Letters, October 14, 2016

What happened to collecting conkers?

I was out walking with the dog the other day and noticed something that showed the difference in kids today to when I was younger. When I was a child and the conkers were on the trees we used to go out with a lump of wood to throw at the conkers to collect them before they fell to the ground and beat everyone else to them.

The other day I was out and was walking around Suffolk Road common and noticed all the conkers on the ground. No-one had even picked them up after they had fallen.

I then thought back to when we were recently in a cafe in Spain and next to us was a table with a grandmother, a mother and father and a boy of about three or four waiting to order food. The three adults were all on their phones totally ignoring the child and leaving him to play with some cars on the table. I wonder what that kid will be doing when he gets a bit older? Definitely not playing conkers.


Burgh Road,


Most Read

The Bible is a spiritual guide

I was surprised to see last week that Mr E Barkhuizen had come out of hibernation at last, and in all that time his extreme divine viewpoints had not changed.

I have a question to ask him: by what divine authority does he have to say that “Many churchgoers are on the wrong road because they choose to go to a church that does not obey the bible”? It is quite clear what he in fact means is that those who do not attend whichever fundamental church he is from are condemned to some sort of damnation. The bible is not a book to be “obeyed or accept the consequences”, it is a spiritual guide for each individual to follow and hold in whatever opinion they wish.

To follow the teachings of Jesus to the best of our abilities is all he asks for. If we stray from Mr E Barkhuizen’s narrow path it does not matter; all that matters is we acknowledge the wrongs we have done and try and find forgiveness and inner peace from those teachings which will then in turn guide us back onto the right path.

If there is one person who would be most unhappy with Mr E Barkhuizen’s misuse of scripture quotes and judgement on who are fit enough to go to heaven, it would be a young carpenter from Nazareth who’s bible happens to say: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28


Isaacs Road,


My dog needs a daily walk off lead

I refer to last week’s letters regarding the issue of walking dogs on the beach. I can only comment on my dog. He needs a daily walk off the lead, as recommended by organisations such as The Kennel Club and Dogs Trust. I take him to weekly obedience classes as I want a dog I can take anywhere. I clear up after him whether on the lead or off.

I am still concerned the council has upset dog owners and business people but have not said how they plan to enforce the ban in relation to the beach. I have yet to see a dog warden patrolling anywhere, let alone on a large expanse of dunes.

The council is making difficult decisions on how to spend our council tax. Staff and services have been cut. Are they really going to have the money to spend on policing the beach at a time when we have homeless people having to sleep there or in parks and cemeteries? When food banks can’t cope with the demand? When people of all ages are affected by so many important services being cut?

This proposal is too costly and impossible to police. I ask the council to provide more details if they disagree. Please complete the survey on the council website.



Bus service no longer reliable

I agree with the lady complaining about the number 9 bus. I live in the Cliff Park area of Gorleston and we used to have a good service with the number 8 bus. However, since changing the route and the number to 9 it has been far from satisfactory.

It is no longer reliable and if you have a doctor or dentist appointment or such like you cannot rely on the bus turning up to get you there. On more than one occasion I have been waiting for a bus at Market Gates and although it will show the time the next number 9 is due it simply does not arrive and it means another extra half an hour wait. Also, where I live there are many older people homes and now the bus route has changed, it means it doesn’t go to the medical centre on Magdalen Way as the old number 8 did, meaning people can’t get to the doctors surgery and many other services that are based there.

If you complain to the drivers they simply tell you to get in touch with First Bus and complain, which I have done. All I can say is, keep on complaining and make sure you ask to be given a complaint number, otherwise they may simply ignore you.



Dog ban proposal is Dickensian

I am responding to the Dickensian proposal regarding the exercising of dogs in the local area. It would affect not only the beach but in fact every open space which is currently available to us.

A) Dog walking off leash encourages both physical and mental stimulation to both human and hound.

B) Social interaction is a positive affect of this activity again for both human and dog.

C) For some dogs it is imperative for free running. Some would become so overactive due to less exercise I can see some owners unable to cope, which in turn could result in more rescue places being filled in what is already an over burdened service.

D) By taking away this human right and something that many, many people have done all their lives seems a gross injustice for what is one councillor’s complaint!

E) Why are dog walkers being targeted? Look at Mill Lane field after football. The rubbish left behind is ridiculous and the dangers left by bottle tops swallowed by dogs and resulting in fatalities is real.

F) Not everyone has cars and having a safe place to exercise dogs is paramount. My 90 year old aunt relies on walking her dog off lead twice daily. In fact this keeps her active and out of hospital, it is her favourite time of day where she can talk to other people while walking her Labrador, an important factor in her life.

G) I have a business which relies on visitors who come here because it is dog friendly. To make these restrictions will affect our tourist trade, something I thought we were supposing to improve and embrace.



Agree, we need bus to Gapton Hall

In response to Cllr Castle’s letter in the Mercury, October 7, I feel I must write in support of his demand for a bus service linking Gapton Hall retail park and Harfreys industrial estate to the town centre.

Our group, East Norfolk Transport Users Association (ENTUA) has always found it strange that all buses heading towards Gorleston operate along Southtown Road. I cannot believe they all pick up passengers, so it would make sense to provide at least an every 30-minute service via Gapton and Harfreys, during daytimes, as I am sure there would be sufficient new business generated for this service to succeed.

We have spoken often on this matter to First who seem reluctant to operate such a route without a subsidy from the county council, which is unlikely to be forthcoming due to their financial restraints. I would therefore assume they would try to obtain such a subsidy from businesses situated on these sites, something ENTUA feels is possible to achieve. We have mentioned this need for a bus service in passing to Anglian Bus but have not pushed it so vehemently as we have with First.It would also involve infrastructure eg bus shelters and lay-bys being put in place due to the traffic in and around these areas and I am certain this is not difficult to achieve.

I cannot think of many retail parks that do not have some sort of public transport link and though the town centre traders may complain of a bus being put on, surely if the area continues to grow, a bus service to these areas is essential.


East Norfolk Transport Users Association

Free travel ticket to Lowestoft?

I was surprised by county councillor Mick Castle’s letter in last week’s Mercury; the council over the last year or so has been trying to support the town centre by reducing out of town development along Pasteur Road. I understand there has been a complete turnaround on their policy, now wanting to instigate a bus service to Gapton Hall Retail Park.

Perhaps the council, who it seems has total disregard for the town centre, should consider providing a free travel ticket to all borough residents so they can shop in Norwich or Lowestoft and once and for all nail the coffin lid shut on a dead and dying town centre.

The council should really look at turning the town centre around for the good of the town and not waste time, effort and money on hair-brained ideas that usually turn into white elephants or depletes the town’s coffers.



Vile smell on days of southerly wind

It was with some surprise I saw the report in the Mercury, October 7, asking people of Caister to keep a diary and record the smell coming from the sewage works.

I have recorded the smell for the last 18 months and report as follows: there is a vile smell in Caister every day the wind blows from the south.

It might be recalled by some Caister residents that I contacted the parish council in the summer of 2015, attending a meeting to raise this issue. The parish council for their part were not interested and said I was the only complainant.

The Mercury published an article in late summer reporting my concern at this lack of action. I contacted Brandon Lewis our local MP in November 2015 raising concern at the disgusting smell being emitted every day from the Caister plant. His reply I forwarded to the parish council and to the Mercury. He stated he had caused enquiry to be made of Anglian Water and no complaints had been made.

Anglian Water stated to Brandon Lewis: “After double checking our records no complaints received by our local operations team or customer services.” I find this very strange as I contacted environment health services at Yarmouth Town Hall on at least six occasions in 2015 and emailed them twice in the summer of 2016 with no response.

I await with interest the reporting of the parish council in answer to this letter and I must ask why it has taken so long for the matter to be actioned and ask what steps they now propose to take, if any, to combat the vile smell which is being produced by this plant.



Owners need to exercise dogs

According to the RSPCA, a dog needs plenty of exercise and the opportunity to walk and run daily if it is to exhibit normal behaviour. Dogs will also learn to socialise with other dogs through play so being allowed off lead is essential for their development and ongoing well being. A tired dog is a calm and happy dog.

Laws already exist which cover fouling and the control of dangerous dogs, fully supported by the considerate dog owners who are by far in the majority. There are of course inconsiderate people that affect all parts of our lives, bad drivers, litterers, vandals to name a few. More legislation isn’t the answer when there is clearly insufficient enforcement of the laws we already have.

Owners need to exercise their dogs near to where they live and the borough council’s proposal to ban dogs offlead on the beach would be discriminatory for those owners who don’t drive and/or those who have to get to work and leave their dogs during the day - unless sufficient alternative suitable areas are provided, where owners can exercise their dogs as safe from traffic as they can at say North Denes or Burgh Castle.

Or an eg 0600-0900hrs time slot for offlead dog walking could be perhaps be considered. Alternatively the council could delay the implementation of this ill conceived measure until 2030 by which time we dog lovers can have all swapped to cats, removing any of their burdensome enforcement issues?



Tories are still a party of the rich?

I am sure the career of Brandon Lewis and his membership of the obscure Privy Council is of interest to some.(Mercury October 7). It is his contribution to the re-generation of the borough that is the real role of an MP and this is just another distraction.

I would have found more relevant what is the impact of the U-turns of the new Prime Minister at the Conservative Party conference. How come less austerity is now possible? How can the Conservatives be the party of working people when recent history shows them as the party of the rich?

How can they be the party of the NHS when the NHS is in crisis? A and E targets not met, ambulances struggling to cope, mental health services in crisis, bed blocking. Extra funding over shadowed by £25bncuts dubbed as “efficiency savings”. NHS budgets are in crisis and unable to meet demand. Our walk-in centre has closed.

There are shortages of NHS staff due to a failure to train and retain staff and all not helped by forcing junior doctors into strikes. Why on earth is the MP formally opening a temporary building, as an upgraded pharmacy? It has been open for ages and does nothing for the architectural heritage of our town be opened as a pharmacy when there are dozens of empty shops? The NHS needs proper funding with National Insurance doing what it was meant to. The Conservatives plan an infrastructure spending boost -what does that mean? The election promise of the A47 upgrade is still eight years away! Surely the Runham roundabout and Burlingham section (where some planning work has already done) do not need to take eight years. Over six years wait for any major work on the railway station for the few who cannot afford the fares!

It will be interesting to see the next Budget and how the balance between the workers and rich pans out? What about the young struggling to secure housing and how can they save for pensions? What will the impact be of Brexit on the town?

Have the Conservatives really changed and do all their MPs and members like the changes? By their deeds we will see.


Victoria Street,


Heartfelt thanks for Paget service

I would like to say a big thank you to the James Paget University Hospital. We were enjoying two weeks holiday in Hemsby from September 10 to 17. On Friday the 16th, the night before we made the long road home to Edinburgh, I suffered a twisted bowel. From the paramedics to A&E, to ward 4 staff, to all the staff involved in my operation, the treatment and care was exemplary.

I suffer COPD emphysema and am awaiting a double lung transplant so the operation was tricky. I spent 11 days in hospital, two of these in high dependency and I was treated with great respect and care.

It is a very busy hospital but nothing was too much. Keep up the good work.



More to culture than meets eye

It has to be recognised that Hugh Sturzaker (Letters, October 7) works tirelessly to promote the cultural heritage in our town. In last week’s Mercury he explained about the new Cultural Strategy for Great Yarmouth.

This is a proactive and exciting strategy building further on our already well established Festivals throughout the year. All of them in their different ways and aspects contribute greatly to the feel-good factor in our town.

There is often more to culture than meets the eye and can be a real force for promoting health and well-being. It sometimes can be perceived as being ‘not for me’ but this is short-sighted. There is also a well established economic benefit because they do attract people and visitors from outside the area. We would be I feel a poorer community without these annual fests of getting together, enjoying different cultures and being part of a larger picture.

If the spin-off is that there will be more investment in the town, so much the better. Our town has still a great deal to offer and although we have our recent disastrous hits with the fire in Regent Road, this did bring the community together with fund-raising etc. Even with this, this thoroughfare appeared to be heaving with visitors during our long hot summer.

We need to get involved whether it is a visit to our lovely, prestigious St George’s Theatre or any of the other many historical buildings around our town. If it also means improving and revitalising our town centre, this would be great and very advantageous.

John Knell’s quotation “Great Yarmouth on the edge, but looking outwards-maverick, individual and unique” is an affirmation of our undeniable position of being a great seaside destination, coupled and complimented with a wonderful heritage.


Winifred Road,


A dressing down over chippings

After recent road repairs on Willow Way in Martham residents were seen rolling the loose chippings into the tar because there were so many loose chippings flying onto passing cars. A week later residents have been seen sweeping the loose chippings because they are still flying everywhere as workmen have not come back to clear them up.

Are we now a DIY road county?

Name withheld

It should be No Dogs Allowed

Dogs on the beach: One would have hoped that responsible dog owners would have been quite happy to comply with keeping their dogs on a lead on beaches.

On Gorleston beach my grandson only recently was frightened by a large dog running up to him, the owner saying “Okay he is friendly” shows lack of commonsense. Neither the owner nor I can be sure of a dog’s response to a child screaming or running away.

Also on two different occasions my son and grandson have trodden in dog mess that owners had not cleared up. It is all very well that 90pc of owners say they are responsible and clean up their dogs mess, but this is a public beach!

Great Yarmouth Council should impose the same restrictions as at Thorpeness “No dogs allowed on beach from May to September” - on all of the beach, not just a section. A suggestion which might stop the fury of dog owners on Gorleston beach, would be to allow their pets to run free at the south end, opposite the golf course. Very few people go this far to just sit or picnic.

The little black bags scattered around the town show there is considerable lack of responsibility by many dog owners.

Someone has to clear these from the streets.

Owning a dog brings responsibilty to your fellow citizens, some of who may not see dogs as they do.



Folly for buildings to stand empty

I was pleased to read in the Mercury that Wetherspoons have planned to make a hotel out of the empty building that sits above their Great Yarmouth pub The Troll Cart.

I can remember when the pub opened back in April 1996, to the delight of many locals including myself, who regularly made good use of it on a Friday or Saturday night. Back then I had no idea who Wetherspoons was but I was just pleased a new chain pub had opened in the town.

There are just too many empty buildings currently not in use around the town including the old Star Hotel along with many more on South Quay, and around the town centre.

Also, why are the newly-built flats opposite Morrisons in Gorleston not yet occupied when construction finished over two years ago? Having just returned from East London where every available space is put to good use with residential and commercial property, it is a construction boom down there and all available land commands high estate value. It is folly to let these buildings sit idle and empty when there is such demand for new housing and commercial property.


Elm Avenue,


Hosting intriguing conference

Great Yarmouth is to host an intriguing conference on October 20 in St George’s Theatre which will explore the significance of seaside heritage, culture and regeneration.

The town was once one of the most prominent seaside resorts in its heyday, developing at the end of the 18th century and quickly escalating following the introduction of the railway in 1844.

People visited the seaside to view and consume the spectacles on offer in an otherworldly and exotic place located on the peripheries of society. The tourist industry flourished in Yarmouth and remained successful up until the 1970s when a variety of reasons led to a decline in visitor numbers.

This became a national problem as travel abroad became cheaper and more accessible. This conference aims to address the issues faced by seaside resorts in the 21st century by celebrating their unique and often eclectic identities and exploring ways in which heritage and culture can contribute towards social and economic regeneration.

The conference runs from 10am to 5pm on October 20 in St George’s Theatre, with refreshments and lunch included. It will be complemented by a free evening event in which we will ask local community groups and delegates to discuss issues raised during the day before indulging in a fish’n’chip supper and watching a vintage seaside film.

Additional events have been organised throughout the week to provide the residents with a plethora of heritage themed activities to enjoy. On October 18, 5-8pm, free exhibition of Yarmouth’s 20th century postcards and posters in Skippings Gallery, King Street. October 19, Dr Paul Davies will be giving a free tour of St Nicholas Minster at 2pm. That same evening at 6pm the Time and Tide museum will host talk by Dr Sarah Monks on maritime fine art. Lastly, on October 21 there will be a Neighbourhoods that Work Study Visit to provide guests with the opportunity to find out more about community development initiatives in Yarmouth. The study visit runs from 10am to 3pm in St George’s Theatre.

For more details please visit www.greatyarmouthpreservationtrust.org/en/

Tickets are £25 or £15 for concessions (local residents, students and those out of work). Tickets can be booked online at the above address or from St George’s Theatre.



Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust