Letters, September 7, 2012

What happened to model coach?

MANY years ago there used to be a model coach parked on Great Yarmouth seafront, you could sit in it and drive it and it had an engine. I think it might have belonged to Caroline Seagull.

Do any of your readers remember this and what happened to it?



No antiques at advertised fair

I SAW in the Mercury, August 24, the details about new life which is to be introduced into the Great Yarmouth Marina leisure complex. Maybe the council should look at its present use of the complex.

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I saw advertised a series of antiques and collectors fairs for the Marina from April to October this year and finally decided to go and see what they were offering.

Imagine my surprise and dismay when I saw advertised outside not an antiques and collectors fair, but a simple and very small craft fair.

I saw not one antique or second hand collectable at the Marina. It was a clear case of misrepresentation, and the local council is to blame for touting this as anything but a small craft fair. Surely both the council and the organiser of the event are to blame and action should be taken against both for this blatant representation.

Maybe the council can get its own house in order before trying to improve the Marina facilities in other ways?


Albert Gate Road,

Great Yarmouth

There was lots on in the 1960s

I READ the letters from Jan Freeman and Hugh Sturzaker in answer to my criticisms that there is nothing to do here. Are they joking?

The events I wrote about were July: Gorleston Festival; September: Arts Festival and Maritime Festival and East Coast Truckers.

It’s a pity they weren’t around in the 1960s, there was lots more going on in those days.


Ashwood Close,

Caister on Sea

Railway station disgrace to town

I SEE the great railway station debate and the forgotten general election issue has started again, Mercury, August 31.

The railway station area is a disgrace to the town but it could be worse, like Lowestoft, Cromer or Sheringham perhaps? It represents the failure of rail privatisation and the private sector to invest. What has our local MP Brandon Lewis done?

Why would a for-profit rail company want to invest in the station? What financial return is there for their shareholders in the Netherlands? Why would the private neighbouring businesses want to invest? Asda, the profit machine, could have done more with landscaping the approach to their store and car park. Well done the private sector. How can one believe the private sector is the answer!

Much of the shed of the station could be demolished. There should be landscaping of trees and bushes rather than the bleak approaches we are left with.

Rail privatisation is such a mess that even volunteers are dragged in to act help out at the station so the rail company does not need to pay staff and could be forced labour soon. Not so long ago, they were used to clean up the station.

It is not just the station. We need adequate rolling stock and services that go somewhere. Why do the diesel unit services to Cambridge and the Midlands terminate at Norwich? In the run up to rail privatisation, these were cut so a different train company could run the Midlands services!

Why are there no plans to electrify the line so London trains can readily access the town? It should be easy as there are few bridges and no tunnels! Kings Lynn has had electric trains for years with some push from the council. Better services mean better access for visitors and business. Fares need sorting out too!

Yarmouth is on the edge of the country and needs to be well connected but private rail companies will only invest if there is a cash return for their foreign shareholders. British Rail profits (after subsidy) could be reinvested in our railway and not given away to foreign rail companies and shareholders.


Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

Seriously, it’s no wedding venue

IS it really any surprise that fewer people are choosing the library for their wedding? (Mercury, August 31).

Is Caroline Clark being serious when she says: “We are really proud of the room, which has nice chairs and tables’?

I would have thought that on the big day you would expect quite a lot more than that. A nice venue to begin with. Come to think of it, much like what you got at the old Ferryside venue - a good location and fine gardens for the photos.

The key of course is in your first paragraph and the dreaded term “money-saving move”. Once again it is the cost of things which is the driving force, rather than their true value.

Remember the glorious building which once housed the Post Office - and look where that is now. Stuck at the back of a busy store.

Why on earth don’t we appreciate the functional and historical heritage we have and stop trying to change everything all of the time?


Collingwood Road,

Great Yarmouth

Library art show will close early

THE Great Yarmouth Society of Artists have held annual art exhibitions in Yarmouth for the last 85 years.

The last 60 years have been held at the Library Galleries, Tolhouse Street, but now that weddings are taking place in the galleries our times have had to change this year. We would, therefore, like to draw attention to our patrons, many of whom are your readers, that our annual exhibition which runs from September 8 to 15 will close at 1pm on both Saturdays to accommodate these weddings.



Waterways area again an eyesore

I WAS pleased to see the clearing and planting of new shrubs at the boating lake in Great Yarmouth earlier in the season. Sadly after that it was just left, for most of the season it has looked an eyesore, weeds taller than the shrubs and so much rubbish.

The gardens in the Waterways are lovely, but sadly the shelters need some maintenance work or we will lose them as we have already - two gone from that area plus some bridges.

This is a popular area both for locals and holidaymakers. Well done to the gentleman from the Waterways Cafe who I have seen clearing the actual waterways. And could someone please explain why the toilets in this area are closed at 6pm when many people are making their way back to the holiday camp? This is 2012 after all.



Pride and joy

WHAT pride and joy Jessica-Jane has brought to our community. Her singularly outstanding achievement winning gold in the Paralympics is etched not only on the tablets of honour but on the appreciative minds of us all.


Falcon Court,

Great Yarmouth

Work going on to improve station

I AM sorry the 12.36 Norwich to Great Yarmouth and return service on Bank Holiday Monday operated as a single-carriage train (Letters, August 31) as opposed to the two-carriage train that should have been in service.

This was caused by an earlier train failure.

We have a set number of trains available for our Norfolk and Suffolk local services and although it is sometimes necessary to alter the pre-arranged formation of trains, we recognise the importance of ensuring that sufficient capacity is provided especially on busy Bank Holidays.

Wherever possible we try to avoid putting a single-carriage train on such a busy service and I apologise to our customers who were affected on this occasion.

In respect of the station itself, since Greater Anglia took over the franchise in February we have worked to improve the station environment with new fencing, vegetation clearance, re-lining of the car-park and painting and renovation of facia boards.

A more extensive repainting of the station is in our plans.

We have worked with local partners who have sponsored flower displays and local visitor information, whilst the Great Yarmouth Community Trust Welcome Hosts at the station have greeted visitors and offered advice and information about the resort’s attractions - this initiative has been well received and we are very grateful for the support of the Trust and our other partners.

We have also been pleased to promote the Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival and other local attractions this summer as part of our region-wide marketing campaigns.

There is more to do and we will continue to identify wherever we can the means of delivering further improvement at Great Yarmouth working in partnership with local stakeholders and the community.


James Reeve

Area Customer Service Manager

Greater Anglia

Fight is on to keep St Luke’s

YOU will have read recently of the temporary closure of St Luke’s Church, Cobholm. Since then, a campaign has been launched to save the church, and the response from local people has been quite overwhelming. Clearly, the good people of Cobholm do not want to lose their local church, and are prepared to fight to save it.

An on-line petition has attracted a great deal of attention. Many people have added their names and entered comments telling us why they want to save the church. In addition to this, a written petition has been placed in the local Co-op, and has been signed by a great number of local people.

Despite the supposedly unsafe state of the building, a wedding and two baptisms were held there on Saturday, August 18. The fact that these services went ahead has caused many people to question the use of the word “unsafe”.

It has often been said that the Anglican Church in Yarmouth has too many church buildings, requiring too much upkeep.

St Luke’s, however, has always been self-sufficient. It has a thriving lunch club for local elderly people and holds a large number of jumble sales and social events, to raise funds. Of course, while the building is closed, it cannot generate any income to help pay for the necessary repairs.

Most of the regular congregation are now worshipping at St Mary’s Church, Southtown, but meanwhile, the fight to save St Luke’s goes on.



Deeper seabed is erosion threat

JACK Dye rightly blames the loss of Great Yarmouth’s earlier heralded prosperity on offshore aggregate dredging.

The offshore seabed has been deepened by the removal of over 35 million cubic metres of sand and shingle over the past ten years, resulting in a five metre drop.

This has brought about steeper beaches promoting gravitational sand run off and bigger more erosive waves, hence a threat to amenity, coastal businesses and housing as well as a major threat to income from the holiday beaches of the area.

Instability and cable exposure of the wind farm has come about, a threat to the security of the new harbour, the loss of protective Scroby, and much damage to the spawning and feeding grounds of fish.

The loss of government funding to maintain our decaying sea defences at a time of rising sea level and worsening climate is a further threat. If a part of the massive profits made from offshore dredging by the dredging companies, the Crown Estate and the Treasury were provided for coastal protection to help limit the damage it would go a long way to providing security and prosperity in the future.



Old house was parents’ surgery

I BELIEVE the house referred to in Heather Mackinlay’s letter (August 31) was Gablehurst, the house my parents, Drs MG and EA Connell, bought in 1963/4 and which was our family home for 30 years.

It also served as a surgery for many years for the Bradwell practice run by my parents and their partners until they moved it to a bungalow, Womack, further down Long Lane.

Unfortunately I do not know much about the history of the house except that it had been a farmhouse. As children, we loved to play in “The pit”, which I believe was originally a pond in the garden, and there was a flint and stone well by the front door.

Gablehurst, with its spacious rooms and large garden was a wonderful place to grow up in and we certainly never felt that it was haunted. We were all very sad when our lovely old home was demolished in the early 1990’s.



JPH parking fees continue to rise

WHY is it residents and borough councillors are taking the trouble to resolve the parking problems on Jenner Road in Gorleston, and the outlying streets, caused by, as they assume, staff and visitors to the James Paget University Hospital.

When in their infinite wisdom, the management of the James Paget is increasing staff parking fees to �24 a month from October 1. Good luck with the meeting with the James Paget chief executive, but as long as the fees keep increasing then the problem I am sure will never cease.

Name and Addres withheld

Town Hall refurb is a triumph

HAVING moved to the Great Yarmouth area only this year, my wife and I have attended as many local events as possible, to enable us to become as involved as we can in the place we are now pleased to call home.

Last weekend therefore we, and our guests for the weekend, attended our first Maritime Festival, which we thoroughly enjoyed. The highlight of the day however was when we popped in to have a look at the refurbished Town Hall. What an absolute triumph!

I have spent my life in the construction industry, and was nothing but impressed at the quality of workmanship. The building has been allowed to retain its character, whilst being updated for use in the 21st century. The staff that were on hand were also very informative on the history of the building and the work that had been done. A thoroughly enjoyable day was had by all.


John Road,

Caister on Sea

Deprived of rail transport links

I WRITE in reply to the letter from RJ Cleland in last week’s Mercury. our association has an ongoing campaign to improve the rail service from Yarmouth.

We have told Greater Anglia management that the use of the single car unit trains on this line is counter-productive. At most time of the day, during a normal week at off-peak times, this size of train can be adequate, but on a holiday weekend when management are fully aware of the potential traffic to the coast, the use of this size of train is crazy to say the least.

At our recent meeting on August 1, a point was raised to Greater Anglia about the usage of these Class 153 units and we were told that they tried to avoid them on the Yarmouth line but due to the fact they have a limited amount of rolling stock, no guarantees could be given they would not appear at inappropriate times on the line.

The East Norfolk Transport Users Association fully understand the constraints put on rail operators by a government who, despite their attempts to appear so, are not over friendly to rail travellers. So the fact the operator only has limited rolling stock is therefore understandable but surely a decision on which routes to use the small trains could be made by the staff responsible for this on the day concerned.

We have long campaigned for improved rail connections to and from Yarmouth. The minimum we would like to see is a half hourly service throughout most of the day to Norwich; a number of the Norwich-Cambridge services extended through to the town; and also the return of a daily direct serice to and from London Liverpool Street.

As for the appearance of the station buildings, this has long been a bone of contention within our group. Despite the clean up organised in recent times the buildings are still dilapidated and unwelcoming. This is all not helped by the facts that after 1700 in the evenings, the main station buildings are closed, so therefore you need to use a rather unwelcoming side entrance and stand on a cold draughty platform, with little or no shelter as the main waiting room and toilet facilities are off limits! These are the facilities facing a traveller from one of the rural stations, not something you expect from a station serving a major town!

Also, the lack of a bus link to and from the station is something that is what is required. The walk to the town is along an unacceptable route if you are either inform or carrying heavy luggage. Almost all towns we surveyed have a bus link to the main town centre.

We hope should the current work on Vauxhall Bridge prove successful a local operator would run a bus direct over the bridge to the station, from North Quay to the station forecourt, and then directly to the town centre and also to the industrial estates where a great number of rail users travel on to.

We within the association, and also other groups in the town, feel Great Yarmouth is most certainly a “deprived town” when it comes to the provision of public transport.


East Norfolk Tramsport Users Association

Anyone help me with old film?

I RECEIVED several photographs and information about shops in Great Yarmouth over the years, and have recently also been given some 8mm film, including one of the Great Yarmouth Carnival of 1960.

I have the facilities to show this film but need an expert to give support and advice to enable me to do this efficiently and safely without damaging the film. Is there anybody locally who could help? I can be contacted on 01493 745636.