Letters, September 9, 2016

Don’t lock the car parks so early!

Why are car parks on Great Yarmouth seafront area locked early evening before most shows or entertainment have finished, when the town is trying to attract more visitors and business for its seafront amenities and shows?

Our friends recently experienced this when returning to the pay and display car park opposite the Imperial Hotel after going to the Britannia Pier Abba show on August 18 at 9.45pm to find the entry/exit gate pad locked.

After making inquiries they were told the gate was locked at 8.30pm although they had a valid ticket expiring after this time displayed in their car - and there were several other cars still in the car park. This procedure discourages locals and visitors from visiting the sea front and attending shows.

Our friends are extremely grateful to the young people playing Poke-mon Go in that location at the time who gave them every assistance with information obtained from their smart phones, regarding safety of our friend’s car and eventually exiting the car park.

Young people are often criticised but this group of young people cannot be praised enough for their courteous behaviour, assistance and willingness to help.

Name and Address withheld

Most Read

No incentive for station upgrade

I see Brandon Lewis is still going on about his failure to secure improvements to the rail station and the need for some weeding on the road side.

There is no incentive for Abellio to improve the station as it is owned by Network Rail and they manage it during their franchise. In any case, it is the whole area around the station that needs redevelopment.

It would also help to have train services that go beyond Norwich. The Cambridge/Stansted or East Midlands service should be extended to the town. Why has Kings Lynn got direct trains to London but not Yarmouth? Lowestoft is due to regain direct trains to London.

What happened to the possibility of Yarmouth-Lowestoft trains? Only 218,000 people use the station, albeit twice if they do a return journey. Many will be locals who are used to accepting mediocrity. The station is only one gateway.

The bus station is used by far more passengers and is dirty with bird droppings and uncleaned for years, dirty pavements, poor lighting, damaged and unpainted railings and often litter when the street cleaner is elsewhere. The bus bays are inadequate for the latest buses.

The taxi rank stop is sometimes blocked so buses hold up through traffic. The Mercury has highlighted the problems for several years but little happens. The Beach Coach Station has few facilities and the attempt to mark the railway heritage has been in ruins for at least five years. Much of the brickwork naming the station has long gone missing. Some greenery might help cheer the car park up! The roads are, however, the main gateway to the town. The traffic jams at the badly designed Runham roundabout is the welcome to the town.

It is crazy to force Asda car traffic on to a busy road. This then tails back down Lawn Avenue. The Government promised funding but the Highways Agency says it will take five years to resolve.

Likewise, the ill designed Gunton roundabout seems to be a perpetual jam at busy times. Several routes, like around Gunton and Pasteur Road need greenifying with trees and bushes to provide a welcoming. Will the new school do any planting - could be a useful few lessons? But no, it is not in the National Curriculum!

Less vicious Government cuts to councils could have seen flower beds. Perhaps the cuts are why verges are untidy? Many Rows and streets around town need weeding too.

The Conservatives want spending cuts and tax cuts but then moan when things are not right or ignore the fact they cannot make things better. The private sector can only do so much.


Victoria Street,


Talk on theatre but at the library

Thank you for the publicity in last Friday’s paper for the start of the new season of events for the Friends of Gorleston Library on Thursday, September 22 at 2 pm at the library when we bring together an interesting trio of people who between them can give a fascinating insight into the story of Gorleston Pavilion Theatre.

They are Kevin Lynch, who has successfully run the theatre for over two decades; Dusty Miller, the founder of Dusmagrik Young People’s Theatre Company for whom that theatre is a second home; and Leslie Shepherd, Great Yarmouth’s former publicity chief who was responsible for the venue in the 1970s.

I will host what should be a fascinating afternoon of anecdotes and behind the scenes stories. But as I seem to have omitted a line from the information last week can I please make it clear this event will take place at Gorleston Library on that day, not the theatre itself?

Admission to the library’s lecture hall will be £3 and refreshments will be available. We look forward to seeing lots of you there as we support two of Gorleston’s great assets, the Pavilion and the Library.


Lowestoft Road,


Memories of your weddings please

Caister Methodist Church is holding a Wedding Memories weekend on Saturday and Sunday, October 1 and 2. There will be a display of photos, mementoes, model wedding party, decorated model church, well planters decorated to depict various anniversaries and more.

We would love to receive photos to add to our display. You don’t have to have been married in our church or even in Caister and if your partner has pre-deceased you that does not preclude you from displaying your photo. Please mark them with name/date/place on the back and either bring or send them to Grasmere Caravan Park, Caister NR30 5DH by Sunday, September 18.

On October 1, the display will be open from 3pm to 5pm and a free buffet will be available from approximately 4pm. There will be stalls in the hall and all proceeds will be divided between Caister Methodist church and Norfolk Broads Methodist Circuit. On October 2, at 10.45am, Rev Colin Gooch will conduct a celebration service which will include informal optional holy communion.

The hymns will be those which members of the congregation had at their wedding. After the service cake and non alcoholic drinks will be served.

The display will also be open at our coffee morning on Tuesday, October 4, 10am-11.30am. Please contact me at Grasmere Caravan Park 01493 720382 if you would like to submit items to display or for more information.



Air shows risky and expensive

I am a “doubter” when it comes to next year’s planned Great Yarmouth Air Show. Air shows are notoriously expensive and very risky, as our near neighbours Lowestoft know only too well.

Yarmouth is, of course, the perfect seaside venue for large events – probably uniquely in East Anglia – because we do have the large concentrations of well-maintained car parks and on-street “pay and display” to accommodate the thousands of people coming into town and good public transport for those who arrive without cars.

This month’s Festival of Bowls, Wheels Festival, Maritime Festival and Out There Festival are undoubtedly maximising our local tourist trade and extending the season, and the racecourse and greyhound stadium also do their bit respectively showcasing their three-day Eastern Festival and East Anglian Greyhound Derby during September.

Will the 2017 Air Show actually deliver as much in terms of “added value” given the large costs involved?

As a town we should also be looking again to attract large-scale music events. That will require a “can do” approach from our borough council to make it happen. The last proposed Pop Music Festival went elsewhere when they found uncertainties over getting local permissions for licensing and planning.

The Tourism BID or the council itself should obtain those permissions as a “ready-made package” so that events wishing to use the central beach can very quickly find the required certainty on those issues. Norwich City have done well in recent years from similar events in their parks.

This Maritime Festival brings in 30,000 visitors each year without anything like the cost of an air show – and it seems a better fit with the town’s maritime heritage.


County Councillor,

Yarmouth North and Central

Port: promises of so much made

It seems getting involved in one’s borough can be a turn off for some, and a rallying call for others. Yes, to the gentleman from Hemsby, eight years of reading a continual barrage of concerns re the Port must be a turn off for those that could not give tuppence as to what goes on in the borough. But counteracting that we do have a group of concerned ratepayers who want what was promised.

The Hemsby Mercury reader would have seen in the paper’s front page back in 2005 our MP, councillors and unelected officers on the beach at South Beach Parade each with a glass of bubbly and a glossy brochure of the ferry service we all were promised. That did not happen!

If you feel strongly that what we got in 2007 was not what was in the printed brochure you will try all legal avenues open, and these included local and national newspapers, three TV channels and a radio station.

We also blocked the owners of our Port in getting a result at a public enquiry for a Harbour Revision Order. Oh, I should also remind readers we brought to the attention of Norfolk and Suffolk readers of the EDP when we challenged Norfolk County Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council actions in 2007 on the “gifting” of the river port to the private company.

No more than 20 caring ratepayers achieved the above; just think what would have been achieved if all Mercury readers had done more than just read the newspaper. We could now have had a ferry to the continent… the Edge would have been reality… holidaymakers would be spending Euros… there would have been the promised jobs. We would all be so much better off.

Never mind the modern look the Mercury now has, the extra pages, in-depth reporting. Without the Mercury the complaints of waste of council funds and broken promises would never have been aired.

A council officer in 2009 stated in an email: “There is plenty of cash to repair the West Bank [at Gorleston]”! Seven years on why is the quay falling into the river at Gorleston Ice House?


Burnt Lane,


Marine Parade a danger hotspot

How much longer will Marine Parade in Gorleston be used as a race track before someone is seriously injured? Last year a speeding car crashed into a parked car near the bowls club. By some miracle no pedestrians were injured. Speeding cars are a daily occurrence, day and night, but nothing seems to be done about it. Even erecting 30mph signs might be a step in the right direction.

Who are those most likely to be injured? Perhaps children going to the beach or playground? Perhaps elderly residents or visitors, at care homes? Or drivers emerging from the numerous junctions? Or cyclists? Perhaps tennis, golf, basketball, or bowls players? Or even residents? Watch this space.



Pack for holiday in a six minutes?

Thank you Great Yarmouth Borough Council for a great start to my holiday! I was packing my camper van on Albion Road at the back of my house to go on holiday, and as I had to park on double yellow lines, I got a parking ticket.

I appealed to the council and was told you are only allowed six minutes on double yellow lines. Can anyone pack for a holiday in six minutes?!

I already pay £40 a year to park in front of my own house, even though holidaymakers can buy a £3 day pass to park there too!


Albion Road,

Great Yarmouth

School unit in situ for 24 years

May I please correct a slight error in an article in last week`s Mercury. The unit in question at Southtown Primary School was actually installed in 1992 as a language development centre, staffed by a full-time qualified teacher, a full-time NNEB support assistant and a part time speech therapist.

It was a unique provision in the Eastern area for children with speech, language and communication difficulties and was one of only two in Norfolk.

The unit may well have been re-designated in 2011 as a specialist resource base but the actual facilities have been in situ for 24 years. It would, in my opinion, be a huge shame for this unit to close when the need for its skills and expertise is still required by young children in Norfolk.


Head Teacher, Southtown First School 1982-2000

Burgh St Peter

Truckers deserve big pat on back

Once again, well done to the East Coast Truckers. It’s wonderful to see the childrens’ faces light up and having a lovely time. My sister and myself have supported them for many years and hope it continues. It’s so good that all the people who make this happen give up their time to give these children a lovely day. Well done to everyone.



Don’t use phone while driving

It’s been many years now since we have not been able to use a mobile phone while driving a motor vehicle unless you had hands free.

In the last six months I have been counting how many drivers are using a phone while driving and the amount of drivers using a phone is astounding.

Only yesterday I was driving from Gorleston to Yarmouth between Harfreys and Gapton roundabouts, the car in front had one young lad in it and he was using a phone, the car behind had a woman driving with children in the car but was also using a phone. Halfway between the roundabouts there were four policemen standing at the side of the road so I rolled the window down and called to them if they could do something about these drivers and all they did was laugh.

Is a phone call or a text message really more important than being safe while driving? Correct me if I am wrong is it not one of our most important responsibilities to keep our children safe at all times? The deterrent is not enough and most young drivers treat it as a trophy.

I would like to ask your readers if for instance, God forbid, one of your loved ones or yourself was hit by a driver using a phone and not in full control of his car, what would you want the authorities to do as a penalty? Just think if they were killed by this driver would you call it dangerous driving or murder with intent. I know I would call it murder with intent because they know they are breaking the law every time they use the phone while driving.

People please just leave your phone alone while driving for one day and just count how many drivers you can spot breaking the law and not in full control of the car, I think if you are a responsible person and do this you will be surprised how many drivers you will spot.

Please let’s stop this now before more people are injured or killed for what? A chat or message. Thanks for taking the time to read this.



Duty to make public the failings

In reply to Brandon Lewis comments on the floods in Bradwell and Gorleston. If he lived in the borough as he claims he does, if he bothered to read his local newspaper, he would have seen that UKIP very rarely do press releases!

If he was so concerned about the residents that this persistent flooding is affecting he would have been there and visited them. But no he just tries to belittle councillors that have worked very hard to get this £2m pound investment. It’s not his victory to claim, it’s nobody’s victory as no works have been started yet.

As councillors it is our duty to make public the failings of Anglian Water and Mr Lewis, not hide behind weekly columns or weekly press releases. Whilst we are still councillors we will fight for what the borough residents deserve and no words from Mr Lewis will stop us doing this.


UKIP Group Leader

Gorleston Ward

Thank you for lifeboat service

The family of the late Coxswain of Caister Lifeboat, Roland ‘Benny’ Read would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who attended the informal service held on Thursday, September 1 marking 25 years since his death and recalling my father, Benny’s, association with the sea, its rewards and its tragedies.

A big thank you goes to Derek George and his wife Vivian who organised the event and Caister Lifeboat for allowing the use of Skipper Woodhouse shed, without whom the event would not have taken place. Thank you to the Rector, the Rev Tim Thompson and Mr D Peers, Methodist lay preacher, who took the order of service.

Candles were lit during the service on behalf of those who had given their lives in attempting to save others, with past lifeboats and also those men and women who had lost their lives at sea during world conflict or simply earning a living from the sea.

It was a wonderful evening with just under 200 family, friends and crews of the majority of independent and RNLI lifeboats up and down the Norfolk and Suffolk coast, paying their respects. Thank you to those that read bible passages, poems and stories of Benny’s association with sea. Thanks also to Dr Tim Thirst and the members of Stalham Brass Band and also Coastwatch Choir.


Daughter of Roland ‘Benny’ Read


Want something done? Call UKIP

Brandon Lewis in last week’s Mercury, said UKIP are “more words than action”. Well our MP has had long enough to take some action over flooding in this borough.

UKIP were elected by the residents because of inaction by his party, and UKIP will always highlight issues raised by the residents. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do as councillors? If Mr Lewis can’t stand the heat he shouldn’t have stepped into the fire. Leave it to those who want to champion and support this borough.

If you want something done, contact UKIP. You’ve had your chance, Mr Lewis.




Hippodrome is brightest jewel

Great Yarmouth is unique in many ways. At the top of the list must surely be the Hippodrome Circus which, year after year, presents world class entertainment and glistens as the brightest jewel in Yarmouth’s crown.

I travelled from London to Great Yarmouth on Saturday, September 4 specifically to see the Hippodrome and witnessed something entirely magical and enthralling. The blend of top notch circus acts, brilliant production techniques and the famous water spectacle is truly a sight to behold … and there is nothing in London – or elsewhere in Great Britain – to touch it!

The Jay family must be congratulated on their creativity, vision and tireless energy. Their commitment to Great Yarmouth is impressive.

All Yarmouth residents have something to shout about and it is the duty of everyone to promote this unique attraction.

Great Yarmouth has something very special and I, for one, will certainly be back next year and my first stop will be the Hippodrome.


Bow, London

Rubbish is down to Joe Public

In reply to your reader David Pendle and his letter in last week’s Mercury, I would just like to say that yes, I have walked along the service road at the rear of 66-48 Marine Parade. And I couldn’t agree more that it leaves a lot to be desired.

But please, who is responsible for this situation that unfortunately is not only confined to this particular area. I regret to say a lot of it is down to Joe Public.

However, I still maintain Great Yarmouth has a lot to offer, testament to this being the many holidaymakers we have had here this season enjoying the sunshine and our wonderful beach that is second to none.

It is a shame Mr Pendle feels he has had a bad experience whilst living in this town, but maybe when he moves on he may be happy to write his book. While I wish him luck for the future, I don’t think that wherever his path leads him he will find the Utopia he is looking for.

I didn’t say that Great Yarmouth was perfect, but then where is?


St Peter’s Plain,

Great Yarmouth

Events raise cash for fire-hit traders

On behalf of myself, Annie Stevens, David Haworth and Robyn Head, I would like to thank everyone who gave prizes and vouchers for our two events on August 27 and 30, to raise additional funds for the traders who lost everything in the terrible fire in Regent Road at the beginning of August.

We would also like to thank all the stallholders who turned up both days, also Caister Slimming World who gave us a donation of £45. These two events, plus donations, raised nearly £200.

We still have many tombola prizes left and these tickets will be sold at various events.

I would also like to thank the mayor and mayoress who turned up on both days to support this worthy cause. I would also like to thank the Mercury for giving us valuable editorial space.

We hope to give these monies to the traders by way of a cheque.



Great Yarmouth

The USA caused the recession

At the end of last week, the latest research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showed that workers on lower wages with poorer skills were key to the decision to leave the European Union. Voters were far more likely to back Brexit if they earned less money, had poorer qualifications and lived in low skilled areas.

The evidence showed those “left behind” tipped the balance towards the Leave campaign.

This does not come as a surprise, but the logic behind the decision to vote in this way is suspect. Most of this section of the community had been left behind, not because of the EU, but by six years of austerity and cuts. This in turn was a direct result of the mis-selling of bonds linked to the sub prime lending scam.

Cast your minds back and you will remember this originated from the United States and spread like a cancer to the UK. It had nothing to do with Europe at all.

Consequently the EU has been castigated for something which was not of its making.

Every day the consequence of Brexit multiply against the economy. The latest concerns the (foreign) car makers in the North East. This is a successful business in an area of low employment.

The devaluation of the pound by 11pc against the Euro and 15pc against the Dollar means the increased cost of imported raw materials for the cars is about the same as the profit margin on their production. If you were car manufacturers, where would you move your money to?

At last a scheme is being put in place to tackle the scandal of non-payment of tax by multi-nationals across the world.

Where did it come from? The EU. Who is against it? The United States of America.

If the authors of Yes Minister had used recent events as a plot line it would have been considered too far-fetched to be credible. But that is what we are stuck with.


Brasenose Avenue,


I found medical notes in town

While shopping in Gorleston High Street towards the end of last week, I came across a page from an exercise book, with very neat writing on it.

The writing, done in black biro, caught my eye and on reading the contents it became obvious that the writer was a medical student.

The subject was “Discuss the cause, complications and management of heart failure – short notes on physiological mesial drifting”.

I suppose it is just possible that these were rough notes and of no consequence, but if not and the writer reads this letter and wants them back, I will keep them safe.


Station Road North