Letters, March 23, 2012

Slow down on Marine Parade

MARINE Parade Gorleston is a beautiful stretch of road. Fine - if you are a motorist - no pedestrian crossings or traffic lights to hold you up, buses only at the south and north ends, lovely!

But what of the pedestrians? Not much to worry about until the summer season when the motor traffic increases enormously - except if you have children anxious to get to the beach.

Ok if you are fully mobile but not if you are dependent on a walking frame and an accompanying carer.

Well - what’s the problem? You will ask. The motorists are the problem for no way are they going to slow down for some hindrances. As one of these “hindrances” myself I can say that perhaps one in fifty drivers do the decent thing and allow us to do our valiant best to cross as quickly as possible - and I can assure you that we don’t hang about as we want to get out of harm’s way!


Marine Parade

Most Read


Why celebrate at Easter?

EASTER is almost here again, and most churches will celebrate it. But why? Neither Easter nor Lent is mentioned in the New Testament, and the Christians never celebrated them. So why do modern professing Christians take part in this?

Easter and Lent came into Christianity via paganism and then Roman Catholicism. The name “Easter” comes from the name of the pagan goddess known by different names: Ishtar, Ashtoreth and Eostre.

As Ishtar was a fertility goddess, this is the origin of the chocolate eggs and bunnies people eat at this time.

New Testament Christians remember Jesus’ dying for our sins and rising from the dead when we break unleavened bread and drink real wine on a Sunday (see Acts 20:7). We don’t celebrate festivals with pagan roots.


Albemarle Road


Mercury helps with research

I HAVE been researching my family history for the past six years and found I had a connection to a Sarah Ann Gilbert who apparently lost her life at the age of 12 years in the Suspension Bridge Disaster on May 2, 1846. Her death certificate shows she was found drowned in the River Bure on the above date, certified by the Coroner, W S Ferrier.

As I live in Australia I am having to rely on the Internet to do my research and have recently made contact with a fellow researcher in London who is also interested in the Gilbert family whose early origins were in Great Yarmouth. By a stroke of luck this person found an article about the disaster recently published in your newspaper indicating that a Mrs Staff is keen to see a memorial to the children lost, the article was forwarded on to me by email for my information.

Having received these details I was prompted to look at your website and was interested in some of the historical stories published. From hereon I shall become a regular visitor to the site in the hopes I can further my knowledge of the past in Great Yarmouth.


via email

Bad decisions by bright sparks

PERHAPS someone can tell me what bright spark decided to make the middle lane, when approaching the Acle road roundabout, into ‘the Industial Estate only’? How many motorists want to go to Runham compared to those heading for the town or Caister?

And who is the other bright spark who decided to make the kerb curve outward at the approach from Gorleston on to the Gapton Hall roundabout?

It is extremely dangerous as cars have to veer to the right when crossing to go towards the new bridge.


Roslyn Road


Rope-making history sought

I have a copy of a birth certificate for my grandfather who was born in Row 18, Great Yarmouth in 1868. His father’s occupation is given as Rope-maker’.

It would be interesting if any of your readers had any knowledge of a rope making works in Yarmouth at that time, it’s history and what became of it.


Fletcher Way


Staffie’s have such loyalty

AS you all have probably seen, a Staffordshire Terrier attacked a cadet on Hemsby beach. Although it was a horrible experience for the cadet, and I of course hope he is okay, I would urge you to not blame the breed as I know many of you will do so. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is one of the only breeds recommended as good with children, hence their nickname “the nanny dog.” Any dog, in the wrong hands can be a danger to the public. As with any breed, the Staffie needs to be well socialised and trained from an early age, but sadly it is a breed that thugs are attracted to, meaning many end up in the wrong hands.

They have been used as though, and still are used as service dogs, PAT dogs and companion dogs for people with various disabilities. Also, some of you may have seen the original web article, that claimed the dog was a Pit Bull Terrier.

Although banned in this country, in America they are also known as the “nanny dog” and are also used as service dogs. Both these breeds have such loyalty that it would lead them to stand between their family and an attacker, no matter what weapon they brandished, or to pull their family from a burning building. It is just a shame irresponsible owners have taken this loyalty and twisted it into something evil. All I ask is that you don’t judge all these dogs and their owners as thugs, because many are not.



Cllrs should live in their areas

AT the next local elections people are being urged to think carefully before voting in their representatives. Most constituents will stick to their chosen party and vote regardless of the suitability of the candidate.

There should be no place for party politics in local matters. Councillors should have to live in the areas they represent and be unable to vote on subjects where there is a vested interest.

Unfortunately after the elections, when all the fuss has died down, nothing will change. The undemocratic cabinet system that is in operation will ensure a return to the status quo and I do not mean the pop group!



Torch should be carried by locals

I HAVE just read with outrage that the Olympic Torch is to be carried on one of its routes in Norfolk by a fireman based in Cambridgeshire - a ‘foreigner’! This totally unacceptable. While in Norfolk the torch should be carried by Norfolk people.


via email

Dinner held for class of 1953

ATTENTION all those former pupils of the Technical High School from the 1953 year of entry, a dinner is being held at the Furzedown Hotel, North Drive, Great Yarmouth on Thursday May 10 7pm for 7.30pm to celebrate the fact that we are all 70 years of age this year.

Anyone wishing to attend should please contact me on 01493 856329 or email VJordan2491@aol.com.

Also would they please inform any other pupil they know.


How will LDO affect Gorleston?

Why is nothing straight forward with our borough council?

The Leader Cllr Steve Ames phoned me after the council meeting to tell me not to concern myself as the Council rejected the port company’s version of the Local Development Order.

We now see on page 20 of the Mercury the “rejection” is far from factual.

Yes have further talks with GYPC or any one in the LDO area on the South Denes, but remember it is for consultation. Whatever adjustments any one wants to make must go back out to all for more consultation. This LDO is most defiantly not a deal to be made between the borough council and the port company.

Is not it about time the backbench councillors started asking questions about the way cabinet members seem to favour the outer harbour management in preference to the electorate? When are they going to come out of hiding and truthfully tell us, why there are no jobs, why the outer harbour is not fit for purpose, why the river port is not being maintained and dredging operations being carried out without a licence?

These are just a few questions there are many more.

Also there is a lot said about Nelson Ward North of the LDO area as too Southtown Road, but reading the council’s version and the port’s version of the LDO it is quite apparent that Gorleston, from the Pier Hotel, Cliff Hotel Cliff Hill through to High Road has been left to the mercy of what ever pollutant (sight, smell, sound) companies on South Denes care to push out.

GYBC planning department must be able to have an overall environmental brief on every possible business that could cause problems for Gorleston. Gorleston should have the same protection as those north of the South Denes.


Burnt Lane


Fire could have caused chaos

HA! Fire in the old lifeguard hut? I didn’t realise the old bylaw had been overturned. It seems that all the campaigning against a catering use for these premises was useless. So, do we, the public, have any say? I hope it is now realised how dangerous this fire could have been. If this should happen in the summer it would cause chaos. This was one of the reasons the public were opposed to the development.

Now building is in progress there is only about a two metre width between the front of this building and the seating. There will be much less when customers are waiting to be served. Last weekend people were complaining that no consideration had been given to the high numbers of people who sit there. It was difficult to get a pram past; virtually impossible for a wheelchair. It will be the same in the summer.

In the Mercury I read a suggestion that all the parking should be taken away from the front of the shops, and the area be set out with tables and chairs. Are they thinking this will attract visitors to our lovely Gorleston seafront? There are plenty of benches and places to sit, and when the Victorian shelters have been restored there will be more seating. We come to sit on the seafront or the beach, and walk the prom; not sit outside these shops. People don’t want a continental look here. This is Gorleston! How many places can you go to which are so friendly and the people have such good humour? In their words: “This place is beautiful.” It is a treasure they come back to, often driving miles, even in the winter. It is good to see these small shops, cafes and amusement places busy for those few weeks that are our summer, and to see some staying open in all weathers to look after the regulars. We were happy as we were. So, why now change things?


Kingfisher Close


Hospitals all get five gold stars

IN response to Vera Symonds letter Mercury March 2.

I had my first bypass in Papworth in 1986 and again in 2003. On both occasions I had nothing but praise for Papworth concerning the operation, care, food and cleanliness which were all excellent. I found the same for the James Paget as I have been in on many times. Also my son has been to Papworth and the James Paget for heart and found the treatment and everything all excellent.

Anyone waiting to go to Paworth will worry them after reading Vera Symonds’ letter - after all this is a hospital working to a budget and not a five star hotel.

Why do people feel it is necessary to complain when they are doing their best? To people waiting to go in please ignore her comments they are all working very hard and give excellent service. Papworth five gold stars, the Paget five gold stars, the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital five gold stars, Vera Symonds - nil.


Caister on Sea

Realism needed for hospice plan

MY thoughts may not be welcome but are intended to be well meaning, but I feel I must inject some financial realism into what East Coast Hospice and other well meaning folk are trying to achieve.

The idea is wonderful, to offer Hospice Care is commendable and, were it to be achieved, of huge benefit. However, �4m to build and �1.8 million per year revenue costs to run is surely an impossible dream (unless huge legacies are a realistic dream as well?).

These ECH aspirations represent an enormous amount of money for this area. I ask considerations to compare how the local area has really got behind the James Paget Hospital Palliative Care and raised �1.35m over the past five years with around �150k remaining. Now finally, after those five years so many local folk have got justifiably behind this project and very shortly the turf will be cut to start. But those five years raising �1.5m does not even cover one year’s �1.8m running costs for the proposed new hospice.

The Commissions do not have funds to support the revenue operating costs. In a hospice situation, historically NHS funding has been 30pc of total operating costs, so even given the capital build cost of �4m the ECH, given NHS historical funding, would still need to source over 1m per year.

However, the ECH website shows they have had income of �103k in 2010 and �141k in 2011 and expenses of �64k and �106k respectively. This leaves a surplus of �40k per year. The balance sheet shows liquid assets of �98k. Are these figures anywhere near where you need to be? Of course not, hence in my opinion at this time it is “The Impossible Dream”.

Another point, supporting literature mentions ECH will operate under a Specialist Care Consultant.

Our main JPH had great difficulty in recruiting such an individual, and was only able to do so with a clinical networking arrangement with N&N. Finding that individual to operate a ten bed hospice seems optimistic.

Now we all want to help to provide greatly improved palliative care services to our community, it needs and deserves them.

In summary, as I am led to believe, the Paget offered free land to ECH, not five acres but circa three acres and suggested a phase two (following the Palliative care build to be concluded end of this 2012 year) and JPH suggested we all raise additional money for beds and construct them behind the PCE centre.

They (JPH) again, I believe, were prepared to give the naming rights to ECH. I think either Margaret or George Chadd centre. This, however, was not acceptable to ECH. In fact, ECH believe this care should be provided off site (Sidegate Road five acres) and divorced from the NHS.

For interest the Duchess of Cambridge, very recently opened the St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich, which recently merged with Waveney Hospice Care investing �2.2m in the next three years which is to support patients and their families in Waveney and Great Yarmouth, as an independent charity providing services free of charge, costs �6.6m per year to run.

In many ways I hope my thoughts that are written with the very best of intentions are wrong, however, my experience in business, as with many items in life, is to cut ones cloth accordingly, and with my business hat on, as laudable as ECH objectives are, the cloth appears to me to be too large.


Chairman of Potters Leisure Resort


Harbour too precious to risk

I AGREE entirely with the views expressed in Mr John Cooper’s letter published in last week’s Mercury.

I think it is vital that IPH/GYPC should not be allowed to be the planning authority for the South Denes area.

I consider that this body constructed the unsatisfactory Outer Harbour and, given the chance, they would spoil the Gorleston River Harbour.

We must not forget that the River Harbour became successful following two previous failures. It is too precious to risk.

The secret of the River Harbour is the presence of the Spending Beach which should be called the Scending Beach.

This beach area opposite the bend in the river allowed waves from the east to be reflected from the west side of the river to expend their energy on the Scending Beach, the water being ultimately returned to the river.

Any building or structure compromising the Scending Beach area would radically increase wave formation in the river. An electronic engineer will tell you that the west bank of the river and the Scending Beach represent a ‘Smoothing circuit’.

Anybody reducing the size or position of the beach does so at our peril.

Most hydraulically minded people think that if a small scending beach had been established at the west end of the Outer Harbour that structure’s story would have been happier.


Addison Road


Callous thief wrecked big day

I WOULD just like to thank the callous soul who thought it was an acceptable thing to do to remove my daughter’s Ugg Boots and new top, a 10th birthday present, from one of the lanes at the Regent Tenpin Bowling Alley on Saturday morning, March 17.

My daughter had been bowling in the junior league and just changed lanes for some extra coaching.

When she went back to collect her boots and the Next plastic bag containing her shirt to change in to, both had disappeared.

The staff at Regent Bowl were helpful, checking each lane but obviously too late.

I hope you enjoy them, she never had a chance to. The journey back to the car where a tear-stained little girl had to be carried as she had no shoes to walk in (and it was raining), was not a pleasure either.

Nor has it been easy for myself or my husband to answer her question: “Why did they do that?”

Is this really what this once so lovely town has become? Come to Great Yarmouth, tourists, so you can be stolen from. Still, maybe the culprit’s smiling face will appear on the CCTV footage when the bowling staff check through it.



Council action urgently needed

I wrote an article for the Mercury nine months ago entitled “We’re down but not out,” which looked at what was even then the forlorn state of the Market Place following the closure of several large stores and put forward my deeply-held view that the borough council needed to be more proactive in getting life back into Yarmouth’s town centre.

With the company that owns Market Gates Shopping Centre going into administration last week I believe that this need for council action is even more pressing.

The council is of course going to receive several million pounds from Sainsbury’s as part of their acquiring a large site on Gorleston’s Beacon Park and I believe that it should spend a small slice of that “windfall” to secure for the town the key Co-op Department Store site on the east-side of the Market.

I believe that it could ultimately be the site for a new swimming pool/sports facility for the borough - ideally situated close to the bus station and town centre car parks. Failing which, I would like to see the council’s Economic Development Team marketing it for new retail use probably offering businesses a very generous deal to get them into the Market Place. The old Co-op would probably need two or three franchises to fill such a large building.

I am also very disappointed to see the council rushing headlong to pass over the running of the Market to Norse contractors without even considering a Trust option where the Market Traders traders themselves could be involved directly in managing and promoting the historic market.

Needless to say none of us local councillors in the Central & Northgate ward were consulted - no change there!


Borough Councillor,

Yarmouth Central & Northgate

Town Wall Road

Great Yarmouth

Where were TV screen facts?

ON Wednesday 14th March I attended a cabinet meeting, on the agenda was an item “Great Yarmouth Market”

During the course of discussion, I asked the question: “Would it be possible to move one of the seafront TV screens to the Market Place to replace the screen that had disappeared many years ago.

In Olympics year this would have been an asset to the Market Place, and enabled both residents and holidaymakers to view the events whilst shopping.

I was told by Cllr Reynolds that the seafront screens needed to be repaired at a cost of �100K each, why they needed to be repaired was not explained, as they were both working last year.

Imagine my surprise when on Monday 19th March, I was told by a Labour Councillor, who had heard it in a pub, that the two screens had been sold to the company that the Council had originally purchased them from at a cost of �600K, for just �16K a loss of �584K.

Quite clearly this information was known to the Cabinet Members at the time of the meeting, but was withheld from Labour Councillors.

If Labour Councillors cannot be told the facts surrounding the sale of the seafront screens, how can we, or residents believe anything this Conservative Administration tells us in relation to merging our chief executive and senior management team with South Holland and Breckland District Councils.


Magdalen Ward

Leader of the Labour Group.

Thanks after fall

in town cafe

I WOULD like to thank the lady and gentleman who came to my aid last Friday, March 9, when I fell in the cafe down Market Row, also the staff. I am OK now, just bruised. My sister kindly took me home, we got a taxi.