Letters, September 25 2015

Parking fine spoilt good day

Although I live quite close to Great Yarmouth, I tend to avoid driving there as I find the parking to be a challenge and one or two parts of the road system appear to have been designed by a non-driver.

But I do enjoy wandering around the Maritime Festival with my family and have indulged for several years. This year we decided to spend a pleasant Sunday at the festival and five of us piled into the car.

Where to park? We didn’t want to be tied to a set duration. We had a couple of things to buy in Matalan and considered leaving the car in their car park, but a notice on the door warned of a limited period allowed so we pushed on and decided to park in Asda, which has always got a lot of spare parking area.

So we parked the car there, well out of the way of the store entrance.

As usual, we bumped into old friends and listened to good music and the afternoon flew by.

Yesterday, I received a parking charge notice, from a company called Smart Parking, demanding £40. This has very much taken the shine off our pleasant day and will most certainly affect any future plans to visit the festival or the store itself as we find the charge ill-spirited and unnecessary.

Most Read


Station Road North,


Pledge to support grass roots sport

I can sympathise both with the indoor bowls club and the artistic rolling skating club, users of the Marina Centre with their respective plights.

It has been obvious since I was elected in 2012 that there is a drive by the borough council to reduce the combined management fee for the Marina and Phoenix, that equates to a subsidy for those using both centres.

The council has explored options that originally sought the expertise of a leisure partner, supporting plans by the GYS&LT then finally terminating its relationship with them (whose charitable objectives I supported) and engaging another: Sentinel who are more in tune with the council’s vision.

The result of this latest development is to drive up income through further investment and simultaneously reduce the management fee to at least zero. I am supportive of this principle, saving in excess of £600k year on year, but urge trustees and councillors to recognise the importance of supporting a world class artistic roller skating club, who with improved facilities could bring world class events to Great Yarmouth; and find a suitable compromise for the bowls club, that yes, utilise an under-used space but could be re-homed either within the centre with fewer rinks or possibly with purpose built indoor rinks elsewhere.

I am unhappy with the consultation as the survey does not relate to the proposals, not even offering a “referendum” on the proposals and I wonder if the cabinet member was aware of its limitations.

Having spoken to two local groups that use the Marina I am concerned the need to increase income is creating a barrier to participation and I am actively exploring other options for them.

Finally it is worth noting the Marina Centre was built by the council as a seaside attraction when private investors could not be found to redevelop this stretch of the Golden Mile and it was the Sports Council that pushed for the sporting elements that are enjoyed by residents all year round. I thank the Sports Council for this and pledge to continue to support grass root sports in the borough.


Central and Northgate ward

Bill restricts trade unions

The people of Great Yarmouth might be interested to know that our local conservative MPBrandon Lewis has recently voted in favour of some of the most anti-democratic, illiberal anti-union law to be pursued since 1979.

Politicians, unions, civil liberties groups and HR professionals have all condemned the new proposed legislation that seeks to curb the ability of Trade Unions to campaign, picket, strike and act in their members interests.

David Davis, the Conservative MP, said the legislation was reminiscent of “Franco’s fascist Spain”. Vince Cable has called the bill ‘vindictive, ideological and provocative’.

The bill calls for a series of restrictions on British trade unions which are already the most restricted in the Western world. The proposals include:

a)Allowing employers to break strikes with agency workers.

b)Raising strike ballot thresholds to levels higher than some Tory MPs were elected on.

c)Undermining trade union representative facility time(which gives the UK economy productivity gains of between £4-12bn)

d)Severe restrictions on political campaigning including picketing.

e)Calls for unions to give two weeks notice when “posting” items on social media.

The aims and objectives of these attacks are clear: to silence our voices, stifle peaceful protest and picketing.

At a time when many people in Yarmouth are struggling on zero hour contracts or with low pay, unlike our MP with his three houses, having a union behind you with the ability to act is crucial.

Brandon Lewis has voted to curtail our freedom to act and in doing so has betrayed ordinary working people.



Unite the Union Great Yarmouth branch

Enough vets hereabouts?

Thank you to D Cook of the RSPCA for clearing up the issue of where northern villagers could take their sick pets.(Letters, September 18).

I knew all along that it would eventually come to this. All those GP surgeries bursting at the seams and waiting lists stretching for weeks and even months. It was just a matter of time.

I just wonder if there are enough vets available here in the borough to accommodate such a large ageing population hereabouts.


Collingwood Road,

Great Yarmouth

Tall wooden ship was dwarfed

I wholeheartedly agree with Roger Silver’s letter last week; the Maritime Festival wasn’t as good this year at all. I made a comment on this when the article on the festival appeared in the Mercury online as follows:

“I hope people enjoyed their visit to the Festival, I was disappointed by the fact the tallest wooden ship was dwarfed by the Red7 diesel boat which spoilt it for me. It should have been moved along with the other diesel ship across the river and the rust bucket of a container ship also on the other side of the river, which spoilt the occasion.

“There didn’t seem to be that many people there either, usually it’s difficult to get through the throng. On Saturday there was space everywhere, hopefully more people will go today (Sunday). Also has the festival shrunk this year, it seemed like there was less there?”

Even the ice cream vendors seem to take over the quay and obscure the view to the river, the only way to see any water activity like the jetski was to walk to the bridge end.



Town seems to have lost glory

I have just returned to Australia after a trip to Great Yarmouth and photographs I took show a very sad state of affairs. The town seems to have lost its glory and become a rundown and dirty place.

We used to live in Gorleston. My sister and I had a stall on the Yarmouth market plus a shop in Gorleston trading under the name of Gorleston Mums, until I moved to Australia and my sister to Peterborough.

A year or two ago your paper printed a question, what happened to Gorleston Mums, well the answer is here and we are alive and kicking, but retired.

Please try to clean up the town and put zest back into the shopping areas then maybe your visitors will return and shops and town thrive again.


Kingsley, Perth

Thanks for hand in of wallet

Hopefully you will be able to print the following in your letters section but I would like to thank the honest and kind person who handed in my wallet to the staff in Tesco in Caister-on-Sea on September 16. With all the atrocities going on in the world it reaffirmed my belief that there are some very decent people out there.



New homes out of price range

I read with interest last week’s article detailing the proposed plans for the former Mushroom Farm site in Martham. As a resident of Back Lane not far from the entrance to this new development, the site was not really an eyesore until demolition commenced.

Based on comments from fellow villagers and on Facebook, development on this scale is not always in the best interests and character of a Norfolk village. The houses proposed will be out of the price range for most villagers and will appeal only to be people from further afield.

Also the plans for Back Lane are not feasible, blocking the road at the White Street junction will create problems. The turning head proposed for the end of Back Lane is not big enough for service vehicles to turn and hinders access.

I have looked through the vast quantity of documents on GYBC’s planning portal and believe that this deters people from objecting to developments. People should voice their opinions and not be afraid to put pen to paper or email.


Back Lane,


Saddened by swastika logos

I returned to my home town of Yarmouth at the weekend. A wonderful sunny Sunday afternoon at the park left me in the mood for nostalgia, so found myself taking a walk down Regent Road, with all its colour and liveliness. I was heartened to see how little had changed in the last 40 years.

However, on returning to a certain shop I remember well from childhood, I was saddened to see penknives on sale with swastika logos boldy painted on their handles. This is distasteful at best, and surely in this year of commemoration of D-day, VJ day and the Battle of Britain it is even more inappropriate. I wondered how I would have felt had I been a Jewish person, or perhaps a German national, visiting Yarmouth for the first time.

I have spent a good deal of my life in Germany, where such knives were once, sadly, given to children in the Hitler Youth (and which now are, of course, illegal). How odd, and how abhorrent, that 70 years on they are being produced for English people.



Create another route to Norwich

With talk of the third river crossing coming back to the review phase again, would now be a good time to present another option of a route to Norwich clear of the Acle Straight?

Now that big ships no longer use the River Yare to travel to Norwich could we, if this third river crossing ever comes to fruition, take the route of that, dye west through to Freethorpe.

Via a short run of road through Gapton Hall, to a low bridge over the Yare, to another short run of road on the other side to Freethorpe to meet up with the B1140, thereafter onto the A47.

Perhaps even enlisting a bit of help from the Cantley sugar beet factory, their traffic from this way avoiding the Acle Straight and the Burlingham road junction. With the whole project easing a lot of traffic on the dreaded Acle Straight!


Gonville Road,


Will US interfere in our politics?

Reading your article on John McDonnell, long-term ally of Jeremy Corbyn and a “Norfolk boy”, I wonder: if we become too infected by Labour’s new leader, can we expect our special ally America, to head in with an injection of her “freedom and democracy”.


Falcon Court,

Great Yarmouth

Honest people in our society

May I, through your letters pages, express my sincere thanks to the person who found my credit card at Lidl’s on Friday and kindly handed it in to the management. It is heartening to know there are some honest people in our society.

Name and Address withheld

Our thanks to paramedics

May l through your letters page thank the East Anglian ambulance, paramedics Joanne and Lee, who attended to my father at his home last week. Their calm, professional care and kindness was very much appreciated and he has made a full recovery. Thank you both.


Bately Avenue,


Traffic too fast on Green Lane

It is becoming blatantly obvious that the traffic travelling up and down Green Lane, Bradwell is increasing. It’s going faster with no thought to anyone or anything else on the road, 50mph is regularly noted.

With all the new houses, roads, etc being erected everywhere and three schools in close proximity of each other means nothing. More houses means more cars, more people, more children, more pushchairs and prams, more bikes and scooters, mothers and fathers trying to get to school by 8.30am.

There are no schoolchildren crossing signs to warn drivers how congested and dangerous it can be and to take care.

Bumps in the road like on Burgh Road or anything would certainly help the situation, buses stopped, or at least let’s slow down the cars. Wake up the department concerned!

Name and Address withheld

Who owns found black purse?

I found a black purse on the Bradwell bus on August 21 and would be pleased if it was returned to its rightful owner. If anyone thinks they are the rightful owner would they please contact Great Yarmouth police station and they will supply the details needed to get in touch with.

Name and Address withheld

Proud of the Maritime event

Having read Roger Silver’s negative letter last week regarding the Maritime Festival I felt as chairman I might like to respond. As you can imagine, when a group of very dedicated volunteers, alongside Alan Carr and David Helsdon from the tourism department, works their socks off, to try and organise an event the town can be proud of, I am so disappointed that Mr Silver can hide behind his email, and quote incorrect details.

The attendance figures are quoted from counters on each gate and never in the 16 years I have been doing this event have we ever quoted figures of 40/50,000. The counters are pretty accurate but Mr Silver must be getting us mixed up with Out There Festival which quotes attendance figures like these every year. This year’s Saturday was 14,792 for example and always the total has been around 30,000.

As regards the ships, everyone knew the centrepiece of the event was the Tall Ship The Gotheborg alongside the JST Lord Nelson and the Red 7 offshore vessel was there to help emphasise that Great Yarmouth’s economy, past and present is involved with the sea. We had many great remarks as most people never stand so close or see vessels like these and many would have loved the chance to look around one of these offshore vessels.

This ship is continuing to pay its port dues and therefore is very entitled to be on the quayside, it also provided a very welcome wind break! Another moan came about the lack of vessels, interesting as there was no mooring space free on the quayside as there was so many ships and boats! The craft stalls are very busy and they are very popular and provide essential revenue for the event. It is true many of the maritime charity stalls do not have much merchandise to sell, but display pictures and props in order to raise awareness of their cause, and being maritime charities we have always done our best to accommodate them.

There is a range of catering outlets at the event and the reality of these is that the event needs the revenue and the visitors like to eat and drink whilst there, it is part of the day out experience, as it is a very long site we try and spread them out so people can access them easily.

All in all I am very proud of my team and what we achieve, the amount of goodwill involved, exceptional support from local sponsors, Eastport and GYBC and the supreme effort of a small group of outstanding people, I feel they deserve a lot more . How easy it is to sit at home and write negative letters.

Maybe it’s time to stop the event if other people think like Mr Silver that the Maritime Festival is taking steps backwards? I wonder what the others readers think??



Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival

Hospital care was wonderful

I spent six days on ward 7 in early September and the care I received was second to none, from the cleaners, nurses and up to the surgeon. They could not do enough to help my recovery.

The night staff were also great and kept very busy. The food was lovely. My aftercare at home is also first class from taking blood, changing dressings to physio for exercise.



BHS store should start selling food

On listening to the business news on Radio 4’s Today Programme last week I heard that BHS or, as I still refer to them as British Home Stores, are intending to return to selling food again after a gap of about twenty years.

I wonder if the Great Yarmouth branch could be persuaded to open a food hall in the town?

Many of us regret the closure of Marks & Spencer’s on King Street, particularly the food section. Indeed, I feel that if M&S had concentrated on more on sandwiches, groceries and drink rather than on fashion in its local branch it would have been more viable and profitable.

For those of us without cars shopping at M&S In Yarmouth is out of the question on the Gapton Hall Retail Estate and even those who drive, find it difficult.

Perhaps the departure of Marks & Spencer from central Yarmouth could be BHS’ or another firm’s opportunity for an upmarket food retailer locally?

I wonder if your readers might like to contact BHS saying they would use a food hall in Great Yarmouth or perhaps speak to the Town Centre Management asking them to encourage such a move. The address of BHS is 252 -258 Oxford Street, London WC1 1DL email bhs.co.uk .


Lawn Avenue,

Great Yarmouth

Spend money to attract visitors

I am writing to say how I feel about Great Yarmouth at the present time. I ran a guest house for 25 years in the 1960s and the town of Great Yarmouth was great then. Today these are some of the things that are bad in Great Yarmouth.

1 The boating lake on North Drive is an eyesore and neglected.

2 The Waterways want a revamp, the gardens are not as they used to be.

3 The piers are old and run down.

4 The Winter Gardens is not attractive anymore and what was once the outside skating rink, is a tip now.

What happened about the new casino? All talk and nothing done as usual. If the council wants visitors here they must look and spend money on things that matter to make this town great again.

Also more free parking in the town.


Perebrown Avenue,

Great Yarmouth

Stop criticising lollipop ladies

On Monday I was witness to a driver moaning at the lollipop lady on Mill Lane, Bradwell. He had to stop because she was crossing a lady.

He said he had had the same trouble at the Wroughton School crossing, saying it was her job to cross children and not adults. The lady tried to explain her job but he was adamant he was right. Can I point out to him and other drivers the law: Road Traffic Act 2001, school crossing patrol persons have been authorised to assist adults to cross the road. If you abuse this law you are liable to prosecution.

I think the irate driver owes the lollipop ladies an apology. Remember these people come to work to do a job not to be moaned at by drivers who do not know the law.

Name and Address withheld

Another facility lost to elderly

I read with interest S.O.B Save Our Bowls in the Mercury, September 18. It is yet again another facility for the elderly being taken away from them, and also Retroskate who put on some good show. They say that a fancy gym would be put in place, but this is no good to the elderly. As Danny Saunders said, this is all about money. Cllr Carl Smith said this was to improve sports and leisure facilities. Are bowls and skating not a sport?

Good luck Retroskate and Marina Bowls Club, keep your spirits up and keep fighting.


Headingley Road,


Well done for a brilliant festival

I would like to congratulate Joe MacKintosh, all his colleagues at SeaChange Arts and the borough council employees for the brilliant Out There festival last weekend. This was another exciting success for Great Yarmouth and a marvellous opportunity for the community to experience high quality street art.

The excellence and variety of the artists and performers from across Europe made the festival one not to be missed and we look forward to 2016. It was fantastic to see the large numbers of people attending the mainly free events and the entertainment this gave to all age groups.



Trying to find Vera Prouting

I live in Somerset and am trying to get in touch with my elderly aunt. I have tried writing but received no reply. Her name is Vera Prouting, known to me as Webe. If she is still alive she would be 95 years old.

I heard from her last Christmas but nothing since. Unfortunately I have also lost contact with my cousins, Diane, Robert, Anthea and Mandy. I do not even know the surnames of the girls now. I hope by printing this someone will recognise the names and get in contact. I can be emailed at jen.coles@hotmail.co.uk



Work for locals, and for business

In a recent edition of the EDP there was a report about record quantities of grain being exported through the port of King’s Lynn and Ipswich during the peak of the harvest this season. Where does Great Yarmouth fit in?

Ferry no, containers no, decommissioning no appearance, wind power no appearance. Surely grain is not going to be a no after all the hype of how very large cargo ships were making the news?

Port of Ipswich and Kings Lynn operated by ABP state their grain terminals are operating at record breaking capacity.

Has our deep water outer harbour managed by Great Yarmouth Port Company priced itself out of the market?

We also read in the Mercury that the bowls club members who use the Marina Centre are being kicked out on an undemocratic whim, with no thought to the local community or their needs.

The GYBC should do the right thing and work for the ratepayers not for private enterprise.


Burnt Lane,


Acle does have bowls vacancies

I read with interest the article on the possible closure of the Marina Indoor Bowls Club and would just like to correct the statement made by Mrs Farrow, chair of Marina IBC, that “Acle IBC is full up”, implying we could not assist Great Yarmouth bowlers to continue playing.

This is far from correct and Acle IBC have vacancies in a number of their leagues, including men’s and ladies triples, mixed pairs, mixed fours and we could even accommodate an ex-Marina Centre Club on Saturday evenings if that was their wish.

We would of course hope the Marina continues to support bowls in some format. Many of us at Acle have very fond memories of playing bowls at the Marina prior to Acle opening and we have donated a coffee machine and carpet in the past to the Marina bowlers.

Good luck in your fight, but if you fail, all will be made very welcome “down the Straight at Acle”.



Acle IBC

Disappointed by race day result

On September 16 we decided to go to Great Yarmouth Races along with daughter and husband. We checked the meeting was on as the surface is new, racing delayed from July, and everything seemed well.

The weather forecast stated there would be heavy rain from about 3pm, but as the officials would be aware of this we accepted everything would be fine.

To cover the rain we paid £104 for the four of us for Premier tickets which, when the rain came meant we would be undercover. The rain did come about 3pm and the fourth race at 3.30pm went ahead, with a jockey falling off.

We were then informed an inspection had declared the surface unsafe, so the rest of the races were cancelled.

We contacted the racecourse a couple of days later to see if any compensation was being offered. My wife was asked to quote the 18 digit number on the ticket, which is printed over the icon ARC which made it almost impossible to read.

Having paid by credit card these details were offered but the girl stated she did not know how to confirm this. We later got a phone call, which by then we could quote the numbers. It was then stated as four races had taken place, no compensation was offered.

We fully realise that the racecourse are having problems with the surface, but to treat its customers this way is not right.

Ground staff would have known the condition of the surface and if it was not going to stand up to rain forecast for 3pm then the meeting should have been called off. But of course as they could get in the fourth race there was no reimbursement. Nice one Yarmouth.

We normally attend about six races during a normal year but this has left us, and a number of people in the Premier section with a bad taste.

They could have at least offered something as they knew the full programme would not be completed.


Woods Close