Letters, November 2, 2012

Cuts are wasting public money

I WAS quite optimistic after the General Election but dumbfounded by the tax giveaway to the rich, the granny tax, the pasty and caravan tax debacle.

I do, however, find myself agreeing with Brandon Lewis over the fantastic pay off for the borough’s top man who already commands a salary beyond the dreams of most. How have top salaries got so out of hand?

A �100k pay off would take the average worker five years or so to earn. Senior officers have a good pension with a lump sum and some go back to work to earn more. Why does anyone need another �100k?

I then realised that the Communities Department, where Brandon Lewis is minister, has made some of the biggest staff cuts in the civil service and no doubt some fat pay offs there. How much has that cost? Then I realised that Yarmouth council, until May, had been Tory-run for many years and created some of these no longer necessary posts with the salaries. I cannot understand how we ever needed these posts if they can so easily be declared redundant. Money has been wasted, by the Tories, for years!

I find it worrying Brandon Lewis still favours the Tory idea for the council chief executive to be based in South Holland (Lincs). The real Holland is nearer! Surely local government is about being local and staff with a knowledge and feel for the town.

Government cuts, being implemented by Brandon Lewis and friends, are wasting public money in redundancy paymernts, pension and extra benefits claims. This money would be better used to employ people.

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Victoria Street

Caister on Sea

Oops, mistake about Trafalgar

TALK about rewriting history. We seem to have put the battle of Trafalgar into the English Channel (Mercury, October 26) with an impending invasion of England.

In fact the Spanish and French fleets were on their way to Cartagen to join up with other French ships and then on to Naples to land troops.

While writing I would like to reassure Mr Barkhuizen that in fact the devil does only exist if you believe in him. The character was invented by the Christian church and does not exist in the real world. So he can stop worrying about it.



This is the world we voted for

THOSE wonderful days of yore when all the summers were sunny and every Christmas was white. Such might be a cynical interpretation of Dennis Durrant’s letter about the country going, or having gone, to the dogs. However Dennis raises some valid issues for debate.

As a baby-boomer who spent his teenage years in Yarmouth in the Swinging Sixties, I feel qualified to have my two-penny worth. So, were the good old days really that good? To help the debate, here is a random selection of my recollections.

There was an unquestioned respect or deference toward figures of authority such as parents, policemen and teachers, with real penalties meted out for not showing such respect. Corporal punishment of children was the norm; in the home, officially sanctioned in schools via the cane and the slipper and unofficially delivered with a clip-behind-the-ear from a local bobby for being “cheeky”.

There was something called “shame”; the belief if you did something wrong or had behaved badly, you had let others down.

If a single girl became pregnant, she was married off to the father, who accepted his fate. Divorce was a stigma; unmarried couples were “living in sin”. Homosexual acts were illegal and abortion effectively unavailable. We were less tolerant of people who were “different” and could discriminate and make fun of them.

Working class kids who, like me, passed the 11-plus could receive via a grammar school a secondary education that matched and sometimes surpassed that of many private schools. I went to university with a local authority grant to see me through. No student loans or tuition fees to pay back but fewer than 10pc of children went on to university.

If you were diagnosed with almost any type of cancer, you went home and put your affairs in order.

There were clearer divisions between the social classes; there was a real differences between the two major political parties.

In material terms, most people now live to a standard undreamed of by my parents’ generations, and yes, I do include today’s so-called “poor”.

Over the years, as an electorate, we have voted in Governments who have all progressively liberalised our laws, have allowed (almost) uncontrolled immigration and who have built the current tax and benefits systems which all helped form the society in which we now live. This is the world we voted for.


Burgh St Peter,


A public thanks for support

ALL the excitement and build up was worth it! The latest 007 adventure, Skyfall, saw the Bond series right back at the top of its game. What a privilege it was for the 200 or so of us who were able to get a sneak preview ahead of the general public at the Hollywood Cinema on Thursday in aid of the Louise Hamilton Centre at the James Paget Hospital.

Can I please pass on a massive public thanks to the Hollywood’s Trevor Wicks who not only generously gave the showing but also provided some amazing Skyfall collectors items to auction, Our gratitude also goes to managers, Paul and Sue and all staff; to Blue Sky Leisure and the Jay family who also provided auction items; to Barkers Photography and to auctioneer Mark Duffield of Aldreds. But also a huge thank you to everyone who attended, most of whom entered into the spirit in Bond-style DJs and posh frocks.

With the centre’s completion only weeks away, and the opening due early next year, this was a charity premiere to remember for a long time which raised �3,357 towards the centre’s running costs.



Palliative Care Centre Appeal

Thanks for help in finding son

ON the morning of Sunday, October 28, I was concerned for my 21 year old son’s whereabouts at 6.30am, after a night out. I knew he was in a vulnerable state. I called the police who acted instantly, contacting his friends and looking for him but could not find him. At 11am, a passer by informed the ambulance service she had found my son sat in a ditch in a graveyard asleep. I would like to thank PC Dick Cooke and the lady who found him.



What kind of society is it?

GOD’S holy Bible says we are to “Hate what is evil” (Romans 12:9). As Halloween is evil, those who aim for heaven one day may have nothing to do with it.

Roger Hayes’s letter in last week’s Mercury misquotes what I said in my letter the previous week. I never said “Halloween is a Catholic party”. I asked if the Lord Jesus is pleased when children go to a Roman Catholic Halloween party – like the one St Peter’s RC Church in Gorleston held last year.

And I agree with Dennis Durrant, who says in his letter last week that Britain is crumbling. What kind of society do we now live in where many see toy coffins, skulls, cut-off arms and demons as “fun”?


Albemarle Road,


Marina staff are good sports

MEMBERS of Sports Club 88 would like to express their thanks to the management and staff of the Marina Centre for the way in which they have welcomed us since we moved there from York Road Drill Hall last April.

Everyone concerned has gone out of their way to ensure our every need has been met. We are so pleased we made the decision and would encourage all other groups who have previously used the Drill Hall to negotiate with the operations manager at the Marina Centre, as we know he is very keen to accommodate as many clubs as possible. All fears we had about parking have been allayed; we have found free parking through summer, and from now on until the spring seafront parking is free.

Sadly it seems the Drill Hall is to be lost to sports users on any type or regular basis; sacrilege, when it is the best sprung floor for miles and despite the very best efforts of the York Road Drill Hall Users Group; our negotiations with Seachange, that we understood would ensure regular dual use for both sport and cultural events, counted for nothing.

Anyone aged over 50 is welcome to come along to Sports Club 88, between 9.30am and 11.30am, Wednesdays and Thursdays. We play badminton, table tennis and short tennis (tennis played with a sponge ball) with a wide range of abilities taking part.



Sports Club 88

Sensibility has prevailed

THANK goodness that sensibility still sometimes prevails! In the case of Mr. England, the landau driver, why on earth would you need a driving licence to take a horse and cart out on the public highway? What next? Licences for pedal cyclists, electric bike users and maybe disability scooters?

The landau drivers just need to know how to control the horse in all situations. That is what matters. It is just a shame that it ever had to be seen as a problem in the first place.


Garnham Road,


Any Freedom Parade photos?

I WAS a member of the Band and Drums of the 5th Bn Royal Anglian Regt that took part in a Freedom Parade through the town on Sunday 14th.July 1985. Despite the time elapsed, I was hoping to track down some photos of the parade. Has anyone have any in their possession and could help me? I can be emailed at stevesellwood@hotmail.com


Choose where to send mural cash

TO all my old customers and contributors to the fundraising of the Belle Vue Tavern Gorleston mural.

It’s been almost a year since I handed over the reins of the pub, and during the year I have been waiting to see if the new landlady wanted to carry on with the fund raising for the renovation of the mural. Following a conversation this week she has told me that she will not be continuing with the project.

The funds so far collected are lodged with my accountant and I seek advice from customers and contributors in what to do with these funds.


Cliff Hill


Yes, velodrome a brilliant idea

A VELODROME in Great Yarmouth. One of the best things I have heard in years. Let’s get it built asap. In my mind there is no doubt it will be a success. Just look at the pluses and minuses. Health benefits, environmental benefits. Helping the young who I think get a bit of a raw deal in these times.

It’s also good for the middle aged who are putting it on around the middle, and also good for the not so young.

It’s great to watch the races. When the Tour of Britain came through the borough, people came out in their droves to watch it.

I have been tinkering around on my bike for years but now I have some real meaning to it. I am aiming at a ten mile time trial next year.

Minuses. Probably not too many, if built in Bure Park.

My only regret is I wish I was 60 years younger. As it is I am 69 next birthday, and want to make the most of it while I can. So, come on let’s get it built in Great Yarmouth.



We need more than just shops

I READ in the newspaper that Great Yarmouth has received �10,000 of the Mary Portas money to try and increase town centre shopping.

The money should be used to entice people into the town with new initiatives such as entertainment in the Market place – proper entertainment, night time markets, themed market days like antique/retro, farmer markets, etc.

People do not go to shop in the town any more as there are no shops and we all shop online now – it’s a fact and is not going to change.

The town centre needs a radical change, we need to develop it into something else; maybe encourage restaurants and cafes with outside dining in the summer.

People want things to do rather than just shop. Just a few ideas and I am sure that if you ran an opinion poll and get some more ideas from the people that live in this town and want to see it improve that would be a worthwhile feature to read.



Editor’s Note: We totally agree with Michaela’s comments: we don’t want to see our town centre die due to lack of use. What other suggestions can other readers provide? We’ll publish them and pass them on.

Where is port information?

AN interesting satirical and informative letter from John Grimmer in last week’s Mercury reinforcing the opinions in my recent letter. Following recent information of their efforts to attract new business to the outer harbour, Eastport now states the outer harbour will bring not just a thousand jobs, but thousands after the outer harbour has been transformed into a haven for the windfarm industry.

We look forward to the confirmation of this as promised in the next few months. My prime concerns apart from jobs and regeneration are with GYBC and cohorts who refuse to allow the negotiations to come under scrutiny - what are they fearful of? Confidential commercial information? Bah!

I was informed by a government quango that such an agreement was for only six years but the Port Authority has hidden their information on the “give away” for 30 years? GYBC consistently when questioned tell us they “do not hold that information”.

I just do not understand how two councils have obtained grants of millions of pounds as well as giving away millions themselves and hold no information on the proceedings. Where is this information held? Somebody has to have reports of the negotiations and the text of the final agreement because you can’t just give away �20m without accounting for the project with accounts.

Cllrs Coleman, Shrimplin and Collins on the Board of the Port Authority, one wearing three hats and the others two. must have insight into the negotiations - if not, why not? Two council officers, Richard Packham and Peter Hardy hold knowledge. Remember they promised a ferry bringing thousands of tourists to aid regeneration and weekends on the continent for us. How could they promise this in all honesty when they had no say in how the outer harbour would be operated? Furthermore they even showed a schedule of sailings - there is a word for this! What about our elected councillors who must have been given sufficient information to give a total vote to the agreement? Did they vote while blinkered?

Our MP Brandon Lewis refuses to give any assistance or listen to our reasoning, his only information coming from the Conservative councillors in the previous administration responsible for the agreement.

I believe there is sufficient information out there now from John Cooper’s extensive research for a public inquiry. Why is GYBC so reticent to commit to this?


Brett Avenue,


Lights off is a Labour legacy

I HAVE recently received a Great Yarmouth Labour Party circular whinging about the Tory County Council turning off the street lights at midnight. However, they forget to mention this is one of the penalties we have to suffer owing to the financial ineptness of the last Labour Party Government.

Norfolk County Council placed a 20 year private finance initiative contract with Amey to replace and manage the street lighting system in Norfolk. Amey have replaced many lamp columns and are still carrying out this process.

With the advent of budget restrictions caused by the grant reduction to county councils Norfolk County Council had to find �155m reduction of expenditure. This reduction of expenditure has affected many areas of public services of which the street lighting is just one.

The Labour Party implies that turning off the street lights will save 60p per year for each household in Norfolk. No money is being saved - it is a reduction in expenditure because they do not have the money to pay for it.

With Yarmouth Labour Council having to “save” �10m (reduction of expenditure) I would suggest there should be reduction in the amount of councillors to one per ward. This would reduce the amount of public money being spent/wasted on councillor fees and expenses.


Suffield Road.


Rubbish is drain on the resources

DOG poo, drinks cans, general litter: this is still a big issue and many residents highlighted the menace in last week’s Mercury. It is a shame but we all need to take more responsibility for cleaning up our rubbish because it is a drain on resources all over the UK, not just in Great Yarmouth.

Let’s face it, if food litter is left lying around it will also encourage more rats to our town. If we all did our bit, it would release money to be spent in other ways.

I have had a litter bin installed in St Nicholas cemetery paid for out of my ward fund allocation and would like to thank everyone who has been using this new facility; especially responsible dog walkers.The remainder of my annual fund (�2,000) I have passed on to the environment rangers to help in any way possible.


Northgate and Central ward

Dusmagrik has produced stars

OVER the last two weeks I was among the many hundreds of people to have been delighted by the productions of Zombie Wedding and The Wedding Singer, both performed at Gorleston Pavilion Theatre. Thanks to Stuart and Kevin this outstanding venue is available to showcase local talent and bring so much joy.

Dusty and Margaret Miller brought their young peoples theatre company, Dusmagrik, to the Pavilion nearly 20 years ago and as a result of their love and commitment to the performing arts we were able to enjoy the Zombie Wedding, written by an ex member of Dusmagrik, and The Wedding Singer whose director, musical director and choreographer all started their theatrical careers under Dusty’s wing.

Dusty, Stuart and Kevin have been hugely influential in maintaining a vibrant local live theatre scene please may we continue to see shows like those of the last fortnight for a long time to come.



So much for the Olympic legacy

IT was a bright and sunny morning at the beginning of the half-term holiday. My grandchildren were looking forward to playing basketbell on the court on Gorleston Cliffs. Unfortunately at 10.45am we found the court firmly padlocked with no prospect of a game. What a disappointment ! So much for the Olympic Games legacy


Bately Avenue,


Churches are not fit for purpose

RE Hitler couldn’t stop the rampage. Mr Reeve misses the point, most Germans claimed to be Christians; most British claimed to be Christian. If they had all stood their ground and refused to fight there would have been no war.

A clergyman said to me: we have to choose between the lesser of two evils, with Christ everything was either good or evil, there is no choice. Many of my friends died in the concentration camps because they refused to fight. Hitler was a catholic and signed a concordat with the Pope. The churches are certainly not fit for purpose.


Wherry Way,

Great Yarmouth

Lights still on!

WE drove through the Magdalen Estate at 11.30am Wednesday, and lots of street lights were on! These were on Brasenose Avenue and the side roads leading off Brasenose. What on earth is going on, when our lights in Bradwell are going off at 11pm and back on again at 5am to save costs?



Anyone for old time dances?

AS there is now no afternoon tea dance in Yarmouth, St Paul’s Church has started an afternoon tea dance in the church hall on Caister Road, as it is easy to get to with the No 1 Martham service stopping outside and the No 8 to Caister stopping at the top of Beaconsfield Road, and a car park at the back of the church.

The first dance was on October 30 and they will carry on every week from 2pm to 4pm on Tuesdays for a charge of �2. This will include refreshments and both ballroom and sequence dancing with the old popular tunes. So if you want an afternoon of your popular dances, come along and support this new venture. For details, call 01493 852747.


Caister Road,

Great Yarmouth

Who are police candidates?

IN a general, council parish or borough election, we get to know the candidates, their abilities, political persuasion and their failures so we can make (or hope to make) a reasonable choice of who we vote for, because we have seen how they perform.

The police commissioner election on November 15 has been rushed and because it is new, we have no way of knowing how any of the candidates will do a good or bad job. I for one have no idea or how many candidates there are.

Am I the only one?


Long Lane,