Letters, November 13 2015

The whole family enjoy skating

Sitting here recovering from a major operation I set myself one goal, first to get out of bed, next to walk my son to school and finally to attend my son’s artistic roller skating competition at Retroskate in a couple of weeks.

Why is this so important to me? Well, I love skating and I’ve never missed a competition yet. Roller skating is a fantastic exercise for the whole family. You CAN go to the gym, however I don’t feel this to be a family activity and it’s either fun if are you playing with friends or hard work if doing it to get fit but it’s hard to mix the two.

Roller skating however is different. The whole family can go and you can get fit and have fun at the same time. Many of my friends I’ve met through skating, the majority of these being families – some of these three generations.

Roller skating is not just for families – it attracts all ages. I’ve skated with people over the age of 80 and under the age of five; all who love to skate, and for teenagers it’s a great activity that keeps them out of trouble and they enjoy skating. It gives you something to look forward to on a regular basis.

There are very few dedicated roller skating rings in the UK and this includes Retroskate. I know if this was to close it would be a sad loss for the skating community. I myself have gone on holidays with the pure intention of roller skating and this included going to Retroskate.

They not only provide somewhere for children to skate but also help the local community. Keep Retroskate open and you never know some of those kids could roller skate in the Olympics when roller sports comes in.

Most Read


Mum to British Artistic Roller Skating Champion

Ban fireworks on general sale

Can I remind people firework night is November 5, not the day before, the weekend before, etc. I can understand the weekend after. I wish this country was like Eire, where the sale of fireworks is limited to organised displays. My animals have been terrified the last few days in Caister. You let them out and within minutes there was fireworks going off. Arrrgh!



Parking charges are all wrong

As someone else caught out by the evening Great Yarmouth seafront parking charge, I totally agree with last week’s letter to the editor suggesting the council has got this wrong.

I recently visited the Hollywood Cinema for the latest Bond film and chose to use the tea stall car park. Yes, I accept if I walked several hundred metres I could have parked free, but it was after 7pm hours so I had expected to pay a late evening rate as in Norwich or other places.

Having tried to understand the charging regime I paid £3.80 by credit card only to discover I had only paid until 9pm and needed to pay an additional £1 for night rate after 9pm, which the complicated system did not allow me to do, so I risked it! Friends in other cars, including last week’s letter writer, paid the full £4.80.

Considering what you pay at The Forum or Chapelfield car parks in Norwich when visiting the Theatre Royal, Great Yarmouth charges are ridiculously high.

Recently I travelled to Birmingham paying £5 for a whole 12 hours in a car park near New Street, and £3.60 for up to 10 hours in Rugby. Both places were hosting major Rugby World Cup events at the time. Not too long ago I parked during the day near the Capitol Building and Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC and used coins to park. We had a quick museum visit, coffee and time to take photographs of the Capitol Building for much less than £4.80 if I remember correctly.

Are we really trying to attract visitors to Great Yarmouth? And please don’t hit the locals either.


Brasenose Avenue,


Use all media to tell of good work

Having had sight of the gyBID 2015 survey results newsletter I was intrigued by a statement about a radio/press campaign in which 40pc of respondents had indicated this was important to them and to our town.

The question/statement which gained the 40pc approval from respondents was gyBID, and I quote: “acting as the main town centre contact and source of press releases for local press and media, with regular joint events held with each of the two main local commercial radio stations to increase footfall.”

Interesting, I thought. What two local commercial radio stations? And who listens to commercial radio stations today? Certainly not my 20-30 year old employees, who I discover listen to mainstream radio stations.

It appears the gyBID directors have no interest in using the local newspapers as a medium to get their news of events out. Why is this? Are the Yarmouth Mercury and the Advertiser seen as not popular? Shouldn’t every media outlet available in our area be used to publicise any good work happening here?

I doubt I will get a response from gyBID directors, and yes, I pay into the BID like many other businesses. I suspect this letter will not be used in the Mercury.

Name and Address withheld

Audiences will love Rustie Lee

I am very pleased to see that Rustie Lee, the lady with the legendary laugh, is appearing in Sleeping Beauty at the Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, this week. I am sure audiences will love her.

Back in April 1985, I was one of three clowns who created the International Clown Convention which for many years was an annual attraction in Bognor Regis, Sussex. To publicise it I was asked to appear along with one or two clown friends in an ITV breakfast show, on which Rustie Lee was one of the hosts. She will be bringing a lot of fun and laughter for Lowestoft this Saturday – don’t miss her.


Albert Gate Road,

Great Yarmouth

Billions wasted on dualling?

If dual carriageways are proven unnecessary, I wonder how many billions of pounds have been wasted constructing them throughout the land during the past century; or did the relevant expertise consider a valid case for them – and hopefully apply that requirement to the Acle Stright.


Falcon Court,

Great Yarmouth

Buses need to make change

Travelling into Gorleston from Burgh Castle on the morning of Friday, November 6, I asked for a day ticket, cost £4.30, which I personally think it’s a good deal enabling you to travel throughout the day.

All I had in my pocket was a £10 note. The driver asked if I had anything smaller and I politely said I hadn’t, sorry.

Then came the best bit. The driver said he had just started and had come here from Great Yarmouth. To which I replied, I’m sorry but it’s not my fault, what am I supposed to do about it?

And I was told I had more time and chances to do something about it. How rude was that?

I wouldn’t like to think if the £10 note was wet, but certainly I was completely soaked and that was with using a umbrella. I suppose it’s too much to ask for a bus shelter outside Kingfisher Holiday Park?

I just wonder how many other people are greeted with “I can’t change a £10 note, have anything smaller?” So here’s a few questions and suggestions for First:

Why is it a driver starts early in the morning and half a hour later he/she has no float or change? Why don’t you introduce a pay-as-you-go adult fare paying with Oyster, Visitor Oyster or a contactless payment card. This is successful in London? Why do you not have a facility to use UK issued contactless payment cards? These also are accepted, in parts of the country.

Surely in today’s environment bus drivers not having a big enough float is not acceptable?

One last thing, once I get over pneumonia, is there any chance of a bus shelter outside Kingfisher Holiday Park?


Butt Lane,

Burgh Castle

Park service deeply moving

Last Sunday morning, I attended the Remembrance Service held at St George’s Park. I only decided to go the night before and I had never been before.

I just wanted to say how it was very moving and deeply affected a soldier, who was standing a few yards from where I was, during the two-minute silence. No doubt he had lost men and women he knew due to war.

But let us not forget those who fought for our freedom, especially in the futility of the First World War and those who fought to keep Great Britain from being ruled by the Nazis in the Second World War, and all the other wars that have gone on, only just recently.

Let us also pray for peace, not just in our country, but throughout the world.


Turin Way,

Hopton on Sea

Beach growing, piers shrinking?

In reference to the article on the scouring of the beaches, yes north of Yarmouth has lost a lot of sand, but your photo of the Britannia Pier in that story clearly shows the build up of sand around. Please look in your archives for more pictures of all the piers as they will show we did once have water around them. Are the piers shrinking or is the beach growing!


Midland Close

Greatt Yarmouth

Put ‘family’ back into community

On Saturday evening I watched fireworks in Stillington, a few miles north of York, such a wonderful occasion which brought back memories of Bradwell some 40-odd years ago. Stillington, a small Yorkshire village, has for over 30 years organised a bonfire night and fireworks display to match the “big boys”.

This was preceded by a torch-lit procession from the village hall headed by the guy and accompanied by marching music through the main street to a field some half a mile away, and I with family and friends joined this at The White Bear Inn to soak in a glorious occasion. The fact that the field was wet and boggy didn’t matter. The baked potatoes and hot soup were good, the fire was immense and piled high, and the continuous firework display brilliant. A really well organised affair by the village volunteers.

Which brings me back to Bradwell in the 1970s when the guy was loaded on a wagon at the community centre and dragged through the village ahead of an entourage of villagers, past the church to a site within the grounds of St Nicholas House where a huge bonfire awaited its notorious effigy. Where has it all gone? Where now is the enthusiasm to get involved with activities within Bradwell?

In those days there were three-day festivals, fetes, stage shows, cycle events and treasure hunts. They were fun to volunteer for and organise. The Queen’s Silver Jubilee was an occasion to remember with 30-odd village organisations getting together for a great weekend of activity. For the Queen’s Golden Jubilee there was zilch!

It is so sad the village has grown so large it is no longer a “family”. It may be wishful thinking but perhaps someday soon, somebody will come along to enthuse the community into putting life back into Bradwell once more.



Angels of the Acle Straight

Over the last week I have been doing research on the Suspension Bridge Disaster with the help of a friend and something came up that shocked me. When Robert Cory built the Suspension Bridge in 1829 he wanted to open up Great Yarmouth to the west and this was accomplished when Cory completed the turnpike road across the marshes from Yarmouth to Acle, known today as the Acle Straight.

All the preparation and planning was done in a place called The Angel Inn and it was passed in parliament.

The ditches on each side were man-made and the space between ditches was to be 37ft of which 21ft in the centre was the road. Each ditch was made 10ft wide, 4ft at the bottom and 5ft deep.

The shareholders of the road were few well known names Danby Palmer Esq and Charles Cory Esq, but looking at all of this such sadness has come from the things Robert Cory created which at the time would have seemed wonderful and he was so proud of them.

The Suspension Bridge ended in disaster, but the road goes back to 1830 and how many lives have been lost since it opened. When there is an accident the town is held to ransom and comes to a standstill. When cars collide no matter how slight they have no where to go except in the ditches on each side which causes most of the deaths.

I checked out records from the Norfolk constabulary and from 06/01/1992 to 26/03/2012 there were 19 fatalities, these are the only records I could find. But this road has been injuring and taking life for 180 years, if they can’t afford to dual the Acle Straight why can’t the man-made ditches have the water diverted away from the road and be filled in so if a car leaves the road at least they have a chance of survival?

I will be setting up a Facebook page called the Angels of the Acle Straight hoping to get a better idea of what this road has really taken. There is an accident every few weeks. It is as if the past is still bringing sadness to the town.



Steps eyesore must be sorted

The White Lion steps in Gorleston are partly boarded up and still awaiting repairs after the landslide in April 2012. It was reported in the Mercury on September 11 that the county council was “reluctantly drawing a line under the long-running saga rather than pouring more money into it and incurring legal fees without the security of an outcome in it’s favour”!

As residents of Cliff Hill had been asking for improved drainage for years, after this incident you would expect a storm drain to have been installed at the very least. To date this hasn’t happened.

In 2003 there was a landslide on the site, the soil covering Beach Road which was presumably cleared by the borough council.

The steps are a public right of way in a conservation area, at the bottom of which is the ancient monument Duncan’s Well.

History records that dissatisfied with the quality of Yarmouth water, Admiral Duncan had a well dug at the foot of the cliff in October 1797. To reach it, he and his men had to cross a swamp overgrown with vegetation, rushes and reeds, known locally as the reed pits. An old verse pays tribute to the quality of the water: “Ye sons of the sea, take freely of me, And good health you may surely rely on, For drinks some-what stronger you must please step up yonder, But beware of the strength of the Lion.”

This refers to the White Lion at the top of the steps, formerly a pub, now flats, which has recently been re-painted. The well was used by the HM vessels under Duncan’s command and was then used by the Royal Navy throughout the Napoleonic Wars.

The cost of repairing the steps is estimated at £250,000 and “until times get more prosperous”, we are told, “they are going to remain as they are.” So this is going to be swept under the carpet! An insult to the local residents who have this eyesore on their doorsteps. If this had happened in Norwich it would have been sorted by now.


Member of Gorleston on Sea Heritage

Anyone recall teacher Kingaby?

I am researching the life of my mother’s cousin, Geoffrey Thomas Kingaby. He spent the last part of his life in Gorleston, dying at the Elms, Elmgrove Road, Gorleston in 2002, at the age of 98. He was a teacher and I know that he worked in Wroughton Junior School from 1959 until at least 1964, possibly later.

Before Wroughton he worked at North Denes Junior School, but I don’t know when he started there. In the 1930s he was in Bury St Edmunds. In his will he left £10,000 to the RNLI; possibly he had been actively involved with them.

Any information, however small, would be gratefully received. Perhaps you might have known him or worked with him? Perhaps you were one of his former pupils?

I can be contacted by email on david@jdieabutterbache.plus.com, or call 01244 347959.



Paget staff are so dedicated

Can I with the help of your newspaper please say a massive thank you to our paramedics, ambulance men and staff in the EADU and ward 15 at the James Paget Hospital, for the care they have given to still are doing for my husband who was rushed in yesterday (November 3), seriously ill with pneumonia.

They are so dedicated, caring, considerate, just so many words I could go on and on to describe them.

This is a very worrying and stressful time and they are always there with their support and I would like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for what they are doing for my wonderful husband.


Caister on Sea

The Caister pong is so unhealthy

I’m prompted to write due to the disgusting and unhealthy smell emitting from Caister treatment works. A few weeks ago an article in the Mercury stated Anglian Water was working to solve the problem and the sweet smell of success would benefit all residents.

I consider the health and safety issues affecting the staff at Caister Recycling Centre and residents of north Yarmouth are paramount.

I am surprised the environmental health department at the town hall has apparently not taken action considering the price of utility (water and sewage) and the money these companies post as profits.

I consider this matter should be given full priority for the health and safety of all affected residents.


Shakespeare Road,

Great Yarmouth

Low parking fees encourage people

Ref the letter from Tony Mallion (November 6), concerning high parking fees in Great Yarmouth. I totally agree with his comments.

Recently I had a short break in Suffolk. While there I visited the towns of Sudbury and Hadleigh. In both these towns you had three hours of free parking in their car parks any time of the day. In Hadleigh if you couldn’t complete your business in three hours it cost £2 for 24 hours.

To me, this encourages the people to support their local retailers. And I walked down the high street in Sudbury I didn’t see any shops for sale or let.

If you come into the town centre of Great Yarmouth that is all you see. If this trend continues, it will become a ghost town. Why can’t our council follow the schemes in Sudbury and Hadleigh then maybe we won’t see many more shop closure.


Highroad Road,


All we hear about is cuts, cuts, cuts

Cuts, cuts, cuts. Everything is being cut. Pensioners are asking will it be the bus passes next, or will it be the winter fuel allowance.

This government has a natural ability to look after the well-off at the expense of the less fortunate who struggle to make ends meet. The fire service is on the list for cuts. Firefighters, appliance and some stations are to get the chop, regardless of the consequences.

Half the NHS beds are set to go private to enable the well-heeled to have treatment sooner and with better food. Cuts to libraries also, so it will be a book shortage for the poor to read while they wait months for their operations!

What won’t be cut will be the plump MPs’ salaries, or their very lucrative expense sheets!



Thank you for my care at the Paget

Every time you read the paper someone seems to be saying something against the James Paget Hospital and I agree not everyone’s stay is perfect. Unfortunately I had to be admitted to the stroke unit a few weeks ago and have nothing but praise for the doctors and staff on ward one. Nothing was too much trouble for them, also in A&E while I was waiting for a bed.

When I was released I was visited every day by the nurses from the stroke discharge team and they were always there to help, answer any questions and cheer me up if I was having a bad day.

This is my way of saying thank you to everyone who helped me.



New committee for music festival

At the extraordinary general meeting on November 4 for the Gorleston St Andrew’s Competitive Festival of Music, Speech and Drama, the new committee was elected to office and all the retiring committee members resigned.

On behalf of the now retired committee, I should like to express our gratitude to everyone who has supported the festival in many various ways over many years. Financial help has been given by Great Yarmouth Borough Council in partnership with Seachange Arts, Norfolk County Council, Gorleston Rotary Club, the advertisers in the festival programme, by generous festival friends and, until recent years, the Great Yarmouth Britannia branch of the Oddfellows’ Society. We are very grateful for the support given by St Andrew’s Church and the various church groups who may have missed their meetings while the festivals were taking place. Also we are indebted to Allen’s Music Centre for the loan of a piano for the duration of each festival.

We very much appreciate that many mayors, councillors, Gorleston Rotary presidents and/or members, and members of the Oddfellows’ Society have accepted our invitations to the final festival events, helping make them even more special occasions. Our thanks must also go to Tony Mallion for expertly compèring so many junior concerts.

A big thank-you goes to the willing volunteer stewards who helped during and made our organisation so much easier. Lastly, our congratulations must go to all the thousands of festival participants for their achievements and we really appreciate the dedication of their teachers, accompanists, parents/ guardians who gave them the necessary tuition or support.

Personally, since the year 2000, I have found it a very rewarding experience to serve on the committees of both the former Gorleston St Andrew’s Music and Arts’ Festival and the still continuing Competitive Festival. Moreover, it has been a pleasure to work alongside some wonderfully dedicated colleagues and I greatly value and thank them all for their wonderful support and friendship during those years.

It has been an honour to have met so many interesting people and a privilege to have seen so many talented festival participants make incredible progress en route to fulfilling their maximum potential.


Retired Competitive Festival Chairman

Will ice rink profit go into coffers?

Commenting on Cllr Coleman’s comments in last week’s Mercury with regard to how “wonderful “ the Market Place ice rink will be over the festive period, I would like to make the following practical observations.

If Mr Coleman is correct that 100 people per session would utilise the rink (he actually states more than that will want to) then the following applies. Based on the cheapest ticket price of £26.50 for five it would mean 20 parties of five will be on the rink at each session. Multiply the 20 by £26.50 and that gives £530 per session. Assuming at least eight sessions per day then if that £530 was multiplied by eight then this would be an income of £4,240 per day. Then multiply this amount by the 44 days and you get a grand total of £186,560.

If the sale of tickets is not so buoyant still 100 persons an hour at £5 a head times 100 people over eight hours times 44 days will gross in the region of £140,000.

Is any of this profit coming back into GYBC coffers for the benefit of the ratepayers as it would appear we have already shelled out £100,000 plus for hiring the rink?

Regarding the free parking to help footfall in the Market Place during this period, if GYBC are consistent in their ongoing insistence that parking charges are much needed, then surely this u-turn is depriving GYBC of essential revenue which may have helped pay for the rink. Or is it an admission that no-one comes to town when parking charges are in place?

I hope the local public supports this yuletime event and enjoy the rink, but when buying tickets maybe just remind themselves of where the money is really going. We are talking about a substantial amount that could have gone to the bowls group and Retroskate who have supported the Marina Centre for many years.


Burnt Lane,


Still waiting for a reply please

On October 10, you kindly published my letter referring to Cllr Castle’s remarks regarding his achievements as committee chairman and posing a few simple questions relevant to them. I believe these were neither controversial nor political in nature and am disappointed he has so far been unable to respond.



Bowls closure pre-determined?

Some of our bowls club members have received a copy of a letter dated September 16, in reply to a request for information about our situation. Many of the statements made in the letter have been heard before in our meetings with the borough council and Sentinel Leisure Trust and have also appeared in print in the Mercury.

One or two, however, did stand out: (1) “The Indoor Bowls Club is highly unlikely to form part of the plans for the Marina Centre moving forward.”

Right from the start the council has insisted nothing was decided and the concept plans and surveys were still being considered. This consultation period didn’t end until September 18, so how come a sweeping statement was made in the letter dated September 16.

(2) “We did speak with the Bowls Club before the investment was formally announced.”

We had precisely one week, having been told on September 1, then the first public consultation and presentation of plans was on September 8.

(3) “We realise that it is disappointing for the Bowls Club.”

Something of an understatement!

(4) “We recognise that some older people are interested in playing bowls.”

How condescending is that!

The council’s pledge that “they are committed to providing sports and leisure opportunities for all ages and are also working with colleagues in the health sector to support people of all ages and abilities to become active” is something of an anomaly when they have decided to axe the bowls!

This is the only team sport most of us can participate in now, so we will be deprived of our pleasure, competitive edge and general health and fitness. I might remind you they are also affecting those who will follow us. Those people who are still playing badminton, football, tennis or golf etc will one day, like us, no longer be able to play actively at that level and might well take up bowls.

Can I also take this opportunity to urge all our members and supporters to continue to contact the authorities letting them know how passionate we are about saving our bowls club.



Great Yarmouth Indoor Bowls Club

Committed to the Straight dualling

I refer to the recent letter regarding the Acle Straight published in the EDP under the headline “Dualling of Road is non-starter so other safety measures needed.”

Norfolk County Council fully supports the full dualling of the A47 including the Acle Straight. Whilst safety measures are long-overdue and should be implemented as soon as is practicable, it would be wrong to accept that the road will never be dualled, as suggested in the headline.

Norfolk County Council has long been the driving force behind the A47 Alliance, which brings together stakeholders all along the route from Lowestoft to Peterborough, and which has been successful in its campaign to secure investment into the A47. This investment should see improvements to major junctions in Great Yarmouth (including Vauxhall roundabout) and at Thickthorn in Norwich; and dualling between Easton and North Tuddenham, and Blofield and Burlingham. All of these schemes have been included in the government’s trunk road programme for 2015-2020.

As stated in the letter from the Department for Transport to Brandon Lewis MP, and quoted in the letter, dualling of the Acle Straight was not included in the programme for 2015-2020. However, Norfolk County Council has previously agreed its priorities for the subsequent programme (for the years 2020 to 2025) are dualling of East Tilney to East Winch and the Acle Straight.

We will continue to push for these to be included in the programme and believe there is a good case given that congestion and capacity issues are likely to continue to get worse over time, particularly bearing in mind the significant potential for expanding Great Yarmouth’s economy given its location on the East Anglia energy coast.

If we do not continue to press the case with government we will never overcome the significant issues faced by this road, and which are holding back both Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. We must not accept the main trunk road route to these significant towns will remain a single carriageway, to be closed every time a vehicle breaks down or has a shunt.

Norfolk County Council members have set up an A47 Working Group to support the activities of the A47 Alliance and in particular provide a steer and direction to ensure successful delivery of the schemes in the current trunk road programme – including Acle Straight safety measures – and longer term improvements including Acle Straight dualling. We will continue to work with stakeholders including Highways England, the Broads Authority and environmental interest groups on projects such as the ongoing work looking at translocating the Little Whirlpool Ramshorn Snail into alternative dykes, which has long been a barrier to bringing forward any improvement. I would hope we should soon be in a position to agree the principles of a dualling scheme, and be confident this can subsequently be brought forward for delivery.

In short, Norfolk County Council supports measures now to improve the dreadful safety record of the Acle Straight, and dualling of the road in the next trunk road programme in the years covering 2020-2025.


Chairman of the Economic Development Sub-Committee

Norfolk County Council.

More houses need more services

Back in the 1970s, the powers that be were discussing how many houses were going to be built in Bradwell and in which part of the area. I noticed in a newspaper cutting that I took at the time the first tranch of houses numbered was 1,200.

This was a lot of houses in a small rural area and they were at the same time building the Magdalen estate, the Elmhurst, the Cliff Park and Belton was coming up for grabs. We won’t mention Hopton or Caister or all the in-filling in progress and all this for a small rural population.

When my relations from London came up to visit my father who was seriously ill in the Paget in late 1988 the first comment they all made was why did we need such a huge hospital in a country area. In my opinion, the centralising of health services in the Paget may have had some advantages but it also freed up the old sites for building purposes and we can all notice the same con job happening with schools, old peoples home and prisons ie being freed up for building.

But you need all of the above if some of the people moving here are old or with mental or physical health problems.


Butt Lane,

Burgh Castle

Wonderful care from NHS people

I would like to thank the James Paget Hopsital for the wonderful care I received last month. On October 15, I had my shoulder operated on as a day patient, thank you to the surgeons teams who made me feel very relaxed about my operation also the nurses who took care of me afterwards.

Three days after my operation paramedics came to my house as I was feeling very unwell. They were very thorough and admitted me into hospital where a lot of doctors and nurses took care of me. I stayed in the hospital three days and received the best care from all the staff from the doctors and nurses, cleaners and people who brought meals, anybody I haven’t mentioned.

I am now feeling much better and wanted people to know the great care I received. I don’t think we realise how hard they work; I know I couldn’t do some of their jobs. I would also like to thank the physiotherapists at Northgate for the aftercare I am receiving for my shoulder. They are always so nice and helpful.


Caister on Sea