Readers’s letters, December 22 2017

I saw an otter at Darby’s Hard

Walking along Gorleston riverside at Darby’s Hard I saw an otter in the river close to the shore.

Initially I thought it to be a seal but seeing the brown fur and the strong tail arcing as it dived under the water, I realised it was an otter. I watched it from a few yards away for some time, it disappearing every few minutes to find food then surfacing to chew.

Quite an experience to see this unusual creature.



Thanks for helping us reach our goal

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May we through your letters column thank everyone, individuals and companies alike, who have kindly supported us over our 50th anniversary year, either by way of generously sponsoring, attending our events, holding events themselves, making a general donation or in memory of their loved ones.

Also to those who have held a bucket for us, enabling us to raise £51,479.60 surpassing our aim at the beginning of the year of £50,000 which will be earmarked to be spent in this area in providing vital services for people living with cancer and their families to receive essential medical, practical and emotional support.

We wish all concerned a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.

Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Macmillan Cancer Support Committee

Pay fee and item is taken away

There is a very simple and legal way for waste/large objects to be taken away and that is to simply telephone the borough council on 01493 742200 and pay their fee.

I recently had a new mattress and the old one sat in my front yard but for a fee of £12 it was taken away by council workmen the next day.



What about cats’ poo in gardens?

Good to know someone was caught re her dog fouling, but it is a pity cat owners get away with it - but then cats go out on their own and not on a lead etc. Yet I and others who have gardens still have to clear up for cat owners who obviously do not have litter trays for their pets.

The owners just couldn’t care less - let’s face it there is no law in place to deter them.

Name and Address withheld

Cllrs should be ashamed of vote

I think the seven county councillors who voted for a rise in their allowances should be utterly ashamed of themselves.

We are all facing tougher times, what with a increase of interest rates and the cost of living going up. And well done Conservative leader Cliff Jordan putting up your allowance from £27,495 to £31,700, an increase of £4,205 and what have you done to ever justify an increase of that amount?

Well done to the four councillors who voted against the rise, nice to see some commonsense.

The seven councillors, like most representatives of the people, seem to forget they are in office to serve the people not line their own pockets and if they don’t like the financial terms of the job then find another one.

I for one will not be voting for any of these seven councillors in the next elections.

I find it utterly disgusting and they should be ashamed but I expect it’s water of a duck’s back.



No room at M&S in town centre

Recently, a very unpleasant individual told me he thought Great Yarmouth M&S doorways should be boarded up to stop homeless people sleeping in them.

His wish has been granted and the doorways are indeed boarded up. Perish the thought that homeless people should find some shelter! At this Christmas time there is still no room at the inn it seems.


Hawthorn Crescent,


Wonderful panto fun at theatre

I have just been with my family to see the local pantomime of Dick Whittington, staged at St George’s Theatre. And what a truly wonderful experience it turned out to be.

It had all the ingredients of what a family show should all be about, lots of fun and laughter incorporating gorgeous costumes and true professionalism from all of the cast, which made it a joy to behold.

The show runs into early next January and I urge anybody who hasn’t already made plans to visit this venue to please do so because not only will you be supporting your local theatre but you will be in for a rare treat.


St Peter’s Plain,

Great Yarmouth

Caring people at the James Paget

I recently had to go into the James Paget Hospital for an operation. I would just like to say thank you to the doctors and nurses I came into contact with. They are all such lovely, kind, caring people and took great care of me.

Thanks to them I am now getting on fine and it is all very much appreciated.


Beccles Road,


Are councillors worth a pay rise?

There’s a £125m funding gap at Norfolk County Council and councillors award themselves a £1,000 pay rise and Mr Cliff Jordon a £4,000 pay rise.

Many council workers on a very low percentage rise would love to be able to say “I award myself a 10pc pay rise because I am worth it”. The hard-working council employees are worth a rise because they earn it, but can we say with hand on heart the 84 councillors are worth it?

Just think of all the money wasted over these last 10 years which included the incinerator at Kings Lynn and the promised 10,000 jobs at Great Yarmouth port. So many more failures, too many to mention.

If the councils were run fully as business concerns just one of these cock-ups would be sufficient to sack the lot of them. But they give themselves a pay rise.

Councillors pay has sky-rocketed. Doing one’s civic duty never paid so well: How councillors’ pay-outs have soared, below a sample of how Great Yarmouth councillors have bumped up a salary; some Yarmouth councillors are on NCC and take advantage of the pay award for what should be a voluntary post.

It is not defensible for councillor stipends to rise when public sector workers are facing a two-year pay freeze. Those who hold public office need to set an example.

In 1970 we saw councillor’s first taking advantage of expenditures, and payment being made available in 1990. But it has made councillors think as they are paid what for decades was a volunteer position they have now made the role into untouchable board members of a company run by unelected officers that make decisions which councillors rubber stamp (except on councillors pay) on which they ignored officers recommendations and went ahead awarding their pay increase. Councillors should be volunteers that have genuine expenses paid, as they are only in the seat to ratify or not decisions made by officers.


Burnt Lane,


Depressing view of shop fronts

While I am pleased to see progress is being made with the redevelopment of the fire-stricken site in Regent Road, I am appalled the elevations of the proposed new buildings have been ‘approved’.

Who is it that gives final approval? If it is the planning officers, they need to provide better advice and make the designer think a bit about what they are doing. If it is the councillors, they should be ashamed of themselves!

I am not against the content of the proposal, although some form of tourist attraction would be welcome.

The housing to the rear of the site is an obvious inclusion, but a row of sub-standard shops is depressing. Surely the designer can come up with something better than that shown in the Mercury last week.

Why the repetitive elevation, with the roof line following through? If there was a change in roof line now and then and shop fronts alternated, that would at least relieve the boredom. I suspect the repetition is in the hope it will save construction costs, but at what cost to the town?

It must be remembered that whatever is constructed, it will be with us for many years to come and be on one of the main visitor streets in the town.

A high class development is required, which might actually invite visitors, not more of the cheap rubbish that exists.

Come on planning officers - use your skill and influence to advise the designer what is really required.

Name and Address withheld

Our leader should have come off fence

I wanted to have a rest myself this week and give the readers of this paper, a break as well. But when editor Anne Edwards threw down the gauntlet about what did readers make of the pay rise for country councillors (December 15) I felt I had to respond.

The short answer is “not a lot” and the long answer “why in heaven’s name did these councillors who voted in favour imagine this would be found acceptable by the public?”

I appreciate this move was to afford some parity with other neighbouring councils and there was a review but as

usual the “experts” were dismissed and ignored.

I read in the EDP (December 19) that a bid to force a fresh vote before Christmas has failed and this is a great shame because there is a real feeling this is a completely wrong decision by the council. Not only is it a disastrous PR move when people are really struggling with the continuing

impact of austerity, it smacks of a mantra of “Let’s put ourselves first”. A modest single digit rise would be far more acceptable but a double digit one of 11pc beggars belief and I personally cannot defend the indefensible.

I worked in Local Government for over 40 years and know my former colleagues’ wages have stagnated and they are being required to do more and more.

I am very pleased and not in the least surprised that my own Labour county Councillor Mike Smith-Clare voted against and as he rightly points out a vote in favour for this is “morally and ethically inexcusable”.

I totally agree, and for these men and women who state they will give their increase to charity is rather disingenuous,

as why accept it in the first place? I also wonder why Great Yarmouth’s council leader Graham Plant abstained as

sitting on the fence for such an important and far reaching decision is not what we want and require from our own leader. A more resolute stand up and be counted would have found greater favour.

Whether this issue will be overturned with another vote is in the lap of the Gods and morally right-thinking men and women but make no mistake this has gone down like the proverbial lead balloon.


Winifred Road,


Political views and Gospel different

I am sorry Chris Wright, but writing a letter slating the Conservatives for all the nation’s problems is one thing; but questioning Conservative churchgoing politicians to reflect on whether their political views match the ethics of the Gospel is totally another!

How presumptuous you are to presume many Conservatives are out of touch with working people and have private provisions to medical care. This is an attack against the person and his religion.

Strike for this, strike for that, protest and cause chaos. These are the tools of the far Left, the tools they use to make the nation aware of every problem and negative issue we have.

What we need are solutions, realistic and pragmatic ones, not proletariat ideals pushed by people who have had the decency to move on from executions by the state, but assassinate people’s characters and their religious views.

This “For many, not the Few” slogan stinks of “For the Bolsheviks, not the Few”!

Let me guess, we can solve all the nations problems by taxing the rich and wealthy? Tell me this though, when the rich and wealthy decide to up-sticks and move abroad, which they have been driven to and can afford to, who is going to make up the 24pc of national income tax they contribute?

It is going to be the poor, the average working person. High taxes and strict state rules will cripple this country just as every other socialist state has in other countries throughout the course of history.


Isaacs Road,

Great Yarmouth

Speedy diagnosis and treatment

In October 2017 I received my three-yearly health screening letter to attend the mobile mammogram screening unit in our local Sainsbury’s car park in Great Yarmouth.

I have always attended these and everything has been fine until now. I was asked to attend JPH to have another mammogram and speak with the professional staff. They had found something and this needed further investigation.

To cut a very long story short they diagnosed breast cancer, and this was earth shattering not only to me but my family. I have undergone several procedures culminating in a mastectomy on December 11.

I am at home recovering and so very thankful to all the staff who work within the James Paget Hospital, Professor Pereira, Consultant Mrs Poxton Downs, the Breast Care Team, staff who work at the new operating theatre , and the staff on Ward 4 who looked after me on my last stay.

The speed from diagnosis to removal has been truly humbling, I cannot thank you all enough for your kindness, care and sheer professionalism and humour, and you are all amazing in my book.

I would like to also thank all the support which has been shown to me and my family from all political quarters, colleagues, residents, neighbours and friends.

Cancer is horrible but I am so glad to say I went along when I was asked to do so; as any woman knows it is not a pleasant experience but a necessary one including cervical smear testing. In fact all health screening if offered is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and our families. I know personally if I had not attended when I did then my future would have been so very different.

May I wish all emergency staff who work for the NHS, Police and Fire and Rescue Services a Peaceful Christmas and New Year.


Ward Councillor for Caister North

County Councillor for Caister Division