Letters, October 9 2015

Any backers for an oil museum?

Last year I had the opportunity to visit such an interesting and educational place called The Norwegian Petroleum Museum in Stavanger.

It looks like a small oil platform constructed in the edge of the harbour.

My friend and I were a bit apprehensive about going to see the museum but over two hours later we had to admit the visit had been very worthwhile.

The exhibitions, films, clear information displays and hands on activities were well presented and appealed to all ages. There were facilities for meetings, conferences and a cafe.

If oil companies could be persuaded to help back such a project, hopefully it could be developed into a must-see amenity for own town.

I urge council members to view the Norwegian museum on line and see for themselves what an impressive project it could be for us too.

Most Read



Festival layout was a pleasure

I have to agree with Mr and Mrs Wilkins letter about the Food Festival and the layout of the Market Square on these occasions.

The stalls around the square, and the layout of tables and chairs in the centre, all packed full with locals and visitors alike was a pleasure to see!

Our poor market has sadly declined over the years, but this layout bought the life back to our town centre again.

Would it not be a good idea, and a massive help to the market traders, to use this for market days in future, thus freeing up more of the parking spaces for their customers?

Who knows it might even help to bring our sadly neglected Rows back to life?


Great man and a great port era

Last week’s Mercury has a fitting tribute by Michael Boon of Arthur Symonds who sadly died last month.

In my opinion our thoughts at this sad time should be for the team that Mr Symonds was part of which operated and guided the Great Yarmouth Port until December 1999 when the Port Authority as we knew it was devastatingly taken over by councillors and unelected officers in the year 2000.

John Mowson the last chairman of Great Yarmouth Port Authority, Michael Boon CEO GYPA helped by Mr Symonds as leaders of a team, made sure that all the quays on both sides of the river were in good order, and Haven Bridge was a priority over all else as to not cause traffic problems. The ratepayers of our borough were never asked to financially assist the Port Authority in any maintenance of quays or bridge.

In Mr Symonds’s day with the backing of the British Sailors Society and with local assistance we brought a mobile Seamen Mission to Great Yarmouth after an absence of 26 years and at its adoption by the port Mr Symonds, Mowson and Boon greatly assisted the early years of the Mission’s “Winnebago” Bus.

In 1984 prior to Mr Symonds retiring and Norfolk Line was making noises that a deep water port was needed as they needed larger ships, the GYPA team instigated in-depth surveys for an outer harbour specifically to satisfy Norfolk Line so as not to lose them. Even though the surveys were completed with scale drawings the GYPA did not get the backing of the NCC or the GYBC, so sadly the proposal was shelved. By 1999 Mr Symonds had been retired 10 years, Mr Boon was removed from his position of CEO and we lost Mr Mowson.

So we entered 2000 with none of the team that were conversant with the complex way our port operated.

The GYPA was now chaired by a councillor with no maritime knowledge and board members not residents of the borough. In steps the NCC and GYBC they formed a new company “Eastport Great Yarmouth limited” to work and lead in the pre-2000 dream of an outer harbour to entice Norfolk Line or any ferry company to make the GYPA once more a port of substance.

Not one member of the GYPA, NCC or GYBC was conversant with how our port has been operated the past 500 years. So the ferry company never materialised, Containers were an expensive loss to Singapore, It seems the 1000 jobs have gone walk-about but worse than all of that the councillors, officers and the GYPA board members gave away our river port enabling the private company that now owns the whole port to put it up for sale to satisfy its share-holders.

Yes it was a sad day for all the residents of Norfolk when the GYPA team were removed in 1999, Mr Symonds will not be happy how all his and Mr Mowson’s and Mr Boon’s sterling work to keep Great Yarmouth a port to be reckoned with as it once was. Every business in the borough is reliant on there being a successful port, the Golden Mile, Regent Road, the holiday accommodation yes even the “super Casino and 200 bed hotel” would now be a reality if the decisions on 2007 were made in the interest of our ratepayers and not private enterprise.

But it’s not too late to save the day, we could still have a ferry and successful port if those in charge took a leaf out of Mr Symonds book and did the right thing for ratepayers.


Retired Port Welfare Officer, Gorleston

Councillors on another planet

What planet do some of these councillors live on? A Dunelms store would be lovely for Great Yarmouth.

There is one in Lowestoft out of the main town, and one in Norwich on a retail park.

So what is the problem with having one just a short way from Hughes?

I imagine a lot of people like Dunelms and it would be nice to just walk from Tesco, B&M and Lidl to shop rather than go out of town.

What will the council do if Pasta Foods decides to pull out of Yarmouth?

I believe the council needs to wake up and let some good different stores into Yarmouth.

The town has had it. There is not even a decent market any more.



Do you want to be in directory?

We are beginning to collect the information for the next edition of The Ageless Opportunities Directory of Social Activities.

This will be its 10th edition. It has grown over the years and continues to be a much sought-after resource for people looking to be more active. We will be contacting all those in the present directory to see if they want to be in the next edition but please get in touch if your group/club has not been in it yet – or used to be and would like to be in there again.

There are a wonderful variety of activities available and more people have become active over the years because of the directory – it is free to have an entry in there and free to take a copy.

Please get in touch if you would like a copy of this year’s directory, or if you want to put your club or groups details in the 10th edition.

Whilst it initially set out to be a resource for people over 50 many of the groups are for people 18 years and over.


Project Worker

Great Yarmouth Community Trust

Priory Centre

Great Yarmouth


Begging? Not us!

We are fighting

I object strongly to the comment in last week’s Mercury stating that Great Yarmouth Indoor Bowls Club members were, I quote “begging to be allowed to stay” at the Marina.

This was unjust and degrading, more especially in its juxtaposition with Retroskate who “have launched a fierce campaign” to remain.

We come from a proud generation that worked hard and have given much to the community. We certainly do not beg.

We are fighting and will continue to fight to save our bowls club both for ourselves and future prospective bowlers.

The Marina was orginally built to enhance the health and fitness of residents all year round as well as for holidaymakers.

Bowling is our only available sport. It keeps us active and maintains our quality of life physically, mentally and socially, especially during the winter months.

Both as stakeholders and as elderly residents we not only deserve but have the right to expect support from the borough council to keep our bowls club.

This should not depend on money. After all we have paid taxes for enough years.

ROSE BECKETT, Great Yarmouth

Much better to wed in town hall

Common sense has prevailed with the announcement that the vast majority of weddings will now take place in the town hall and not the library.

With the new pricing structure it should cost no more to marry in Great Yarmouth than in Norwich.

Certain Great Yarmouth borough councillors and Norfolk county councillors have worked overtime to make this move happen and gone well beyond the call of duty.

To all the people that have written letters and posted comments on the website and paper of the Great Yarmouth Mercury you did make a difference so now every bride can have a day to remember.

Many thanks to all.



Short-changed by new pricing

Imagine going to a market stall and asking for £1 worth of apples, and being told it would cost £2.50 but you could also have some pencils and a tin of dog food. This seems to me similar to someone who wishes to swim each morning in their local pool,(as they have for more than 20 years), being offered, on payment of an increased fee, the use of a spa and facilities in Beccles.

Such is the proposed new pricing policy for the Marina centre under the control of Sentinel Leisure Trust, who have so far succeeded in alienating older people by their tactics over the bowling area and young people by threatening the existence of Retroskate.

The next stage of the plan would seem to be to alienate the remainder of the community by introducing a pricing system that seeks to make a virtue of charging people for facilities which they neither want or need.

It would seem much fairer and more sensible to maintain a system of multiple entry charges, concessions and choice of what one wishes to pay for rather than penalising those who have supported the Marina for many years and wish to continue doing so.


Queens Road

Great Yarmouth

Season of mists

and mellow rest

Autumn is gently arriving. The Great Yarmouth in Bloom idea is being adjudged. After a typically variable summer those with allotments are aware of the seasons.

A fairly small number of residents may choose to have a secondary garden fairly near to their home one. A neighbour may have offered the idea or broadcastaers Monty Don or Alan Titchmarsh aroused some interest through their programmes or newspaper/journal reports.

The allotments around our borough have waiting lists and the annual rental fee seems very reasonable if compared with larger towns and cities.

A water rate is also necessary and the supply, so important for irrigation during the summer is turned off now.

Another facility, many might agree, is the camaraderie of fellow gardeners who meet at different times chatting about their crops, sharing ideas including toher local or worldly matters. Dogs aren’t allowed but an occasional cat may be friendly.

The crops of fresh vegetables, soft fruits, sweet corn etc are thought to taste better at home. Enough can be stored to last for some months. There is room for a few fresh flowers too. Grown by oneself can be more sense of satisfaction perhaps for the family instead of buying them more cheaply at the shops or knowing they have been imported.

Little competitions for biggest, best sunflower or pumpkin etc offer another challenging interest.

Thanks to the local communities and borough involvement for monitoring and making it all possible.

The small band of allotmenteers are tidying up, weeding often, and taking a well-earned break until planting must begin again next Spring.


Mill Lane


Time to say ‘yes’ not always ‘no’

Once again the council manage to deprive the town of more job opportunities. No to Costa Coffee drive-thru. No to Burger King on a main route through not even near the town center.

Do they think that the damage they have done with the cost of parking in our town will bring back the people to the town centre and the seafront?

Day trippers coming in want to enjoy a day out without having to worry about Dick and Dom adding a penalty ticket to their screen.

Come on wake up free parking on our seafront and in our town will bring the revenue in, and bring the people in to entertain there families.

Well done to the investors in the Marina Centre turning a loss into a viable business. Out with the old and in with the new. Good luck with the parking.



Battle lines over double yellows

I am not one to moan about others, but..

There appears to be separate laws applying to parking on the double yellow lines on St Peter’s Road. At all times during the day there is at least one car parked outside the two shops, making the turn into and out of Havelock Road awkward to say the least.

And on Wednesday of last week a woman was actually washing her car on the yellow lines out side these shops. It would be nice if one of the police cars that drive up and down St Peter’s Road regularly would put a stop to this parking violation. Or, perhaps one of the parking wardens could be diverted from the sea front and nip up the road.

I doubt if they would have to do it too many times to stop the illegal parking, and we would all be safer for it.


Havelock Road

Yarmouth folk not a bad bunch

I was tickled pink to read that John McDonnell the now shadow chancellor read my letter in the Mercury’s sister paper the EDP about our time spent at the old St Mary’s Primary School, in Great Yarmouth.

Although his assertion that he helped me escape the cane was a bit draconian as it was only a little stick affectionately called ‘tapsy’ which was used.

He was very good at sums so this will hold him in good sway hopefully with the nation’s fiscal policies and yes he did very kindly whisper the arithmetical answers in my ear when Sister Pancratious approached.

As I have written before in these pages I have very happy memories of this school but after taking the eleven plus we parted company, him to Great Yarmouth Grammar and me to St Louis Convent High School, although I have

kept a watching brief on his political career over the years.

Whatever people think about the outcome of the Labour leadership contest no-one can doubt Jeremy Corbyn’s authenticity and his sense of doing the right thing.

He is a principled man without artifice and is not disingenuous as many politicians are today.

This is true I think of John McDonnell who has always held strong views on fairness and equality in our country and he has a disarming affection for Norfolk, which goes a long way in my books.

By the way I am writing this letter in the library and I applaud Margaret Carver’s letter of praise for its lovely

purpose made galleries which have now in the current exhibition very attractive and accomplished art works.

She is right to use them or lose them and to forgo any part of our wonderful library with all its myriad activities

and tangible buzz would be a travesty.

I would too confirm her last statement that Yarmouth is Great - and its inhabitants, going on all the activities that they pursue and enjoy, are not a bad bunch either. And so say all of us, which we should do more often.

It is easy to criticise but a modicum of affirmative and positive thinking is to be recommended and desired in any community.


Winifred Road