Letters, March 27 2015

Author died so book run ended

Ref Stan Traynier’s letter regarding T Barker’s books, Transport in Great Yarmouth volumes 1 to 3. He lived in Bristol and travelled here to research his very detailed books. Unfortunately he passed away after volume 3 was printed (1987). It was his intention to produce six volumes but there were no other researchers to carry this project on.


Great Yarmouth Library volunteer

Rail or bus: Both areas ignored

What was the point in having the rail minister visiting our station? Claire Perry may not be the rail minister in a few weeks and was badly briefed in any case. How much did it all cost? There has been five years to improve the station and little has happened.

It is all very well partly repairing the old bridge but it still is not suitable for cars.

Most Read

The station is often unstaffed and with planned changes to ticketing purchasing may become totally unstaffed. In the past, councils could help fund improvements but with slashed budgets, there are other priorities and why should they fund train firms?

The minister thinks we have a decent rail service. On paper perhaps, but there are frequent delays. Replacement coaches insist on visiting every station and thereby take twice as long so that profits can be maintained at the expense of the passenger. The train company even runs out of rolling stock!

Is an hourly service decent especially when it often misses connections? Where are the plans to electrify the line and get the “sparks effect” of increased usership, faster trains and potential for better connectivity?

Pre -privatisation, we had more than a shuttle service to Norwich. We had trains to Cambridge and the Midlands. The idea of a service to Lowestoft is interesting but needs to be seen as serving the East Suffolk Line towns to be viable.

Yarmouth station has 460,000 users annually. The users get on and off, so about 230,000 people actually visit the station. The bus station has millions of users and yet has been ignored by our MP. The area is dirty, loved by the birds, badly lit, bleak with damaged scruffy railings and closed shops. With council budgets cut is unlikely to see much in the way of upgrading.

Hopefully the shopping centre will repair the storm-damaged cladding after over a year of being unloved. It seems to me the majority of us are being ignored for the minority who can afford rail travel!

Another fine mess for the town.


Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

Service changes were inaccurate

I was interested to see the paragraph headed Bus Service Changes in the village news for Stokesby, Runham, Filby, Thrigby and Fleggburgh this week. However, I was concerned to see it was inaccurate in that the second part of the article concerned proposals to take effect from 1 September and not 30 March as printed.

So to clarify: From 30 March Sanders service 6 will continue to serve Fleggburgh and Filby at work and college times and will have an additional journey in each direction for shoppers.

From 30 March Ambassador Travel service 730 will continue to operate six days a week (except Bank Holidays) until Saturday 29 August inclusive, but will no longer call at Fleggburgh.

The proposals for a reduction in the 730 to Wednesdays and Saturdays, together with the other proposals mentioned in the second part of your report will, if implemented, commence from 1 September. Norfolk County Council are currently seeking people’s views on these proposals and comments should be made to Daniel Yellop at County Hall on 01603 223956 or email daniel.yellop@norfolk.gov.uk



EDITOR’S NOTE: We apologise for incorrect information. It was from a report received and printed in good faith.

Where has all the life gone?

I write as a very dispirited shopper in Great Yarmouth. Where has all the life gone? It is very depressing to walk into the Market Place and see nothing but banks and charity shops – I know that the empty Co-op building is earmarked for change, good thing too.

When I first came to live here 34 years ago, the Market Place was full of life and there was a definite positive atmosphere about it. It has got to be the cost of the rates on the local businesses that is the problem. I read now that some public toilets are at risk.

Doesn’t the council want visitors and locals alike to come into the town? Public toilets especially are very important if you are a mother with young children or an elderly resident, when things happen they happen fast! Need I say say more.

Come on Great Yarmouth, there’s life in the old dog yet!


Lynn Grove,

Gorleston on Sea

Will we have city smell of urine?

It occurred to me that the burghers and apparatchiks of Great Yarmouth might have a grand secret agenda. That of placing Yarmouth in the pantheon with other great cities of ancient world fame in order to improve tourism. It is just that the plebs would not understand if it was explained.

It brings to my mind of the time when I was a junior officer on the good ship MV Cavallo and a “great city” appeared on the itinerary. I was happy with the prospect of looking around this great city built by a “great leader” to be the centre of the world’s learning, and to see the stamp of Cleopatra, Brutus and all.

Finished with engines late morning gave the prospect of an afternoon and evening examining 2500 years of great works by the Greeks and Romans and of their lost intentions.

Sadly, the only lasting memory is that of a foul smell of rotten human urine so strong it burnt my throat and evidence of very large dogs, although I was not to catch sight of any dogs at all.

I did not stay long before leaving there and as a twice a year visitor to Great Yarmouth I will stop as quickly if the burghers succeed in placing Yarmouth along with the “great city” but we will know if that is the agenda when they start burning the libraries. I suspect that is to be soon.

Of course, the antiquity of Yarmouth and the area is much older than the “great city” so there is no need to emulate “the great city or any other place of fame” as Toad of Toad Hall might have said.

Note: The “great city” name withheld to protect the guilty and me from rabid liberals. All replies to the editor please.


Do the elected people listen?

Funnily enough it happens again and again, elected people, some 39 in total, never listen to the 90,000 that live in the borough. The BID has really stirred feelings up, not surprising. People will be shelling out hard-earned cash that for some there would be no benefit. But I do like the borough council’s stance that “everything has been done by the rules”.

The BID is just one of many decisions made by those in charge that have absolutely no business to be taken. The secrecy of one advert on line is a dead ringer for the £20m squandered on the outer harbour that was heralded as the saviour of the tourist industry,

In my head is the photo in the Mercury of elected and unelected officials drinking champers on the South beach. The setting was promoting the glossy magazine that the borough council and Port Authority produced, depicting the sailing times of the ferry service that never materialised.

I suppose whilst we have the system we have of electing the few that go from promising the world at election time, to looking back to these councillors and unelected officers after four years when we look back bears no relation to the promises made. Best of luck people with the BID, just add this to the £20m plus that ratepayers are already counting as a loss.


Burnt Lane,

Gorleston on Sea

Grass verge car parking awful

I would like to reply to the letter published last week re the grass verges.

This is a particular problem in Bradwell with cars etc parking for long periods on the grass verge between the road and the pavement, which cause problems for the bus route. I really felt sorry for the men trying to cut the grass.

I would also like to know why the police do not enforce the 30mph speed limit, I remember when there used to be regular speed checks in different forms by the police, not any more.



We must end this animal cruelty

The subject of animal cruelty which was mentioned in last week’s Mercury is something which I have written about a number of times to our MP Brandon Lewis in particular the barbaric method used to slaughter animals for Halal meat.

The replies which I received came from the Minister of Agriculture and Food and they seem to use the excuse of religious slaughter. The British Veterinary Association has recently conducted a petition campaign to end the practice of slaughter without stunning. The petition exceeded the required amount of 100,000 signatures and has been discussed by MPs all to no avail. This whole thing is an absolute disgrace by this government.


Yarmouth Road,

Ormesby St Margaret

Now yellow lines parking for me

Did anyone else park on Palmers car park on Wednesday, March 18 at 10.15am and find the meter saying it was out of order and please go to other machine?

Being unable to walk far and having got the last disabled bay, I just put my blue badge on as I wasn’t going to be long. But when I got back unfortunately had got a parking fine.

My son contested this for me but they sent a photo back of the machine working at 10.59am. I got back there just after this and there were parking tickets on other cars.

In future I will park on double yellow lines like others. I have been driving for 50 years without a blemish and am so upset.



Council council against disabled

I am a disabled person living in Town Wall Road in Yarmouth. The county council are re-doing the kerbs in the road but they are only doing 80pc of the Close. I find this unbelievable. I asked while they are in the road if they can do me some drop down kerbs.

Parking in this Close is very hard due to people working in the town and parking here. I struggle to walk and if we go out I can’t park back near my house, so I feel confined to the house.

I contacted the county council about doing the kerbs and was told it would cost me around £1,400. As a disabled person I can’t afford this, my wife is out of work as well.

I asked about a disabled space but they say they don’t do this. I feel the county council is against the disabled and don’t care about how we have to live.



So why did store plans collapse?

I have still not had a satisfactory answer from the borough council about why the planned Sainsburys in Gorleston was no longer going forward.

I wrote to Sainsbury and they replied, saying: “…that due to a number of technical issues, we agreed with the council that the scheme was no longer viable and therefore decided not to open the store. Please be assured we’re very disappointed that we couldn’t make it work. We appreciate the time you’ve taken to contact us.”

Is the borough council going to tell us why the scheme collapsed?


Cherry Close,


How can this mess be art?

Reference the letter about the art gallery windows showing boobs, fat and bums.

How on earth can anyone call that art, let alone sculpture. I had to pass that every time I went into town and back and it was a disgusting sight. After that came windows full of bits of stuff strewn over the floor and parts of shop dummies?

Now there is another one exhibition. What does it consist of? Trousers and jeans and strips of material covered in bits of material and masking tape.

There will be a lot of real 100pc artists that are turning in their graves at the sight of what is today’s norm, some still alive that cringe as well, no doubt.


Great Yarmouth

Sorry to have to tell you ...

Oscar was his name and he was just over eight years old. You don’t know me or my dog, but I drive an electric scooter. You’ve probably seen us both around town, along Southtown Road, The Common playing field, down Regent Road, along the seafront and various places.

Judging by the comments to me about my dog, quite a few of you seemed to enjoy seeing him. I’m sorry to have to let you know that he has had to be put to sleep. RIP.


Address withheld

Not in backyard of councillors

It’s no surprise there then, that the borough council has voted in favour of the proposed developments by the Cliff Hotel for a café and another bar on Gorleston seafront. I doubt what they voted for is in their backyard.

Why did they not respect the report of the environmental health department, and that should have put an end to the matter.

It is a pity the residents’ petition wasn’t made more aware to Gorleston residents in general as this may have helped their cause.

What with Charles Reynolds’ opinion, he said about the area coming back to what it was 40-50 years ago, is he really aware what night life is like in this day and age compared to 40-50 years ago.

It’s certainly not going to affect him being on the other side of Caister.

The last thing I want to see is Gorleston seafront in the condition of Prince of Wales Road in Norwich on a Friday/Saturday night. That certainly wasn’t like it is now 40-50 years ago.

In reply to Mr Stan Traynier’s enquiry in last week’s Mercury concerning the book Transport in Great Yarmouth volume 4.

I understood some years ago that the material, text and photos was complete but finance was not for making it reality. At that time there was a connection with the book shop in Howard Street when it was trading.



NHS crises hit the front pages

Nearly 70 years ago, Nye Bevan, the then Minister for Health in the first post-war Labour government was putting the finishing touches to the creation of the National Health Service, having overcome all kinds of obstacles including resistance from the medical profession and Tory opposition in Parliament.

I’m sure few people would disagree with the fact the NHS is in trouble, there is hardly a day goes by without another crisis being front page.

The last time we had the Tories in power we had the railway network in crisis, where the service had been deliberately starved of investment, making it so bad the general public were prepared to consider it being privatised.

This time it’s the NHS. Another five years of Tory rule and it will be gone as we know it.

And for those of you looking at UKIP for an answer Farage is on record saying he sees the American system of private insurance as the way forward. For those who can afford it of course!


Hebrides Way,

Caister on Sea

Stop collections of tourism levy

This is an open letter, sent to the Greater Yarmouth BID team, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, the press, Penny Mordaunt MP, and Brandon Lewis MP.

With reference to the letters dated February 17 and March 13 from Penny Mordaunt MP. As you will gather from these letters, this is a polite yet firm statement saying the Greater Yarmouth BID team and Great Yarmouth Council should hold an alteration ballot to re-establish its trust and communication with local businesses, which the letters pointed out, it had completely failed to do, with only a 19pc return in its response to the ballot.

In response to the letters, we as local businesses demand that Greater Yarmouth BID and Great Yarmouth Council hold an alteration ballot (which can be held under current legislation) to show they wish to work in partnership with local businesses.

If you fail to hold an alteration ballot as strongly recommended by Penny Mordaunt MP, it would therefore seem you have no intention to do this, and have complete disregard for the local business community, who have to fund this BID over a five-year term.

At present local businesses have little faith in the BID team to be able to promote the Greater Yarmouth area as a holiday destination, as it has failed in this capacity to promote its agenda to local businesses in the Greater Yarmouth area.

If, as has been quoted in recent press releases, you have conducted this BID proposal over a four-year period, this raises a serious question in the team’s ability to be able to run this BID. It would also seem the team has been deliberately low key in its approach from its conception to the actual ballot.

We also would like Yarmouth Council to withhold any further collection of the BID levy and return all monies collected to date, as a sign it would like to co-operate more closely with local businesses until this BID has been resolved to a satisfactory conclusion for all those involved.

As local businesses outside of tourism we contribute up to 70pc to the local economy, compared to the 30pc from tourism, as promoted by the BID team.


Harnser Yarns, Gorleston

Great Yarmouth Traders Against the Tourism BID

A wait for town hall to answer

On Monday this week I gave up after waiting 15 minutes to get through to the borough council customer phone line. The next day I managed to speak to a human being after 12 minutes.

The purpose of my call was to enquire if there was any way to purchase a Resident Advantage Card other than online.

There is. But there is no mention of this in the Borough News. This way of obtaining a card needs to be advertised more widely, and Yarmouth council needs more advisors answering the phone lines. Not everybody has a computer



Grateful for your festival support

I should like to give a huge thank you to all the present members of the Gorleston St Andrew’s Competitive Festival Committee for their sterling efforts in organising the Festival. At the end of the Harold Taylor Trophy Winners’ Concert at St George’s Theatre on Sunday, some of the committee members were surprised to be invited on stage to receive the British and International Federation of Festivals long service awards.

However, two of the “newest” recruits did not qualify as they had joined only four years ago. Thus, I feel it is appropriate to acknowledge their massive contributions to the running of the Festival since they joined.

Tom Foster took over the role of co-ordinator and has voluntarily given hundreds of hours of his time to fulfil the daunting task of preparation and organisation to make the Festival happen. His work entails many jobs which are far too complex and numerous to mention, but it is without question that, had he not volunteered to join the committee, the Festival would have faced closure at that time. So thank you, Tom, for giving the Festival another four years.

Anthony Oliver joined the committee at the same time as Tom, working in several different areas.

He has developed and maintained the website, collected advertisements for the programme, designed and printed the “new look” certificates, and become the “official photographer”, both taking and printing the Festival photographs. Like Tom’s, Anthony’s contribution has been very greatly appreciated.

Our other longer serving members are Lynne Plaskett, who has been secretary for 13 years, and also has undertaken the posts of child protection officer, and safeguarding officer.

Aileen Tacon has been treasurer for 10 years, keeping the finances in impeccable order while Kathy Pink has looked after the festival trophies for 13 years, making sure they are in shining condition and organising repairs when necessary.

Alan Jermany, serving for 17 years, has lent and operated sound equipment when required, and helped with stage management in the various venues. Terry Cunnane has been music secretary for 13 years, giving valuable advice on musical aspects.

For many years, Sheila Pascall has been the speech and drama advisor to the committee, finding suitable material for the classes in this section of the Festival.

Besides fulfilling their official committee roles, all members have co-operated in the general aspects of running the Festival – erecting and dismantling staging, organising seating, refreshments, delivering copies of the syllabus, programme and posters, not forgetting stewarding – to name but a few!

I am extremely grateful for the support all the committee members have given me while I have been chairman – I appreciate their help and the hours of time they have given voluntarily to ensure the continuance of the Festival. I think they would agree with me it has been a great team effort – challenging but rewarding! We shall certainly miss it when we resign later this year.


Festival Chairman

Is Marina decision being rushed?

Is this a catastrophe waiting to happen? After many years of being a Labour councillor, I find it increasingly upsetting at the way in which decisions seem to be made nowadays.

From my recent experience some councillors seem to be completely oblivious and other that do know are unwillingly to talk about the future of the management of the Marina Centre and Phoenix Pool. Both venues are at present managed by Great Yarmouth Sports and Leisure Trust, but Trevor Wainwright declared last week that from the April 3 they will be managed by Sentinel Leisure Trust. Why this company is seen as the best option to either completely take over or merge with the GYSLT, is beyond me.

Sentinel Leisure Trust manages the Waterlane Leisure Centre in Lowestoft for Waveney District Council and had to receive an emergency bail out from the council in 2012 of £300,000.

Past experience of dealing with Waveney District Council was when they managed the Phoenix pool for a few years. The condition of the facilities deteriorated so much that the GYSLT were asked to take over the management of it. Inherited staffing issues then took over two years to resolve!

I question as to the motives behind decisions and the legality in which they are being made.

The council seems to be rushing this through under emergency conditions. However, this is completely unnecessary when the GYSLT has managed the venues competently without notice of improvement from the council, are solvent and are deemed a good business by the Charities Commission.

As far as I am aware they are also fully prepared to continue to manage the centre.

If Trevor Wainwright’s main objective is to reduce costs, ie the management fee it pays for whatever Trust to run the venues, this will not happen overnight if ever.

My knowledge of swimming pools nationally, is that they are there to provide a facility to the community and very, very rarely make a profit.

Everyone will agree the aesthetics of the buildings need to be vastly improved, however with such vast amounts of money needing to be invested, some £7m, the management of the venues needs to be stable and secure and the future changes need public consultation.

The opinions of Yarmouth people can only be best served by a Yarmouth-based Trust.


Former Great Yarmouth Borough Councillor