Letters, March 10 2017

Was pancake race justified?

Was pancake race justified?

I seek some clarification of my council tax increase and the phrase being bounded around “no other way to make ends meet”.

Whilst I understand the 3pc is to bridge the funding gap, I do believe before taking this step the councillors should have looked at other ways of saving money before this increase.

In this “sensitive” time, is it really a good idea to show images of paid public servants running around Yarmouth Market place tossing pancakes?

I would also like to point out, the event took place during the day when our children are at school and would have been unable to participate.

Surely in the evening, when councillors and public servants were not on the pay roll and children could have participated would have been a more suitable time.

Most Read

Especially seeing as the marketplace is a well lit area.


By email

Pancake race created a buzz

The council staff who took part in the Great Yarmouth pancake race did so wholly as unpaid volunteers and in their own time (during their lunch breaks).

A total of 15 local businesses and organisations entered teams, including the Mercury, and created a buzz in the town centre and raised more than £120 for Great Yarmouth Foodbank – in addition to further funds raised by Great Yarmouth College. The public feedback about this event has been overwhelmingly positive

David Wiles

On behalf of Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Do not trust government on EU

While it is heartening to see those local politicians who campaigned to leave EU because of “all the migrants” now claiming that the very same migrants’ rights of residence should be upheld, I don’t trust them or this Government.

I am not alone. Thank God the Lords voted in favour of their rights being unilaterally guaranteed.

This is a good thing because Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia and Portugal all believe that this UK Government cannot be trusted to uphold the rights of EU citizens after leaving the EU.

Simply put: It wants the guarantees legally binding and in writing as part of the Article 50 negotiations. This is what this government seeks to avoid. Early goodwill is this area will be much appreciated.

I only hope that we demand as much protection for our rights from this government when it seeks to do away with the European Convention on Human Rights in 2020.


Great Yarmouth and Vienna

Questions for MP on credit system

I am writing to Brandon Lewis MP as a concerned local member for Great Yarmouth following the roll out of universal credit.

You state in a letter posted on your website that ‘if councillors have cases relating to Universal Credit that they are unable to help with then I would welcome them forwarding the cases and the details to me so I can help and support those residents directly’.

I have been contacted by many residents who have contacted me as they no longer qualify for the tax credits and other benefits they have previously been entitled to.

In a large number of cases this is due to the fact that they have no right to reside in the UK

My questions to you are as follows:

How many people have the DWP been supporting up until the introduction of Universal Credit who should not have been receiving these benefits?

Will that money ever be recuperated from the home nations of these individuals?

The people who have now been told they are no longer eligible for this tax credit, after years of receiving support from the government, are now struggling.

What is being done to help these individuals?

Are they being given help and support to find work so they can support themselves? Or are they being left to fend for themselves?

It seems harsh that due to a flaw in the system for many years that these people received payments which they should not have done but now that the new system has highlighted the problems that these poor people be left with little or no support.


County Councillor for East Flegg

Disgraceful action over refugees

I was dismayed to see our government break their promise to help thousands of unaccompanied refugee children earlier this year, and I want our local community to do more to help.

The Dubs amendment (named after Lord Dubs, once a child refugee who escaped Nazi Germany) was intended to help thousands of children caught up in the violence in Syria.

In February, however, the Government announced their intention to end this scheme, after helping just a few hundred children rather than three thousand.

This is a disgrace, and Britain is better than this. Around the start of World War Two, we took in 10,000 children fleeing for their lives. I believe we can show this moral determination again today.

Whatever you think of immigration, Brexit, or the situation in the Middle East, surely we can all agree that children running from the threat of war, torture and persecution deserve our help?

Here in Great Yarmouth, the local Green Party is calling on the local authority to commit to taking in 12 of these unaccompanied children – just 0.07pc of our current child population.

We are proud citizens of the world, and we think everybody else should be treated like one too.


Great Yarmouth Green Party, Coordinator

How long until signs put up?

It is now over two years since the new A12/A143 now the A47/A143 link road was opened.

Although there is signage directing traffic from the A143 to the A47, there is no signage from the A47 to the A143.

One of the objects of the Link Road was to reduce traffic going through the Magdalen Estate, and make it easier for holidaymakers to reach holiday camps in Belton, Bradwell and Burgh Castle, thus alleviating traffic from using Brasenose Avenue and Middleton Road.

With the start of the 2017 Holiday Season nearly upon us, still no signage exists, and although this has been raised many times with Norfolk County Council, and Highways England nothing gets done.

How many more years must Magdalen residents wait for the signage to appear?

Cllr Trevor Wainwright

Magdalen Ward

MP is hypocritical over meeting

I am reading the comments of MP Brandon Lewis as to why he would not attend a meeting on Universal Credit. A touch hypocritical that his refusal was for political reasons.

This from an MP whose party instigated a referendum to avoid UKIP gaining their voters and dividing a nation.

The fact that other parties are attending makes it a cross party issue.

If anybody is grandstanding it is he by not attending.

After all isn’t he the elected Member of Parliament for Great Yarmouth first and foremost? He may well be a Conservative by affiliation but his concern should be for his constituents ?

Seems to be the problem these days for MPs is it is to much importance on the party and not on who they represent.

Ken Eke


Holiday homes plan is needed

I just read in the Mercury that the Yare Holiday Village has applied for 12 month residency but the parish council and environmental health have objected.

Don’t they see this can help with the lack of housing in the region.

Some of my family live on the Kingfisher site who are not allowed to stay all year round even though they are willing to pay council tax to do so which would give the council more funds that they keep saying they are short of.

Make you’re mind up council, either you are short of housing and funds in which case let these people contribute or stop bleating about cutbacks and housing.

R Burchett


What was point of A47 roadworks?

I noticed two weeks ago that the Acle Straight was to be closed for two weeks at night for improvements, thank God for that I thought, it’ll be worth going right round via Filby or Hales.

Today I travelled to Norwich and back so was somewhat looking forward to seeing the improvements. Well there’s the same old pot holes, same old lakes of water, same speeding overtakers and same cars blinding me with fog lights but what about the improvements? Oh hang on, there’s a tin toilet block in the lay-by, how safe is that when you pull in? Two weeks of closures and nothing. Brilliant!

Chris King


Moved by Universal Credit letter

I read with great interest all the various and contrasting letters about the implementation of Universal Credit in our area.

The one that affected me the most was the erudite and heartfelt letter from Patricia West, who identified and elucidated all the inherent and on going problems with the protracted and divisive roll out of this benefit. This family are undoubtedly going through a period of great distress. As I have said in previous letters, why was this complicated and unwieldy benefit chosen to be trialled out in a town, which undoubtedly has real problems of deprivation and need.

It appears somewhat cynical, cruel and perverse and is having real detrimental affects on peoples lives and welfare by its cumbersome modus operandi.

I also agree with Councillors Wainwright and Jeal that the council are not grandstanding or posturing when it was agreed to invite Brandon Lewis to a public meeting to inform his constituents the rationale behind the decision and address problems proactively in a open forum.

It is not suggested that individual claims are identified but the general heinous situation should and needs a coherent airing, so that people in the town can understand where this government is coming from and give their views.

This leads me to Mr Lewis’s column where I feel he denigrates our local councillors by suggesting they are touting for ‘cheap headlines’.

As a community, we are hearing more and more of continuing problems with our benefits system and the presence of rough sleepers is altogether prevalent in our town centre. I personally do not think it is unreasonable for Mr Lewis to attend such a meeting and allay peoples fears or at least own up to them on behalf of the Government.

As Patricia West stated, she appeared to receive just sympathy from the MP’s office, which is not exactly the proactive and constructive response she wanted. I am sorry Mr Lewis but life in our disparate constituency is not all about job fairs and revitalisation, laudable and very necessary as that it is.

It is also about people’s real problems and fears. You are our elected representative and this heartfelt request from the council and the community comes with the territory of being an MP and is definitely not a political game in any way, shape or form.

I also note his unnecessary jibe at the House of Lords who are debating the bill to trigger Article

50. Yes they have thrown ‘spanners in the works’ and I for one am glad they are doing so.

This indecent haste to a ‘clean Brexit’ does need a more forensic discussion and debate before this country sets out on a unknown course of historic proportions and repercussions, where people’s maybe unrealistic dreams might indeed turn into nightmares at the final conclusion


Winifred Road,

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk,

Is noise from our power station?

Since before Christmas we and our next door neighbours can hear a whining noise coming from the direction of the power station and we are guessing that it is the culprit.

We have spoken to several other people in the surrounding area and some can hear it too.

We did hear that a group of people were on the Gorleston side of the river recently, checking on noise levels from the power station as they had received a complaint from someone 16 miles away.

It is very noticeable at night and we are wondering if any one else can hear it and if so, whereabouts are they. We are in Gorleston.



Computer technology is to blame

Regarding the furore over problems with the government’s Universal Credit scheme that has been plagued by errors, delays and computer crashes, leaving many vulnerable families in debt with a risk of eviction.

It is hardly surprising that MP Brandon Lewis would not be keen on a public meeting with his constituents trying to defend the indefensible.

To be fair over many years governments of differing persuasions have been let down by over optimistic plans to ‘simplify’ the UK’s tax and benefits system.

This far all have achieved only varying degrees of disappointment and chaos.

Universal Credit was meant to make it all easier to understand the working age benefits effecting those people who are in and out of work.

However the mechanics of this complicated programme have been re-worked several times by the Work & Pensions Department, including the baffling decision to remove council tax benefits from the unified system.

Universal Credit is a national project to replace six benefits with just one. In truth a project which most see as beneficial to the UK and its citizens because it is supposes to provide real incentives to leave inactivity for paid work.

Completion of the ambitious programme is not due until 2022, twelve years after its inception and five years later than planned.

Currently a little over 300,000 people are actually benefitting from Universal Credit, rather than the millions projected by government for this point in time.

The rollout of the digital, full Universal Credit is badly failing working parents, and the most vulnerable.

Brandon Lewis will know more than most that politics is a rough trade. Not made easier by the inadequacies of a ‘flawed’ and ‘discredited’ benefits system. Together with the mistaken belief that information technology is the answer to the problem.

No. The government over reliance on grandiose multi-million pound not for purpose technology is the problem.

JIM MITCHELL Lowestoft Road,

Carlton Colville

MP should be doing his job

Why is our MP Brandon Lewis not doing his job and is unwilling to attend a public meeting against Universal Credit?

Is is because he knows it is not working and has no answers? Or is it that he is just pretending that it is working to please the government? But come on Mr Lewis and do your job and stop making excuses because we all know that Universal Credit is not working anywhere and landlords are not taking anyone on who are on Universal Credits for obvious reasons.

So attend meetings that you are expected to attend and sort this mess out and also contact other MPs who have the same problem as Yarmouth and then go to the government to sort out a solution.

And it is so simple really because the main problem is that landlords must have rent benefit paid direct to them again and that alone would resolve a lot of problems and then landlords might start taking on people again who are on Universal Credit.


Leman Road,


Paper deserves praise for letter

The Mercury is to be commended for its editorial judgement in highlighting Patricia West’s moving letter portraying her plight in trying to get justice and reason for her family in the face of entrenched indifference by the various authorities she encountered.

This is such a controversial topic that the council now wish to organise a public meeting to discuss the issues of Universal Credit and have invited Brandon Lewis to attend.

Citing party political machinations he, wearing a pained pout and stamping his foot, has thrown all of his toys out of the pram.

He should think on, because this festering problem can be found right across the political divide and many of those affected would have voted for him in the last election.

And it may well have been an opportunity to report in feedback he has had from his central office on those concerns over Universal Credit that he has raised.

If he had attended he most certainly would have had to answer some searching questions and listened to a number of pointed truths. But this comes with the job.

And he may have been asked to explain how, akin to a horror movie, Universal Credit was four years in the planning.

It is likely that he would have been told that any primary school in the borough could have come up with an acceptable and workable scheme within a week.

Perhaps he also would have admitted that policies such as the abominable bedroom tax and now the unfathomable Universal Credit are designed to either make or save the government money - no matter who suffers.

And perhaps a member of Mr Lewis’s staff would point out to him that this soul destroying problem has nothing to do with politics but has everything to do with a large number of his vulnerable, desperate constituents.


Hill Avenue, Gorleston

Cars pose a menace on pavements

At the age of 90 I no longer drive as I did not consider myself safe on the road now being partially disabled with failing eyesight. I am now not even safe on the pavement.

Have I missed out on some law which states that on roads cars have the right of way, anywhere on the highway between the front garden walls,

I have had bumped thighs, banged knees and elbows and also a fear of getting run over on the occasions, with my failing eyesight, I have cause to step into the road to get round a car which is blocking my passage by parking on the pavement.

There are not many things I moan about but as I listen to lots of other people I feel I am in a majority enough to say something.

If there has been a law passed appertaining to this offence I apologise.


Gonville Road, Gorleston

Who do taxi drivers think they are?

I have something I need to get off my chest. Taxi drivers, why do they feel the need to park in the middle of a road to pick up/drop off passengers?

I live in Gorleston on roads where cars park both side, and it is just wide enough to get one car up and down.

Do they believe they are above the rest of us and do not have to park so that other road users can go about their business?

Are they filled with so much self importance that me getting to work on time is irrelevant?

If there were no spaces I could accept it but they couldn’t care less.

Rant over! So please taxi driver spare a thought for us mere mortals who have to get to work on time, and park in a space when it is available.


Know your consumer rights

I bought a Canon Printer scanner from Tesco two years three weeks and three days ago, before it gave up to ghost and could not be repaired.

I took it back to Tesco, who informed me to contact a number which I presumed was head office. I did so and provided them with what I considered was proof of purchase.

Head office duly rang and said they were refunding me nothing. He also quoted the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (instead of the above which has superceded it.)

I said I was taking them to the Small Claims Court.

I duly obtained the papers and found I could file online which I did so for the fee of £25.

Two weeks after issue, I have received a Postal order from Tesco in full settlement of my claim, which they admitted to.

Goods are suppose to last two years re guarantees and in fact you are entitled to some of your money back re electrical goods up to six years.

Trouble is these big companies, think us “little people” don’t know this.


Via email

Community cinema is growing success

Having enjoyed a trip of nostalgia when reading Peggotty’s article about the cinemas in Gorleston and Great Yarmouth, I would like to emphasise that the lack of a functioning cinema in Gorleston was the reason for the conception of the Gorleston Community Cinema.

Beginning with the idea in mid 2014 we legally became up and running showing our first film ‘The Second Best Mariglod Hotel’ at Gorleston Library on July 9 2015.

Since then we have shown approximately two films per month with varying appeal ranging from ‘Bridge of Spies’, ‘Brief Encounter’ to ’I, Daniel Blake’ (which your reader of Friday, March 3rd obviously missed!)

We are a small, but dedicated committee fulfilling various essential activities between us.

Sometimes we manage to enlist extra help but we are eager to welcome any person who would be genuinely interested in joining our team to help in any way they can.

A computer literate enthusiast to help with website/facebook publicity plus poster and ticket design, would be particularly well received.

For the record, our next film will be ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ on Thursday, March 16 at 2.30pm followed by ‘Sully’ on March 30 at 6pm. For further information go to www.facebook.com/GorlestonCinema


Vice chairman, Gorleston Community Cinema

I am disgusted at MP’s actions

I was disgusted to read in last week’s Mercury that our so called local MP could not make the effort to attend a straight forward meeting to answer questions from his own constituents in regards to Universal Credit.

Further more, regardless if the party was red or purple if councillors have brought it to the meeting and later decided it was only right to ask our MP this will be because the council have received a large level of correspondence on this issue, if this be written or verbal to ward councillors.

Something we have lacked for long time within our town is a decent local MP, who stands up for the everyday people, who is seen within our town.

I would ask that Mr Lewis, starts to make that effort in the town he is meant to represent, of course I understand part of his duties may require him to spend sometime within London, but they do not require all of his time, he needs to spend more time in addressing issues head on, local people would have far more respect for someone they can see doing something.

In regards to things that are effecting them each day, such as Universal Credit, some of his constituents are worse off than ever before!

People want to see you Mr Lewis, not letters sent to all residents to tick a boxes, or events were cameras are present to say you were there, people don’t want to see your office staff when they call, they want to see and talk to their MP.

I ask you to strongly reconsider you choice on not attending a meeting that is very much what your constituents want.

I put it to you if you can’t face your own voters on such a key and controversial issues, then are you really the right person for the job to be representing us at all.


Via email

Where is benefits money going?

With ref to John Cooper’s letter I agree with him only to say that the Exchequer gets all his money from people getting up and going out to work.

How did all this change from when I was younger and people on benefits couldn’t afford a landline phone let alone a mobile.

I can guess that most on benefits have a mobile phone, computer, internet, and in some cases a car, all things that are not needed when you are out of work. Not all are spongers let’s get that right, but I bet that most people know someone taking the workers for a ride and make it a way of life not to work.

We need to change the system and make the them work for the community to get their benefits (wages).

They say the Universal Credit system is for people to handle their own bills to pay ..... that’s like giving an alcoholic a pub to run.

The town could look amazing with all the money being paid to those to work for their benefits. It will give them a satisfaction to know they have earned their benefits.

But I can already hear the people saying “ It’s my human rights to have others pay my bills while I live a life of leisure”.

As John said in his letter last week there is no hardship in the credit system, and I think the rents should be paid to the landlords not the tenants as they would at least have a free roof over their heads.


Via email

Hospital staff were world class

I have recently spent a few weeks in James Paget Hospital as a quite seriously ill patient. During my stay I was in several wards and departments for various tests and treatments.

I can honestly say that I was treated by all staff with the utmost courtesy and professionalism.

To all of the people who delight in rubbishing our healthcare (particularly here in East Anglia) I say that you would not receive better care or carers anywhere in the world.

Thank you JPH. PS the food was delicious.


Market Place, Winterton

I must thank paramedic crew

In my letter of thanks last week to James Paget Hospital A & E department, I am sorry I forgot my thanks also to the paramedics for their kindness and prompt attention. Blame the senior moment of a 92-year-old. Again my thanks to all.


Heather Gardens,


Get out and meet real people

It seems to me that Mr Cooper is living on a different planet to many people.

In his letter (March 3) he is of the opinion that the majority of people on Universal Credit are irresponsible. This is not the case.

This Universal Credit is being rolled out in the most deprived areas of the country, just like Thatcher’s poll tax. The point of Universal Credit it to save money so as to give more tax cuts to the well off.

My advice to Mr Cooper is to get out more and meet real people and perhaps he would learn something.

Another person who needs advice to Brandon Lewis, never seen walking in Great Yarmouth like other MPs of both parties.

Mr Lewis is anonymous. What he should learn first of all is that his responsibility is to his constituents, not the Home Office.

P Dye

Apsley Road,

Great Yarmouth

Anger at pubs change decision

I’m still trying my best to get my head around the decision Enterprise Inns have made to give immediate notice with no advance warning to two pubs.

The first is The Feathers, Great Yarmouth.

Over the last two years Paul Southey and family and staff have worked so hard to make it a success and didn’t they just, probably making it the busiest pub in Great Yarmouth.

The other pub is The Feathers, Gorleston.

It wasn’t that long ago when The Great Yarmouth Mercury and Harbour Radio was welcoming a new family to The Feathers. Now if I’m led to believe they have been given less two weeks to get out. And I must say what a fantastic job they did completely turning things around.

So I’m afraid Enterprise Inns (or your new name) you are the disgrace.


Clarence Road,