Letters, September 23, 2016

Rules mean dogs on leash on beach

I refer to last week’s article regarding proposals for controlling dogs in specific areas. Dog owners need to be made aware that this includes making it an offence to walk unleashed dogs on the beach between Salisbury Road and Tan Lane, Caister.

I completely understand the issue of a minority of irresponsible owners not picking up dog mess, but they are unlikely to be any different if their dog is leashed. The majority of responsible owners will be forced to walk their dogs elsewhere if they want to exercise them off the lead.

That freedom is part of the joy of owning a dog. The proposal is unfair.

There is also the question of the cost of policing the beach and how this will be done. Unless the warden is close to the offender, how do they propose to catch them or trace them? How will they know if you give your proper name and address? What will they do if you walk away and refuse to give any information?

Do the council hope to raise finance through fines? Will policing cost more than any fines collected? Would it be better to spend money on reducing the amount of mess and other rubbish left on town roads and passageways.

If you want to be free to walk your unleashed dog on the beach then please complete the survey at www.great-Yarmouth.gov.uk/have-your-say.

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Publish actual cost case of rink

Reference the ice rink decision. The chairman of the borough council should immediately do three things:

1 Publish the actual cost case on which the council made their decision; ie the detail, not the waffly top line qualitative numbers.

2 Publish the Paper circulated to the council members to consider prior to their decision.

3 Publish the full minute of the Council meeting.

This would allow us as taxpayers to see the quality of the council pre-work and decision-making process. If the financial numbers do not support the “no” decision, the taxpayer has a right to ask the chairman to more fully explain the council decision.


Burgh Castle

Extra footfall does not mean spend

Interesting juxtaposition in last Friday’s Mercury. The arch critic of local council wasteful spending, Brandon Lewis MP has an advertisement while local Conservative councillors enthusiasm to spend a second £100k subsidising a minority having fun.

Still we now know the Tories are divided with a David Cameron version and a Theresa May version. If Mrs May sticks to her initial speech it may mean the Conservatives work for us all - unlikely but we can hope. No evidence of that from her predecessor when pensioners lost their small extra tax break just as the really wealthy had their tax bills cut!

Taxpayers funded ice rink users to the tune of £10 each! Many users would need to have been fairly well off to afford the prices in any case. To say there were 11k users is a bit misleading as some would have been repeat business. Extra footfall in the centre does not mean major shop spending and may not have even got to £100k in any case. In any case, will non locals return when the retail offer needs improving. Where is the cost benefit analysis and evidence?

If £200k is available this could have been put towards capital projects with long lasting impact rather than a few enjoying a few moments of fun. Certainly the rink livened the place up, when it was open but not when it was closed. Surely we could liven up the place for so much less.

A proper facility could encourage some brilliant buskers, local bands, street performers, puppets, dog displays, toy displays, cage football, the owl display could be attracted back. A mini fair with rides, perhaps even some gallopers or cake walk! Churches may wish to witness by carol singing sessions or pageants. The Salvation Army is brilliant.

More decorations would help. I am sure locals could come up with dozens of low cost ideas for livening up the centre.

If BhS and M&S remain empty, consideration should be given to relocating the library which would increase centre footfall. This could be funded by the sale of the library and even the register office might get a more suitable home.

The next grandiose scheme of an air display could put £200k at risk. Odd that some councils have pulled out of air displays just as Yarmouth plunges in! It is all very well attracting people in but the town needs to look good, clean and lively.


Victoria Street,


Road-naming for Jessica-Jane?

In recognition of Jessica-Jane Applegate’s valour and inspiration for future generations may we have a road within our borough dedicated to her?


Falcon Court,

Great Yarmouth

Ice rink was huge draw to the town

It is extremely disappointing to say the least that fellow councillors voted against the proposal for the return of the ice rink for this coming festive season.

Last year as we all know the ice rink was a huge draw to the town, personally I witnessed many generations of families really having a great time, the fun and laughter was a delight to see. The buzz around the town was evident.

The invitation for an ice hockey match was great especially for those who have only seen one from our armchair at home, to witness this first hand was fast , exciting, entertaining.

Those members should really hang their heads in shame for denying this proposal, why have they penalized all the residents of the borough for the opportunity to engage with their families, deny a sporting leisure activity.

And of course it goes without saying, they have spoilt Christmas for those who enjoyed the facility last year and I am sure would have been looking forward to taking part again this year, the Conservative group were fully supportive of this rink. It is a great shame others did not see this the same way.

Penny Carpenter

Councillor for Caister North

Chairman of Housing & Neighbourhoods

Deputy Leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

Mix of students in grammar school

I was born in Gorleston in 1926, and went to Edward Worlledge school. I took an exam for entry to Great Yarmouth Grammar School and five boys from my school passed, above average, because there were only 30 places from all local schools each year.

At that school, we mixed with about 30 students whose fees were paid for by their parents. It was going to be difficult for my mother to afford the various requirements. Although my father was a good worker, he had no trade and was usually unemployed. My mother took on a few cleaning jobs and she managed to buy me a second hand school uniform. Most of the paying boys had folks who were well off.

I can remember two whose fathers owned large local garages and another’s father owned a very large local bakery, but there was never any trouble or animosity and we all got on well. Two paying boys later became doctors, one scholarship boy a top executive with Birmingham CC and another, a solicitor.

There was a type of help for those boys who just missed being selected for a grammar school in any given year. Several were able to sit a 13-plus exam two years later and a few were chosen for grammar school places.

There was a dining room at the school, and the paying boys enjoyed a nice meal. But my mother could not afford such luxuries so she packed me sandwiches and I was obliged to eat them in the dining room. My mother had to pay £2 pounds a term for that privilege. I believe she did get me half price bus tickets to get to the school.

The school was evacuated to Retford, Nottinghamsire in 1937. My mother feared it might involve further costs, so she kept me at home. I was not quite 14 and I got my first job as office boy at Crabtrees/Fellowes dockyard, Southtown at the princely wage of eight shillings a week. After a small number of jobs, I completed an apprenticeship, and went on to have a very happy life.

I submit this story to indicate how difficult it was for families like mine to cope with the grammar school system, but to try and show that the complete mixture of students worked in the choice of places in such schools.


An old Grammarian

Mobile fine should be made higher

Am I the only one who can’t get my head round the fines, getting caught using a mobile phone whilst driving has now gone up to £200. This action has killed far too many people.

But I believe it is a £1,000 if convicted of not picking up dog mess. Surely it should be the other way round! Dog mess is not nice, but neither is death.



Debt of gratitude owed to Polish

Following the attacks on the Polish community in Harlow, our local Polish community are understandably a tad jittery. What needs to be said is that the Battle of Britain may not have been won without the Polish contribution.

Britain is indebted to the Poles who served in every branch of the British armed forces and in every theatre but most significantly in fighter command in the Second World War. Over the course of the summer of 1940, RAF Fighter Command was engaged in a series of desperate actions against the Luftwaffe.

Many experienced British pilots were killed or exhausted. Britain’s pilots lacked the combat experience of Polish pilots. Commander-in-Chief of Fighter Command, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, summarised their contribution: “Had it not been for the work of the Polish squadrons and their unsurpassed gallantry, I hesitate to say that the outcome of battle would have been the same.”

Our debt of gratitude to the Polish community in my view, cannot be repaid.



New bridge will blight Gorleston

Can I comment on the letter last week re the third river crossing. Whether it is a fixed or lifting bridge where is the traffic going?

Building or proposing to build a new bridge will blight large areas of Gorleston and could well prove to be unaffordable. I saw a similar scheme mooted in York which left a large area of the city derelict or run down and then never happened. It also has to be said a fixed bridge would wipe the inner harbour out and it could well be that in future times we need to transport bulk loads by water to ease congestion on our limited roadways.

In my younger days I regularly ran 500 ton cargoes of coal and grain up into Norwich and the same amount of molasses or sugar out of Cantley. Though access to the old wharves in Norwich is blocked there is no reason why a wharf could not be built on the south side of the river below the fixed bridge.

The final argument against a fixed bridge is the boatyards up river who often have craft that can’t get under the Haven Bridge without it being lifted will still need access to the sea.


Ex mate, F T Everard & Sons

Praise and thanks to Paget staff

Last week whilst walking my dogs I tripped and fell and damaged my leg and dislocated my shoulder.

Luckily, Dave and Brian out on their daily walk, found me and helped me to an area where an ambulance could reach. Luckily a paramedic arrived within 5 minutes and gave me pain relief. Luckily the paramedic arranged for my dogs to be taken home. Luckily the ambulance arrived and maintained pain relief before arriving at James Paget. Luckily Dr Crawford and his hardworking team arranged for an X-ray and then sorted my arm.

All done in a friendly and efficient way, considering there were 66 people all awaiting attention in the A&E department I was seen in the fastest time possible.

Once again I have to send praise and thanks to our great staff at the James Paget Hospital especially in the A&E department.



Access problem of riverside homes

Life seems to be stirring again on Gorleston’s industrial riverside. After a lapse of five years there are signs of activity on the five-acre site.

There was controversy in June/July 2011 over the suggestion of building 319 Docklands-style homes, rejected for being short of playspace for children, parking and interrupted river views. A fresh bid to add just 100 homes to Gorleston’s riverside was tried but people bemoaned the loss of industrial land delivering a strong “jobs not homes” message, leaving the site of Claydon School development in abeyance.

Now, with activities giving me cause to mount my high horse again I will repeat views I had at the time which concerned access and exit of vehicles using the site. There being only five unsuitable means of doing this: to the south, Baker Street and Englands Lane; to the north, Ice House Hill, Ferry Hill, Malthouse Lane, with a little escape route to High Road being Ferryboat Lane.

All of which are of little use to the suggested development making the whole context of the project nonsense. Unless there is infrastructure somewhere in the make up? Without this the whole operation could be a lapse into an infestation!


Gonville Road,


Use allowances to restore toilets

Perhaps the borough council members that have voted themselves an increase could forego it and re-open the toilets that have been closed. I pay for the toilets etc in my rates, so perhaps I could get a rate reduction, as could all the other ratepayers in the area?


Caister on Sea

Six out of 10 for town hall changes

May I thank all the many people who made the Yarmouth Heritage Open Days possible. Whoever thought up this excellent scheme in my book deserves a medal.

Over several years I have gained enormous enjoyment and educational information from the many visits I have attended as part of this scheme. A new visit for me was to be guided around Great Yarmouth Town Hall.

I had an ulterior motive: One being a councillor there and I remember the Town Hall as it was before the builders changed things.

I thought the main reception area and its display of civic regalia was first class and very well done. Then came the fine Falcon gallery with its historic contents, also incorporated was the atrium and a super lift. All of these were a tremendous improvement for the town hall.

The mayor’s parlour was not much different from the original except its window had a much poorer view. However the real disaster, in my view, came with trying to squeeze the council chamber and public gallery into a totally unsuitable former court room. I thought this a very poor and totally unsuitable move.

Walking around, it can be seen in the present set up some councillors’ vision of what is going on was rather impaired, and with the present seating layout everything appeared fragmented. Then it was noticeable the numbers of the public who had the chance to attend council meetings were greatly limited.

On the other hand there have been some real benefits to the building, so my marking on changes at the Town Hall would be six out of 10.

This visit was superbly conducted by Mr P Fairhead who gets 10 out of 10.



Wheelchair user’s festival let down

Reading the Mercury last Friday about the Out There Festival and “how weird and wonderful it is” and being told by friends how great it is, I decided to give it a look on Sunday.

I got to St George’s Park at 10.30am, nothing going on so went into town. What a depressing mistake that was, I don’t know how many empty shops there were, so decided to go back to the park.

The shows had just started and good crowds were watching, but being in a wheelchair could I see? Would people move aside a bit? No!

All I saw was an occasional acrobat’s head bouncing up. The same thing happens at the Maritime Festival at low tide and I cannot see the boats. I go around the displays but will the people let me see? No!

Call me Mr Grumpy but I won’t be going to either displays again.


Humberstone Road,


Universal credit claims disgrace

Having read the letter from Judith Daniels last week I have to say I am in total agreement with her comments on universal credit.

I work for an organisation which deals with people struggling with their applications for this benefit on a daily basis. People have to wait six weeks or more before their benefit even kicks in leaving them with nothing to survive on.

There is a benefit advance available while waiting for a universal credit claim to go through, but these advances still have to go through a claiming process and sometimes the person who needs the advance has to wait almost as long as the universal credit claim itself.

Furthermore, what is leaving claimants in dire straits is the way Universal Credit handles the way people pay their housing rent. What was done on the old Housing Benefit was the rent was paid directly to the landlord so the landlord was guaranteed to receive the rent. Now what happens is the money gets paid straight to the claimant and the landlord has to rely on the claimant budgeting their money and saving enough for the rent at the end of the month.

An article was printed some weeks ago in this paper which shone light on the amount of housing eviction notices being handed out and how it has been the highest number in recent years. This is due to problems with universal credit!

Landlords are now frightened to take in anyone new who is claiming universal credit and worse still, they are evicting tenants who were formerly in work, but due to unforeseen circumstances now have to claim to universal credit.

I am astounded as to who came up with the idea to include Great Yarmouth in the areas for trial of this benefit as so much of the local population rely on benefits themselves.


Isaacs Road,


Paget stroke ward staff are amazing

I would like to express my most grateful thanks to the nursing and therapy teams on the stroke ward (ward 1) of the James Paget Hospital.

My husband, who is only 46 years old, suffered a severe stroke on July 31 and received the most excellent care and therapy during his two months stay on this ward.

The staff have been amazing with all the family especially myself and our children making us feel part of his journey by keeping us updated every day on his progress and doctors reports.

They are a first class team of people full of kindness and love, who went above and beyond their duty during his stay, making it as least upsetting as possible at such a traumatic time in our lives.

Thankfully, he is now making a good recovery and is being supported at home by the early support discharge for strokes team.



Footfalls in town, but no people?

What is it about this word footfall? It is the council’s pet buzzword and they wheel it out at every opportunity.

There were over 11,000 footfalls recorded at the Christmas ice skating rink last year – but apparently no people turned up. Are we considered to be footfalls and not citizens of this borough? I suppose councillors now have to represent the footfalls and not voters of their wards.

Has the council take this further into their vocabulary so that a show of hands becomes a handfall and on occasion when a member is shouted down by his colleagues (?) is this known as a facefall?

Losing a seat following an election must simply be a plain old downfall.

There are no prizes for guessing the word to describe those embarrassing and regrettable incidents which unfortunately visit our boys and girls in local government from time to time. Any suggestions?!


Hill Avenue,


Take my 50p for ice rink return

I have never written to the newspaper before, although I do enjoy reading the letters pages and often thought about putting pen to paper.

I am writing in praise of the ice rink last year at Christmas, although I am far too old to even venture upon it. I did, however, spend many a happy hour watching and listening to those who did use the ice rink.

i caught the bus from Gorleston five or six times just to have a look at the rink, what a wondrous sight it was in the middle of the Market Place. I generally came in during the afternoons when the schoolchildren were about, and twice came in the evening with a friend to experience it at night. It was lovely and very Christmassy. No real snow thank goodness or I would not have dared to come out of my home.

It was a delight to experience and I know several of my friends went into Yarmouth just to take a look at it and have a bit of a laugh watching some of the users stuggling to stand up. It was a treat and made the town centre lovely. I would like part of my council tax to go towards bringing it back. It would be less than 50p per home?

Name and Address withheld