Ask The Mercury - 'Why are our buses so old?'

A First bus and the Ask The Mercury logo

This week, a reader has asked why are some of our buses so old. - Credit: Archant

From the future of the old Palmers store to the newness of our bus fleet, here are this week's questions from readers.

Palmers Great Yarmouth

The old Palmers store in the Market Place has been empty since March 2020. - Credit: Daniel Hickey

Bibi Kitchen asked: "I read a while ago of big plans for the building that was the Palmers store. Can you tell me what’s happening and when please?"

A spokesperson from Great Yarmouth Borough Council (GYBC) said: “GYBC is working with colleges, universities, and Norfolk County Council to transform the former Palmers building into a new library and learning centre for the borough.

"The purchase of the building was completed last year and we are currently assessing the structure and the work we need to do to convert the building. We hope the new centre will open towards the end of next year.”

An inside view of the reception area being proposed for the new £26m leisure complex that will repla

An inside view of the reception area being proposed for the new £26m Marina Centre leisure complex. - Credit: GYBC

Ken Jacobs asked: "I would like to ask why the brand new sports facility, Marina Centre, does not have a spa? Most gyms now have a steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi for their members."

A spokesperson from GYBC said: "We did consider having spa facilities in the new Marina Centre but during the detailed design phase the advice from Sport England and our sports consultant was that this wasn’t the best use of the available space."

A red double-decker bus.

A Coastal Reds bus in 2022. - Credit: James Weeds

Ron Mushet asked: "Why is it that the Great Yarmouth area has become the dumping ground for worn-out buses from the rest of the UK?

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"All you have to do is look at the registration plates. Very few of them are local. A coat of paint doesn't hide what's underneath. Surely we deserve something better."

Chris Speed, head of operations at First Norfolk and Suffolk said: “First Great Yarmouth is part of First Bus with businesses spread across all corners of the UK. One advantage of being part of a large organisation means that we can move buses between sites.

"We follow stringent service and safety procedures with buses receiving the equivalent of a car MOT every 28 days which means they are well-maintained.

“We have a fleet of 46 buses running in Great Yarmouth and 28 of these were brand new into the town."

If you have a question for us, please email

No question is too small, and we will do our best to answer as many questions as we can, and run the answers in the Mercury.

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Got a question you would like us to answer? Email them to - Credit: Archant