival finish.

A new committee has now come forward and we are in the process of transferring the responsibility from the old committee to the new. I wanted to put this information in the Mercury so that anyone else who wants to help with the festival please feel free to get in touch.

We need two groups of people: one to help with the planning over the next few months and another team which could be called into action during the time of the festival only to help with advertising, stewarding etc.

Please get in touch if you can help with either of these roles or just to lend your support to the new committee by agreeing we can’t let it stop!

Call me for more details on 01493 302975.


High Street,


Dusty: A very special person

I was fortunate to be one of those present at Dusty Miller’s recent lifetime celebration at the Gorleston Pavilion Theatre.

When we consider how most of our lives are spent in individual bubbles of self interest then we must realise what a special person Dusty Miller is, not just for her many years working as a founder of Dusmagrik Young Peoples Theatre but for her lifetime commitment to helping others, many of whom I know would have given up on life without her unconditional support.

Now as Chaplain at James Paget Hospital, Dusty, at 80, is busier than ever helping others. I know I would be one of many who would be delighted if Dusty’s selfless commitment to others received the wider recognition she so thoroughly deserves.



Anglian working hard on solution

Following Cllr Annison’s letter (Water firm ‘mum’ on our concerns, (May 29) I wanted to allay any fears the elected members or residents of Bradwell may have. At a parish council meeting earlier this year we made a commitment to improve our Morton Crescent Pumping Station. I can assure you that detailed investigations are underway to find a suitable solution and this work is on our list of priorities for investment.

In the meantime, to help the network in this area to be more resilient, we have installed new and more effective pumps. We’re also going to work with the local community with our Keep It Clear programme to further reduce the chances of avoidable blockages.

Regarding the new development. Anglian Water is not a statutory consultee in the planning process; however we do have a legal obligation to connect new properties to the network. A maximum of 10 properties can connect to the network between now and October. In the meantime, we’re working closely with the developer to ensure capacity of the sewerage network is increased before any of the other 140 properties connect.

This work to increase the capacity for the development is entirely separate from our proposals to invest in, and solve, the historical problems in the area.

Lastly, I am sorry for the perceived lack of communication Cllr Annison has received to date. We have taken steps to address this by having one central point of contact and pledged to provide regular updates in the coming months.


Anglian Water

Older People’s network is busy

Readers will have seen the recent piece in the Mercury about the Great Yarmouth Older People’s Network getting out and about to talk to people over 65, their families, friends and neighbours.

During June we will be in a number of places across the borough: Tuesday, June 9 at Shrublands, Gorleston between 10am and 3pm for the Carers Event; Monday, June 15 at Nelson Road Medical Centre 9.30am to noon; Monday, June 22 at Park Surgery 9.30am to noon; Wednesday, June 24 at Central Surgery, Gorleston 9.30am to noon; Monday, June 29 at Nelson Road Medical Centre 9.30am to noon.

Thank you to everyone who has spoken to us so far. We are looking forward to meeting more of you – come and see us! If you are not able to come along, please ring the Red Cross on 01493 663626 or myself on 07747 107910 for a chat and more info.


Strong & Well/Great Yarmouth Older People’s Network

Words insulting to UKIP voters

No, Councillor Wainwright. If you vote UKIP you will get open and honest debates, not decisions made behind closed doors.

I think the comments that Cllr Wainwright made in last week’s Great Yarmouth Mercury were very insulting to the 10,277 residents who voted UKIP. The real reason was that most of the residents voted in the Conservatives, not only in Great Yarmouth but all over the country

They did not want another Labour government to run our country and they did not want Cllr Wainwright to be leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council anymore.



Drivers are the endangered

End the Acle Straight accidents now - designate homosapiens an endangered species. Following on from reading your in depth articles on the Acle Straight last week, I suddenly realised those driving on the road need to be designated an endangered species, then the Highways Agency will take note.

Practically everyone living in the Mercury area must have at least an acquaintance who has been killed or injured on the Acle Straight - the first person I can remember goes back to the 1950’s, before I could drive.

It is a nonsense to blame drivers. The majority have not been involved in accidents often over years of driving, before the design problems with the Acle Straight got them. Accident blackspot experts need to be brought in to sort what must be a fundamental road design issue. Then urgent action needs to be taken and money spent, initially without necessarily going to the expense of dualling the road.



Idiots using the Acle Straight

In response to the article concerning the vitrues of the Acle Straight. Why MP Brandon Lewis has to think the opposite to most people is beyond me.

You only have to view accidents on the various police road series on the television to appreciate that on a dual carriageway the accident is usually contained in those two lanes, unless it’s really serious and breached the central barrier.

Last Saturday, I had the need to hire a van and travelled both ways on the Acle Straight, and I’m not surprised about accidents. From my elevated position in a van, for that short time I saw a lady on a phone and two individuals were not even looking where they were driving, but looking down, no doubt responding to the needs of their modern day toys (phones, text, iPads etc).

Perhaps the road is okay but for the idiots using it. I’ll say no more.



Already non-stop homes building

The Mercury report of large a number of new houses to be built here set warning bells ringing, for many years local residents have experienced non-stop property building.

So concerned Green Party members question the ability of Yarmouth councillors on how they have served the community’s interested.

There seems little sense in many planning decision made by our recent borough council. We believe it is appalling community policy to build thousands of new houses on perfectly good farmland.

We question the need for so many houses when in the press it was stated there are almost 1,000 houses unoccupied in the Yarmouth area. Where will employment come for large numbers of residents to be housed in these new properties?

We question where will the primary and secondary schools be, for the children of the new residents, as our present schools are already pretty full? Where will extra essential community facilities be on those huge new estates?

Anyone with community management training knows these essential services should include GPs surgeries, dental practices, community centres and also recreation and sporting facilities.

Will Yarmouth councillors or property developers give the funds needed to provide an extra wing at the James Paget Hospital? At present the hospital has growing difficulty serving this area’s every increasing population.

Then who will provide the extra burial grounds and public allotments required.

We also ask who will provide the essential public transport services? At present there is no direct bus service from Bradwell to the local hospital.

The attitude of local councillors seems to be why worry about the future, or it is not our problem someone else can provide these things. Why?

We point out we are not opposed to house building if genuinely needed, but such developments must provide all the normally required amenity and community services. Yarmouth councillors are clearly failing us members of the general public.


Busseys Loke,


Chance to speak out on transport

ENTUA (East Norfolk Transport Users Association) is a voluntary independent body which monitors bus and rail provision in the East Norfolk Area.

We meet regularly with the local bus and rail operators and pass onto them the suggestions made by our committee, or by passengers. We have had some good results in the past particularly seeing the reintroduction of First Bus service 3 to the seafront and the operation of this service to and from the rail station.

ENTUA needs to enlist the help of at least two more people onto its committee. Your age is immaterial and the only thing we ask of you is attendance at our quarterly committee meetings. We also hold our annual general meeting together with our public open meeting in August. All the meeting are usually held in Great Yarmouth, the committee meetings in the afternoon.

If you are interested please go the ENTUA website, www.entua.org.uk and leave a message on our message page and someone will contact you.


East Norfolk Transport Users Association

Overcharging on car parking

My daughter parked in Palmers car park after 6pm thinking it was free but she got a parking ticket. I can’t believe or begin to understand the mentality of the Great Yarmouth Council.

To begin with we don’t have a good town centre, basically all there is, is closed shops, banks and charity shops. The seafront trade is down and if the council bothered to go around the few shops that are in the town they will find out they are crying out for help.

Going back to the parking: I have lived in this town all my life and for as long as I can remember parking was free after 4pm, there are no signs at the entrance to say that free parking has been abolished.

I swear the council just basically want to say to locals and tourists “stay away from here”.

We have a lovely town and seafront so why can’t the council see this and do something about the parking instead of over-charging and finding ways to discourage people from enjoying our town.



Does Tesco have a big problem?

Here’s a funny story, or perhaps not. I went into Tesco in Pasteur Road, Yarmouth to see if I could buy a blouse I had seen advertised on TV and on billboards.

I looked around and there it was, so I rifled through the sizes and found the smallest was size 20! What? I asked the ladies on the desk in the fashion department if there were any smaller sizes and they checked but apparently they only had that large size.

I am a size 12-14 and have no intention of getting any bigger. So Tesco you lost yourself £24.99 or thereabouts and a future regular clothing customer.



Cost has priority over dangers

The guys featured in last week’s Mercury lead feature about the car rescue in a dyke along side the Acle Straight are truly worthy of recognition and reward from society, they are real heroes.

The bigger debate covered by the Mercury still does not adequately cover the reasons for a road with known problems and issues that has remained untouched and unchanged for many years, that being at the monetary cost of improvements.

Most organisations apply ICAF (Implied Cost of Avoiding a Fatality) calculations to everything they do. Whilst unpleasant for most, a monetary value will be apportioned to a human life and if the remedial action is less that that figure, then improvements are “reasonably expected” to be put into place in the eyes of their industry, society and the law.

The cost of potentially dualling a stretch of road (for instance) on marsh land is expensive compared with other road building projects, so for now an engineering solution of dualling, physical barriers or filling in dykes will probably remain too expensive, when compared “to that figure”.

However unpalatable, until the cost and calculations are in the public domain, the road safety option will continue to amount to a pot of white paint down its centre of the road to segregate traffic.



Old transport help please

I have recently became a bus and coach, and also train enthusiast.

I’m planning to do a project on buses and coaches East Anglia. I’m looking for some information on bus and coach companies that have operated in East Anglia. Also I’m looking for some old timetables, fleet lists and photos.

I’m also planning to do a project on trains over the years that have operated in East Anglia. I’m looking for some old photos, train numbers and any other information.

Please contacted me at the address provide or email chriswisken1988@gmail.com



Thanking girls who helped me

I would like to thank the girls who came to my aid when I fell outside Costa Coffee on Wednesday, May 27 at 1pm, and waited until the ambulance arrived. I am fine apart from a few scars. Thank you again.