Letters October 15

IT is fascinating to read the latest news surrounding the outer harbour. As for the problem surrounding the dormant container operation, and the cranes which arrives with such a blaze of publicity, perhaps rather than they stand idle for another 12 months they could be utilised to hold giant flowering hanging baskets and entered into Britain in Bloom. On a more serious note, the road around the harbour closed because of quote: “pressure from HM Customs.” How many vessels have so far required customs clearance?

The citizens of Great Yarmouth have been treated shabbily by Eastport, and can clearly see that the Great Yarmouth Borough Council handling of negotiation, which saw huge areas of the land handed over to a private company free of charge, failed to get proper guarantees and safeguards over this substantial investment of public money and property. Where are the jobs that were going to be created? The people need answers,


Exmouth Road

Great Yarmouth

WORKING as I do at South Denes, I was privileged on Friday morning to have a vantage point from which I could witness the arrival of the Royal Navy’s new type 45 destroyer HMS Dauntless. I must say it invoked fond memories of my own time in the Senior Service (Howard) and I found myself imagining the reception Lord Nelson received when he visited Great Yarmouth compared to today’s low key affair. Eastport have received a considerable amount of bad press recently and in my opinion they deserve it. Why couldn’t Stalag Eastport have been opened to the public for a few hours thus allowing the people of Great Yarmouth to welcome the crew of Dauntless and also celebrate their proud heritage?

The only similarities Eastport shares with our greatest national hero are arrogance and a lack of vision.

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I WOULD like to take issue with comments made by Mick Castle in last week’s Mercury on the letters page. Attacks on the outer harbour are not misplaced when the fact is 17 highly qualified and experienced dockers lost their long-standing jobs shortly after Eastport took control of Great Yarmouth Stevedoring Company because they refused to sign new contracts that would give them no quality of life for less pay. How is this ‘securing existing jobs’? The so-called ‘bringing in of new jobs’ include replacing these experienced dockers with unskilled, inexperienced casual labour on “as and when” type contracts. How can you build a town’s secure future on these type of contracts? If the outer harbour is such a plus point, why is it that the giant cranes have never been in operation since they arrived and various vessels have had difficulty or been unable to access our port via the outer harbour?

Name and address withheld

THE Norfolk Summit of Tory and Lib Dem MPs and Council Leaders is an absolute disgrace. These same people - apart from the now departing Daniel Cox who did at least build a credible case for a Norfolk Unitary Council before coming under vitriolic attacks from Right-wingers in his own party - attacked all attempts to modernise the structure of local government in Norfolk and spent hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money on legal moves to fight off anything other than the status quo. It now appears their precious status quo is totally unfit for purpose and they are thrashing about seeking alternatives.

In Great Yarmouth, we on the Labour side initially favoured an East Coast Unitary Council joining Yarmouth and Lowestoft with a combined population of over 200,000 people. Later when that didn’t find favour with the powers that be, we - jointly with Yarmouth Tories - promoted the potential of an even larger Norwich City Region bringing together both with the City of Norwich and Broadland. Both of these Unitaries would have potentially been very cost-effective for the public purse and responsive to the needs of the urban areas like ours.

Those who now appear to have wrung control of the County Council will do literally anything to protect their own selfish interests - they will merge services without any public endorsement by the electors but keep firmly the generous allowances that they claim from County and District Councils as “twin hatters”.

There will be a reckoning before much longer! I personally believe that both Norwich and Great Yarmouth on somewhat extended boundaries will aspire to regain Unitary Status before the decade is out.


Leader, Labour Group

Great Yarmouth Borough Council

I’M not sure if any of your readers have experienced the same as us here in Ormesby St Margaret. Last week I ordered items from thrreee different people within the UK. I have contacted them to ask where my deliveries are and when they dispatched them and by what method they replied and assured me the items were dispatched the same day. However, I still have not received these items or any other normal post for that matter. One of the items was sent out by recorded delivery. My husband is retired and is at home all day so is always around when the postman is due. We have not had any cards put through the door from the postman to say he could not deliver the items for whatever reason. I have contacted my local post office (Ormesby Village) and they have not had any items returned to them, and I have even popped into Great Yarmouth sorting office and they have not had any items outstanding there for me. Where have they gone?


CALLING in to one of our libraries less frequently, in response to a question, I was struck by the prompt and efficient way that it was dealt with. This is encouraging for the increasingly higher number of people aged over 65 who may lack, and rarely need, newer technological processes. Personal attention is still necessary and very much appreciated.


Mill Lane,


AS the Outer Harbour no longer appears to “tick all the boxes,” perhaps other money-making schemes should be investigated. The Lagoon could be used for pedalo racing, or perhaps the 2012 Olympic team could practise their synchronised swimming in it. We could once again have pleasure craft conveying visitors to the many sand-banks appearing offshore. By far the biggest money spinner could be bungee jumping from the top of the cranes!


Mill Lane


WITH reference to the letter (September 24) entitled “Use the money for Christian causes.”

Like Mr Styles, I first attended the St Andrew’s Parish Church, Gorleston, with my parents some 80 years ago. As a Gorlestonian, I have always considered myself most fortunate to have a building of such dignity whose interior has that aura conducive to holding the traditional services we expect and enjoy.

I must again state my feelings of apprehension concerning the proposed re-ordering of our truly beautiful church. I do not doubt that the advocates of this plan have good intentions, but I am sure they are misguided in pursuing this course. They will be losing so much more than they could possibly gain by such a venture and I appeal to them to please think again, while there is still time to change course.

I can only surmise that the underlying stimulus for this plan is this craze for modernisation at all costs, which is doing so much damage to our traditional ways of life these days.

We are told that the re-ordering proposed will open our church for holding various events, which I frankly consider to be totally inappropriate to its character, and if desired, they could surely be held in the Chapter House, which was built specifically for such activities.

I fear this is a misguided attempt to cajole the younger members of our society into attending church, and if so, I consider it entirely the wrong approach. Surely if they are to join us, it should be for the right reasons and not for the lure of events for which our church was never intended?

Since retiring from medical practice, I have had the opportunity to visit the churches of the Hexagon in the surrounding villages, and I have come to realise how difficult it is for them to raise funds for the bare essentials which so often they have to manage without. With this in mind, and hearing the uirgent cries for help from so many worthy casues, my conscience will not allow me to advocate funding for anything but the essential refurbishment of our church of St Andrews. I am truly shocked to learn that the estimated cost of this re-ordering project which is being considered is �500,000!


Middleton Road


ON Sunday last, a “Royal Navy” collection box for “Help the Heroes” was taken from the fence at the Pleasure Beach. This was where people were queuing for the buses to take them to HMS Dauntless. It was last seen early that afternoon and contained an estimated �100. I would be grateful if anybody who saw it being removed would contact the Police (Ref NC 11/10/10 705) or contact me on 01493 721339.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the two gentlemen who, on hearing of its disappearance, between them made a substantial donation towards making up the loss.



West Caister

I WRITE regarding the positioning of the plaque commemorating Southtown Station by Great Yarmouth Local History Society. The Society began a process of placing a plaque for Southtown Station shortly after we put the plaque on the site of Beach Station on the 50th anniversary of its closure on 28/2/2009. We hoped to note either the opening of the Station on 1st June 1859 or its closure 2nd May 1970 and letters were sent out to the owners of various buildings asking for permission to affix aplaque on suitable walls but no replies were received.

However, Great Yarmouth and Waveney Primary Care Trust gave us permission to use one of their walls when the New Nelson Medical Practice was completed and we agreed a suitable place the plaque on their building. They have put up various pictures and explanation boards in their waiting rooms on the history of the area.

The Society is keen to place other plaques and notices about the district commemorating important people and events but we can only do this on suitable structures where the owner’s grant permission. We are currently trying to put up three plaques but we have not received any answers to our requests. Similarly, we would like to replace some of existing plaques but again our letters remain unanswered.

However the Society would be pleased to hear of any suggestions regarding sites and locations that have connections with important people, places and events in the area.

I would point out we are a voluntary organisation and that we have no power to tell any property owner what they should do and we have to finance these from our limited budget. Perhaps the best part of programme of erecting plaques is that it allows people who were connected to the sites to meet up after many years to talk over old times.

Mr Jack Stowers told me he is going to record his memories at the Oral History Project at the time and Tide Museum shortly. I’m sure this will be a great interest to future generations of railway enthusiasts as Jack was promoted to be fireman at a the unheard of age of 17 going on 18 because of labour shortages during the second world war and he was involved on the footplate of engines throughout his employment.

Regarding Railway Station Cats; I have heard of Binky the commuting, fish-eating cat but I had heard he was based at Beach Station rather than Southtown.

I also wonder if your readers can advise me of the name of the Naval Bomb Disposal Officer who defused the bomb which came to rest between the platforms at Southtown Station on the morning of 7th May 1943.



Great Yarmouth Local History & Archaeological Society

FURTHER to my letter published in the Mercury on October 7 in reply to P Sutton’s comments on the October 14, she mentions she lives a busy life and has other commitments. At the time of the meetings regarding the siting of a windfarm in Hemsby I was working full-time five days a week (although am now retired) but managed to attend both the meeting showing the plans and talking to representatives of SLP and also that called by the Councillors to keep us up-to-date on proceedings. Notice was given in good time and if one was so interested in stating their opinion surely an effort is made to attend. P Sutton would like a wind turbine in her vicinity but perhaps for the developers and landowners, bearing in mind the Annual Maize Maze which is sited near the garage on Yarmouth Road and also the proposed allotment site the health hazard would be too great for both adults and children alike using the facilities in that area. I do not intend to reply to anymore correspondence regarding this as I think I have made my feelings known.


Ormesby Road


AT last the elephant in the town is being discussed and perhaps this will now be done by the town’s elected representatives in depth - for although it is early days there is a lot of disquiet about this project. Recently, most aspects of the pros and cons of the outer harbour have been discussed in letters to The Mercury - but one which is extremely important as far as public investment is concerned seems to have been overlooked.

This is that when the initial investment decision was made nobody seems to have undertaken taken a cost benefit analysis approach. This is where qualitative costs and benefit of an investment proposal are taken into account. For example, no figures seem to have been put on the fact that when the road round the harbour was closed this caused a significant loss in psychic benefits to townspeople.

A rough and crude approach to the valuation of this would be: Population of the town 50,000, and assuming there are 20,000 cars and each car drove round the harbour’s mouth once in the year with an imputed value of �5 in benefit to the people in the car; this gives a lost in benefits of �100,000.

Then assuming 200,000 cars visited the town in a year and these have been deprived of driving round the harbour’s mouth as part of their holiday benefit at an imputed value of �5 per car then another loss of �1,000,000 in psychic benefits has occurred.

This makes a total loss to the public of �1,100,000.

I suggest our new MP Mr Brandon Lewis pushes for a public inquiry into the outer harbour which takes a cost benefit analysis approach and in the meantime for the road round the harbour to be opened to local traffic forthwith. I am sure the health and safety value (which could be computed) of keeping it open is far less than the loss to the townspeople of being able to drive round it – especially when lorries are being turned away.

Then there is the concept of countervailing power. If it had have been a Tesco store involved in a development the town council would have brought countervailing power into play and said “yes” you can have the road closed … if you repair Gorleston Pier car park as a quid pro quo!

I will not go into the funding and management operations of the scheme which have been well addressed elsewhere, but it does seem that people on all sides would have benefited from using basic decision making techniques associated with management and strategy so that the townspeople received some return from the venture – other than the negative one they have received to date.

Michael Harvey

Park Road


I HAVE to agree with E Barkhuizen (Mercury, October 8) that Halloween may not be as harmless as the sellers of halloween costumes would have us believe. We would never let our children dress up in masks etc and go round knocking on strangers’ doors asking for treats. It seemed to us that it was asking for trouble. However I find the remarks on witches very strange. Real witches, and I know a few, do not call up real demons. In the first place, demons are fictitious or imaginary beings so can only be called up by imagining them in your mind. Real witches are followers of a pagan religious sect sometimes called wicca or wiccan, and like other pagans they worship the natural world. Witches are reputed to have skills in making natural remedies to treat illnesses but in no way are they evil. That is just one of the lies put about by the early Christian church to try and convert people to Christianity. They certainly do not make human sacrifice and I am amazed that in the day and age someone not only believes in such nonsense but is prepared to put it in writing.


Royal Naval Hospital

Great Yarmouth

Reading of the new four-coloured litho press machine purchased by Bendart (Blackwells, Great Yarmouth), I am reminded of my mother’s occupation at a small printers in Peckham, London. Being “in the print” as it was called, she was a layer-on of the colour work, then the three colours.

My mother was so adept at this three-colour work which had started just before the first world war, that she was commissioned to assist at the famous North London printers McCorquodale’s.

Here she accurately laid on the three colours on their work in hand, and was rewarded by quite a large fee of at least �5, depending on the size of the subject. My mother was always interested in the design of printing machinery, and when we moved to Yarmouth she went to look at the machines at the Yare Printing Company. She would have loved to have seen this Heidelberg four-colour machine.

Incidentally, I have two cousins both who worked for McCorquodale’s in the book binding department; one was awarded a special merit certificate and the other cousin went to the book binding section of the British Museum.


Lovewell Road


DOES Mick Castle live in a cloud cuckoo land? He is of the opinion that people write in to the Mercury “attacking” the outer harbour with “misplaced” views. The vast majority write in with honest and constructive criticism about the East Port and virtually everyone is of the opinion that it should never have been built in the first place. He still thinks roll on-roll off and container traffic will appear, but perhaps he can explain why the Cramer Lane stook idle for 17 months. As everyone knows, a golden opportunity appeared recently with Pamaplina wanting to put over one million of business with the harbour. We are all waiting for an explanation on this one. Perhaps the look of desperation on the face of chief executive Eddie Freeman (page 5) says it all.


Address withheld