Letters, March 28 2014
Have your say on proposals
Last week I attended the meeting organised on behalf of the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group/Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust for Great Yarmouth and Waveney. After a short introduction and presentation by the panel, questions were then asked by members of the public. It became very clear the passion and genuine concerns raised by the public to these proposals which currently affect many people who either work within this area and those who receive the help and assistance. The proposed closure of specialist wards, alongside re-organising of staff to accommodate one of the three proposals to cover service delivery will undoubtedly have a greater impact on the whole community.
The panel told the assembled audience that they had only received 340 replies which are minute compared with the total population of Great Yarmouth and Waveney. One point the panel made was that they were there to listen to concerns and the replies were important and played a part in their eventual decision making. One of the questions put forward was to the police attendance there was no need for them to be there. Quite clearly in the heat of all of this the question was not thought out as the police also have a vested interest in these proposals.
Those officers live and work within the community which they serve and more importantly they are more than likely will be the first port of call for a family or person when they reach crisis point.
Officers are the first to attend they will have to make decisions to protect that person and place them in a place of safety so yes they do have an interest in these proposals.
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So these proposals have wider implications to the individual, the family or designated carer, other members of their family, friends, the medical profession and other attending agencies.
I urge everyone if they have the time to complete the consultation feedback form. It may well not affect you or our family now but it may help others in the future.
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Great Yarmouth Older People’s Network
Thanks but clean up long overdue
Through the pages of the Mercury I would like to thank the people who organised the clean up of the passageways and roads around the Alderson and Palgrave roads area.
It was the end of the summer 2013 when we last saw a road sweeper. I know we have still got them in the town as I have seen them on the seafront. But as for the passageways being cleansed, well it’s been such a long time my neighbours can’t even remember.
It’s not the council’s fault people let their dogs mess on paths and in passageways but it needs addressing. Still, we are in British Summer Time so at least you have got a fighting chance not to fall over something or stand in something that’s been dumped or left by our four-legged friends as the evenings will start to get lighter.
Appointment is a great privilege
I would like to thank the contributor to the Mercury letters page for their concern regarding my appointment as Mayor’s Cadet. I can assure you that it is a great joy and privilege for me and I join with the Mayor in congratulating my fellow interviewees on their contribution.
My first duty, only days after my appointment, was to accompany the Mayor and Mayoress to the theatre. I look forward to the opportunities the following year may bring.
I am currently a student at East Norfolk Sixth Form College, studying music, which is one of my passions. I would like to thank the team at Junior Leaders Adventure Corps for their guidance, encouragement and support to make this possible.
For those who would like to learn more about me and what I bring to the community, you can find me at The Conge, Great Yarmouth, Mondays and Fridays from 6.30-9.30pm where I help with the training and development of our Junior Leaders; or contact me on 01493 853866.
Come along and support us today
The ladies of Inner Wheel of Great Yarmouth will be holding their Easter Fayre in the Minster Church of St Nicholas, situated in the centre of the town at the end of the Market Place, today Friday March 28, between 10am and 2pm. This will be a chance to support the upkeep of this magnificent building and the President’s chosen local charity, the Great Yarmouth Stroke Association Support Group. Other charities and organisations including MacMillan, RNLI, East Anglian Air Ambulance and Save the Children will have stalls at the event.
There will be at least 30 tables including books, plants, cakes, Easter tombola, £1 stall, jewellery, Tiffany lamps, knitwear, toys, bric-a-brac, crafts and much more.
Refreshments will be available but entrance is free. Why not leave your shops, offices, banks and join us for lunch, coffee, or just a chat with friends? Take this golden opportunity to visit your Minster and at the same time support these worthy causes.
Inner Wheel Club of Great Yarmouth
I took wrong bus to avoid sailors
The news that the Winter Gardens may be given funding gladdens the heart. It was a great part of my teenage years, what with the skating rink and the numerous dances held there.
On one particular occasion I remember a Saturday night dance being held for the crew of a German naval ship which was anchored off Great Yarmouth. My friend and I went along but were targeted by two sailors whom we didn’t find attractive at all. After spending all evening trying to avoid them, we told them we had to leave to get the bus home (we both lived within walking distance of the winter gardens). To our horror they insisted on accompanying us to the bus, so we made our way to the Eastern Counties bus station and hopped on the Caister bus which was standing there.
The sailors stood waving to us and were still there waving ten minutes later when the driver got in and drove out of the station with us still on the bus. It cost us six pence and we had to walk home from Northgate Street! Happy days!
Super show was spoiled by chat
After an enforced absence due to illness I was finally able to return to the dear old Pavilion on Friday. What a great show Matthew Hardy and the Chorus of St Cecilia put on for us. The soloists were superb, the juniors amazing and all the choir in very fine voice and Chris Whiting on piano and his small group of players excellent. There were too many highlights to mention but apart from the happy looking children singing their hearts out it was the age span of the choir which I loved - aged 17 to 80 perhaps? Wonderful. Only one thing spoiled it for me and its not the fault of Mr Hardy or his choir. Having been lucky enough to secure seats near the front our enjoyment was marred by the constant chatter from two women in front of me on Friday night and having talked to friends who sat in other parts of the theatre they had the same complaint. Why can’t people just shut their mouths and enjoy the show we’ve all paid to see. Anyway thank you Mr Hardy, health permitting I shall be at several of your performances during the year.
Closer look will show true state
I would like to make a short comment on Pam Swindlehurst’s email last week on the Winter Gardens.
I don’t know how close she got to the building to make the comments on the state of it or if she went around the back, but I can tell her it’s not in perfect condition.
Along with the various areas the pigeons use, the roof at the back of the Winter Gardens is sagging, there are broken window panes and the structure is rusting, if it looked like that the last time it was used, I don’t think I would have wanted to go inside.
Plans are ‘final straw’ for town
I would like to register my objection to the following planning application for the development at ‘Pasteur Retail Park’, Pasteur Road, Great Yarmouth - the demolition of existing warehouse and erection of seven A1 retail units, restaurant and drive-through.
The proposed development is clearly aimed at town centre type retailers and will compete for these with the town centre. This will make it all the more difficult to attract any new stores into the town centre, and may well result in some of the current national brands to re-locate to this development. With 14pc of town centre retail units vacant there seems little justification for additional retail space and any new shops looking to come to Great Yarmouth should be encouraged to consider the town centre location to fill these empty units.
I understand that this scheme would not fit in with the council’s Local Plan and does not satisfy the Government’s ‘town centre first’ policy in that it would have without doubt a ‘significant adverse effect’ on Great Yarmouth town centre.
I would also like to add as a businessman in Great Yarmouth for nearly fifty years, I like others have seen the decline in our town centre.
It’s very easy to blame recessions and the misery they bring with them, but that is only a fraction of the reason why towns like Great Yarmouth are becoming ghost towns.
It started when the market place and Regent Road were pedestrianised, it was like an artery being severed, and in more recent times the residents’ permit parking along with parking charges that keep people away from the town.
The permit parking has not been thought out properly, it’s been set up in the reverse operation to how it should operate, permit parking should come into force after 6pm and not during the day when the streets are empty because residents are out and customers to the town cannot park and shop.
I realise that I have gone from the main point, but I needed to point out that we do not want another out of town shopping mall which will come with free parking and customers being able to drive up to the doors of these stores, which is everything the council is taking away from our town.
If these plans are passed, it will be the final straw for Great Yarmouth as a town centre.
I realise the planning committee will be thinking like usual that if they refuse this application it will result in an appeal which will overturn the council’s decision and probably cost a large sum of money to defend.
Wrong! That decision would be bad arithmetic, the reason being that if all the previous big out of town store applications were fought against, 50pc of them may have been won by the council, which in turn would have kept our town and village stores open, which in turn would have increased the rating revenues, as I am sure you are aware empty business rates has only been in a short while, and listed buildings and some buildings in conservation areas that are not trading are exempt from empty business rates.
It also affects our holiday trade, who wants to shop in a town with hardly any retail stores and abundance of building societies and charity shops.
Even the hotels that take coach parties, the coach drivers take the holidaymakers out of town every day after breakfast because of that exact reason.
My own businesses have suffered badly because of the above reasons, and now need help to climb out of the hole the town finds itself in, and not the council helping that hole to be dug deeper.
So every time it’s a Yes to these out of town applications it’s a big No for the town itself.
Come on councillors say no and fight for this town we love and cherish.
Regent Road Indoor Market, Regent Super Bowl, Instant Furniture.
No substitute for personal touch
The regularly chanted mantra about Norfolk being one of the safest counties in the country could prove to be a double-edged sword in that it sends a reassuring message to its residents but at the same time instills a degree of complacency about making preparations for any possible upsurge of crime in the future.
This fact is evidenced by the inconsistency across the county in the way that police liaise with Home Watch members, who appear to be a very much under-used resource in this currently harsh economic climate.
At a recent meeting of Home Watch co-ordinators held at Wymondham Police HQ it was suggested that the efficient running of the scheme had been adversely affected by the decision taken in September 2009 to replace the six civilian administrators, who had provided a physical link between police and co-ordinators in the provision of hard statistics about crime trends, with a hi-tech alternative computer system costing £80,000, designed to deliver messages to the entire population of the county.
Replacing the personal touch with machines was considered by County Home Watch committee to have been a false economy.
Maintaining a well-drilled army of highly motivated volunteer co-ordinators would surely be in the interests both of police and public alike.
Size matters, not just how many
I am writing with regard to last week’s letter about the previous week’s meeting at the town hall and the council’s claim that Yarmouth has just 13pc empty shops.
The following day I stood in the Market Place and looked at the empty shops in disbelief so I calculated the percentage of vacant premises of the whole market area based on what you see ie shop frontage.
The actual figure is 26pc empty! This is not taking into consideration that many of the empty shops have many floors of retail space available.
It seems the council has just tallied up open shops against closed ones without regard to their size, position etc.
If councillors and politicians (regardless of the colour of their ties) were more truthful and careful with their sources of information they all would be more respected and trusted as the general public would rather be disappointed with the truth than fed what is little more than meaningless political statistics.
Where exactly is this place ‘town’
As an amateur local historian and shopkeeper I was amazed by the headlines on the front-page of the Great Yarmouth Mercury on March 21. It appears the town of Great Yarmouth had moved overnight it read “Marstons Inns and Frankie and Benny’s coming to town” apparently this was according to the council, chamber of commerce and strategic development at the Yarmouth college.
Sorry but they are not coming to town they are coming to an out of town retail development which does not satisfy government policies and will be in direct competition with the town centre.
Great Yarmouth as history books and maps of the area show is built on a spit of land approximately four miles long bordered on the west by the rivers Bure and Yare and the North Sea on the east with the commercial and retail centre being within that area e.g market place, quays etc.
To the west of the town (now this should give some indication as to where this new development is taking place) are the outlying villages and hamlets of Cobholm, Southtown, Bradwell, Burgh Castle and in its own right the town of Gorleston which due to growth these places are sometimes referred to as suburbs (various dictionaries refer to this word as roughly meaning - an area of development on the outskirts of a town or city).
So considering this new retail park is on Pasteur Road, a road that leads to and from said town what benefits are the development bringing to our town? From what I and many other people can see absolutely none. Free parking at this new site will mean people using it rather than coming to town unless they have to, walking distance from many of the outlying areas why walk or drive any further than you have too?
I and many other retailers in the town centre recived a letter from Jonathan Newman (Town Centre Manager) this week voicing his concerns about this development’s impact on the town centre and the blinkered attitude of no support for the town centre by the powers that be.
Come on council, chamber of commerce and whoever else pulls the strings it’s time to change and do something for the town centre for a change before it’s too late.
Apparently this scheme does not even fit in with our own council’s local plan or even satisfy the government’s town centre first policy. Have the powers that be totally lost the plot? Have we become our own principality or state? What is our local MP’s reaction to the way the council etc. rides roughshod over government policy?
A thought to finish on: renowned local historian and author Colin Tooke published a book in 2010 called Shops and Shopping which outlined the history of shopping in Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and the villages.
The chapter Town Centre starts with the following words: The Market Place, one of the largest in the country has always been the centre of trade in the town.
If this book was to be re-released it would probably read along the lines of: The Market Place and town centre which is now non-existent and is now a park and ride to feed the out of town retail parks.
The Title of the book would probably be No Shops No Shopping.
Smiles and fun thanks to ladies
I would like to thank the ladies from the Great Yarmouth Inner Wheel - and Barry Coleman - for their kindness. Their fabulous entertainment brought so many smiles and laughs from the group. Then came tea time and what a wonderful spread. Thank you ladies and gentlemen for a great afternoon at Great Yarmouth Stroke Group. It was absolutely brilliant and so kind of you to come.
St John’s Road
Easy to confuse your Cockrills
The architect for The Hippodrome is mentioned twice in the Great Yarmouth Mercury of March 21: Peggotty says “one of the Cockrill family” (page 8), which is correct, Liz Coates incorrectly credits it to John Wm Cockrill, Borough Surveyor, (page 17) who did design The Gorleston Pavilion.
The architect of The Hippodrome was Ralph Scott Cockrill, my Granddad’s cousin and elder son of John Wm Cockrill.
I know that as there were so many builders and architects in the Cockrill family over three generations that it becomes confusing; many sources of reference also have some things wrong.
Demolition may be best option
In reply to the letter in last week’s Mercury. I take it that the writer had not walked all the way round the building as they would have seen at the rear windows missing and windows boarded up. Myself I think the place will fall down before the council gets the funding to put it right. Two years ago they said it would cost over one million pounds to put it right so I would not like to think what the cost would be today. Could the best bet be to pull it down before it falls down?
MICHELLE P SWIFT
Disgusted by mess in Hemsby
I live in Hemsby and I am disgusted wherever I walk in Hemsby there is dog mess on all the paths. This is disgusting. I have young children and they have to dodge the mess as we walk. Can you put a message in your paper reminding people to do the decent thing and pick it up and have some respect!
Ruling welcome but more to do
Great Yarmouth Port Company has failed in a High Court bid to take over as the official harbour authority. As one of the main objectors since 2007 in the way certain decisions were made over the £20m grant I still feel that, yes the MMO at the Public Inquiry made the right decision in not awarding GYPC the right to become Harbour Authority.
Since April 2013 there have been many changes within our port, all to the good of the borough. Primarily my objections were not against IPH/GYPC but with GYBC and the NCC. The public were kept completely out of any dealings as to how our money was spent and to our requirements. Every decision made in the signed deal in May 2007 was all behind closed doors. We now have a situation where possible customers to services our Port can supply are going elsewhere.
If our port is to succeed all the lay-people on the board of GYPA should be replaced by business people currently operating in our port.
JOHN L COOPER
Trees too tall for double deckers
I write in reply to Michael Bullock’s letter of March 21.
I am sorry to hear about the problems Mr Bullock encountered when using our number 2 service. Unfortunately, due to engineering issues, we were short of single decker vehicles and therefore we used a double decker in order to serve the route. However, due to the height of some trees on Oak Road, we were unable to serve some stops.
We are currently investing in our engineering operations and we are confident that the situation will improve.
We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.
Our customer service policy states that we will respond within 14 working days and Mr Bullock will hear from a member of the team in due course.
Operations Manager at First’s Great Yarmouth depot
Resort where time stands still
Recently there was a letter published here regarding the merits of Gorleston High Street. I feel that the removal of all the old unused street lights which have been unused for an awful long time would clear the scene of clutter.
The old unused bingo hall is an eyesore and would be better either used or demolished. The sign on the door states opening in spring but it was not the last spring and does not look like being this one. I wonder if council tax is being paid on this building?
Lastly the clock on the Pavilion has shown the same time for the last five years. The holiday makers seem to like the fact that time has somewhat stood still at Gorleston sea front but five years is a bit much. A clock would be an asset to beach users.
On the spot fines to deter smokers
Why is it that some smokers feel they are above the law and able to do as they please? Today I escorted my wife to the James Paget Hospital entrance and as we proceeded to the main entrance two patients (one with a drip attached to her arm) plus two visitors facing a ‘Strictly No Smoking’ sign which clearly stated it was a criminal offence to smoke on the premises - they continued blowing smoke as we walked past.
The JPH has recently supplied smoking shelters but clearly these lazy, rude smokers cannot even be bothered to walk the two minutes to these designated areas.
Clearly this was not a one off as judging by the remains left on the floor near the entrance this is an on-going problem. We have to return next week and expect to see more uncaring and disobedient smokers obstructing the entrance.
Perhaps some on-the-spot fines should be introduced.
High praise for our tender care
Both the James Paget Hospital and the East of England Ambulance Service have been the subject of much criticism in recent years but two recent experiences leave me with nothing but praise for their professionalism and tender care.
In February my husband suffered a severe stroke. Happily he has made an astonishing recovery thanks to the swift intervention of an ambulance crew and the dedicated treatment he received at the James Paget Hospital.
Last week we were involved in a road accident. Mercifully neither of us sustained serious injury yet we are grateful for the exemplary care and attention we received at the scene from an ambulance crew, a policewoman and members of the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. The county is blessed to have such thoroughly professional services.
Will bad news follow the good?
I sincerely hope that the welcome report on your front page of potential new jobs will not ultimately be followed by news of redundancies and closures of local smaller retail outlets and their suppliers.
Need for action and answers
I totally agree with the comments of Mrs Whitmore in last Friday’s Mercury regarding dog fouling and general rubbish infestation. Can we have a progress report on Cllrs Wainwright and Pettit’s great initiative re increasing warden activity to tackle these problems blighting all areas of this great town of ours. How many successful prosecutions have there been, if any? And where is the publicity naming and shaming the perpetrators. Also where is the response to my suggestions to Cllr Pettit of giving incentives to the wardens to patrol at unsocial hours, when the majority of the fouling seems to take place, and my other suggestion that those on community service should be out and about with their mobile phone cameras catching the offenders so that these photographs can be published and the offenders brought to book? Come on you Cllrs, who supposedly have the best interests of the town at heart, let’s have some action and some answers.
Brilliant service in just 10 mins!
I had a problem with a hearing aid. My husband phoned the audiology department at the James Paget University Hospital at 9am Monday, March 24 and was given an appointment for the same day at 3.15pm.
We arrived on time and were seen almost immediately by a very nice gentleman Kevin Martland who sorted the problem straightaway. Job done!
We were in and out of the building within 10 minutes. Now that’s what you call service.
JPH and NHS - brilliant.
Ormesby St Margaret
Restoration is the way forward
I am a newcomer from Enfield, Middlesex. Having come up for my fourth holiday here in April this turned into flat hunting with sales completed in September. I love the historic aspect: the Minster, the quay and town walls, so Medieval tower holiday homes are a fantastic idea. With the Broads nearby it is perfect for an RSPB member like myself.
I am familiar with the Napoleonic corner of Essex and the attractions of Point Clear, the Jaywick Martello Tower and the East Essex Aviation Museum. In June 2012 we had a Napoleon Weekend and battle re-enactment - educational fun whatever your age. I believe in restoration and creation of new life where possible like the 18th century merchant’s house in King Street.