Reader Letters, March 23 2017

Winds are heading our way

Having just slouched through a pretty severe winter, which I predicted would be bad in the Mercury of December 23, now as we enter the period of the Spring Equinox I would like to make a further weather prediction.

We should now be heading for a spell of reasonable weather for the next six months.

But due to the erratic action of a displaced jet stream, which is going to interfere with equinoctial gales prevalent during this period, I am going to predict some very strong winds.


Gonville Road,


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Shock at chalet tax increase

Back in November you ran a story in the Mercury about the council tax increase on holiday homes, caravans, chalets etc. Great Yarmouth Borough Council decreased the 50pc discount to 10pc.

My council tax bill for my holiday chalet arrived today. I normally pay monthly and the payment has increased from £53 to £95 per month for seven months as the site, Winterton Valley Estate, is only open for seven months of the year.

I expect many owners are having a shock when they see their bills. I rang GYBC today to try and provide a break down of the costs etc but they only offered to take payment over 10 months. Not really that helpful.



Dog mess is ruining village

I would like to make a complaint about the amount of dog mess in Hopton. Especially on Station Road path ways this last few weeks. One day a couple weeks ago there was even a lovely little trail for us to follow.

But the reason I write this email to you is as an angry mother this morning because on the way to school yesterday my little boy accidentally trod in delightful dog mess bang smack in the middle and he was mortified bless him.

It took me 15 minutes to clear every groove of his shoe outside the school. So today I thought we would walk on the other side of the road to miss this mess if still there (which it has been for a couple of days) and low and behold my little girl hop, skipping and jumping landed in yep you guessed it more dog mess.

Thankfully not getting the full brunt of it this time but enough to have to take her shoes off at arrival at school. Call us unlucky two days in a row as we normally miss these delightful little presents left by the charming dog owners. I write this letter in humour, however I am truly fed up with dog fouling around Hopton, including the field area of the park ( but that’s another story).

I know not all dog owners are guilty and so it is hard for you to act unless you see this happening.

The route I take is a school route so it definitely needs monitoring in my opinion. Whether it is more signage we need, I’m not sure but please something needs to be done.



Praise for my councillor

My image of a town councillor never got further than someone whose sole purpose was to attain a swanky cabinet rank and be first in line to submit an expense sheet.

But I have had a career out of being wrong and I’ve just been proven wrong again.

I had an issue with the council and decided to call my Gorleston ward councillor to see if she could help - yeah, right that would be the day.

This lady spoke to me on the phone for over half an hour and said she would contact the appropriate department herself - yeah, right again.

But I received a letter from the town hall explaining the whys and wherefores of my moan and then the same lady councillor called me again to see if I was satisfied with the answer.

Now this sweet caring lady wants to stand in the upcoming county council elections and if successful her main aim would be to get more funding for the vulnerable and disadvantaged among us. I am certain she would be very successful in this. She deserves a chance.

Forget politics and remember her name - Kay Grey.



Crocus planting marks polio fight

In the years following the 2nd World War Polio, (Poliomyelitis), was a virus which took lives, usually of young people, all over the world. T

he virus was as old as time and affected a person’s muscles.

In some cases, arms and legs were paralysed. In other cases, breathing muscles were paralysed and early artificial breathing machines had to be invented, they were called Iron Lungs and a person’s whole body, with the exception of their head, was enclosed, breathing was simulated by air pressure ‘pumping’ the chest much like today’s cardiac massage.

A person’s breathing might have to be assisted for years.

In the 1950s came the Salk vaccine, the first effective polio preventive.

Very quickly the developed world adopted the vaccine and all babies are now routinely vaccinated.

However, third world countries like India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and many African countries remained at risk.

In 1988 The World Health Organisation together with the Rotary Foundation began a programme of vaccination in the affected countries. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, injected millions of dollars into the campaign which Rotary clubs worldwide have matched.

The eradication campaign has succeeded in reducing the number of recorded cases from the hundreds of thousands worldwide to only some 100 in 2015.

The world is now on the verge of eliminating polio. When it is eliminated it will join Smallpox and Rinderpest as the only three mass killers of people and animals to be eliminated.

In celebration of this almost eradication and of the major part played by Rotary clubs all around the world, local Rotary Clubs are planting Crocus Bulbs at prominent locations in all our towns and cities. Next time you struggle round the Gapton Hall roundabout look at the hundreds of crocuses now showing their heads there, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Great Yarmouth, and say a thank you that a deadly scourge has been lifted from the human race.


Rotary Club of Great Yarmouth,

Highlands Pit Road,


The day police were killed

I am Graham New, a retired Norfolk police sergeant currently living in France.

My wife and I have a friend living in Norfolk who sends us cuttings relating to our various Norfolk interests.

We get a delivery every few months.

In our latest delivery was a cutting relating to an article about a plaque commemorating the death of some special constables. It is to be installed in the police station in Howard Street, Great Yarmouth.

My father, Harold New, retired as Police Superintendent from that police station He had started his police career as a Constable at Great Yarmouth just before the outbreak of the 2nd world war.

He wrote a book for the benefit of his family on his life.

This included a chapter on his police service during the early part of the war at Great Yarmouth.

He was then enlisted into the Royal Navy where he served on an Atlantic Convoy and on Minesweepers in the Mediterranean until demobbed.

He writes the following regarding the death of the Specials:

“On one occasion, two nights in succession, when there were heavy raids on the town I was on the Fishwharf beat, numerous incendiaries were dropped there and high explosives.

A large number of fires were stared and one in particular spread quickly in a Shruff House.

The Germans dropped the incendiaries to start fires so they could see were to bomb.

I took over the Harbour Masters office as the incident post and spent the night in it all on my own.

The fire Brigade was fighting fires just outside and one engine was blown up by bombs killing an Auxiliary Fireman. I didn’t see any Sergeants that night.

My only contact was by the telephone. To be fair I should say that there were lots of other fires that night and that the town centre caught it badly as well.

I was there until about 8am. The next morning on the first night and it wasn’t till then that I found that a Special Constable post not far away had been blown up and all six (he states six not five but no names are mentioned) Specials had been killed.

At 8am that morning I was sent to relieve a security man at the Naval Base. The second night was a repetition of the previous one but not so bad.”

As an aside he also states that he and his wife, my mother, were asleep in bed when in the middle of the night they were awaken by the sound of bombing. They both got up and dressed to go to their respective station; my mother was an auxiliary nurse. They had to pass through the Market Place and could see the Brewery, the Parish Church and a big furniture store were all blazing away.

Just as they got to the Market Place the steeple with the bells in it collapsed sending up huge clouds of sparks and burning debris

Graham New

Via email

Do you know of chalet charges?

I am writing to bring to your attention the fact that Yarmounth/Norfolk councils are putting up the council tax for chalet and caravan owners by approximately 43pc, this includes the increase for this year.

Over the past years, we have only paid 50pc of the council tax as our site is only open seven months of the year.

Also we do not use any council facilities - the site owners maintain both the roads and the lighting, and arrange for private removal of all waste.

This year, the council are now charging 90pc of the council tax for the whole year even despite the above information.

This applies to all chalet and caravan owners right across the region, and will no doubt have a knock on effect on tourism in the area.

It could also affect the value of chalets and caravans, should people decide they need to sell because of the very large increase.


Via email

We need to help child refugees

I read Daniel Candon’s letter in last week’s Mercury with interest about the dilemma of lone child refugees.

I do appreciate where he is coming from, because it is a fact that our country has not always the space or infrastructure to cope with a growing influx of people.

But there is a proviso because I personally consider that in the case of these poor, disenfranchised children fleeing from heinous wars and conflicts comes under the heading of a ‘special case’.

The Dubs amendment allowed for up to 3,000 children to find sanctuary and safety in Britain, which has a good legacy of aiding refugees, for no fault of their own find themselves in dire situations that we cannot imagine.

To close this scheme after allowing a paltry 350 children in, is to my mind iniquitous. I am sorry but you don’t make a promise then renege on it a few months later. The jury is out on the fact that councils were not always contacted to ascertain their capacity for housing these children and seemingly fostering agencies, who were willing and able to help were turned down by the Home Office.

Heidi Adams a very compassionate Conservative MP also tabled a motion in Parliament that councils should

be contacted again but this was narrowly defeated by the Government.

There is a dislocation here because I feel there was never a real desire by this Government and The Home Office to engage fully in this scheme.

Our tradition of bringing children to safety was illustrated by the wonderful Kindertransport, which brought Jewish children to Britain has been sadly let down.

I also somewhat disagree that Britain has stepped up to the plate in aiding refugees, the Government has an excellent record in supplying financial help but the actual provision of housing these men, women and children has left something to be desired.

The Dubs amendment could have been a beacon of light for these children but has been extinguished without leaving the door open, thus in the future facilitating more lone child refugees being allowed to come to our country.

I do agree with Daniel Candon that sometimes it is a hard call when Britain is still suffering from social inequality and our public services have to provide more and more social care with finances from central Government being decimated all the time.

We are still being stalked by the spectre of austerity, which I think in these divisive and demanding post Brexit years might indeed continue for many years to come.

So when it is morally right to say no more?

In this particular instance I think the Government should have explored every possibility of housing lone child refugees and kept this charitable altruistic door ajar, before closing it so finally and abruptly, to children who had dared to hope in a future which could and should be a sustainable and safe one for them.


Winifred Road,


What happened to car charging?

Looking back to past articles in the Great Yarmouth Mercury, it’s been a long, long time since they featured anything to do with electric vehicles.

You have to look back to two articles - ‘Norfolk to spearhead electric car network’ published October 2010 by Shaun Lowthorpe and Ben Kendall: Norfolk firms are at the heart of a revolutionary hi-tech plan to expand the use of electric cars across the East of England and create a network of charging points to help drivers complete their journeys.

And ‘Electric car bid steps up a gear’ published in November 2010 also by Shaun Lowthorpe: An ambitious £7m scheme to promote greener travel in the region by setting up a network of 600 electric vehicle charging points has been delivered to ministers.

What happened to Norfolk’s lead in the electric car revolution? Six and a half years later, nothing.

We are woefully behind other regions. A look at Nottingham shows how it should be done:- New funding allows Nottingham to charge ahead with taxi ambitions. Come on Norfolk County Council pull your finger out!


Via email