Letters: Tortoises never went in shop windows

Tortoises never went in windows

Having collected ornamental tortoises for many years it came the time I was running out of shelf and cabinet space. So out of my 1,200 collection I boxed, packed and parcelled over 600.

My husband and I took them to 12 charity shops in Great Yarmouth and Gorleston. Many times passing these shops we have never noticed any of them on shelves or in the windows, so we purposely went into these same shops.

Not one did we see. This really upset me as I didn’t really want to part with them. They were good and colourful, small to plant pot size and made of wood, marble,brass, glass, onyx. The largest glass one I remember cost £17.40.

We will never give to charity in this area again. In future anything used or new will go in the bin.

Name and Address withheld

Danger drivers on daily basis

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The safety of our children and families to and from school is of paramount importance.

We totally agree with the headteacher of schools with the entrance in Orde Avenue on the Cliff Park Estate and can we add our voice to this and say Cliff Park High School also has illegal and dangerous parking problems because dangerous manoeuvres are witnessed along the south end of Kennedy Avenue on a daily basis.

Parents zoom up onto the pavements/grass verges parking over yellow lines to wait for their children to come out of school or to drop them off in the mornings. Parents do U-turns in the road.

The residents of Kennedy Avenue take a great risk if they come out of their properties at these times. I have spoken with parents that zoom up the pavements but they are still there the next day parking illegally. The verges right along the south end of Kennedy Avenue are ploughed up.

The people that we vote in to represent us are doing nothing to help with this problem. Do we have to wait until a serious accident happens?

Name withheld

Kennedy Avenue,


Crossing needs improvements

Regarding the pedestrian crossing from the old Lowestoft Road to Elmhurst Close in Gorleston, near the Middleton Road roundabout.

I have drawn attention on a number of occasions to the need for improvements here. It is a busy crossing and dangerous crossing. It is used by elderly people as well as schoolchildren.

Local councillors have told me this is part of a local plan though with no time period specified. I also have written on two occasions to the Highways Agency but to no avail.

In the second of these letters, I was careful to describe the site and point out that the footbridge further down was actually some way distant, down a slope and up several flights of steps and therefore of no use to elderly or disabled pedestrians. I received a letter back telling me there was no money and that I should consider using the footbridge!

It now seems there is indeed money, specifically for further works at the Bridge Road and Kennedy Avenue crossings, and also further along at the Links Road roundabout. I believe the figure is £2.8m.

Highways people are understandably not local and therefore rely on locals to point out where work is needed. Why, in that case, is no-one local pointing out to Highways that the Elmhurst crossing could have been included in the current works? It is as if the site has fallen off the map!

I hope someone can inform me of the means to get this matter attended to as it has been decades since the Relief Road was built. It seems only reasonable to expect such a large project be properly finished, and not left in a state of neglect as has been the case for all that time.


Upper Cliff Road


A lovely place to grow up in

As someone who grew up in Gorleston in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s and later became a weather forecaster at the London Weather Centre, I particularly enjoyed reading three consecutive letters in the previous edition of The Mercury (note the fine barometric metaphor).

I have always found it difficult to forecast the weather for longer than about a week but it does depend a lot on the type of existing weather pattern at the time. Thank you anyway to Jack Dye.

Like Peter Riches, I agree that replacing the concrete huts (I prefer not to call concrete monstrosities anything at all connected with the beautiful “beach” we have here), is an extremely bad idea and would completely spoil the look and view from the prom.

As for Mike Spragg’s comment that the press might concentrate on more positive and informative items, I totally agree with Mike and for many years have taken, supported and distributed a newspaper (now magazine) called Positive News. It’s main purpose in life is to counter the negative news overload that we may choose to ignore if we wish.

Finally, I am indebted to the paper itself for including a photo of Gorleston harbour and beach from 1960. I remember it very well - just like that. What a lovely, interesting place to grow up in. I am reminded of a T S Elliot poem.



We’re always at bottom of list

Congratulations to Brandon Lewis on his appointment as Chairman of the Conservative Party.

Let us hope that he can tear himself away from London and spare some time for the people of Yarmouth. The town is looking very sad these days, empty shops, poor market, a lack of decent affordable housing, lack of jobs and a very poor infrastructure.

This part of Norfolk is always at the bottom of the list when it comes to attracting financial help and investment.

So when Brandon Lewis has sorted out the Conservative Party headquarters, a huge job in itself, perhaps he could let us know what his plans are to put the Great back into Yarmouth.


Dover Court,

Caister on Sea

Support group for the limbless

I was recently asked to find a local support group for people who have lost a limb. Finding there is not one, we are holding an “open house” for people who have lost a limb and would like to get together with others who have also lost a limb, to share experiences or just enjoy a cup of tea and chat.

We will be meeting at 1.45pm at The Priory Centre, Priory Plain, Great Yarmouth, NR30 1NW on Monday, January 22. It is open to anyone, you do not need to live in Great Yarmouth to come along. Just turn up, we look forward to seeing you. For details call me on 07747 107910.


Ageless Opportunities project worker

Great Yarmouth Community Trust

Grateful for my aunt’s treatment

I would like through your columns to express my gratitude to the ambulance staff and paramedics who responded so promptly to my call for assistance for my aunt before Christmas.

Further, I wish to thank all the dedicated staff of A&E department who looked after my aunt and also the staff of EADU and Ward 12 where she received consummate care. I also wish to thank staff on Minsmere Ward at Beccles Hospital where my aunt has benefited from physiotherapy. At a time when the NHS is under stress the JPUH has again been magnificent. I am profoundly grateful for the kindness, care and compassion shown by all.


Addison Road,


Ports sadly not ready for Brexit

Mr John L Cooper claims that we should have a ferry service to take us to-and-from the EU we are in the process of leaving.

Although he probably wishes it to be a one-way service for all those members of our community he wishes to “send back”, he ought to be more concerned with the fact that the UK’s existing ports are so woefully unprepared for leaving the Customs Union that the Port of Dover is openly warning us to prepare for “Armageddon”.

We all know from his letters that he has enough to worry about without inviting what is already being described as a “multi-billion-pound catastrophe for Britain’s trading systems and infrastructure” into South Denes.


Great Yarmouth and Vienna

Wildlife habitat must be saved

The destruction of the ecosystem of Belton Common brought about by any major landscaping operations would be irrecoverable. The impact on the life-cycle of the hundreds of insect species would result in the local extinction of this diverse and crucial structure of the complex food chain and the sustainability of all other life forms, namely reptiles, birds and mammals. The loss of individual habitat for many nationally endangered species of bird would be catastrophic. It would be impossible to preserve or recreate this highly complex ecosystem of the only vestige of coastal heath land to remain in this parish. This valuable natural asset should be preserved for posterity, not absorbed for commercial prosperity.


Sandy Lane,


Football club should clean up

I’m fed up with people moaning about the dog mess on our Common. All the rubbish, trash and plastic bottles being left by footballers every weekend on Southtown Common is terrible. It must be the manager of the football club’s job to make sure his club at least pick all the rubbish up before they leave the Common. They have no respect at all. The club should be fined for leaving such mess just as dog walkers are fined for leaving dog mess.


via Facebook

Don’t put huts on the beach!

Re beach huts at Gorleston. My great uncle A G Dye had 200 of them until 1951.

Let’s get the taps back along the seawall, as long as the beach does not erode up and down between seasons we can use them again next year.

Uncle Alfred also had a number of tents which had to have the canvas taken off their structures each night just in case a wind got up and played havoc with them. The beach huts had to be checked each evening to see that all doors were secure.

Board walks also had to be securely anchored which would make no difference if there was an unexpected high tide. Beach huts on the beach these days is not a good idea.


Gonville Road,


World used to be a kinder place

For people who have on occasion accused me of looking at the past with rose-tinted glasses, I suggest they should have a closer look at their local newspaper past and present.

For instance we did not get held up by car-jackers at knifepoint while visiting our local beauty spot, when trees were cut down in our local forest they were soon replaced and we did not have to wade through industrial scale rubbish and litter. Neither did we have to dodge four-wheel drive vehicles and mountain bikes and motorbikes; the only thing we had to dodge was young ladies on horses.

We did not have to listen to shouting and swearing and pop music, instead there was a friendly good day to other walkers, and not many of them!

Back in the 1970s, if my memories serves me right, a builder applied to erect well over 100 chalets in St Olaves and there was a storm of protest saying it would damage the village.

Now we have a local caravan park wishing to bring in 150 or more static touring caravans into the area, and in the process destroying the so-called Belton Common. It seems to me that planners often now have different perceptions of what is a suitable development in our countryside and villages


Butt Lane,

Burgh Castle

Allowance rise was pernicious

I agree with Councillor Mike Smith-Clare (January 12) that it was indeed a grave disappointment the vote on this pernicious allowances rise, was not rescinded and the original short-sighted decision was held. In fact all Conservative councillors who actually took the time to attend, voted to a man and woman in favour.

Seemingly there were t20 who were absent for whatever reasons.

I would commend the Labour and Lib Dem councillors who stood by their moral principles and voted against. I would reiterate there may have been cause for a modest rise to achieve parity but not the one successfully achieved.

We have now the on-going debacle of the collapse of Carillion, which will no doubt have ramifications for our own area, when the full impact is known. There will be many jobs in jeopardy from this fall-out and I appreciate councillors would presumably not have been fully au fait with this business, although there were warning signs last year.

So already this year is shaping up to be a very difficult and controversial one.

This country appears to lurch from one crisis to the next with very searching questions for our Government. Brexit looms ever closer and that popinjay Nigel Farage has mooted the notion of a second Referendum, which is not the worst thing I have ever heard him utter!

So it would have been gratifying to see our local elected representative say, ‘You know what we might have got this wrong’ and actually taken heed of the Independent Panel.

I recently saw the excellent film Darkest Hour with the excellent Gary Oldman giving a superlative performance as Churchill.

One of the statements that he uttered: “Those who never change their minds, never change anything”, so our perception of our Conservative county councillors in this divisive matter has not changed our minds about the possible fall-out of this consequential and far reaching decision.


Winifred Road,


Sport heritage memories appeal

I am in the course of completing the final book of the trilogy I am writing on Great Yarmouth’s Sporting Heritage which covers the final years of the last century between 1970 and 2000.

I am appealing to your readers for copies of any photographs (not press cuttings) they may have of significant sporting moments, or of any sportsmen or women who dominated their sport during that time.

In particular I am interested in any team photos of county competition winners, or of local sports persons that gained county or higher honours.

All providers of photographs used will be acknowledged in the book. I can be contacted on 01493 302512.



Appointment says all about Tories

The appointment of Brandon Lewis to Tory Party chairman says all that needs to be said about the Tory Party.



Why are we kept in the dark?

How long does it take to fix a lamp-post light? We are asked to report any lamp that is not working, which is what I did last October and four months later it still has not been fixed. It is very dark and scary on this passageway. If anyone trips and hurts themselves then the council will be in trouble.

The number of lights that are on all day and night is unbelievable, yet we cannot get one fixed. If the councillor for Bradwell reads this letter then maybe he will give me a call.



Land important to the community

There are obvious issues regarding the planning application by Wild Duck holiday park, Belton, specifically the lack of infrastructure, the increased demands on water supply and sewage, and especially the increased traffic on Station Road which is effectively single lane due to parked cars, the Rights attached to Common Land, biodiversity, the effect on the Mill Hill Tumulus a major archaeological asset and the close proximity to Angles Way.

The major area of land earmarked for development to the east of the village and a significant increase in caravans to the south west will result in a gradual erosion of Belton’s countryside and a loss of village status.

There are two significant issues, firstly the fact that this is a County Wildlife Site (CWS) and secondly it is Common Land, a Community Asset the rights of which go back centuries, predate Parliament and generally subjugate and take precedence over subsequent parliamentary legislation.

Under current National Planning Policy (Planning Policy Statement 9) the importance of a CWS is recognised and there is a presumption against granting permission for development that would have an adverse impact on a CWS.

This has been strengthened by the provisions of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 that require all public bodies to have regard for the conservation of biodiversity.

All-night lighting, as recommended by the police, is hardly conducive to this natural environment neither is losing this valuable heathland under concrete. One of the main attractions for visitors of the Wild Duck site, is the Common, both as an educational and recreational resource, the eradication of which could result in ‘killing the goose that laid the golden egg’.

It is my understanding that the rights associated with Common land apply regardless of the fact that it is privately owned, and consent from the Secretary of State for the Environment is required for any planned work.

The Secretary of State’s role concerning work on commons includes: Any works which have the effect of preventing or impeding access to or over common land, or involve the resurfacing of common land, this includes fencing, banking and ditching, or surfacing with concrete, tarmac or similar, most of which will occur with this application.

The GYBC Local Plan Core Strategy Sustainability Appraisal states “To avoid damage to designated sites, protected biodiversity, losses to special areas and maintain, enhance and expand the range of native habitats, species and geodiversity”.

This location is so important to the village and borough that it should be considered for ‘Local Green Space’ designation.



Secure future of Hospital Club

Sheila Smith, who has been secretary of the Great Yarmouth Hospital Club since 2005 intends to retire. The club has declined as members have departed or felt they could no longer attend so membership fell away with only a few new people joining.

Back in 2005, James Paget management were keen to run pre-retirement courses and direct people leaving their employment to join the Retirement Group but this aim has not been continued over the years, and on approaching the hospital’s in-house magazine the editor felt unable to help us.

During her time as secretary Mrs Smith has organised eight meetings with speakers per year with lunches in June and at Christmas and an afternoon tea in July. A yearly coach trip was also organised. Sheila’s efforts have brought a great deal of pleasure to members of the club by renewing acquaintances and the making of new friendships.

We wonder if there are any ex-employees of James Paget Hospital or anybody who worked in the Health Service who might like to take over as club secretary from Sheila Smith or to see what goes on at our meetings.

The club will next meet in the boardroom of the James Paget University Hospital at 2.15pm on Friday, February 2 to discuss the future.