Letters, March 21 2014

Remembering wonderful Regal

I read with interest the piece about the demolition of the Two Bears Hotel in Great Yarmouth and it made me think of the wonderful 1930s Regal (ABC) Cinema and wonder whatever happened to the stylish art deco figures façade when it was demolished? An appalling decision!

I seem to recall both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones played there in the 1960s and it is where I saw The Rockin’ Berries, several summer acts and many films too.

Sadly, I also remember being dumped by the love of my life at a bus stop just outside.



Scottish Border

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Port wanted the centre site

As a trustee of the International Seafarers Centre I would like to point out that when the centre closed in 2005 it was not because of funds being stopped as everything was, and still is, run by volunteers.

The port wanted the centre site since 2000 and were gracious enough to let us run it until 2005. The International Seafarers Trust does not have premises at present but our representatives visit ex seafarers in their homes and help out in times of crisis.

With the facilities that most ships have now such as wifi, computers and televisions the need for premises is perhaps not as great as it used to be and the standard of food on most vessels takes away the need for catering in mission establishments.



Fines threat is not working

I wonder how many dog wardens there are in the town? I reported dog mess on Havelock Road yet there is still more mess on the paths. It’s not the dogs fault but all this emphasis on fines etc doesn’t seem to sink in.

I phoned up and was told someone would go along but that was over a week ago.

The council do not go along to pick all the rubbish up and they wonder why the town is slowly going off the rails. I hope the holidaymakers do not walk along there, they wouldn’t want to come again.

Once it is reported the dog wardens should be out doing their jobs. It’s near the Time and Tide.



Superb way of learning on job

I found last week’s Mercury inspiring and hopeful for our future. How wonderful to see our college highlighting the success of our apprentices.

This is a superb way of learning on the job and gaining qualifications. Some may go on to higher education.

It is to be hoped employers can recruit even more. With the privatisation of key industries we lost major sources of apprenticeships.

Likewise, how interesting to read the European Community sponsoring a language award and a local lad won a commendation. It is shame that the EC needs so many translators and churns out so much paper!

My heart was moved by the story of North Denes pupils showing IT to some of the older generation. It was lovely to read and good to see how young and old can get on so well.

The cadets on a sponsored walk and students looking at Oxford University - just hope the culture shock was not too much!

There are so many wonderful young people around and unfortunate that the few troublesome ones create a poor image of the next generation. I just hope we will provide the opportunities for the next generation to flourish locally. They could transform the borough. Shame the college was threatened with cuts.


Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

No vacancies said accountants

Brandon Lewis’s jobs fair at the Racecourse was a disappointment. Firstly he wasn’t there all day to greet the downtrodden unemployed people of this borough, and secondly, a well known accountancy firm was there to tell my son, who has just completed a university degree, that there were no vacancies. So what was the point of them being there?

Many may have had to go along to be disappointed at no prospect of a job because if they had not attended the highly publicised fair then the Job Centre would penalise the exasperated unemployed even more with a four-week sanction.



Who left seafront barrier open?

On Sunday afternoon somebody had left Gorleston seafront barrier open and everybody was using this as an overflow car park even though there were spaces in front of the shops. This became very dangerous for wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

As for the children’s play area it was a nightmare and the fumes in front of the boating lake were dreadful. We protested to stop this from happening. There were no notices to stop people parking there. Also, will anything ever be done to reinstate our seats?



Where are all these stalls?

I, and many other local people including market traders, am at a loss at the council-erected banners proclaiming the market in Great Yarmouth has 30 stalls every day and 80 on a Saturday. Excuse me? Since when? Maybe 40 years ago.

Most Saturdays it’s a maximum of 40 including the permanent stalls. We have lost many of the country stalls due to retirement and there are at most half a dozen “country” stalls on a Saturday. A lot of people still go to get vegetables but numbers are dwindling.

At best the banners are misguided. Oh, and don’t forget, we can count and we’re not stupid.

On another subject, I read with interest Peggotys article on Great Yarmouth Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society coming as it did in a week when a meeting had been held to finally wind up the society. Although they are no more, chairman Graham Turner is very much alive and well and living in Martham, and many more members are living locally, indeed two run the highly successful Dusmagrik Theatre group for young people.

Theatre is very much alive and well in Great Yarmouth and Gorleston with the Pavilion staging a wide variety of shows throughout the year including two productions a year by Dusmagrik and those from the highly praised Gorleston Theatre Company. St George’s is up and running and offering a varied and enjoyable programme of shows.

Phyllis Adams School of Dance who traditionally supplied dancers for the Ops and Drams are still very much in existence too. The Chorus of St Cecilia also put on shows at the Pavilion and have one just this week.

The council robbed us of the Wellington Pier theatre, and the Britannia Pier theatre is out of most society’s price range. Yarmouth and Gorleston groups are every bit as successful as our Lowestoft counterparts.


Caister Road

Great Yarmouth

Double-decker ignoring stops

Twice within a week I have waited for the 10.22am Service 2 (James Paget Hospital to Barrack Estate) at the bus stop near the Almond Road shops on the Shrublands estate in Gorleston. On both occasions, no bus has arrived...although two came close!

A single-decker bus has always been used on that service, but on Wednesday week and this Monday, passengers waiting with me have watched a double-decker turn from Crab Lane into Forsythia Road and approach us in the usual way to its T-junction with Almond Road, about 100 yards from us.

But instead of turning left towards us, it has turned right and driven out of sight down Almond Road, ignoring us and presumably heading to Shrublands Way to get back on track. It gave us no indication that it was diverting from its scheduled route, and therefore gave us no time to try to catch it. As most waiting passengers were pensioners, that would have involved delaying its off-course departure by a minute or two while we walked to it.

The diversion meant the bus bypassed three stops: two in Almond Road, one in Oak Road. Certainly people waiting at two of those on both days were out of sight and would have had no idea that this had happened and their bus had gone.

This is a half-hourly service so the bus’s non-arrival meant either a long wait, or a walk to the Magdalen Arms or Pine Green to catch alternative services. In my case, last week’s no-show of the No 2 at my stop meant a brisk march – not easy for a 79-year-old – to the Magdalen Arms because I had an llam appointment in Yarmouth. I just made it!

There was no notice at my bus stop announcing any diversion. A would-be fellow passenger realised when he spotted the double-decker come into view that it would not turn our way and said it was because they are not as manoeuvrable as single-deckers and cannot negotiate the narrow and awkward Oak Road.

If he is correct, I wonder how anyone can be so irresponsible as to allocate a double-decker to a route known to be impassible.

After last week’s no-show I rang FirstBus customer care in Norwich (the Yarmouth counterpart does not handle complaints) and detailed my gripe. The operative typed it into a computer, giving me a reference number and promising an e-mail response when investigated. After five days, I have received nothing.

Occasionally I catch the No 2 for JPH appointments. If a double-decker is on that route and takes the diversion, will my apology for late arrival and explanation about the bus bypassing my stop satisfy the JPH and prevent my appointment infuriatingly being rescheduled by weeks or months?


Lynn Grove,


Tower holiday lets a great idea

Reference the article about the medieval town wall towers being transformed into holiday lets, I think it is a great idea; let’s get some imagination in Great Yarmouth for a change. I can see no major problems, all the private facilities can be installed and the public facilities are all in situ, including an excellent bus service to the town centre.

Some people might be interested in some old photos, I think at the Pub on the Prom, which show Blackfriars Road to this tower full of shops and traders – all gone now and replaced by grass and trees. Perhaps I should not comment on such things, I have only lived in Yarmouth since 2007!


Nelson Road South

Great Yarmouth

Town is not so ‘elegant’ today

It was nice to read Elaine Cope’s letter in the Mercury, March 14. Nice, because it was so frank about the mess that is Great Yarmouth.

Probably some time ago, perhaps in the days of King Edward VII and Mrs Keppel, the town could be described as “elegant”. No doubt it had to be to attract such royal patronage.


Marine Parade


Costa will hit the cute cafes

May I ask what colour glasses Yarmouth’s MP Brandon Lewis was wearing with his comments regarding Costa hoping to get into Gorleston High Street, GYM March 7? If people use Costa they are unlikely then to go into any of the other cute cafes up and down our High Street to have another drink. It’s hardly a city centre.

Sadly, Southwold fought to keep them out over a long period of time but in the end they got in there and how quaint is Southwold, did they really need them?

I appreciate with the younger generation Costa and Starbucks are the only outlets to consider, but us golden oldies I would think, would be happy to keep things as they are. If they do arrive, let’s hope already established outlets will not perish.



Uncle was killed in war tragedy

One of your readers, Peter Tennant I believe, has been trying to get a plaque to commemorate the aircrew who crashed on the beach near Hemsby in 1941, which I found most touching as I’m the niece of the observer/navigator, Sgt A E Cosgrove.

Among the few bits of memorabilia my mum left me was a copy of a redacted letter from Teddy’s best friend in the 12 Squadron, Canadian pilot James McKnight who wrote to my grandad that Teddy’s plane took off from Binbrook as per usual and was successful in bombing its target, but he witnessed Teddy’s engine being hit by flak on the port side in a sustained anti-aircraft attack.

This seems at odds with the paucity of official information which says the plane turned back before reaching the target. To add to the tragedy, it was meant to be my uncle’s last mission before he was going to propose to his girlfriend. James McKnight returned the ring to Teddy’s grieving parents in Manchester as well as his last letter in which he paid tribute to his loving and supportive family adding if all families were as good as his, there would be no wars at all.

I’d like to thank all the locals who helped recover the bodies of him and his friends so they could all be returned to their families and hope to visit the area soon as I pay my own respects, knowing my mum is now reunited with him in heaven.



Get the Winter Gardens open

When will the council look again at the reopening of the Winter Gardens?

Having just gone through our worst coastal storms with extreme high winds I noticed on Sunday that the building deemed unsafe has not one broken pane of glass, all structures seem as straight as when we last used it and in perfect condition.

I understand it would cost to heat and staff it but anything must be better than leaving a beautiful building to eventually deteriorate.

Families still need quality time together without spending a fortune on the many games arcades that cover Marine Parade! If it was reopened and advertised well I am sure it would soon recover any initial outlay. If we can modernise a skate park at a small fortune I am sure something could be worked out.



Flowers await mobile finders

Could I please, through the Mercury, thank the two gentlemen who kindly handed my mobile phone back to me after I had dropped it near my van. They left before I could say thank you and I would like to give them some flowers, if they could contact the shop. I am sure they know who they are.




Question Time was interesting

I would like to thank all of those who were involved with the Question Time evening for the public at the Town Hall on Thursday, March 13. My question was one of many chosen and we could debate further the answers we received. I understand more people attended this years event and I think approximately 20 attended.

For those of you that have in the past complained or disagreed with council workings it is a shame you do not attend these events where you can be heard. Thank you once again for an informative evening.


Nursery Terrace,

Great Yarmouth

Winter Gardens action plan?

According to remarks made at the Forum meeting in the Town Hall last Friday there is still uncertainty about the future of the Winter Gardens. Would it be worthwhile investigating the profitability of erecting scaffolding disguised with climbing plants and fitted up with zip lines and rope swings, bridges and ladders? Then it could be used for the Go Ape-type of treetop adventure which has become popular in some of our forests.

It could become very popular, in the summer at least, especially if parallel attractions as well as services were included on the floor.



Kindness shown after mugging

On behalf of my mum through your letters page I would like to thank the two council workmen who came to the aid of my mum on March 14, who was walking through St Nicholas churchyard and was mugged around lunchtime, it all happened so quickly that my mum did not get a chance to get their names.

I am so grateful to them for helping her and gave chase. I would also like to thank the police officer who attended at the scene; the kindness that was shown to my mum by all is very much appreciated.


West Road

West Caister

A privilege to be at Greek night

Last Saturday, March 15, I had a personal invite to Great Yarmouth Greek Community’s annual fund-raising dinner and dance at Gorleston’s Ocean Room/Pavilion.

I just wanted to say via our local newspaper, what an absolute privilege it was to be able to share the traditional music, food and dance. It was a fantastic night. So my gratitude and huge thanks go to Despina, Anthony, Nina and Eleni.

Oh! And I now know the reason behind the plate smashing - cheers Anthony for your very able demonstrations!



Will orchestra inspire young?

Sir Trevor Nunn, director of musicals including Les Miserables and Cats and who is about to open two plays in the West End described in an interview this week how he was hooked on both theatre and music as an eight year old boy in Ipswich: “I heard the orchestra tuning up. I had never heard those sounds before. The tuning up turned into an overture. The excitement that can be delivered as music comes into a darkened auditorium is absolutely indelible.”

So what exciting potential may have been unleashed in Great Yarmouth last week when the famous BBC Concert Orchestra filled the ring of the Hippodrome and played to almost 2,000 local children as part of the orchestra’s 2014 MusicMix programme?

Trevor Nunn was just an ordinary boy in neighbouring Suffolk who was – like many of us – encouraged by his teachers and he went on to run both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre as well as bringing us some of the greatest musicals of all time.

Who knows what ambitions may have been kindled last week? We can but hope. And if nothing else young people’s minds will have been opened and expanded by the sheer joy of live orchestral music.

It was an hour or so of utter pleasure performed in a relaxed way and encompassing all kinds of music from Mozart and Prokofiev to the theme tunes from The Simpsons and the computer game Angry Birds; local students also took part including Flegg High choir who joined in a specially composed piece to mark the outbreak of the First World War. Others were also given the chance to introduce the pieces.

The event was repeated the following day at King’s Lynn Corn Exchange. But the Hippodrome is unique in the way it is so intimate while also allowing the audience to see exactly what’s going on and how the music is being made. I’m not sure which was more rewarding – the music or watching and sensing the way the youngsters were totally engrossed and engaged with it all. It was incredibly moving.

As a trustee of SeaChange Arts and a former BBC presenter I’ll happily admit to bias but hats off to the Concert Orchestra, SeaChange, Yarmouth Borough and Norfolk County councils and all the other organisations whose tremendous team work and meticulous planning and logistics enabled coachloads of children to spend this magical time being immersed in such live and lively music.

And let that be a lesson to those who think that nothing like this could happen in Great Yarmouth!


Lowestoft Road,


Group to meet at football club

We will be holding the next public meeting of the People Of North Yarmouth community group, at Great Yarmouth Town Football Club, in Sandown Road on Monday, March 24 at 7.30pm.

We hope that local residents will come along and air concerns about issues.



I know what it’s like to find job

While I sympathise with Mr Balls’ sister’s job plight I would like to say that I am advertising for taxi drivers so if the good lady applied for this position I would certainly reply to an application whether positive or negative.

I was only out of work for two weeks in my entire working career and did whatever was necessary to keep employed so yes, I do know what it is like to search for jobs. I realise that the job opportunities are far less than years ago but it appears benefits are greater than they used to be and some people just can’t be bothered to look for work.



Is this National Insurance folly?

On April 10, 2013 the MP for Great Yarmouth wrote he was concerned that many of his constituents have one or two part-time jobs but are not covered by national insurance. Could Brandon Lewis like to explain that on March 17, 2014 that his government voted against the House of Lords amendment that would allow those working two or more jobs to aggregate their income to access a pension. If this amendment was passed then many of the MP’s constituents would have qualified for a pension.