Mercury letters December 12, 2014

Footpath work makes no sense

Can anyone tell me why, having just laid a new footpath the whole length of Links Road, Gorleston, the highways authority have been digging it up, and more importantly who is paying for it?


Lowestoft Road,


Share memories

of Priory Centre

Most Read

As a keen, but amateur, researcher I have been fascinated by the history of The Priory Centre since coming to work here nearly two years ago. Great Yarmouth Community Trust, which runs the centre, has some log books and minute books from the past two centuries but I would love to hear people’s stories of the building.

Were you at school here? Do you have any photos? The building as a school holds many memories not just for locals but for people from far and wide who come and see their old school with their families.

I would be interested in any other info on the building too.

Please can anyone with info contact me on or call in and see me on reception here at The Priory, Monday to Friday 9.30am to noon.

I look forward to hearing more about The Priory. I plan to produce a booklet with the findings.


The Priory Centre

Great Yarmouth

Hectic diary led to my hasty exit

I write to provide an explanation in response to the letter of Mr and Mrs J Hannat, of Caister-on-Sea, published in the Mercury on Friday, November 28.

It is correct that the civic party were not able to stay to watch all of the performances by the schools at the Minster for the opening of the Christmas Fayre.

My husband and I very much enjoyed what we saw and would dearly have loved to stay for the rest and to see your grand-daughter perform with the children from Alderman Swindell School.

However, as mayor of the Great Yarmouth Borough, I often have a packed diary of commitments, especially around Christmas, and I have to be very mindful of the time in order to represent the people of the borough at as many events as possible.

I had a particularly tight schedule on that day, which is why I had to leave slightly earlier than I would have liked. Please accept my apologies for any unintentional offence caused.


Mayor of Great Yarmouth Borough.

Another ballot needed over BID

I am a small local business and like many others I have no previous knowledge of the BID tourism tax. I have not received any letters about this and protest at being bullied into paying a fee for which I will get no benefit.

I phoned the BID enquiry office and left a message as no-one was available and they did return my call. What I really wanted to know was how many businesses are there in the borough? How many actually knew anything about this before the bill landed on their mat? How many attended the meeting and how many voted? What was the outcome of the vote?

If only 10pc of the businesses voted and they had 100pc yes vote this still means only 10pc have agreed, so how can this be fair? I was informed that apparently only a very small number of businesses are saying they didn’t know anything about this tax. Well, I personally know many.

I would like to suggest if the council is confident this is the case let’s have a re-vote now everyone is aware of the situation!

From what I understand this is to encourage people to visit Great Yarmouth but when they get here what will they see - just empty shops!

Why doesn’t the Mercury hold its own vote and see what happens? For once let’s all stand together and say no, we wont be bullied and refuse to pay the bill as I have no intention of paying mine. See you all in court!



Tom paves way for junior brass

I was pleased to read that Tom Poulson, internationally acclaimed trumpeter, will be performing at St Andrew’s Church in Gorleston tonight, December 12. He is a former member of Great Yarmouth Brass, having played in both the Youth and Senior Band.

On the same evening, at 6.45pm, members of GYB Future Brass (Training Band) hold an informal Christmas concert at Gorleston Baptist Church.

Admission is free. All are welcome.

This will be followed by an open rehearsal of the GYB Future Brass (Youth Band). Who knows, one of the beginners in the Training Band could perhaps follow in Tom’s footsteps?


GYB Future Brass Training Team

Have you got Cockrill’s work?

My great uncle John Cockrill, borough surveyor to Great Yarmouth and creator of many landmarks in the area, printed a book of his drawings which sadly my father John Ling gave away to a young local architect.

I am looking for that architect. My family would love to see this large book of drawings.

I can be contacted by email at



Wives still need food and clothes

Why is it that when a lady gives up work to look after her children, her husband gets no allowances to maintain her.

Does she suddenly not need feeding?

Does she never need new clothes? I expect her waist line has changed during pregnancy!

No wonder there is poverty among the working classes.

The man (husband) has to share his allowances with his wife.

Why was the “married man’s allowance” stopped?

A sensible answer would be appreciated.

NB This fact has been confirmed by the tax office



Cheaper solution to Acle Straight?

My son Richard, formerly a car mechanic and now oil working engineer, came up with a good idea for the sake of the safety aspect on the Acle Straight.

He suggests making it a no-overtaking road with a solid white line down the middle and a couple of police cameras at strategic places.

Anyone abusing this new rule would of course be heavily fined.

This would be minimal cost but hopefully reduce accident figures?


Borough councillor Central and Northgate ward

Parties jostle as election looms

The Conservatives have long told us that there is no money. They set out to abolish the public government spending deficit.

They failed to do so. Suddenly with the general election looming, huge spending plans are announced. Our borough gets nowhere near the funds needed.

Suddenly, the NHS needs and gets extra funding-not enough given the pressures on A&E, ambulances and the mental health and care for elderly services. This, after millions have been spent on redundancies and a re-organisation.

Suddenly, extra funding for coastal erosion and flood defences are in the headlines having been cut earlier and part of Hemsby has disappeared. Caister flood risk seems to be forgotten.

Suddenly with the election looming, the A47 can be partially upgraded which should have been done years ago - 1971 perhaps?

In spite of high profile government visitors only parts have committed funds and Yarmouth virtually misses out again. The Runham junction funding merely corrects past design mistakes and failure to upgrade the suspension bridge. How much will it cost to replace signage on the route to Lowestoft - what a farce! What on earth will crash barriers along the length of the Acle New Road look like? Surely the A47 in Norfolk needs dualling if we are to be truly connected?

The Conservatives promise tax cuts and all this spending, so what will be cut to make up the funding gaps? One commentator suggests services will be at the level of the 1930s.

I wonder what hidden cuts are in line like last week’s hidden announcement that the poorest one million means tested pensioners are to get just an 89p increase in their pensions.

Meanwhile, locally we have a big test of politicians and can we trust manifestos? The local Tories promised that “the Caister car park would be completely free for use and two hours free car parking in many town centre car parks”. UKIP, at their national conference condemned car park charges as a cash cow for councils and would tackle the issue. Will they deliver?

Meanwhile, Labour have yet to convince many people that they have the answers or any real plans and the Lib Dems lost credibility by dumping their policy on student fees and NHS reforms. UKIP policies are unclear apart from leaving the EC and cutting immigration. The General Election will be an interesting time.


Victoria Street,


Dualling of road is only option

Whilst I warmly welcome the news about proposed works to improve the Vauxhall roundabout junction in Yarmouth I was dismayed to see Brandon Lewis MP’s quote in last week’s Mercury (December 5) to the effect that the “safety scheme” proposed for the Acle Straight might “rule out any need for dualling.”

It makes it even more important that the county council when it meets on December 15 re-affirms its strong support for the dualling of the A47 Acle Straight between Great Yarmouth and Acle and pledges to do all in its power to ensure that this project is progressed into the Government’s Highways Programme.

Nothing less that its dualling can prevent the needless deaths and injury accidents on this road or give the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft coastal areas the dual carriageway linkage to Britain’s motorway network that they so badly need in order to attract new industrial investment.

Just this year we have had a fatality and many serious injuries and accidents on January 21, March 14, April 17, June 21, June 23, July 4, July 8, September 1, September 7 and October 31 – and the year isn’t over yet.

All too frequently the Acle Straight has been totally closed to traffic and that isn’t good for local business either.

Although superficially attractive the idea of “road widening” suggested by Brandon Lewis as an alternative would make things even worse - generating a year or more of total blight on traffic in and out of Yarmouth.

Work on a dual carriageway by comparison would leave the present road open as usual throughout the construction period.

Under the last Labour Government we saw a lot of money spent on a well-meaning but ineffectual “safety scheme” of white lines, coloured cats-eyes and speed signs.

Money this time would be better spent on getting on with the design and development work required to get the Acle Straight dualling project into a “shovel ready” scheme worthy of funding in the next round of A47 improvements.

To this end the county council should designate the narrow strip of grazing land between the existing roadway and the Yarmouth to Acle railway line as a “highways corridor” capable of accommodating the construction of this much-needed dual carriageway without undue detriment to the Broads landscape. Furthermore the council should engage with partner agencies to get an agreed road alignment at the Acle roundabout end of the road to satisfy any concerns as to its proximity to the Damgate Marshes SSSI.


Town Wall Road

County Councillor for Yarmouth North & Central

Sanctions often not deserved

I refer to the letter from Andrew Grant in last week’s Mercury (Celebrate the fall in

unemployed). I was startled and alarmed by the harsh and unfeeling tone of his letter.

I sincerely hope he has read and digested the report, sponsored by the Archbishop of Canterbury and an all party of MPs that ‘hunger stalks this country.’

It appears universally agreed that benefit reform plays a significant part in this awful indictment.

Sanctions issued to people are not always deserved, contrary to his sweeping generalisation and are handed out for petty and trivial reasons. I quote a comment from the inquiry team: ‘One man was sanctioned for writing on the wrong side of a form’.

I have also been reliably informed that hospital appointments clashing with Job Centre ones can attract a punishment if a claimant puts his or her health first.

I am not even castigating the staff that have to issue these punitive sanctions, but I am laying the blame at the door of the Government. It is a worthy and necessary ideal to gain employment for all, but at what cost?

I have no argument either with the fact that welfare reform had to take place but I feel this government has thrown the baby out with the bath water and watched him drown in draconian and tough measures which negate all our compassionate and caring ethos.

So I suggest Mr Grant that you reflect on a quote from one of the most moving and well loved books of all time To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee and reflect on this phrase ‘You never understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... until you climb into his skin and walk around in it’. Because things are not as black and white as they may first appear in any given situation.



Hospital care was wonderful

In the past few weeks I have twice been a patient in the day care unit at the James Paget Hospital, each for different reasons.

Through The Mercury I would just like to say a big thank you to the theatre personnel the nurses in the recovery room, the nurses on the ward, and the cleaners for the wonderful job you all do.

A big thank you to you all.

D Storey

Larch Drive


BID tax cannot be right or legal

How BID chairman David Marsh can say that a re-vote is not on the table because it would be illegal to do so just beggars belief because I would have thought that the opposite would be true.

Many businesses did not receive the four letters they were supposed to have had, so therefore were unaware of what was going on and never had the opportunity to respond and never knew anything about it until they received a bill through their door.

I cannot see how that can be right or legal, plus of course most of these businesses will not benefit at all from this BID idea so why should they pay?

You are holding businesses to ransom with this unfair tax Mr Marsh and a legal challenge needs to be mounted.


Leman Road,


First we knew was pay demand

Myself and several others, and by several others I understand it to be in the hundreds, have never received any correspondence from the Great Yarmouth Tourist Authority with reference to this new BID levy, let alone a ballot form.

The first most people knew, including myself, was when the borough council presented a bill for the amount they say is due.

It seems quite obvious to me that the correspondence was never sent out to the amount of business ratepayers that the Tourist Authority stated, whether this was intentional, to guarantee the result they required, or their chosen means of postage was not carried out correctly.

Had I been given the opportunity to have my say in the process, I would have voted against the BID. I pay in excess of £100k in business rates every year, and all the ideas that the Tourist Authority have put forward for the funding should be included in the rates that I already pay.

The only way to create more business is to provide lots of free parking, and not try to keep visitors and shoppers out.

I personally have invested more than £300,000 in the Regent Road Indoor Market in the last 24 months, (obviously to carry my own business forward) and don’t feel inclined to spend my own hard earned money supporting those who don’t. I know these to be the thoughts of a majority of the business people of our town.

A large majority of our tourist industry do invest a lot of money in their businesses and are right to be proud of the results.

With regards to the chairman’s comments that he was expecting these comments once bills hit the doormats, and his further remark, that there would not be a re-ballot is absurd, as it’s obvious that something has gone seriously wrong whether illegally or by accident.

In light of the above remarks, whatever the result of a further ballot, I will abide with the decision of the business ratepayers of Great Yarmouth, but not in its current form.


Regent Road Indoor Market

Better Furniture Great Yarmouth.

Debt of gratitude to the fallen

I’m not an overly religious person but equally neither an atheist.

Just a person who cares to remember, and say a massive thank you to the past, present and future soldiers.

I quote again: Our thoughts and prayers go out to the past, present, and future soldiers of our armed forces.

May God live with the fallen and look over the ones that fight on. May we never forget the ultimate sacrifice the fallen have given to keep us safe.

Keep the loved ones they left behind in our thoughts and say a prayer for them each and every day and hope by days past that their pain may get easier but, their thoughts never die.

Thank you for the service they provide to keep my family safe everyday.

As was reported in the Mercury last week Cpl William John Bilyard, known as John, served with the 4th Btn Royal Norfolk Regiment.

A former prisoner-of-war who was instrumental in the creation of a unique memorial in Great Yarmouth has died aged 93 – just weeks after laying a wreath at the Remembrance service in the town.

Thank you Cpl William John Bilyard.


Clarence Road,


It’s true! Caister babies don’t

I was amused to read the letter last week expressing shock at a claim made about the babies of Caister.

As Rector in Caister, I have baptised many hundred of Caister babies over the last twenty years and I am very glad to say that I cannot recall a single occasion when one of them has thrown up on me. Whether their parents have always been so fortunate is another matter.

I would also note from experience, that the present Caister lifeboat gives a much warmer, dryer and faster ride than its predecessor whilst being far less challenging to your internal equilibrium.


The Rectory

Caister on Sea

We made a go of it with no help

With regard to the BID levy on local businesses I have a few comments to make.

All the years that my family business W Della-Spina & Co was along the Gorleston seafront we had to contend with near floods, several major sewage works, gas pipes, sand erosion, tanker oil spill disaster, gradual disrepair leading to the closure and removal of the swimming pool and finally the council’s indifference to the seafront.

I find this tax to support Yarmouth’s tourism is an affront to “most” small businesses in Gorleston.

In our case we didn’t court any help or publicity, it took years of hard work, investment and most of all innovation and ideas to create a successful business.

Most of our trade/income came from “locals” from Norwich, Lowestoft, Gorleston and the surrounding area, and dare I state even from Yarmouth.

To ask local busineses ie pubs, butchers, hairdressers, small retail shops to pay this levy in these economic hard times is ludicrous.

In a way I am sorry to have retired because I meet quite a few locals that are disappointed that the family business is no longer there.

The BID nonsense however moderated my regret and all credit to those who refuse to pay.