Letters, March 20 2015

Market shrunk but not the staff

I have over recent weeks taken it upon myself to make an unscientific measurement of the current trading area of the Great Yarmouth Market Place (two-day market) with a view to answering the question of if it offers value for money.

This unscientific measurement firstly consisted of my simply walking the site in length x width and counting my steps (like I said, unscientific) in order to discover the share of the site at the time was an approximate split of 60pc market trading area and 40pc car parking area.

For those people who can remember not too far back, I think we could all agree the market has got significantly smaller over recent times. However we can still buy fruit and veg, clothing accessories, car maintenance products, pet products, hardware tools, computers and mobile phones, to name but a few of the choices on offer. So choice is there, and when prices are compared with other retail outlets the costing comes out favourably and therefore I believe the market does offer value for money and a good alternative service for the shopper.

If the market is 60pc of the entire site, and therefore I assume the traffic department and wardens control the 40pc of car park area, then why does the council continue with 100pc management of the market itself? This surely cannot be value for money?

With an election coming up, let’s replace the councillor/s responsible for the demise of our market and let’s have staff managed, monitored and audited to see if the council tax payer gets value for money from them.

Leave the market alone, that is not the problem.

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Sandown Road,

Great Yarmouth

Destroy artwork, ignore graffiti

Remember how quickly “The White Lady” was removed from the bus shelter on Magdalen Way in Gorleston? Shame the borough council is not so quick to get rid of the graffiti that has now been present there for weeks! Any reason why?


Pembroke Avenue,


Anyone else see flashing lights?

I have only lived in this area 12 years but have found it a wonderful place to be, with very friendly neighbours and local people always willing to lend a hand. So, I was wondering if anyone can help with this one.

Last Saturday morning I had occasion to visit the bathroom at about 3.15am. I was about to return to bed when all of a sudden there was a massive flash of light... very bright and very quic.

I am a semi professional photographer and do know what bright flashing lights look like, but this was far bigger and stronger than any flash I have ever seen.

My house is in Lucerne Road on the Cornfields Estate and is one road back from running parallel with the Beccles Road, between the Sun public house and the Belton turn-off.

There are no overhead or power cables to cause this, although there is a police speed camera down the road; but this would be masked off by several houses between us.

My next door neighbour has also seen flashes in the sky about the same direction and my wife has also seen one to the rear of our house which is the opposite way. I am wondering if anyone else in the area could explain these flashes or has also seen them?

I am not seeing things and I don’t drink, so that theory is out of the window. I am also not one to start thinking of paranormal experiences.

I have looked into the possibility of lightning balls, strikes and adverse weather conditions but the night was still, no wind, and a beautiful clear sky.

I wait with bated breath to see if anyone comes up with any sensible ideas. I have had all the comedian’s answers.


Lucerne Road,


Grrrr! Rubber bands menace

Have we had an invasion from Mars with a rubber band fetish? I walk my grandchild around the streets roads, lanes, fields, backways, byways you mention it, and everywhere I see rubber bands lying helplessly on pavements, every few steps from Belton, Bradwell Gorleston to the seafront. It’s endless.

Now we know they come from the postmen who have bundles of hopefully important necessary mail, and of course the junk mail which nobody wants, so ... why can’t they have a pocket especially for these reusable items, instead of littering the ground. Then they could bring down the price of stamps.

In one hour I picked up 56 rubber bands.

Name and Address withheld

Grateful for hand back of cash

I would like to thank the lady who handed in cash that had dropped from my pocket in Sainsbury’s last Thursday. It restored my faith in human nature and made my weekend.


Northgate Street

Great Yarmouth

Plan for a fire service fan club

I’m a local fire service enthusiast, I would like to meet up with other local fire service enthusiasts in Norfolk and Suffolk. Myself and a friend have been talking and we would like to set up a group for fire service enthusiast in Norfolk and Suffolk.

If you are interested in joining please contact me via email chriswisken1988@gmail.com or address provided.



Once green and pleasant land

I am not one who normally finds it necessary to write to newspapers but in some cases I need to, especially regarding cars etc parking on grass verges and green areas.

Well, I would like to say a thank you to Great Yarmouth Borough Council for now starting to get a grip on this matter with the excellent idea of putting wooden bollards on what once were nice greens. All that’s needed now is a few truckloads of topsoil and about a hundredweight of grass seed and job done.

Back to a once green and tidy area and not a ploughed field.


Lady Margaret’s Avenue,

Great Yarmouth

Help us to fight animal cruelty

Anyone who watched the media news of dreadful atrocities taking place at a slaughter house would have found the scenes shocking. This undercover film taken by Animal Aid is only one of others investigated where they found evidence of suffering.

Animal Aid is asking supermarkets to ensure their meat suppliers install CCTV in abattoirs to prevent criminal acts. Two well known supermarkets have already agreed to this.

Animal Aid has pre-printed postcards that people can send off to politely ask for this checking system to be put in place. Hillside Animal Sanctuary has also exposed scenes of animal abuse in an abattoir as shown in two daily newspapers.

Please call in to Great Yarmouth Against Animal Cruelty, 11 Market Row, and pick up an Aminal Aid postcard to send off to help put an end to these hreartbreaking scenes.

Most people would be comforted to think that the animals who end up as meat on their dinner plates are treated with compassion in their last moments.


Great Yarmouth Against Animal Cruelty

Brick wall with a pond in middle

So the Marina Centre is losing money. Look at it. It’s a brick wall with a pond in the middle and nothing else on view. It was suggested prior to being built that it should have an Olympic-size swimming pool. If this had been done it would have been an asset that would have made money from the competitions that were held there, as well as other events.

As it is, who would want to go there? You cannot park, there is no direct bus route, the area is not conducive in that you would go to see the inside of the building.

Regarding the £7.6m loan that only gets mentioned in the final second page of the article, why are we giving it to the Lowestoft leisure centre by providing this? Is there any percentage profit from this venture? As it is over about 10 years, how much interest is being paid back for providing this loan?

I note the work “will include a complete remodelling of the Marina pool, salons and services to do with well-being.” What is wellbeing?



Support worthy charity causes

Market Day on Wednesday, March 25 will have an added attraction between 10am and 2pm when the ladies of the Inner Wheel Club 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.

This will be a chance to support the upkeep of this magnificent building and the President’s chosen charities including the Wheelchair Foundation UK. Other charitable organisations, including the RNLI, the Louise Hamilton Centre, Homestart and the local Stroke Association Support Group, will have stalls at the event.

There will be at least 25 tables including books, plants, cakes, Easter tombola, £1 stall, jewellery, handbags, wooden candle sticks, Finishing Touches, 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

Answers please on store pullout

Is anyone in a position, from either the borough council or Sainsburys, to give an official reason why the new superstore is not going ahead? Sainsburys say it is not because of the downturn in their business, while rumour control has it’s because of a dispute over car parking demands by the council. Help please.



Did candidate take Blair cash?

I recently received a letter from the Labour parliamentary candidate, Lara Norris, saying she lacks the funds of UKIP or the Conservatives with which to campaign effectively. I would congratulate her and her team on being able to print and deliver a leaflet about surgery closures within 24 hours of the announcement with such limited resources available, a minor miracle!

For clarity, would Ms Norris please confirm whether or not she accepted a £1,000 donation offered to Labour candidates by former Prime Minister Tony Blair? I’m sure that being such a divisive figure, it is a relevant fact to be established to assist floating voters in making a firm decision upon whom to align with on May 7.


Lancaster Road,

Great Yarmouth

No fine for horse poo on roads

I’m fed up with the horse manure left along my street and Gorleston seafront by inconsiderate horse riders who just let the horses poo anywhere. They do not think that a large pile of horse dung outside a house which can in the warm weather attract flies.

Not only that, ending up on our tyres unable to avoid it because of the oncoming vehicle.

The houses and driveways and front gardens are well kept as is the grass verge, but it seems strange to me that I must pick up my dog poo otherwise I get a large fine, and the horse club riders just laugh at us and go on their merry way.

How would they like a pile of it outside their house? I have spoken to the council but they say there is no legislation against it. Now that is very surprising.


Yallop Avenue,


Heritage is the way forward

How nice to see in the Mercury that the way forward for tourism is heritage. It’s a shame it has taken so long to realise it, and not helped by past civic vandalism and neglect that has caused the loss of so much of our heritage.

I would like to see everybody have a look into a book published in the 1960s by Yarmouth borough council called “Yarmouth is an Ancient Town” and I believe re-published in 2000 as a paperback. In there they will find out much about the heritage of Great Yarmouth.

Though born and raised in Yarmouth, I have spent over 30 years living in York, where heritage is big business all year round but now I am back in Norfolk and involved in part of the heritage of the town.

Sorry chaps, the days of candy floss and kiss me quick hats has gone. They invented package holidays with near guaranteed sun and low prices. Now let’s get on with promoting our heritage, there’s money in nostalgia let’s cash in.



Is volume 4 of book out yet?

T Barker wrote a book, Transport in Great Yarmouth, volume 3. He hinted in volume 3 he would write volume 4. Does anyone know if this was written?



Astonished to see Marina story

I write as the Secretary of the Trustees of Great Yarmouth Sports and Leisure Trust (GYS&LT). We were astonished to read your front page article of March 13.

No-one from your newspaper contacted GYS&LT, nor as far as I am aware, has any contact been made with Sentinel Leisure. Instead, you have relied on the council for information. Had you not done so, you may have managed a better grasp of the facts.

You should have realised that a confidential procurement process is underway. From reading your article, any prospective bidder would reasonably take the view that an award decision has already been taken.

That the leader of the council and a senior cabinet member seems to have already confirmed that a decision has been made in advance of a council procurement process is a disgrace.

For the record, GYS&LT has worked with the council since 2006 to deliver leisure services to residents and visitors. During the length of the contract no service improvements have ever been issued by GYBC on any aspect of the operations. The contract ends on the 02/4/2015.

GYS&LT have increased usage in the Marina Centre from 157k 2006-07 to 223k 2013-14, and the Phoenix Pool from 36k 2008-09 to 76k 2013-14 and reinvested 99pc of surpluses back into the facilities.

The “losses” that the leader refers to is the contracted management fee; the council pays for a service it asked for at the price it agreed, and the Trust provides until the contract end.

Full council agreed to adopt the GYS&LT business plan in 2012-13 which planned to reduce the management fee to zero by 2017-19 including agreed facility improvements and extra services. As far as we know, this still applies, paid for by service improvements and grant schemes. The £7.6m investment is welcomed, payback arrangements have not been revealed.

The trust has built up industry standard reserves of three months operational costs to make the business resilient to unforeseen closure, and is regarded as a five star business model. We anticipate the council will have a fair and transparent procurement process for the centres and the service.



Great Yarmouth Sport & Leisure Trust

Marina Centre is worth saving

With reference to the future of the Marina Centre, I have been a regular swimmer at the pool ever since it first opened, and consider the facility to be one of the best in Norfolk. I know there are many other swimmers like me who feel the same.

As a child I was taught to swim by my father in the sea, but when the Marina Centre opened I developed my technique and grew in confidence and enjoyment. Without the pool size I would not have progresses at all, and I hope to continue “the lanes” well into old age! It is so important for everyone in the borough to have the opportunity to use good facilities such as the Marina Centre to promote health and fitness, which is potentially an excellent venue, contributing to the well-being of residents and visitors.

Some areas in the town are truly worth saving/developing and it would be wonderful if an optimistic view of this building could be considered for the sake of those dedicated users, and generations to come, even if we all have to pay a bit more.


Pound Lane,


Is Lara’s army funded by Blair?

Tony Blair has donated £1,000 to each Labour target seat of which Great Yarmouth is included. Other Labour prospective parliamentary candidates up and down the country have publically rejected Blair’s money as the party struggle to distance themselves from the toxic topic of the Iraq War.

Can Lara Norris reassure her voters that she did not accept the £1,000 donation for her campaign? Or is Lara’s Army funded on the back of a controversial war? Having been a Labour supporter for over 20 years, I like many others feel we can no longer support the party if the blood-money was accepted.



Let us have more transparency

“I screwed up,” proclaimed Grant Shapps across last week’s media headlines in response to him getting his dates wrong concerning his second job.

Other national headlines of alleged wrongdoing in Westminster and the Hillsborough inquiry all told the reader what happened and what was wrong. All stories then informed the readers as to issues at stake that included transparency and accountability of public figures and institutions.

The issues around gifting public land to the outer harbour project by well meaning officials have been well covered and discussed in these pages. If the original business case was based upon a ferry service that supported the argument to close the peninsular road to create a secure customs area, then the same logic holds that without this underlying reason the road must now open. But I fear it is an inconvenient truth because it suits the hazardous industries now nestled in Area 51.

I see a few individuals have shown the interest to organise a public meeting in Gorleston Library on March 26, giving the platform at least to those who care and those that are interested.

Whilst I would like to see some transparency as to the reasoning for the continued closure, with a 30-year business confidentially restriction to the residents and tax payers, it is more likely the torrid affairs of Westminster’s establishment might get a little bit of uncomfortable light shone on them.


Clarence Road,


Excellent work from JPH staff

Two weeks ago I had an operation at the James Paget Hospital and I would like to thank all staff from Dr Gupta and his team, to the staff in the Charnwood Suite, for the understanding and care they gave me, supporting me through my recovery, especially Sister Julie and her team. Nothing was too much trouble.

I was the most frightened person entering the hospital for my procedure, but once again the care and support before and after was outstanding. The reassuring words from Julie and Simon were excellent.

When attending Dr Gupta’s clinic regarding results, it wasn’t the result I was looking for. However, the reassurance given to me and the kind words has made me more positive. Once again excellent work JPH staff, many many thanks.



‘Truth’ advice was the best advice

The more I read about the admission by former Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield that he’d lied about his part in the Hillsborough Disaster then the more I remember the maxim laid down by former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Trenchard to his officers when it came to complaints made about them. His simple advice was: “Tell the truth immediately.”

How many protracted and expensive investigations have been carried out in recent years because so many officers have failed to follow this sensible guideline?

How many other former senior police officers who thought they were safely ensconced in retirement are now quaking in their boots after seeing the treatment meted out to Mr Duckenfield so long after the event?

How many serving senior officers who were junior officers at Hillsborough and were well aware at the time that David Duckenfield had lied yet lacked the moral fibre to speak out are now hypocritically urging the rank and file to expose the malpractice of their colleagues?

The need for a proper Sandhurst-style senior police officer recruitment scheme is well overdue.