Letters, September 16, 2016

Council is paid to sort out things

Recently, two letters in the paper stunned me. The first was saying, basically, stop complaining about having to do some tidy up work yourself instead of the council, it wasn’t a problem.

I beg to differ. People are ripped off enough by this council with council tax, parking charges and a whole host of other payments. If it concerns the seafront, they’ll fall over themselves to do something about it but the rest of the borough, you have to be kidding. So, exactly what do we pay council tax for, to sort things out for ourselves? I regularly see the moaning about cutbacks that need to be made but it didn’t stop 37 of the 39 of our wonderful councillors voting to increase their expenses and/or allowances.

The other problem of “doing it ourselves” is an issue which erupted in Sunderland. A Mr Render, after getting fed up with littering in his area, decided to do something and organised a team to do it. His council refused him permission to repair a bench himself. Then the council emails him saying social media postings suggested he’d been deliberately committing offences. Then, a jobsworth councillor said he could be endangering himself and others so he should stop.

So much for doing it yourself to look after your community and area, as suggested by the author of the recent letter. Yet another council wanting money out of you but failing to provide the service.

The other stunner was the letter praising the council for keeping

Marine Parade in Gorleston clean and tidy. Sadly, the wrong people were being thanked, it should be directed to GYB Services staff, the people in the orange shirts.

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I’m more than grateful for what they do, except the contract from the council doesn’t allow them to come into this area to clear up the litter.

This is also the council whose contractor also sprayed weedkiller around lamp-posts, telegraph poles and the path sides along Marine Parade. This is the same council who, when I’ve asked for the material safety data sheets and the control of substances hazardous to health, give me the runaround, sending me to GYB Services, the county council, highways, Uncle Tom Cobbly and all.

The same council who, when you email councillors, either don’t bother replying or send replies which indicate they won’t do much. So much for knowing exactly what the weedkiller material was and its effects on mine and my dog’s health.

This is a council unfit for purpose.



Labour and UKIP have spoiled fun

Is this a modern day Scrooge story? Your Mercury front page headline read “Council rejects ice rink return” but it was the Labour and UKIP councillors on the economic development committee who voted against it and spoiled the fun.

Despite attending a cultural strategy briefing prior to the meeting, urging us to be bold, think outside the box, and build on the successes of the past in order to make Great Yarmouth a great place to live and attractive to visit, there will be no “feel good factor” in Great Yarmouth this Christmas.

The ice rink was a huge success last year and five Conservative councillors and one UKIP voted for its return this year. Easy to see who are the Scrooges.


Borough Councillor for West Flegg

Utilise Gorleston for the air show

The air show planned for 2017: would it be a good idea to combine it with Gorleston or would parking be a problem? It just seems a perfect place for the views from the cliff top and a good place to set out any stalls. It may help with costs too.We enjoyed many times going to the Lowestoft one which was a similar place with all having the beach too for the children. It was just a shame all persons attending then could not donate a £1 or so as suggested at the time to help support it! Other air shows, like Farnborough or Duxsford, in the country cost a fortune to attend. It would be lovely to see one again at our local seaside.



Cost of swim at new pool rises

I am very disappointed to learn there will be no more over 50s swimming at the new Phoenix pool. The cost of a swim has gone from £2.20 to £4.70 and I notice the photos show young people as an advert for the new pool.

It seems we older people are being left out and the hour or so we enjoyed is being forgotten. Not everyone wants to pay a standing order to a gym etc. I know the new place has to make money but we were good enough before. What with the Marina Centre shutting later on in the year to do repairs the new pool will be very busy.

Come on, whoever runs the place, try and be fair and give us oldies an hour to enjoy our quiet swim. It seems they are only catering for the young people.



Wife’s exemplary cancer care

It was a timely intervention by the top specialists at the James Paget Hospital to reassure breast cancer patients following a critical report in Lancet Oncology.

My wife Susan died last November having been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer two years earlier. Despite her worsening condition and increasing discomfort she was full of praise for the doctors and nurses who looked after her. Her treatment by everybody was exemplary.

I accompanied my wife at every stage and observed at first hand the skill and professionalism of the staff at all the clinics she had to attend. Often stressed and overworked they still managed to perform many acts of kindness and went the extra mile to ensure that she had the best possible care.

Although the outcome was inevitable I could not fault the effort of all concerned to make her life the best it could possibly be and I will be eternally grateful. I know she would want me to write this letter to reassure others who have been similarly diagnosed that they can be sure of the highest standard of care at the James Paget Hospital and will be in safe hands.


Northgate Street,

Great Yarmouth

Solidarity to protect our NHS

Junior doctors continue to put patient safety first in their fight for our NHS as the BMA announces it plan to suspend strike action next week. That junior doctors have suspended their industrial action this month reflects their genuine concerns about its possible impact on patient safety. Junior doctors have discovered the NHS is far more stretched and under-resourced than even they originally feared.

Jeremy Hunt must now take this opportunity to sit down with junior doctors and resolve the dispute. It is sad to see our doctors forced to the brink of further industrial action by the intransigence of an ineffective health secretary. That the original strike announcement came just days after the government was forced to reveal its plans to shut down NHS services across England is a stark reminder of the perilous condition of our National Health Service after years of Tory mismanagement.

A conscientious health secretary would cease his relentless attempts to smear a workforce tirelessly plugging huge rota gaps with good will alone and put forward a contract that is fair and safe for staff and patients alike.

In asking the government to find a settlement for desperate junior doctors, I join the overwhelming majority of the British public in offering solidarity to any, and all, frontline NHS staff fighting to protect our beloved health service.


Great Yarmouth Green Party


You tell my boy ice rink cancelled

Just read the article about the Great Yarmouth ice rink. Christmas time last year me and my partner took our boy on it lots of times and he really enjoyed it. As did other people down there at the time.

I think it is outrageous the council is not going to have it again.

I cannot believe the money made on the days of the ice rink being open did not cover the expenses plus more, as the rink in total was rather pricy and a lot of people went on it.

I do believe the councillors who voted for the ice rink not to return should re think this, and I assume they never even turned up to see the success and joy the ice rink bought to such a low end town.

Taxpayers money is wasted everyday on pointless thing but the ice rink was not pointless it was for the little ones and at Christmas it was such a treat and put a smile on their faces. I hope this is re-thought through because if it is cancelled I want those councillors who voted against it to tell my little boy.



Ice rink should be retained again

For once I agree with Cllr Castle; in this case when he calls himself “a doubter” as far as the proposed Great Yarmouth Air Show is concerned, (Mercury, September 9). He is quite right to express concerns about risk and expense, though we have not yet been told how much it will cost to put on.

I am sure this will be a lot more than the amount needed for the return of the town centre ice rink which, in my humble opinion, was a great success and should be retained by hook or by crook. While the Air Show is people watching other people do things, the ice rink is people doing things themselves and having a great deal of fun in the process. Spectators too are catered for.

Involving Retroskate is an idea which might have some mileage, but, in the absence of this, how about getting some sort of corporate sponsorship - perhaps from Edinburgh Woollen Mills which, with more than 400 stores nationwide, must have a bob or two to spare for worthy causes such as this.


Collingwood Road,

Great Yarmouth

Labour and UKIP rejected ice rink

After listening to a catalogue of small minded negativity from the two opposition parties at last week’s borough council economic development committee, my spirits were lifted by reading the editorial on the topic of the ice rink proposal.

Last year’s event was an unqualified success which substantially raised the profile of the borough. It increased footfall, raised aspirations and, as the editor said, created a feel good factor. However, I must correct the statement “Borough councillors rejected plans to bring the ice rink back”. Labour and the majority of UKIP councillors rejected the scheme.

All Conservative councillors support the ice rink and those at the meeting spoke passionately in support. An added irony was that earlier in the meeting, the new cultural strategy was endorsed by all members. This document stresses the need for the borough to be imaginative and positive in our thinking.

I totally disagree with the politics of envy and benefit dependency peddled by the Labour party, but the vote was lost 7-6 as a result of the UKIP leadership changing the attendance at the meeting. One committee member who earlier indicated their support for the ice rink, was absent and replaced by substitute Alan Grey.

Interesting that he wrote a letter in last week’s Mercury titled, “If you want something done call UKIP”. A better example of irony it would be difficult to find. If this UKIP strategy towards council agendas develops, future progress for the residents of this borough is going to be difficult.



Economic development committee

Thanks for giving me your beads

I want to say thank you to those who donated beads for Tia’s Treasures. I had over 30 kilograms donated and I am using them to raise money by doing the 100 bracelets charity challenge. I will make 100 bracelets to sell for £1 each and then donate £100 to charity. First is a three year old girl Laurel with retinoblastoma and if anyone wants to nominate a charity to contact my mum by the contact form on my website www.tiastreasures.net


Ormiston Venture Academy

Don’t bother with late shopping

I am born and bred in Great Yarmouth and I’m 56. When I was young the town was always ablaze with Christmas spirit and Easter with the fair, shops open and great atmosphere. Now what do we have? Empty shops, no atmosphere, and only thing at Christmas is late night shopping, and that’s now difficult. Once the Christmas fireworks finish everyone goes home, and yet in other towns and cities people are out and activities arranged.

Now what do we vote for? A council who just think of money, not their own money? Do they care? It’s the same old story. If there is no ice rink this year then I suggest don’t bother with the late night shopping.



Keep heritage and maritime separate

Having attended, as a stallholder, the Beyond the Walls event at the Burgh Castle Fort site and the Priory Gardens event on Saturday and Sunday, two excellent Heritage Weekend events, I was unable to attend the Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival.

Whilst the Heritage Weekend is a national date, could the powers that be at the borough council and on the Maritime Festival management committee please ensure the dates do not clash in future years.

Please put the Maritime Festival back to the first weekend in September from 2017.


Belton and District Historical Society

Lillie and Prince here is a myth

Once again the legend of Lillie and her Prince appears in print (Page 28, Mercury, September 9). How romantic if true – but unfortunately the facts do not quite fit the story.

Lillie Langtry first met the Prince of Wales in 1877, becoming his mistress in a relationship which lasted from late 1877 until June 1880. The following year she embarked on a career in the theatre, becoming an accomplished actress billed as Mrs Langtry, touring both in this country and also in America. There are records of her appearing in Great Yarmouth three times during her acting career, one night performances at the Britannia Pier in August and September 1906 and in a variety programme at the Hippodrome in October 1910.

The Prince of Wales was made Honorary Colonel of the local Artillery Militia in 1871 and first visited the town in that capacity the following year. He subsequently made eight visits to Great Yarmouth to inspect the Militia, the last one being in 1899.

He became King Edward VII on 22 January 1901. During his visits to the town the Prince stayed, as a guest of the owner, at the Shadingfield Lodge, then a private house. Only one of his visits to the town, for a few days in late June 1879, coincided with the period he was having an affair with Lillie.

There is no evidence that Lillie came to the town before the theatrical appearances listed above. The only opportunity, while she was a mistress of the Prince, would have been in 1879 but there is nothing to suggest this happened.

Maybe this romantic tryst did happen. It is very doubtful but it will always make a good story. Many places in the country claim to have been the scene of secretive meetings between Lillie and her Prince but, if correct and given that the affair lasted less than three years, they must have spent most of that time travelling.


Local historian

Councillors don’t care about us

I think it’s disgraceful the council will not bring the ice rink back to the town centre. And as for comments such as it’s a waste of taxpayers money, well so is everything else we pay for, as it all gets used in other areas than Yarmouth anyway.

We are a downtrodden area with nobody to fight for us as the councillors don’t care. The ice rink last year was well used, had many smiling faces and brought many people into the town spending money in shops that wouldn’t normally have been ventured in. All the council cares about is taking facilities away to create more empty car parks in the hope someone may get a £50 fine for an expired ticket. I class our local council in the same bracket as insurance companies and bankers.



Reassured by the maritime sights

People of Great Yarmouth, and those visiting from yonder, please form an orderly queue to offer our thanks to the Tourism Authority, esteemed organisers and sponsors, of this year’s Maritime Festival.

And to those cynics who say our town’s showcase heritage event is now listing to port, dead in the water, taking the wrong tack or even that it has now become an aimless celebration of predictability, I say pipe down! In this uncertain world I am reassured by my annual acquaintance with the programme, including seeing a few (albeit the same) vessels quayside, witnessing prolonged demonstrations of knot tying and hearing familiar jokes from stage whilst enjoying a freshly cooked herring in a bap.

After all, there are many ways to do the same thing. With fair winds and following seas I look forward to attending again next year.



Criticism for miss of photographs

I was interested in the photographs of the history of the port in the Mercury supplement and they brought back memories of what it was like just after the war to mid-1955 when I joined the army.

I must, however, offer a criticism that you did not include any photographs from the fleet of coasters which regularly used the port to either discharge in Yarmouth or pass through en route to Cantley sugar beet factory, Norwich power station or Reads mill. The coasters, mainly belonging to F T Everard, also came to Fellows dock or Crabtrees wharf for hull and engine repairs, some of which can just be made out in the photo of the dry dock.

It was so rare to walk or cycle from Gorleston to Yarmouth beside the river (which could be done before various firms closed off their quay frontages) without seeing a red and white funnel emblem, I am surprised you did not include any photographs of their ships. Possibly you could have dredged from your archives a photograph of one of the Trinity House tenders such as the Warden or Patricia, which regularly used the port. There was also no mention of the Norfolk Line ferries.


Durham Avenue,


Shipping too large to use river Yare

I have been looking into the history of Great Yarmouth’s inland waterways and I offer the following thoughts on the proposed lifting bridge as Yarmouth’s Third River Crossing.

The current Haven Bridge was opened in 1930 as a four lane highway to allow coasting ships to use the Port of Norwich and various other destinations on the Yare. This bridge survived bombing during the Second World War and has done sterling service for the past 86 years.

In the early 1980s a lifting bridge was planned at considerable cost over Breydon Water to allow larger boats to navigate rivers and broads on the grounds that ships would continue to carry freight inland.

As I understand it the Port of Norwich no longer operates as a port and the possibility of ships loading and unloading at Cantley has been abandoned. With the benefit of hindsight, a higher non-lifting bridge over Breydon would have been a cheaper and better option.

My own limited experience is that the only times this bridge has to be opened is for relatively small craft carrying passengers and to let posh cruisers through impeding the traffic flow. I wonder if a survey of future river use has been made whereby the ample quays to the south of the proposed bridge could be used for the larger ships using Yarmouth Harbour and the lower port of the river could be used for smaller boats and leisure craft.

The Outer Harbour now seems to be fulfilling its long heralded purpose of becoming a significant import and export port, and as much of the world’s shipping is now too large to use the river Yare I wonder if a lifting bridge is really necessary? Any thoughts?



What to enjoy for more than a day?

“Utopia the perfect place.” I found this comment makes me look a dreamer which I certainly am not, in reply to the letter from Gloria Webb (Rubbish is down to Joe Public).

My Utopia was restoring a beautiful house above my unused tea shop on Marine Parade only to be driven out by inconsiderate Joe Public and a council that has its own laws which only apply to some people. I spent many years working for the council, and that’s a book.

I personally want to move to another seaside town then I will not get upset at the way Yarmouth is run.

As for being really busy with adults and children enjoying our town I suggest readers who are concerned look at photographs from the past, but we must accept people do not want this type of holiday any more after all what is here for people to enjoy for more than a day? We have amusements and drinking places which create the strange people who walk the streets at night and make the seafront a no-go area.

Other nice places from the past are derelict or pulled down but we do have some lovely car parks. And yes, I do sound very bitter and disillusioned with my town, and Joe Public.



Ice rink had the feelgood factor

I read with regret the Christmas Ice Rink is not going to happen this year but I do feel conflicted and to a certain extent see both sides. But there is a proviso because I so enjoyed the Maritime Festival this year, and men, women and children appeared to look so happy enjoying its many pleasures. I should imagine too the Out There Festival this weekend, will engender the same amount of happiness in its traditional off the wall loopiness.

Undoubtedly the ice rink had the same feelgood factor and for once I was struggling to get through the crowds. Can you place a price on this? Presumably too it was the first year and lessons could be learned and the shops become more involved in enticing customers in. It certainly did have a winter wonderland effect and made Christmas more magical rather than just commercial.

I also have an acute awareness of the iniquitous situation of the increasing need for food banks in this still very wealthy country, this is one dire indictment. The rolling out of universal credit has a large part to play in their growing use because I have heard how long claimants have to wait before accessing their benefits and they literally have no choice but to rely on them to survive. It does beg the question in a town where there is undeniable deprivation that universal credit, which has many detractors, should be rolled out here.

So I do see where some councillors are coming from and feel that money spent on the rink was a waste of taxpayers money.

This is an ideological argument and perhaps many people could not afford to take part. I was happy just to spectate as I have great respect for my limbs and did not want them to fly off in different directions. And yes it is extremely difficult if you have children and young people desperate to participate but cannot because of financial implications.

But couldn’t retailers club together and invest in this unique once a year happening and aid the council with the costs and perhaps subsidise some ticket prices. The council is often between a rock and an undeniable asset but on balance I feel it is a shame to throw this event out with the bath water because it was a real and undeniable seasonal treat for participants and spectators alike.


Winifred Road,


All Conservatives are working hard

I was somewhat bemused by the letters of Mr and Mrs Grey in last week’s Mercury. Any individual reading them would assume that councillors from other parties haven’t been working for years to solve the flooding issues in Bradwell and other parishes, as and when these issues arise. This isn’t true.

I have arranged a meeting with representatives of the Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP), led by Norfolk County Councils Flood and Water Management Team, the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), which includes Anglian Water, GYBC, NCC Highways, Internal Drainage Board, and the Environment Agency. This will take place on September 20. Members from all parties have been invited. This meeting was not arranged by, or because of UKIP.

“Highlighting” issues as described by Cllr A Grey is not actually “doing something”! What action has Cllr A Grey actually done? Who has he called, what has he arranged? And when?

In order to stop flooding all agencies have to take responsibility for their particular element of the issue, and only by working together will a quick and effective solution be found, it cannot be acceptable that these residents who have already suffered awful flooding, should be left to worry when the next down pour comes with their homes vulnerable.

It is incumbent on all councillors to act effectively in their patch as and when issues arise. Councillors then have to deal with multi agency groups, who have to decide how an issue is resolved. Councillors will then try to speed up action from them.

I can assure residents across the borough that the Conservatives are working hard and diligently to make this place we all love a better place to work, live and bring up our families.


Conservative Group Leader

Congratulations to Jessica-Jane

May I send my congratulations to our Paralympic swimmer Jessica Jane Applegate.

What a star this young lady is: gold in London 2012 and to date silver and bronze in Rio. Jessica is such an inspiration to us all, her hard work and dedication has paid off and I am so proud to have been a part of her journey.

The games continue for Jess and I am sure this town will recognise her efforts and reward her as only we know how. Well done Jess our golden girl



Rink and fair bring people into town

Can anyone tell me what qualifications you need to be a councillor? They are giving away £60,000 of ratepayers cash to shops who have let them go to rack and ruin. They are paying someone else loads of cash to fill in forms to get a lottery grant to do up the Winter Gardens which they let go to rack and ruin.

They have Pasta Foods in town, which has employed a lot of people for years and they want to build outlets nearer to the town centre than the outlets on Gapton but these people in charge are trying to stop the plans . They say it will pull people from the town centre,

I just wonder where they have been for the last 10 years or more.

It’s too late to save the town centre as we all know. We need investment in the town and Pasteur Road is part of the town.

To top it all they have rejected the ice rink at Christmas and the Easter fair is in doubt, and both bring people into town.

Our councillors must be proud of themselves.



Thanks for the Priory success

On behalf of the Friends of Priory Gardens, Gorleston I extend appreciation to all and everyone who attended the Gorleston Heritage Open Day event in Priory Gardens last Sunday.

As with last year the day was made special by all the community groups and individuals who volunteered their time to come together and share their interests; heritage and otherwise - without your continued enthusiasms we would have little to host and offer the wider public.

The Friends extend appreciation to the Mayor and Radio Norfolk for visiting the event. And are extremely grateful to the wider community for interest shown in respect of their Community Heritage Tearoom consultation and positive feedback within the HoD visitor’s record.

Thank you to all who helped make the day a success.


FPGG event co-ordinator

Plea to skipper’s licence lady

Through your letters page can I ask the lady with a skipper’s certificate, who came on the Lydia Eva for a volunteer application form, to contact me on 01493 740760 as I have no contact details for her. If any person with the relevant qualifications to take the Lydia Eva to sea as volunteer skipper/master is interested they can contact me on the phone number on the messaging service.

We hope to do a trial run before we close for the winter and start passenger trips again next year as our boiler has been re-tubed and certified.

The sea trips usually last six to seven hours along the coast down to Lowestoft / Kessingland and back to the Yarmouth wind farm.

The ship is 86 years old and the last of her kind hence no wheelhouse controls or bow thrusters and is propelled by a triple expansion steam engine built in Yarmouth. Our crew are all volunteers.


Volunteer coordinator Lydia Eva