Letters, October 19, 2012

Hope to improve railway station

I READ with interest the plans to set up TeamGY, October 6. The particular points that caught my attention were the reference to the volunteers at the Olympics and Paralympics and the suggestions to become involved with Greater Anglia to implement changes at Yarmouth Rail Station. I hope the ideas will complement work we have been doing at Great Yarmouth Community Trust in conjunction with Greater Anglia.

Since the takeover of the rail franchise in February, the Trust has been working in partnership with Anglia on initiatives to upgrade the experience for the rail traveller. The first was our Welcome Host scheme which provided incoming passengers, during the holiday season, with information and advice. Our Welcome Host’ were trained to the same standard as the Olympic/Paralympic volunteers so there is an immediate connection with the TeamGY aims. The initiative was so successful it was nominated for a national award.

We are now in discussion with Anglia on an upgrading of the Host service for next year and the improvement of various facilities at the station. These would include a number of the items that were pointed out in the TeamGY article.

To achieve these aims we would welcome both working in partnership with all interested and the recruitment of volunteers to progress to a successful outcome for all in Yarmouth. Contact me at the Community Trust on 01493 743000.


Great Yarmouth Community Trust

Most Read

Learning to obey rules at school

WHAT an interesting reflection of the times in which we live is the article in this week’s Mercury about the 13 year old girl who “….has reached deadlock” with Ormiston Venture Academy regarding her refusal to remove something called a “tongue bar”.

Unfortunately, this young lady will eventually have to learn one of the reasons our society runs reasonably smoothly is because of rules and responsibilities which one cannot pick and choose whether to obey or accept. It used to be that one’s school was the place to start that learning process and parents would actually support a school in helping their children achieve this understanding. Not today it seems!

One might ask exactly what message her mother’s support is meant to be sending out; that it’s okay in life to ignore rules if you don’t happen to agree with them?

Banning piercings is not a trivial rule. In the event of an injury occurring I can well imagine the furore and the cries for blame and compensation against the Academy.I sincerely hope, for Kyde’s sake, that Ormiston Venture Academy does not back down or compromise on this.


Burgh St Peter, Beccles

Get cyclists out of town centre

I THOUGHT Great Yarmouth Market Place was a pedestrian only zone between 10am and 4pm. My reason for asking is I am getting fed up with having to dodge speeding cyclists who expect the walking public to get out of their way. Will the police and market wardens please do something before someone gets hurt?


Parkland Drive, Bradwell

Empire letting down seafront

HAVING some friends come and stay at the weekend, I took them into Great Yarmouth, and we walked along the seafront. I told them that a lot of money had been spent on improving it, and then we came to the Empire; what a disgusting state that beautiful building is in. The front steps and top level are covered in pigeon droppings and feathers; the building itself is just being left to rot.

Someone on the borough council should instruct whoever owns that building to restore it to it’s rightful state. It is an eyesore in the middle of what is now an attractive front.



Not recruitment for forces of evil

IN response to E Barkhuizen’s letter: “…Hallowe’en again.” I feel I must comment on the general tone and detail of this letter, almost it seems designed to have parents and carers diving for their bibles at this time of year. But wait! How many of your readers believe in either God or the Devil?

How many will feel inspired to cavort (with evil intent and cackle) around a bonfire a la nude? Because Halloween, far from being some sort of Satanic rite, designed to provoke fear and recruit evil doers, is a pre-Christian festival. One that celebrates the final harvest home with no reference to the dark lord and his minions.

In fact, if E Barkhuizen had taken the time to do a little research he/she will have discovered most pagans and practicing witches don’t actually believe in Satan. Could I also point out that Wicca is a faith of witches… but that not all witches follow Wicca.

In this time of economic depression, where joyous events such as the Jubilee and Olympics are eclipsed by reports of poverty, it is a small escape for children to be able to escape all that and so a little harmless fun, under adult supervision and a little celebration to echo autumnal festivals of our forebears is hardly the recruitment drive for the forces of evil.


Olive Road, Great Yarmouth

Christ would be condemning

YOUR correspondent Mr Allcock cannot understand why I say Cobholm Church is not fit for purpose. I was brought up C of E, my church encouraged me to put on my uniform and kill Germans. Germans were encouraged by their clergy to put on uniforms and kill the British. Christ said we should love our enemies and do good to them that hate us. Both sides in the war claimed to be Christians. Christ would have condemned them out of hand as he did the religious people of his day.


Wherry Way, Great Yarmouth

�5m for Syria, �10m less for us

WILLIAM Hague chose to announce during the Olympic Games that �5m of taxpayers’ money was to be given to support the Syrian rebels. I wrote to our MP Brandon Lewis to ask if he would explain to me, and voters in Yarmouth, why taxpayers’ money was to be spent in this way. So far he has not replied.

It seems strange that �5m can be spent this way when people are losing their jobs in Yarmouth as the borough seeks to cover a �10m shortfall in government funding.

Our MP should be expected to comment.


Common Road, West Somerton

It’s a broken UK, Mr Pickles

I HAVE just had the privilege of watching Eric Pickles. He has told the Tory conference to go and canvass all the council tenants in their areas that there is a new right-to-buy campaign. What a joke. I cannot remember the time that a Tory candidate canvassed and consulted any of the council tenants in Cobholm, Newtown, Middlegate or the Barrack estate.

The right-to-buy programme has given many people their own home, but it has also left many without a home, Mr Pickles. In times of hardship people need hope of a reasonably paid job and a roof over their head.

In broken Britain 2012 we have students unable to afford to go to university, cuts in public sector jobs and Etonians running the country. Mr Pickles said in his office he has a bust of Disraeli, a picture of Winston and Margaret and a portrait of Che Guevara.

Glad you remember Disraeli Eric, most people did not have a home then, children worked at eight, were sold to baby farmers in poor areas, life expectancy was low. Glad you remember Margaret Thatcher: the privatisation of electricity, water, steel.

When I get my electricity bill I remember Margaret, poll tax riots, and the Tories removing her because she had become unelectable.


Clarendon Drive, Martham

Catholic Saints day is holy day

THANK you for allowing Mr E Barkhuizen to draw attention to Halloween and his woeful ignorance about the Catholic Church. Halloween is the eve of All Hallows and not a feast day.

In the Catholic Church, All Saints (Hallows) is a holy day when members of the Church are remembered for their discipline and rigour in observing the rules and practices of the Christain way of life. They are an example to us, not to worshiped or idolised in any way that would break the second Commandment.

With regard to the colourful and grotesque tat available at this time of year, let’s see it for what it is, namely a commercial opportunity imported from America via the factories of China.


Boat Dyke Road, Upton

Disgust over pigeon cruelty

IN response to the letter (October 5) concerning the pigeon. I was disgusted and heartbroken with the person who deliberately tortured and killed a helpless, beautiful pigeon who was doing no harm.

It seems to me the action is how society is becoming; no one cares, authorities, council workers, passers by etc. I love all creatures, birds in particular as they get a raw deal – spikes on lamp-posts, nets around buildings, anything to deter them. They are not vermin. People who drop litter, maim, lie, torture, take drugs, steal, leave dog poo about are vermin.

Name and Address withheld

Cost forces mum out of day centre

HOW do I tell my 94 year old partially sighted, disabled mum she can no longer afford to go to the day centre that she loves so much. A bill for �120 has just hit her doorstep for two days a week at a day centre. Charges have gone from nothing to �15 a day plus �5 a day for her dinner.

Sadly, with the rising cost of gas and electricity and the fact she has to pay for care three times a day it is unlikely that she will be able to afford the day centre any more. Being disabled myself it took some preasure off me for two days knowing she was being looked after by caring people and getting a hot dinner.

On enquiry I have been told it’s due to goverment cutbacks; they certainly hit where it hurts: the old, disabled and vunerable every time. I asked if everyone has to pay and if so, what future has the day centre? None, if everyone pulls out, leaving more people out of a job. If you are one of the privileged few, things are not so bad, but if not, times are hard and destined to get harder.

Name and Address withheld

Occult practices hateful to Lord

THANKS to fellow Christian Hank Allcock for his support regarding my Mercury letter of October 6, which warned of the perils of Halloween.

Here’s what the lord God says: “There shall not be found among you anyone who ... practises witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who does spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord” (Holy Bible, Deut. 18:10–12).

So if occult practices are hateful to the Lord Jesus, how does He view it when you dress your child as a witch or devil, or go to a Roman Catholic Halloween party?


Albemarle Road, Gorleston

Charity autumn fair in Minster

WITH the Town Hall still undergoing the finishing touches to its facelift, the ladies of Inner Wheel of Great Yarmouth will be holding their Autumn Fair in the Minster Church of St Nicholas, situated as it is in the centre of the town at the end of the Market Place.

On October 24, a grand charity Autumn Fair will take place from 10.30am to 2.30pm. This will be a chance to support the upkeep of this magnificent building and the president’s chosen charities: Dogs for Deaf People and Diabetes UK.

There will be jewellery, novelty towels, second-hand books, fruit tom bola, �1 stall, cakes and raffle. Why not leave your shops, offices, banks and join us for lunch, coffee, or just a chat with friends? Take this golden opportunity to visit your Minster and at the same time support these worthy causes.


Thurne Rise, Martham

Readers were left in the dark

HAVING read the front page item of the Mercury, October 12, I have every sympathy with landau driver Mr England.

The article seemed to go into great detail in respect of what the council did or did not do in respect of granting the licence, however the article did leave the reader in the dark with regards to which part of the law requires that the driver of a horse-drawn carriage requires to hold a licence to drive a motor vehicle. I look forward to reading, in your excellent newspaper, an explanation of this particular statute.


Staithe Road, Martham

Tourist chiefs made lousy deal

TOURIST chiefs state the need for more foreign tourists, in last week’s Mercury. Would these same tourist chiefs be from Norfolk County Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council that made such a lousy deal in 2007 regarding our port.

If they had kept to the plans sold to the electorate as made by the GYPA in conjunction with Norfolk Line and Brown and Root, we would now have our own continental ferry service that would enable us not to have to induce tourists from London.

But no, these same people had to snatch the first offer to build the outer harbour, not thinking of how their actions would affect our future. The new owners stated in this paper ferries are out of the question for years to come.

In last week’s Coastline supplement aerial photographer Mike Page’s pictures show the completely empty outer harbour, as it has been since the end of July. I like the little touch the paper did in adding a very old picture with the windfarm ships in.

It’s about time the councillors, officers and the various newspapers started telling the truth about the waste of our cash, instead of all the make believe that happens now that gets us nowhere in reducing unemployment.


Burnt Lane, Gorleston

Parish council aware CPO lost

RE the article Mercury, October 12, regarding the loan made by GYBC to Hopton Parish Council.

HPC have been aware since April 2010 the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) inquiry had ruled against them and they would be liable for costs. Since then residents have asked at numerous parish council meetings whether the extent of costs/expenses had been determined but were constantly informed this information was “confidential”.

HPC announced at a meeting on April 16 that costs/expenses amounted to in excess of �28,000 of which approximately �8,500 had been paid. This information was only divulged following a resident’s enquiry via the Freedom of Information Act.

At the April 16 meeting the chairman announced: “Reserves have been maintained for this purpose”.If reserves have been maintained since April 2010 why was the loan from GYBC necessary? If HPC knew two years ago they were liable for these costs why did they not undertake stringent budget cuts like any prudent business/household would do to cover this?

What HPC seem to fail to understand is that residents concerns over a long period are not primarily because the CPO failed but the constant “secrecy and confidentiality” regarding the issue of costs, which was in the public domain via the Freedom of Information Act.


Sea View Rise, Hopton on Sea

Smokers had all the wheelchair

ON Wednesday last week, I took my terminally ill husband to his pallative care clinic and tried to get him a wheelchair, as clinic is on the first floor and he has to walk, very badly i might add, on two sticks. But again for the second time no wheelchair was available.

This got me going for starters but then what made me really see red was to see people outside, where they are not meant to be, smoking and sitting in the wheelchairs. Well I’m sorry, but if they can get themselves outside and are healthy enough to smoke at least they could leave the wheelchairs to the people who could really do with them.

SUE GIBBS, Gorleston

X Factor clones will prevail

WHAT sad, sad news that Better Leisure (Prism Records), the last in a long line of independent record shops in the town centre is to close. It’s not entirely surprising given the change in shopping habits, some day soon there will only be the “One Stop Shops” and Amazon left in the retail sector. I refuse to purchase music from Amazon for this very reason.

The loss of one of my, and several other like-minded souls, favourite lunchtime haunts is a blow. The lively discussions with Malcolm and his very knowledgeable staff, the recommendations made to my music library and no doubt dozens like me will be missed.

Music affects all of our lives either by the choices we make at stores like Prism or more likely subliminally when we watch TV.

Without independent record stores the likelihood of another Sex Pistols emerging or Frankie Goes to Hollywood or British Sea Power will be seriously diminished, instead it will be the X Factor clones and similar “muzak” will prevail. It will be a very sad day with those choices reduced to those we are “influenced” to buy!

Best wishes and good luck to Malcolm and all the guys, thank you for all the music!


Binsley Close, Horsey

Remember the dead in Cyprus

IT will soon be the time for us all to think about those who served and those who lost their lives in the two world wars and the many conflicts we have been a part of. I would like to remind you all of the conflict we, the British, were involved in from 1st April 1955 to 24th December 1959. That was with Cyprus. The Ministry of Defence has never reported any names of personnel killed – they think it’s about 104 but I am informed it is well over 360. No memorial or honour rolls exist in this country.

I would like to see a mention of this conflict in the Civic Remembrance Service later this month as previous mayors have failed to do so. My thoughts will be with you all.


Caister on Sea

Rules teach of consequences

IT is unbelievable a mother knowing the rules can still let her 13 year old daughter break them by letting her have her tongue pierced. The principal, staff and pupils of the Ormiston Venture Academy have done an excellent job in turning this school around from one that nobody wanted to have their children in, to one that now parents have pride in their children attending.

Part of the Ormiston success was that the principal brought in rules to teach the children respect, enabling them to live in society knowing their actions will have consequencesi and to teach them to except the outcome.

The rules were in place, and the mother was well informed regarding them, why her daughter could not wait a few more years when it is not the school’s responsibility, I cannot understand.

She could then pierce whatever she likes.

Her mother states she is a student nurse, does she realise the NHS has a strict standard of dress code for its nurses, does she intend to conform to this when she qualifies.



Action taken for best of reasons

I READ with dismay the article in last Friday’s Mercy regarding Hopton Parish Council. I have been attending meetings as a member of the public since 2006 and was present when the piece of land next to St Margaret’s Church was discussed.

The article didn’t state:

1 The church was in danger of losing �30,000 of an initial grant for repairs if the land next to it was not cleaned up (see council minutes July 2007 item 10).

2 The council had already spent 18 months trying to contact the landowner and negotiate with him to bring the land into better shape. (see PC minutes August 2007 item 13).

3 It didn’t state that GYBC gave its full support to Hopton PC regarding the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO).

4 At no time were any objections raised by the public in the public forum regarding the CPO at that meeting or the subsequent meetings regarding the CPO. In fact the feeling was at that time “what a good idea”. I know the outdoor bowls club also gave their backing to the idea of a CPO (see PC minutes August 2007).

5 The article didn’t state that Mr Steve Ames (who wants the parish council to ‘man up’) was at the time Hopton’s representative on GYBC and also a member of the cabinet and to my knowledge at no time did he raise any objections to the CPO then.

7 Why didn’t the reporter ask the question “Why did the CPO fail?” when everybody thought Hopton had a cast iron case.

The piece of land next to St Margaret’s church has been a bone of contention for the last 12 years. In my opinion the land is of no use to anybody except the church.

Regarding the excessive costs which now have to be paid, it’s my understanding a GYBC legal department advised that costs would not exceed �8,000 and “we have never lost a CPO”.

Why is Mr Ames objecting to the agreement set up by the new leader of the borough council for Hopton to make the payments?

At the time this was all done for the very best of reasons and hindsight is a marvellous thing when considering past events.


Sea View Rise, Hopton on Sea

DPA Movies show was effervescent

AT the weekend I saw the show, Let’s Go to the Movies, at the Marina Theatre, Lowestoft. All the performers were students of DPA in Gorleston and it was an effervescent show with the youngsters giving their all to entertain us. Full marks to all who were involved.



Two girls, two different stories

THIS morning on the TV news we saw a brave little girl brought to the UK for hospital treatment after being brutally shot in the head by a murderous Taliban terrorist. She had offended these thugs by pleading for girls to be educated in her native country.

The current edition of the Mercury carries a report of a local Academy pupil, supported by her mother, who is prepared to jeopardise her education and break school rules in order to wear a ‘tongue bar’ in class.

It is a funny old world!



Who’s going to cut these shrubs?

WHILE Brandon Lewis is wandering about wearing a blindfold, perhaps he could make a detour round the roads and avenues of Newtown, where he’s likely to encounter shrubs, privet hedges and even brambles that have been allowed to grow over garden fences and across pavements and footpaths. Apparently according to our local councillor, nothing can be done about it.


Newtown, Great Yarmouth

Residents have ignored St Luke’s

THE “much loved” St Luke’s Church has not been supported in the past by the Cobholm residents. It’s Sunday congregation has been extremely poor for many years and that very small number have been unable to maintain the building. So why are the residents of Cobholm complaining about it’s closure? The old adage “use it or lose it” comes to mind. The residents have lost it because they have ignored it for years. Amen to that.


Nelson Road Central, Yarmouth

We entered but weren’t judged

I WELCOME the comprehensive and positive coverage your newspaper dedicated to the Gorleston and Great Yarmouth in Bloom competition, and I am sure many others appreciate the resources and hundreds of hours spent by individuals and gardening clubs alike. Enhancing the look of the environment and commu nities in which we live has many and far-reaching benefits.

It is a shame, however, when some of these individuals and groups, who have been encouraged to enter into not only the spirit, but the competition, are overlooked.

As events secretary for Ormesby and District Garden Club, I know a good number of neighbours and members, including myself, took up the challenge and worked extremely hard in entering this competition. We were assured our efforts would be judged, but no judges materialised.

Some members even cancelled their holidays so they could be around on a certain day for judging.

To add insult to injury, a few of our members and I were invited to an awards ceremony evening where we were embarrassed by being informed that as we weren’t judged we weren’t eligible to win any award.

I am certain many members will continue their hard work as usual, but may now think twice about entering the competition again. The In Bloom committee needs to ensure sufficient resources are available to carry out the judging and avoid the ensuing consequences and inevitable disappointment.


Ormesby and District Gardening Club

Halloween over commercialised

ON the subject of Halloween: I grew up in a small village during the 1960s, and back then we would be perfectly happy with nothing more than an old sheet draped over us while making “ghostly” noises at each other.

We would try to scare other children in the village. All a harmless creation of our over-active imaginations, of course.

Halloween these days has become over commercialised, rows of store shelves displaying all manner of tacky and cheaply made costumes etc., designed to bump up their profits.

Also, as your correspondent Hank Allcock wrote last week, these days sadly there are those who want to use Halloween as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour, often targeting more vulnerable people or homes in their neighbourhood.

I would say, though, that with parents using common sense, youngsters can still enjoy some harmless fun on Halloween night.

This is, however, really the only comment in Dave Gahan’s letter on which I could find any level of agreement. While I am not shocked by his views on the contents of the Bible, it is rather sad he found it necessary to express them in the way he did. I wonder if similar derisory or scornful remarks would make it into the pages of the Mercury if they were made about the Koran.


Address withheld

Should be age limit on piercing

I WRITE with reference to the article about Kyde Lanham, 13, and her tongue piercing. I agree the school is right to seclude her. All her mother has to do is tell her to take it out for school and then if she is happy put it back in during the evening and weekends.

Whilst I know there is no legal age for piercings in the UK, most practices don’t do them on under 16’s. Under this age they are still children and as yet don’t know what they really want, it’s just things they see in magazines and on TV.

My son had various piercings when he was younger (first ones just after his 16th birthday), but has now either removed or allowed the piercing to heal over as it was difficult for him to get and keep jobs, either for Health and Safety reasons or just the employer did not want staff to be seen on view like that.

As a parent. if I put a hole through my child’s tongue and then stuck a metal bar through it I would be investigated and probably charged with child abuse.

What is wrong with parents who allow their children to have things like this done at a very early age when the child may later regret it?

My view is there should be an age limit on piercings like tattoos and children should not be used as a fashion statement.

Legal action should then be taken against any parent or piercer who does one on a child under the age.



How can we vote for police boss?

THE Police Commissioners election is due to take place on November 15, but to date I have received no information regarding candidates.

To try and find out something I looked at the local website for the election and found there are four candidates, which is a start!

However, three have so far failed to provide any information about themselves. The fourth provides an extremely brief introductory statement, with advice to visit his individual website. When tried there was an error.

These candidates are hoping to receive a very high salary, if elected and they are also meant to be independent, but each of the four represents a political party. There seems to be complete apathy from the candidates, so it will be no surprise if the turnout on election day is very low.

Before that day, I would hope to learn a bit more about whom I might vote for. Perhaps they might consider publishing something in the local media.


High Road, Gorleston on Sea

Where did port profit come from?

FURTHER to my letter last week I would like to point out that Ms O’Toole, vice chairman of Great Yarmouth Port Company, after stating the port was profitable, replied to a request for figures “I don’t have them available.”

I would have thought the chair of a multi million pound venture owned by an investment company would have all such figures at her fingertips. I understand the last balance sheet showed a profit of �6m? Where did this profit come from? The inner port I would think?

Perhaps the vice chair would now like to answer that question? I believe such a question is valid when �20m of public money was provided for the venture.


Brett Avenue