Letters, June 26 2015

JPH hospice a cheaper option?

I am writing in response to concerns around the proposed beds attached to the Louise Hamilton Centre. Although, fortunately, not in a position to need a hospice bed, I am a patient of the Louise Hamilton Centre.

Despite its closeness to the A12, I have often sat in the garden of the centre, sometimes following bad news, sometimes just for relaxation after treatment and I have never noticed the traffic noise which disappears behind the walls of the quiet peaceful garden.

I have always found the centre to offer sanctuary and birdsong. The garden and public areas are designed in a way you cannot see the hospital and soon forget where you are.

I have not seen the plans for the East Coast Hospice but I understand this is near the dualled carriageway section of the A12? Is this not just as loud, if not louder?


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With regards to the cost of building, will a complete new build in a “rural setting”, require installation of services such gas, electric, water, drainage? I would expect the James Paget Hospital to have these in place and therefore a much cheaper option?

JACKIE SULLIVAN

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Laburnum Close,

Bradwell

If profitable, why sell the port?

Questions need to be answered re the sale of the outer harbour. If it is such a wonderful and profitable asset to both Yarmouth and its owners, as stated by the councillor in the Mercury article, why is it being sold? One reason of course could be the impending litigation by Bourne Leisure and if they win will local ratepayer have to foot the bill?

It has been a poor idea from the start. It is after all just a hole in the wall, and as an ex mate with FT Everards I, like many more, worked many of these type of ports and they were always a nightmare. Secondly and very importantly is the lack of good road access. The only road big enough to get into the outer harbour is the Golden Mile and somehow I can’t see that being used. Also currently there is no exit from it capable of taking HGVs. The Dutch engineer who worked on the harbour hit the nail on the head when he said the nearest motorway is 90 miles away and that’s in Holland.

Talk of a second river crossing would almost certainly blight large areas of Gorleston possibly for years and then we would end up with nothing ever being built, just a lot of people losing their homes and businesses. I saw this happen in York and after 30 years the plan was scrapped as too expensive.

IVOR St JOHN HALSEY

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We must save Northgate GPs

On June 3, the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) launched a public consultation, The Shape of the System. This is a proposal to close community hospitals in our area including the GP Unit at Northgate Hospital.

The GP Unit Northgate provides care for people in our local area that are requiring medical input that are too poorly to be kept at home but are not acutely unwell to need admission to the JPUH. The GP Unit also provides outstanding palliative care for either symptom control or end of life care.

The CCG proposes to close this ward and replace it with the out of hospital team and beds with care which will be in local care homes. The GP unit need the public to come together to support this ward to stay open and keep our people safe. Please take the time to read the proposal and attend the public meetings.

Please try to keep Great Yarmouth on the map. Public meeting taking place are at The Kings Centre, Yarmouth, Monday, July 6 10am-noon; The Comfort Hotel, Yarmouth, Wednesday. July 15, 6pm-8pm.

M FREEMAN

Caister on Sea

How will hospice be funded?

I can understand the anger and frustration expressed by Mrs Ecclestone in her letter about the situation now presented to East Coast Hospice (ECH), but I think she is asking the wrong questions of the wrong person.

Certainly in the 2013 discussions between ECH and the Paget they did shun the use of the word “hospice” and that was one reason the talks broke down. But the word is now firmly in use by them and that must represent progress.

As a trustee of ECH, my role was to promote and argue as strongly as possible for its objectives, but to be willing to review when necessary, and also to make sure we were spending donated funds wisely and in the best public interest.

In early 2013 the ECH board was facing the prospect of having to complete the land purchase without the expressed backing of the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for the project, and at the same time its professional advisors were saying potential capital donors would be unwilling to advance funds without that backing. In February 2013 we wrote to the chairman of the CCG to press the case for an independent hospice on an independent site. The reply praised the commitment, energy and achievements of ECH and its supporters but stated plainly that the CCG could only support a hospice built on the Paget site. To the best of my knowledge this remains the case. They are responsible for the ultimate decision and whose backing is essential.

This was the background to starting the talks with the Paget as well as undertaking a review of our strategy. There was fierce opposition to these moves from within the charity and amongst its supporters, but we decided that we were doing the right thing and we kept background negotiations going even after the initial talks broke down. At one point we met with a senior health minister who said given the choice he would prefer to die in a hospice on a rural site rather than on a hospital site, but we needed to be realistic about what was possible.

The ECH rebellion became louder and more relentless with the claim once the land was purchased the money would come flooding in, ignore what the CCG says, and no more talks with the Paget. For me that was not a tenable position.

Mrs Ecclestone needs to ask the present ECH trustees why they chose to ignore the CCG letter, whether the CCG position has now changed, how much money flooded in following the land purchase, whether the intention to start building soon is a real start or just a way to do a bit to stop the planning permission lapsing, and how they will fund the hospice running cost if the CCG puts no money in?

Nothing to do with sour grapes, just a wish to see charitable donations spent wisely.

DAVID NETTLESHIP

Cliff Hill,

Gorleston

Former register office shambles

I am writing to complain about the state of Ferryside in Gorleston. It is a shambles, with grass out of control and weeds. It is an eyesore. Whoever owns the land should cut the grass and do some weeding, it needs sorting out.

COLIN THOMPSON

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No concerns on villages route

Once again speeding drivers has come into the news again in recent reports regarding the villages on the A1064 route. I drive that road several times a month and have never seen anything to cause concern.

If there is a issue I am sure the shops at Filby would be shouting loudly as some of their business is passing trade, and providing people pay their road tax and insurance they can use any road they like. And yes, I do drive fast when I can, and yes, I have been caught speeding, attended a speed awareness course and seen the carnage that speed can cause.

I have also seen the aggro that slow drivers who do not drive at correct speed limits cause, as well as countless farm vehicles who will not pull over to let other users of the road go by. This does frustrate drivers and causes other road users to take risks.

So all you moaning residents: that is life.

R THURLOW

Jordan Road.

Caister on Sea

Yarmouth man won Sluys battle

Reading with great interest your graphic account of The Battle of Sluys 1340, in the June 5 Mercury, I was disappointed to find no reference to the hero of the day.

I am referring to John Perebrown, a true Yarmouth man born in the town on, or near, the Conge. He was the Nelson of his time, Lord Admiral of the Navy North of the Thames under Edward II and Edward III.

Leading up to the battle he was entrusted with supreme command of the English fleet and during the battle he led the fleet which destroyed the French Navy thus removing the threat of invasion from the channel for many years to come.

After the victory he was raised to the rank of Admiral.

Also in honour of his victory and the bravery of the 1,075 Yarmouth men onboard 43 Yarmouth ships, the King allowed the municipal coat of arms to be changed from three Herrings to three Herrings with the heads of Lions as it is seen this day.

In the 1320s, prior to the Plague in Yarmouth, Perebrown was already an important merchant in the town owning fish houses and a variety of ships including fishing and trading vessels. He was heavily involved in the wine trade, served the town as a bailiff 15 times, and was also an MP for the Borough.

He was responsible for collecting money used for building and repairing the Town Walls.

Lots of well deserved praise is heaped upon Lord Horatio Nelson, another Norfolk hero, but he was not a Yarmouth man.

Sluys was a terrifying close-quarter battle, not ships knocking lumps off each other with cannon balls, fired from a distance within their range.

Perebrown had his vessels get in close so his archers could fire down on the enemy allowing his men at arms to board the French ships and fight hand to hand. Some say as many as 25,000 enemy were killed and 160 ships destroyed.

A truly remarkable but little known battle, every bit as valuable to our islands safety as Trafalgar was almost centuries later.

John Perebrown was probably Yarmouth’s greatest son and hero, and I hope the archaeology society remember him with a blue plaque placed on the town walls in Market Gates for locals and visitors to see, and more importantly to ensure he is remembered as a truly Great Yarmouth man.

Lord Nelson has three roads, numerous hotels and a pillar in his honour. Even the body snatchers have a blue plaque on the churchyard railings!

Let’s not forget our own local hero, John Perebrown.

CHAS R YAXLEY

Great Yarmouth

Evacuated to Liverpool!

Much has been written and shown recently about wartime Britain, subject was the evacuation of small children from this area to the Midlands in 1939.

In 1941 my father, mother and us two small children, one tiny and one a bit larger, were sent out of the town … to Liverpool That year was the worst year for the city which was one of the main German targets. We spent 15 months there.

So why was a bricklayer from Yarmouth and his family sent to one of the hotspots of the bombing? Also how come us two small children were not evacuated with the rest in 1939?

I have many memories of being in the city with my mother and brother during bombing and the difficulty in finding shelter.

One time was in Maghull, and we were living in a cafe or sweet shop. The family who owned it were downstairs in a Morrison shelter and we were upstairs with us two small kids looking at the bombing from an upstairs window.

We then spent nine months near Whitehaven where every street had a shelter and they never had one air raid!

In my mind there is something about the scenario: my Dad was in Liverpool bricklaying over explosives that were put under the walls over many large factories buildings etc to be detonated if we were invaded, which was highly likely then.

For security reasons they did not employ anyone locally, perhaps he was chosen as he was unfit for the miltary and most bricklayers had been called up. We came back to Yarmouth in 1942/43. Can anyone help with information?

DEREK COOK

Middlestone Close,

Gorleston

Delight to see the wildflowers

Walking along Gorleston Cliffs it is a delight to see wildflowers left to grow naturally. It gives a lovely country touch to the cliff area. May it continue!

Miss RITA FARMER

Marine Parade,

Gorleston

Property owners can help tidy up

Earlier in the year, the Financial Times referred to Great Yarmouth as a “faded town”.

Last week’s Mercury had a letter from a visitor raising issues about the state of parts of the seafront.

Walking along last week, I picked up quite a lot of litter as I went along. Part of the reason is litterbugs but another is the council removing litter bins - presumably as result of the cuts.

The letter about the King Street car park and the poppies growing therein prompted me to take another look. This turns out to be another area of neglect. There is scope for property owners to help landscape the area with flower beds and keep the rear of their properties tidy. This is another example of the private sector ignoring their surroundings.

Likewise, the MP’s favourite project the rail station could have a landscape makeover whilst the bus station’s concrete pillars are being painted black and the pigeon mess remains!

I was heartened by the report on the St Nicholas Cemetery Project and how unemployed people gained new skills and hope. It was a shame past councils let the cemetery get in such a state.

What is happening about the boating lake? Could a similar scheme help? There are still 1,800 people registered as unemployed. Why can there not be a paid work programmes to help landscape the town, continue the cemetery project and have a clear up of the town? Some of the back streets off the front are quite untidy.

What is happening about the casino and related projects? What is the point of winning the licence and then failing to use it. Presumably there are others who could? The Winter Gardens and now closed Amazonia hardly help the seafront. Why is it necessary to repair the Wellington Pier at the start of the season?

I love my home town and am increasingly fed up by the failure of the private sector and councillors to get their act together to sort things out - often the simple things like litter and landscape. Surely councillors and business owners must notice too?

CHRIS WRIGHT

Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

Why hospice on hospital site?

I would like to reply to Mrs Bolch (Letters, June 19) please.

Confused Mrs Bolch? We certainly are, and the confusion arises from James Paget University Hospital!

In 2008 I, like many others, donated to what I believed was going to be a hospice, to be built on JPUH grounds. It simply never happened. What is all of this talk about Phase 1 and Phase 2? I do not recall any of that at the time I made my donation. What happened to my money? I only know that JPUH plans for a hospice seemed (to me) to just fizzle out.

Regarding East Coast Hospice (ECH); they have been consistent throughout with its vision of building an independent hospice away from the JPUH site.

On the same day ECH announced its purchase of five acres of land at Sidegate Road the JPUH announced “a separate bid for a 10 bed hospice….in the grounds of JPUH” (Mercury, November 15 2013). This announcement followed a failed bid by the then chairman of ECH (David Nettleship) to merge ECH with JPUH.

A key factor in the failure was the fact that ECH was fundraising for an independent hospice, a merger could result in legal claims for money back by its supporters.

A fact as true today as it was then, surely? Anyway, it amounted to nothing as Mr David Wright, chairman JPUH, announced it “would be wrong to be seen to be competing with another local charity with similar aims.” (Mercury, December 13 2013). What has changed Mr. Wright?

Now, the Louise Hamilton Centre, with remarkable disregard for ECH, and its supporters, has announced the creation of a charity to build a hospice. Why? There is a charity with land and full planning permission to build a hospice just up the road from their centre.

As for Mrs Bolch’s comment that she supports the LHC because “no money would be used to pay the running costs of charity shops and managers wages” is an insult to the managers, volunteers and public who donate and buy from charity shops.

Charity shops in the High Street successfully provide much needed income for their respective charities. If they cost their charity money to run, they would close. Simple!

Mrs M WOOD

Mill View,

Bradwell

Ratepayers will be out of pocket

The Outer Harbour and the River Port (gifted to the Port Company) is being sold. Cllr G Plant states “the move reflects confidence in the future”.

But the fundamental cost to the taxpayers is:

The yearly turnover of the river port £5m now standing at £40m cumulative for eight years.

The upkeep of the Haven Bridge average £500,000 per year to date £4m.

The maintenance of Gorleston West Bank needed now £2m.

The freehold for the land on the Gorleston Pier the sale of the Port Offices and land on Gorleston Pier, about £500,000.

Give or take a thousand or two, ratepayers are £47m out of pocket.

In 2005 the borough and county officers in various documents informed us all how the Outer Harbour would change our lives for the better.

At a year off the age of it is 80 doubtful I will be around in 30 years’ time - that is how long it will be before the hidden records of the deal will be viewed. One wonders what the records will say?

JOHN L COOPER

Burnt Lane,

Gorleston

Hope firm like ABP will buy port

I read with interest that EastPort has put the outer harbour up for sale. Surely the money that was allotted from the public purse for the initial purchase should be paid back before any profit is taken by EastPort.

It looks as if John Cooper’s letters of protest were well founded and I hope a company like ABP (who run the port at Lowestoft) will be the purchaser. The river is in much need of repair particularly on the Gorleston side.

MIKE SMITH

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Use Constitution to complain

On Friday, having as always, read the Mercury, I mentioned the parking rules letter in your columns to a long-standing stallholder in the Market Place. He pointed out that, with the exception of good old Palmers, there were very few local businesses remaining in our once flourishing town centre and our councillors appear to be unable or unwilling to reverse this decline.

He went on to comment on the serious waste of financial resources which have featured in your news reports over the past few years. Among these were the cost of settling the parks and gardens fiasco, the enormous TV screens which were badly sited and didn’t work and appeared to have no guarantee, and the totally useless 1st East regeneration company.

The only significant action of this quango was to be involved in the loss to the town of a first-class marina, properly funded by a development company, which would have produced business opportunities, jobs and tourism for the good of the community.

Sadly, I have to agree with him and can only suggest he might find interesting two clauses in the Great Yarmouth Borough Council Constitution which could apply to his remarks should he wish to bring them to his councillor’s attention: 1.3 Purpose of the Constitution (f) ensure that the decision makers are clearly and publicly accountable and that their reasons for decisions are explained in full (h) create a powerful and effective means of holding decision makers to public account.

My contribution to the discussion was to express my concern at the latest bad news from EastPort. What a strange remark to claim the sale of the company reflects confidence in current and future growth prospects. If it is that good why dispose of it?

Many of us owe an apology to Mr Cooper and his associates for their tireless but ineffective crusade in the past seven years.

NICK POWNALL

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The Sequel: stars the same drivers

So now we have The Acle Straight--The Sequel. It’s called The Country Run. It still stars the same drivers, the considerate and the inconsiderate. Their style of driving has apparently now moved to the rural villages on their way to Norwich.

There has been a lot of discussion regarding the dualling of the Acle Straight with some thinking if it is dualled, it will bring about a reduction in accidents. This may happen, but don’t these people listen to the traffic reports on the radio. It doesn’t matter how many lanes there are, one, two, or a motorway, there are still accidents.

This is because accidents don’t happen, they are caused. They are caused because certain drivers don’t think before they act, they don’t check their mirrors, they don’t take into consideration the speed of other road users, probably they don’t even consider other road users, they don’t signal. These are a few things that can “cause” an accident.

Ask yourself: Do I drive like this? Do I get in my car each morning intending to kill someone?

It is not the nut on the wheel, it is the nut behind it.

ALAN MARSHAM

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First time patient says ‘excellent’

Please may I say that I recently had to go into the James Paget Hospital. I am a former health and safety officer, the district secretary and branch secretary for the former National Union of Public Employees of the Health Services, which joined up to the confederation of health service employees, now known as Unison.

But this time it was my first time to be a patient, and I must say the ENT, A&E and Ward 5 were excellent. The staff was lovely, I was a bit fearful of the endoscopy but the team, who came in on a Sunday on their day off to attend to me, were brilliant.

Hope they enjoy the chocolates, God bless them all.

W BUCK

Barnard Crescent,

Gorleston

Traffic volume and speed fears

Having read the article in the Mercury I heartily concur with the concerns of residents regarding the speeding and volume of traffic through Fleggburgh.

Anybody trying to cross the A1064 finds it extremely dangerous, particularly parents taking children to the primary school, also people using the village hall. It is very encouraging that Councillor Thirtle is taking action to try and improve this problem, before a tragedy happens to somebody.

I know many residents wish for safer roads, surely motorists realise this, and therefore observe the speed limit.

Mrs J A ISLES

Church Way,

Fleggburgh

Land always there for a hospice

Having been a regular reader of the Mercury for very many years I have often thought I ought to write to the paper when articles appear that I have not been truly happy about, but have never done so. But this time I feel I really must.

After a very fair article by Lauren Rogers writing about the Louise Hamilton Centre ten bed extension which has always been planned since its first beginnings were published I was horrified to read Lucy Clapham’s article last Friday.

The Louise Hamilton Centre did not announce the launch of a “new campaign” but made the original building planned extension known publically. There was no way of building the ten beds until an original building was in place, the land has always been there at the back of the Louise Hamilton Centre to extend but it was important to raise the money first.

So much already takes place in the centre for those people who come along for help as more than 18,000 people have found out, for example bereavement counsellors are available every day as are support services such as dementia care, psychological, family therapies, continuing care, supportive care and many other alternative therapies.

The addition of the beds will complete the range of palliative care services. In fact, the leaflet available lists over 30 services which are held regularly and these leaflets are easily available. How very sad there should be any dissent when it is essentially to help others.

ANN DAVIS

Youell Avenue

Gorleston

Please correct error in letter

Would you kindly correct an error by you in my letter in last week’s Mercury as it completely changed the meaning of the sentence? What I had written was: East Coast Hospice was going to start construction next year, not no construction next year. Thank you,

P ECCLESTONE

Well Street

Great Yarmouth

Editor’s Note: We apologise for the error which happened during the typing in of the letter into our system.

Bad drivers abuse the Acle Straight

Thank goodness there are still people like Mr French with something intelligent to say about the Acle Straight, I agree with every word. For 42 years I have travelled this road with no problems in lorries, towing caravans and horse boxes, on motorbikes, and I have even walked its length often enough. I have not ridden a horse yet (well, there are limits).

But there is nothing wrong with the road, only a large minority of appallingly bad drivers abusing it. Can you imagine the damage done to the area after dualling? There would be calls, no doubt, for motel complexes and let’s have a few of the dreaded executive houses with fine views of the marshes, and a supermarket or two.

The deaths on the road would continue. The only creatures that need protecting are the local wildlife.

I have seen hundreds dead on the road over the years, a terrible waste. Instead of blaming the road we should be charging those often very dangerous motorists with murder, it is no different in my eyes than shooting someone with a gun.

I suggest you drive at about 55mph, a safe and economical speed, and see how many minutes it takes for a line of traffic miles long to form behind you, filled with angry and abusive motorists desperate to do a ton or more. We do not need any more of this fantastic area damaged, only a bit of common sense too often lacking.

Instead of writing a fresh letter about the Acle Straight, I discovered this letter on my computer. One of my early letters I think, but I think it has as much relevance today as in 2003 when I wrote it.

By the way, the above remarks apply not only to the Acle Straight but to most of our villages including the road I live on with people doing twice the limit or more. We do not need traffic calming measures of any assort, what we do need is drivers to be caught and fined and have their licences taken away because this is the only thing these people understand.

M S DIMMACK

Campion Avenue,

Gorleston

Give the port area back to the town

As Great Yarmouth’s originally deemed white elephant, the outer harbour, now seems it could be moving on from EastPort, could this sale help some of the borough’s financial worries in getting a refund from the original £80m of public money given to it?

This seems an ideal opportunity to put the area back to the status quo, and give the area and what can be reclaimed back to the town. The harbour’s mouth road needs to be reopened, and removed from the details of the sale, before any other prospective owner is involved - to hog which wasn’t their land to own in the first place.

Then perhaps peace will reign with whoever will be playing boats the other side of the fence.

Failing an industrial sale, perhaps the outer harbour could be converted to a boating marina, as seems to be the fashion in other parts of Great Britain, which could benefit a lot more people, rather than rely on future prosperity.

C HOPKINS

Laburnum Close,

Bradwell

David came to our rescue with rope

A big thank you from Caister WI for all the offers of a loan of a tug of war rope for our Family Fun Day on August 31 at King George V playing field in Caister.

David Ling from the Tug of War Federation of Great Britain was first on the phone, and has promised to dig one out for us. There are no teams organised, so that anyone who fancies a go on the day has a chance to try it.

Thanks again everyone.

RUTH BOND-HOLLAND

Caister on Sea WI

Family night was a huge success

Cobholm Community Centre committee thank John Michael hairdressers, Palmers cosmetics, Sue Patterson, Hughes, Rusty’s Plaice, and Let my Kids party.com for their kind donations that helped make the family night on May 30 a successful night for all.

MARGARET JENNIS

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