Missed golden opportunity

I HAVE read all the letters, seen the signs, and signed the petition about sand and gravel extraction from Fritton Woods, but what a missed golden opportunity to leave for the future.

I HAVE read all the letters, seen the signs, and signed the petition about sand and gravel extraction from Fritton Woods, but what a missed golden opportunity to leave for the future. I have been walking the woods at all times of day and in all weathers for over 20 years through four generations of dogs, I am also a keen naturalist, I don't miss much! But I have to say when comparing these unique walks on cold, bright, windy days this plantation is almost sterile considering the amount of trees and area involved. Yes, I hear the birds high up in the canopy and the rustle of a squirrel, also one deer years ago.

Now consider this, you are walking through the trees, and as you walk out into an open space you are confronted by a beautiful lake or a large pond which is part of a network of ponds and lakes dotted about in the trees, because this would be the legacy and result of carefully monitored extraction of sand/gravel (see Aldeby fishing pits, Burgh fishing ponds).

Close your eyes, open your mind; what a wonderful place to visit in five to 10 years time. Some lakes put over to fishing only, others left to natural growth, as and when the contractor finishes, landscaping pond walls to suit all types of aquatic life. They could be clay lined, and water pumped from the river initially to fill, at the loss of only a few trees but gaining an area for us all to enjoy, throw in a couple of log cabin style tea rooms what more would you want.

As for the residents who live on the approach road, a small coalmine-type train takes the gravel out through the trees over to the A143 where large lorries are loaded safely and quietly.


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Please don't knee-jerk about these thoughts, think about it and the future, it's a win-win for every party concerned. Your local council will tell you there are many organisations and grants only too keen to get involved in such projects. Remember these trees are a crop and will all come down to make wood pulp one day anyway.

MICHAEL GRAYSTONE

Most Read

Wensum Way

Belton

RE: Proposed aggregate pit to replace the Waveney Forest, Fritton. I am a student at the UEA and I want all your readers to know that according to CPRE, Campaign to Protect Rural England, the people who have the least tranquillity in the whole of East Anglia live in the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft area.

I will give you three guesses as to who uses the Waveney Forest the most for their little piece of tranquillity, relaxation and exercise - the people of Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and the surrounding towns and villages such as Beccles, Bungay, Somerleyton, Oulton, Belton, Bradwell. I could go on and on as I have seen some of the petition addresses.

I live in one of the other “least tranquil zones” in East Anglia and spend much of my free time de-stressing and enjoying the peacefulness of Fritton Woods/Waveney Forest. It is amazingly calming and so beneficial to us all. A little piece of heaven on earth.

Tranquillity is vital if we want to live healthy lives and to give permission for huge, heavily-laden trucks to thunder through the small Broadland villages of Bradwell, Fritton St Olaves and Haddiscoe would seriously threaten many healthy lives. Would be madness in fact.

These are the two reasons why I do not think permission for any aggregate yard/concrete works/pit should be given.

Miss CHARLEY BURTON

Cutler Way

Chapel Break, Norwich

I WOULD like to reassure council house tenants in Great Yarmouth and Waveney following last week's article about the petition begun by the Shrublands Tenants and Residents Association.

If a single unitary council serving Norfolk and Lowestoft is ever created, the new council will take over responsibility for housing and become the new landlord. Staff who deal with housing at the moment at the district councils will transfer to the new authority. Clearly, any proposal about the long-term future of council homes would be for the new authority and its elected members to consider. However, it should be borne in mind that no council - unitary or otherwise - can impose a change of ownership without a ballot of tenants themselves - a majority of whom would have to approve any transfer of housing stock.

I recognise the issue of local government reorganisation has generated much debate, but I would urge people to bear crucial evidence such as this in mind, before deciding whether or not to sign any petition.

DANIEL COX

Leader of Norfolk County Council

FOLLOWING the headline “Free swimming hopes are torpedoed,” I for one am glad our council is making a stand against this government's idea of allowing free swimming for the over 60s. In my opinion, the government's “rob Peter to pay Paul” policies are damaging the whole infrastructure of the country and its people.

I am a pensioner who had my pension savings pot reduced when the government started to tax life and pension insurance companies: the result - I get less pension. To compensate me, the government pay me a Pension Credit. I would have rather had a better private pension and see the insurance companies flourish.

The same seems to have happened with the Family Tax Credit idea. Instead of applying grades of tax and allowances to fit incomes of families, young families are forced to make tax credit claims (which are open to abuse by criminals). I came through an age of living within our means. We had a sense of pride for achieving our endeavours as a family together.

I think more people are realising the government cannot keep throwing money at it to keep us on their side, and the way forward is to spend a little and invest a lot.

Name and address withheld

IN December 2007, I telephoned the street lighting department at the council concerning a lamp standard in the area where Oriel Avenue meets Rambouillet Close, in Gorleston, erected over two years ago, in place of one damaged in an accident. The stump of the old lamp is still there and there has never been a light on the new one. They apologised, but nothing was done.

I saw my local councillor, who enquired at the council and was told an engineer would investigate in two of three days time. Again nothing was done.

I then went to the council offices on Magdalen Way, from where the lighting department were telephoned and was told (this was not April 1) the reason there was no light was because there was no supply to the standard.

The supply to the old standard was only half a metre from the new one, so was there no-one capable of connecting it up?

With the dark nights coming on, are we once again going to put up with this lack of lighting? We are told to report lamps that are out, but what is the good if nothing is done?

Incidentally, about six weeks ago the council did some work on the road in the same area, and failed to collect the cones and boards used. I once again telephoned them and they thanked me and said they would be collected. They are still there, but have now been thrown into the bushes at the corner of the green area and left to rot. This is such bad management.

J HOWES

Sheldonian Court

Gorleston

THE Darby's Hard area is again under threat from a development that will help mar more of this area of historical, social and aesthetic value of our town.

The development isn't large but could have a huge impact on the historical value and the look of the last area in the town of natural river bank. Once an area of boatbuilding, from where it gets its name and connected to Hewett's Short Blue fishing fleet which was once the largest fleet in the world and presided over by probably one of the oldest buildings in Gorleston and once a pub called the Rising Sun.

The area is planned to be a continuation of the High Street conservation area, such is its value to protect it for future generations to enjoy and understand how our ancestors lived.

This is a plea to all Gorleston councillors after the Riverside development debate, when they suggested that they didn't really agree but did nothing to support residents in saving the area from over-development and it was left to residents themselves to fight it and win. Please, please, this time show your support for the historical value of an area which is under threat in the in town you represent.

DENNIS DURRANT

Brett Avenue

Gorleston

WHILE I accept there must be some disruption within the Market Gates shopping complex during the current extension works, I am concerned for the safety of those members of the general public who use the multi-storey car park.

Over recent weeks the number of contractor's vehicles, fork lift trucks and other plant items has increased adding further traffic within the car park. While this is happening several of the staircase access doors are closed off due to on-going work.

My concern is that the current situation requires both members of the general public and contractor's personnel walking up and down the inter-floor ramps whilst traffic is also using these same ramps. This is an obvious safety hazard and possibly a serious accident waiting to happen.

Both the main contractor and the owners of the shopping complex are jointly responsible and should have made satisfactory arrangements for segregation of foot traffic and vehicular traffic to avoid the present situation.

L W TURNBULL

Staithe Road

Martham

READERS may be interested to know that items from this newspaper are reproduced in audio form for blind and partially sighted people. Talking Newspapers keep visually impaired people in touch with the local talking points and the service is run by volunteers. Talking Newspaper Week (September 14-20) is an opportunity for TN groups to highlight what they do and if you know of anyone who would like to receive this free service, please contact me on 01953 605434, for details of your local organisation. Alternatively, visit the Talking News Federation website www.tnf.org.uk.

TONY VALE

Talking News Federation

Sycamore Avenue

Wymondham

GORLESTON is becoming so lawless. On Sunday afternoon I had popped out to buy some chocolate and a tin of fruit at the shop near our house when I was accosted by a 15-strong gang of youths wanting me to buy them cigarettes. When I refused I thought they were going to attack me and was saved by one boy who said, seeing my ashen face, 'Leave her alone'.

My father, who I am looking after, has now forbidden me to go to this shop on Sundays and wants me to keep entirely to the main road.

Name and address withheld

THIS letter is for the hoodie who spat on me while I was in the queue waiting for the 1A Martham bus in Market Gates bus station on Thursday afternoon. This may have been a prank to you and your mates, but if you stopped to think you would realise how this made me feel. I felt dirty and violated and close to tears. Think again next time, it may happen to you when you're a grown up! Also to the First bus driver to who I reported it to. What was his reply? “Tut”. They wonder why we don't want to use public transport!

GILLIAN RUSTED

Thurlton

WELL done once again to the borough council - this time for allowing Tesco Express to be built on Beccles Road, Belton, and have total disregard for small business. It's knocking yet another nail into the coffin of small business who are trying to scrape a living and provide a service to the community. However, we should have known that after the last two years of dealing with our local council we have yet to see them do anything right. And now we can see why this town is on its knees.

R LEAR and K DARBY

Almond Bakery

Gorleston

SHARED surfaces - a shared problem. The development of new 'shared surface' areas in towns and cities across the country is putting the lives and safety of blind and partially sighted people at risk. Shared surfaces are where roads and pavements are constructed at the same level.

I am keen that readers of your newspaper speak out against this new blight on town planning. Local Authorities are going ahead with 'shared surface' projects without taking into account the effect that they have, not just on blind and partially sighted people but on other groups in our communities. Guide Dogs thorough research has demonstrated that these new 'shared surface' developments are becoming 'no go' areas for many and that people fear for their safety in trying to negotiate their way through cars, lorries, cyclists and other road users.

Shared surfaces rely on negotiating priority and movement between vehicles and pedestrians through 'eye contact', this puts blind and partially sighted people at an immediate disadvantage.

We are not against the principles of the shared space concept but there is a massive difference when you introduce a 'shared surface'. From childhood we are all taught to 'stop at the kerb'. When you introduce designs with no kerb then we are all put at risk and safety concerns go beyond visually impaired pedestrians, to older people, children and those with other disabilities.

I hope your readers will join our campaign by either writing to your letters pages or the local council. Further information can be found at www.guidedogs.org.uk/sharedsurfaces or by phoning 0800 028 4348.

TOM PEY

Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

IN reply to last week's Bradwell resident, complaining of parking on footpaths: Firstly, according to the Oxford English Dictionary - footpath means “a path for people to walk along, especially a right of way in the countryside.”

In the Highway Code, rule 218 states: “Do not park partially or wholly on the pavement unless signs permit it.” There are no signs in Bradwell which permit parking on footpaths.

The police or local council could enforce rule 218. However, having witnessed a police riot van parked on the footpath, not on an emergency call, this obviously isn't going to happen.

Most footpaths in Bradwell are in such a poor state of repair, they are no longer fit for their purpose. It's just a matter of time before someone trips, injures themselves and then takes legal action.

Recently, I was running along Mill Lane, wearing a bright yellow fluorescent vest, when a car passed by. The lady driver then decided to drive fully onto the footpath, in order that she could reverse into her driveway and not hold up traffic. Strangely, considering it's a footpath, I had to quickly move out of her way to avoid being run over.

This incident wasn't a one-off. Other drivers have pulled into and out of their driveways even though they have seen me. Maybe my fluorescent vest is actually an invisibility cloak? Whether these drivers like it or not, pedestrians have right of way.

I am a (lady) car driver and I never park or drive on a footpath. It is dangerous and inconsiderate to others. Anyone who chooses to drive and park in such a manner has no social conscience.

But I would like to say “thank you” to those drivers who do show consideration and give way. You are few and far between.

Name withheld

Bradwell

VENETIA Spink is quite right. You would expect to be able to use breakfast cereal vouchers for free sport locally. In the same way as the government aims for free swimming facilities for the over-60's.

However, that is to overlook the way our wonderful borough council thinks. The collective function of the population of “Great” Yarmouth and surrounding villages is merely to finance the holiday market. We are not worthy of sharing the precious facilities of the council. The councillors are so blinkered by tourism that they forget the people that pay for it.

The recent television advert is a case in point, it probably did make sound commercial sense, but what benefit was it to us council tax payers.

Finally when will the council finally come clean about their intentions for the Marina Centre? Still, looking on the bright side the Boundary Commission might just beat them to it.

JIM MALLARD

Beach Road

Winterton-on-Sea

ON September 19, 2009 it will be exactly 50 years since our four form intake of 1959 from all parts of the old county borough, from Lothingland, Blofield and Flegg and East and West Fleggs assembled at Salisbury Road for the very first time, and with mixed emotions after first bell, trooped inside, through the juniors' entrance, to begin our pupilage as Great Yarmouth Grammar Schoolboys.

David Rich (6, The Fairway, Links Road, Gorleston, Great Yarmouth Norfolk NR31 6JS 01493 442953) organises and welcomes all old boys and girls to convivial and enjoyable annual school reunion dinners but the year of 1959 has never indulged itself with any kind of re-assembly.

In emulation of the splendid examples of other year groups, most recently that of the “Class of 1961” and in the fervent hope of achieving a measure of their success we, the undersigned, trust that it will not be perceived as overly presumptuous if we four attempt to kick-start the process of promoting a self-financing reunion for our year on Saturday, September 12, 2009.

We call on and invite all former contemporary members of staff; former members of forms 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D of September 14, 1959 and all other old boys who joined the year group or shared their own time with us at any subsequent point between. September 14, 1959 until its demise in July 1966 to indicate and confirm support for a reunion provisionally booked at the Masonic Royal Assembly Rooms, Albert Square, Great Yarmouth.

The envisaged format would be an informal general gathering from mid to late afternoon with tea, coffee and biscuits available and bar facilities for at least some of the time followed seamlessly by a formal three-course dinner plus coffee early evening.

The likely cost is of the order of £16 per ticket. None of this is written in stone and special dietary requirements can be accommodated. We hope none of this provisional detail will discourage anybody but on the contrary will prompt a healthy response.

Anyone of us will be delighted to hear from you: Trevor Nettleship, Hollycroft, 5 South Walsham Road, Acle NR13 3EA, (01493) 754989, email: eastern_trev@yahoo.co.uk; Kevin Reynolds, 7 Queensway, Caister-on-Sea, NR30 5AF, (01493) 720897, office (01493) 844308, email: kreynolds@englandandco.co.uk; Cllr Tony Smith, 1 Paston Drive, Caister-on-Sea NR30 5QG, (01493) 728205/07760 166348, email: tony@thetearooms.co.uk; Gunther Young, 23 Park View Avenue, Rollesby NR29 5DZ, (01493) 748297/07765 798210, email: d-gyoung@tiscali.co.uk.

TREVOR NETTLESHIP

KEVIN REYNOLDS

Cllr TONY SMITH

GUNTHER YOUNG

IT was a pleasure to visit Stradbroke Primary School when they celebrated the Heritage Weekend (September 13 and 14). Visitors were made welcome by the headmistress and members of the Friends of Stradbroke School who gave their time for the event.

There was a slide show on Saturday with lots of interesting photographs of Gorleston past and present and an Open Day on Sunday when members of the public could tour the school and look at photographs of past pupils of the school. The school has a very large collection of photographs and several older visitors enjoyed hunting for class groups in their days at the school and spotting classmates they remembered. Thanks to Mrs Winterton and her team for opening their lovely school for friends and neighbours on this occasion.

Ms DOREEN R FEUELL

Church Road

Gorleston

ON Tuesday, September 16, a couple of caring people came into the shop to let us know that a cat had been hit by a car near the Tesco roundabout. As they were on foot they couldn't move it so came into the shop to get help. We took it to the Gorleston Veterinary Hospital where its injuries are being attended to.

It is a black female cat with white tips to paws, white stripe down nose and wearing a red collar. For details call 07983 229456.

Somebody may be very worried about a missing pet so please pass this information on to others.

It is awful that the cat lay there for a long while before the kind couple notified us.

If you accidentally hit a cat on the road please have the compassion to stop.

Mrs JOANNE ROBINS

Great Yarmouth Against Animal Cruelty

FOR the last week or two, I have been musing over Cllr M Castle's article in the Mercury, August 29, and cannot understand the points he is trying to make or fathom his stance on parking.

Do I understand him to say that the Tories are for pay-parking and the Labour group is not after crowing about the Tories forced u-turn on Gorleston cliff's parking, and that Cllr Marie Field does not have his support in trying to get free parking for the residents of Caister? That the Labour group has no intention of removing existing parking charges? That he is most adamant charges will not be removed here, meaning Yarmouth? That he will continue to maintain the quality of life for residents here (Yarmouth) with the introduction of more residents-only parking zones, to the detriment of the general quality of life for the rest of borough residents?

I think I must have got something wrong with regard to local government. I thought it was the controlling Tory group who finally decides what is good or bad for the borough such as residents-only zones, but I stand to be corrected on this political point.

Am I also correct in understanding that Cllr Castle is in favour of what can only be described as an enclave-type approach to the ward system operating within the borough by invoking the “stay out of our street” mentality?

If this be the case I don't give much for Yarmouth's future chances as a unified town; and where does it end? Especially if you fail to consider the best interest and quality of life of borough residents as a whole and ignore the feeling of being disenfranchised, experienced by many of those who have no choice but to drive into town only to be confronted by pay-parking or parking zones.

I agree totally with Cllr Castle's view that it is hard to please all the people all of the time, but I am sure there are many who have great difficulty understanding why a councillor would want to alienate holidaymakers and deny them access to this holiday industry by removing the possibility of parking anywhere near it, particularly when the town is so financially dependent on this trade.

There must be another reason why Cllr Castle wants to deter people, including borough residents from outside the town centre, coming here to shop etc, but I personally can't think of it.

Oh yes, one more thing, as parking is still such an emotive issue in these columns. People with blue badge disabled parking tickets might be interested to know that they can park in residents-only parking zones without fear of being penalised as can motorcyclists. Motorists, unfortunately, can only park in the designated residents-only parking zones between the hours of 6pm and 8am, all confirmed by GYBC parking department.

The question still unanswered is why these good ideas appear to be such a secret as no signs, to my knowledge, exist displaying this information. Enlightenment please.

T ANDREWS

Northern Close

Caister

ends

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