Road unsuitable for buses

I WAS pleased to read in last week's Mercury that First Eastern are considering changing the route of the 1 and 1A bus services that run through Caister.

I WAS pleased to read in last week's Mercury that First Eastern are considering changing the route of the 1 and 1A bus services that run through Caister. What concerns me though, is the suggestion by Colin Booth of First that any final decision should be based on what the residents of Prince of Wales Road and the surrounding estate want.

No doubt the approach by First is a reaction to criticism in the past that they have made changes to services without listening to the views of those affected and, as a regular bus user, I wouldn't want to discourage a policy of greater consultation of passengers and residents. However, the response to the questionnaire won't alter the fact that Prince of Wales Road was not designed to safely accommodate buses of any size.

The road has awkward junctions, is narrow and meandering with increasing numbers of cars parked on both sides and First's priority above all others should be the safety of their passengers, the pedestrians and other road users of Prince of Wales Road. The proposed route alteration is an obvious solution which I accept will mean longer walks for some passengers. But should the inconvenience of a few really be given an opportunity to prejudice the safety and standard of living of all the residents of Prince of Wales Road?


Caister-on -Sea

I WOULD like to remind the mayor and his predecessors that there was a conflict back in the 1950's of which I was sent to as a National Service Soldier, serving my country. I spent two years on active service - not my chosen career - and this was the conflict in Cyprus in which more than 300 service personnel lost their lives. I am sure we will all support the Poppy Appeal without any reminder. Are we the forgotten heroes?

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Soudan Close

Caister on Sea

ALL FEPOWs (Far East Prisoners of War), widows and friends please note that following the Service of Remembrance at the Town War Memorial, there will be a gathering for a service at the FEPOW Memorial on Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth at 12.30pm on Sunday, November 8 to which all are invited to join us.


FEPOW representative

I WAS astonished to read Bert Collins' revelations regarding the state of Gorleston pier because this is a new twist' revealing a problem greater than ever stated before. He has obviously had the benefit of seeing a frightening report when he told us in the Mercury last week: “The structural weaknesses on the dilapidated pier were so severe that it would cost too much to repair.”

The pier is not only an important heritage area but also any dilapidations described as severe can surely put our harbour at risk. He also said: “There is a lot of trouble under the pier.” This man should know. He is on the board of the Port Authority as one of our representatives. EastPort must have known when negotiating and know this must be dealt with urgently or that it is something the council needs to address with them, the pier being in a conservation area and a vitally important structure. This must be the green light for the council to initiate action to have this severe situation resolved.

I was co-opted onto the Gorleston Area Scrutiny Committee last week at the inaugural meeting as a residents group member.

The committee replaces the Gorleston Area Liaison Committee, sometimes known as the “Gorleston Forum”, in so much as this is a meeting in public as opposed to a public meeting, the difference being the public are invited to listen to their questions submitted prior to the meeting being discussed by the committee. Questions concerning services must be put to ward councillors, Patricia Page the chairman, or myself as a co-opted member prior to the meeting to be put on the agenda. Questions from the public are not dealt with from the floor, only at the chairman's discretion.

The committee meets twice a year with the next on March 3, 2010 venue to be announced. I would urge all residents with any grievance about services to come along to see their councillors discussing those concerns, not forgetting to put your questions in well before the meeting date. With my enthusiasm for all things Gorleston I hope to be able to have a real input into the community's affairs to the benefit of our town and all who live here. My hope is this will not become a “political football game” but all will work together.

The Gorleston area includes the wards of: Magdalen, Gorleston, St Andrews and Claydon.


Brett Avenue,


WITH reference to Peggotty's article “Smuggler's Tunnels…” in the Mercury, October 9, I would like to add the experiences of myself and my late father who died on October 5. He would have loved the article!

In going through his papers I came across a short biographical pamphlet entitled Moments, written by my father about his early life in Gorleston and his subsequent adventures on the Seven Seas during his time in the Merchant Navy.

In an early paragraph about his Boy Scouting days he writes: “At some later date, probably 1941, a friend and I climbed over a wall behind the Scout Hut into the grounds of a large Georgian dwelling (The Woodlands) and went into the coach house where we discovered what we thought was a well-shaft with iron rungs leading down to we knew not where. Being enterprising lads, we took a bit of candle and descended, and on reaching the bottom, found a Gothic shaped arch and a tunnel. We tried to make our way along the passage, but there had been a roof fall, either through decay and neglect, the result of ground level bombing, or being deliberately filled in. We never found for what purpose it had been used. Once we came out, it seemed as though it headed northwest, in the direction of what was then the grounds of a private house, but what is today Priory Gardens - A clue perhaps?”

I was born and lived on Ferry Hill until I was about 10. A few doors down from us, between Captain Manby's house at Number 1 and our residence at Number 2, lived a wonderful gentleman by the name of Mr Rotherham. In his large cellar was an old and very heavy oak door, behind which laid a tunnel that descend at an alarming rate towards the riverside quay. I well remember going down several hundred feet along a damp and dark passage of some kind, until I reached a walled up section which Mr Rotherham said he had done himself, but he was convinced it ran at least to the quay near Darby's Hard, if not under the river to Yarmouth on the other side. This ties in well with Keith Cutler's remark about steps leading to a tunnel in the same area.

I also remember my dad showing me a bricked up doorway, almost at ground level, in a section of a wall at the bottom of Ice House Hill, opposite the Pilot Boat Station, suggesting it was once an exit from a tunnel in Priory Gardens.

There is also a familiar ring to the referred to Mrs Brunning's story of Priory Street, the Drill Hall and a graveyard. I remember, when the whole area was being demolished, playing amongst the piles of rubble and finding bones and skulls. It had previously been the site of the Augustine Priory and also the site of a former Knights Templar Repository, which by the nature of their construction would all have cellars and tunnels.

I can only agree with the Rev Forbes Phillips that he did have a subterranean passage beneath his feet connecting to a landing stage by the waterfront. All the tunnel systems that I know of in the areas all run in a similar direction.

So it seems a small section of Gorleston might be riddled with tunnels and a riddle that still remains today. Perhaps worthy of further investigation? I'm sure many more readers have stories of secret passages and tunnels in Gorleston and Yarmouth.


Maybrook Gardens

High Wycombe

OUR black cat with white paws was hit by a car on Monday, September 21 on Nelson Road Central near the Albion pub at around 8pm. The driver was seen taking our cat, who answers to Black bear. Please could the driver come forward so we can have closure, even if the worst has happened and our beloved Black Bear has passed away. We are going out of our mind with worry. If you have any information, please call me on 01493 330318.


I AM looking for relatives or their descendants of my late father William Edward Farr, who was born in Norfolk (probably near Great Yarmouth) in 1909, though he lived most of his life in Plymouth. He joined the Navy as a young man and didn't see much of his brothers Gus and Jack, or his father, after that. Both his brothers died in the 1960s, his father in the 1950s or early 1960s. I understand the family lived on a farm until his mother (maiden name Hill) died. Their stepmother (maiden name Barratt) kept a pub near Great Yarmouth beach. I don't know if Gus or Jack married or had any children, but if so they would be my cousins. My father's cousin was the late actor Derek Farr, who might also have had brothers or sisters. My father showed me a photo of Derek when he was about ten years old with his family. If anyone can help in any way please write to me at 30 Elim Terrace, Peverell, Plymouth PL3 4PA or email me at


I READ The Mercury letters page every week, and I normally find myself agreeing with most things that readers write in about. However, this week I feel compelled to offer Kym Robson some insight into council housing and benefits.

In the letter on October 2, it stated if Mr Gary Chaplin was on benefits, then the local council would bend over backwards to help him. They then go on to say outrageous, but true. Unfortunately, this is so far from the truth it's unreal. I am on disability benefits due to a condition I was born with and have been unable to work for some time. I recently applied to the local council for their Homeselect housing scheme, and contrary to popular belief, the council are not “bending over backwards” to rehouse me. I am on the lowest banding available, and I have to bid on properties advertised the same as everyone else. So my point to Ms Robson is that although everyone may think you get an easy ride being on benefits and that housing is given to those in receipt of it at a drop of hat, please note that everyone is treated the same, whether you are working or not.


Lower Cliff Road,


I READ the letter about support for the Poppy Appeal from Cllr Tony Smith, Mayor of Great Yarmouth, with great interest last week. I fully support this superb cause and we should all be doing what we can to support and honour those who risk their lives and lose their lives doing service for their country to ensure that we all remain safe. I was with the Royal British Legion just this week and it is a phenomenal job they do to support the veterans and I hope we can all play our part by supporting the Poppy Campaign this year.



AS Remembrance Day approaches, it is important not only to remember the human victims of wartime, but also the animals who have been used for detection, scouting and rescue, as messengers, as beasts of burden and on the frontline. Vast numbers of animals - in farms and zoos, for instance - continue to be innocent bystander victims when conflicts start. Meanwhile, in secret UK Ministry of Defence Research laboratories, thousands suffer and die each year when they are infected with biological or chemical agents, or deliberately shot or otherwise damaged. To commemorate all the animal victims, Animal Aid has issued a purple poppy, which can be worn alongside the traditional red one, as a reminder that both humans and animals have been - and continue to be - victims of war. The purple poppies cost �1 each (including postage and packing) and are available from or by calling 01732 364546. A free copy of Animal Aid's colour booklet, Animals: the hidden victims of war, accompanies each order.


Campaigns Officer

IN The Mercury last week, Cllr Bert Collins, one of Great Yarmouth Port Authority's Board Members states: "Structural weaknesses and trouble under the surface makes the South pier unsafe.”

Forty-seven years ago that pier was rebuilt by the Dutch, the same nation that in the 16th Century built the first pier. These piers have safeguarded our river port and thus the town's livelihood through tempests and wars for 329 years under the wellbeing of our council's ancestors, yet the present incumbents cannot manage the upkeep for 47 years.

We have a situation in which a Board member from the GYPA (that is responsible for the pier) as good as saying that cars cannot go on the pier as it's not safe underneath, then other councillors say they will press for it to be opened.

How have the Council Tax payers of this borough got to the state of having a council that cannot agree between themselves whether the pier car park, can or cannot be repaired enough to use as a car park for the benefit of it's Council Tax payers.

But having “gifted” the ports, both river and new outer harbour, to an investment company together with vast tracts of assets is the council's and GYPA's indecision and reluctance to implement remedial action due to instructions or “hidden agenda” from the port's new owners?

It would appear, from talk amongst the seafaring fraternity of both Yarmouth and Gorleston, that the river port and Breydon Water is being deliberately allowed to silt-up and is already one metre shallower since the new port owners sold the port dredger. The demise of the pierheads will exacerbate this silting.

The pier car park resurfacing is not the issue; it being so trivial compared to the ills that have befallen Yarmouth under this inept, decision to “gift away” our livelihood and inheritance. It would appear to be part of a grand master plan to destroy a once vibrant port, the heart of the town, such that the riverside quays can be flattened and built over with twee houses and apartments for rich incomers as weekend or holiday homes.

It would seem that, wanted or not, a new casino will be built next to Nelson's Monument and one can see the Esplanade and South Denes all being devoted to the holiday trade and the outer harbour being used as a yacht and power boat marina. One wouldn't have to dig too deeply to find many, with vested interests, involved in the shadows.

I understand a national newspaper is taking an interest and investigating, one hopes it will expose this whole debacle.



I RECENTLY came across an amusing newspaper cutting of a football match played between Great Yarmouth Town Reserves vs. Norman Old Boys, a second round replay in the East Anglian League Cup in January 1954. Norman Old Boys, who had previously conceded ground advantage, had a series of adventures before reaching Wellesley Road nearly an hour after the advertised kick off. Their coach broke down in Norwich and after considerable delay they obtained a second coach, which also broke down a few miles from Yarmouth. A third coach was sent from Yarmouth to pick them up. The teams agreed to play reduced time with no interval, but fog and bad light finally forced the abandonment, with the score at 2-2. Yarmouth Reserves scored through Staff and Love.


Magdalen Way


I AM writing about the Royal Mail as I had a parcel delivered to on October 29 but I still have not got it. They told me it was at the sorting office and I went there and a man told me he would send it the next day. I still have not got it. I am 73 years old and hope The Mercury can do something about this.


University Crescent,


ALTHOUGH I have lived locally since 1944, I cannot recall such sustained bitterness as the Outer Harbour has aroused. Those responsible should realise it will take a very long time for it to go away - in fact I wouldn't be surprised if it rumbled on for another generation.


Marine Parade


I RECALL with great sadness the death of both the young people killed in Caister by buses recently brought to our attention again in last week's Mercury. Both families have my deepest sympathy for their tragic losses.

The problem during my time was a talking point for the Caister on Sea Parish Council for years and still is a constant cause of frustration for them. The problem is, people want buses to drop them off directly outside their door and to be picked up likewise.

The volume of passengers using the route merits a double decker bus but the truth of the matter is that the Prince of Wales Road is not fit for purpose for a double decker bus route. A smaller bus would not be a viable proposition for a bus company who after all have to make a profit, to stay in business, to be able to provide a service!

People are going to have to walk to the main road where a safe transition of a double decker can be made. Even then, doing so is no guarantee of getting on as I have been left standing on more than one occasion at the bottom of the Prince of Wales Road.

MP Tony Wright has asked for the views of the public on the matter. Here are mine Tony! I have long said blame should not be directed at the bus companies who are trying to provide a service, but at the planning department which allowed inadequate roads to be built. They have allowed the building of as many of houses on land with roads not fit for purpose to service them.

My solution; sack the planners and confine the bus route to the main roads for the sake of someone else's child.

I am amazed at how some of the double deckers manage to get by some of the cars parked on that road but saying that I have found the service very good...when I have been able to get on that is.



West Caister