Letters, September 22, 2017
PUBLISHED: 10:33 27 September 2017
‘Hollywood’ cost for the ice rink
John Cooper’s list of confounding dips into the taxpayers’ treasury by the council over the years, serves to remind us of what did go so seriously wrong. There were the TV screens (might have worked if Strictly and the Great British Bake Off were around then); the gardens contract fiasco and the washing of the hands of any responsibility or control of our port (any council would have done the same, right?)
And now there is a new contender for John’s list – the ice rink proposal. Yes, okay, we are in a climate of unrelenting austerity and budget cuts but, at only £400,000, this has to be the bargain of the year which, I hope, Jean Stacey can see as she waves goodbye soon to the warden at her sheltered accommodation. I can see it all now – Yarmouth v Zurich in the winter pursuits stakes.
GYBC may not be the worst local authority in the land but they would certainly make it to the national finals. I considered the proposal to “enliven” the town centre (for one a month a year!) at such a Hollywood cost is way up there with investing in a tea plantation on Scroby Sands or having mountain rescue teams stationed along the beach.
Isn’t it about time our boys and girls at the town hall were placed in special measures?
Save the Duke as our heritage
A few weeks ago I read the article concerning the Iron Duke in Great Yarmouth. I believe it should be preserved as part of our heritage. A few years ago I had a chance to visit this pub with my sister.
St Margaret’s Way,
Approach to the resort is eyesore
As a resident of Hopton for 28 years I have been proud to live in such a nice village and community.
Recently though my wife and I, plus many residents, have noticed the disgusting state of the now renamed A47 between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth has become.
The grass and weeds are making it visually dangerous at roundabouts and overgrowing verges and reservations are an eyesore. This must be one of the most uninviting approaches to a popular holiday resort in the country. We travel all over this country and Scotland visiting friends and have always commented how nice places on entry into their areas in way of roadside verges and roundabouts with beautiful flowers and signs.
We are ashamed what people must think on entering Great Yarmouth. It’s a disgrace.
Air hooligans affect resorts
Having just watched a brief interview with your environment officer, Jason Williams, and Cllr Carl Smith on Anglia TV regarding your problem with gulls in Great Yarmouth, I thought you might like to see an article in the Scarborough Evening News, where they have the self-same problem as yourselves.
Maybe you could release it on your readers, too, just to let them know they are not suffering alone.
“When are they going to repeal the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981, in respect of Larus Argentanus? This seashore terrorist is unbelievably protected by the Act, enforced country-wide by the RSPB, bless ‘em!
“The Herring Gull is equally loved and hated by everyone who encounters them, both at the beach and land-fill site alike. The interweb thingy says at the latest count, there are currently approx 200,000 breeding pairs gracing our seaside towns and rubbish tips. Each and every coastal resort will say ‘how come they are all breeding here in our town?’ The estimate, census, guess, by the RSPB must be just a figment of someone’s imagination, methinks!
“Of course, a day by the seaside wouldn’t be complete without the fish and chips, candyfloss and the call of the airborne hooligans! Agreed, the general public is 99.99pc to blame for these kamikase attacks by airborne robbers. Allowing gulls to nick your lunch is down to your own stupidity.
“Feeding them tempts them away from the fishing grounds where what’s left of our fleet operate. The stupid bit is leaving your children, and even yourselves vulnerable to terrible injuries that can be caused by these bully-boys.
“Maybe if we stopped feeding them, they would eventually be starved into submission, and become an entry on the ‘at risk’ lists of the RSPB? Don’t get me wrong, the RSPB do wonderful work for our feathered friends countrywide, but with Larus Argentanus, they have got it wrong!
“So, will Brexit bring back our fishing fleets to the Dogger Bank, where they can trawl amongst the windmills and tempt the gulls offshore again? Will HM Government rid us of this seaside terrorism? Or maybe Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall could come up with one of his wonderful recipes?
“Of course! That’s the answer! Why didn’t I think of that? Ocean Pie Larus Tete Noir, anyone?”
St Nicholas Drive,
Stories left me wanting answers
Interesting stories of late have left me a little perplexed and wanting to know more.
Just what exactly do they intend to do with the carved heads from the old Venetian gondolas? Just where did the man get the £10,000 to provide free coffee for all behind the Waterways every Tuesday?
And now here’s another one, from last weekend. Why does it always seem to rain for the Out There Festival, this time Saturday’s almost biblical deluges, and is there a Plan B for such events to use more indoor, covered-over venues where appropriate?
That said, Sunday was a revelation. The sun came out and stayed out for most of the day, the rain held off and the performances were a delight to behold. The range of skills and activities on display was highly impressive and I was also delighted to see the way in which the crowd was reacting to what was on offer in such a positive and joyful manner.
There can be few other resorts which could stage such an event so well and we should be justly proud of those who brought the event to the borough for this, the tenth year. Long may it continue.
Excellent care received at JPH
I just want to say how lucky we are to have the James Paget Hospital. The care I received at the A&E after a fall last week was excellent. I am sincerely grateful to all.
I E BROWN
First class staff paying to work
Over very many weeks lately the Mercury has carried letters of appreciation from former patients of the James Paget Hospital. They are quite rightly praising this hospital’s excellent working frontline staff. This praise is freely given for the outstanding help and care these former patients have received from what are the extremely caring, highly dedicated, very skilled staff.
Yet these first class staff who are excellent working ambassadors for the James Paget Hospital are being appallingly treated by the hospital, which is imposing utterly disgraceful parking fees on their dedicated staff.
Imposed staff parking fees are little more than the equivalent of a pay cut for already poorly paid staff. I do not recall any other local employer who tries to force this type of money-making imposition on their own workers.
A loss of experienced and well qualified staff has certainly been going on recently at our hospital. During the past two years I have come across a fair number of former hospital, well experienced and highly qualified, staff who now work elsewhere.
When I talk to them they all say exactly the same thing, they left our local hospital due to poor pay, and by having to pay parking fees to even go to work.
This hospital has vacant posts which is hardly surprising given this scandal of their staff parking fee policy. Quite clearly this hospital should be funded by the National Health Service not by money that can be squeezed out of staff and also the general public from parking fees.
The hospital’s first priority must be to scrap staff parking fees and help in retaining good experienced well qualified staff.
BRIAN E CALLAN M Phil (Health Management)
Cigarette butts cover the ground
On visiting the James Paget University Hospital on Sunday, September 17, I witnessed people outside the main entrance smoking.
The ground was covered with cigarette ends and many of these stuck to my shoes – which all went into the hospital. I was visiting my grandson who has been very ill.
C J McMAHON
Pier gardens the place for rink
On Sunday, September 17, I walked to the Wellington Pier Gardens to see what state the pier and its surrounds were like.
What a mess it was in and with the ice rink wanting a place to function I thought this was it, as it is twice the size of the miniature rink which had been in the Market Place. It is on the south side of the complex and there is a massive car park where the old bandstand used to be.
But before all this can take place I would like Great Yarmouth council to have an open day so the people of Yarmouth can give their views and fill in a questionnaire so the council can get some feedback to the future of this place. The day to open it would be on a Sunday when most people have the day off.
So let’s hear what the council is going to do about it.
South Beach Parade,
Pupils shouldn’t face a squeeze
I am a North Denes Pupil and I would like you to consider not closing Alderman Swindell School because it would cause lots of disruption for North Denes Primary School pupils and the changes will be in the year that I will be sitting my SATs.
The class sizes will have to increase which will cause problems with my learning. In my class there are already a lot of badly-behaved children and kids with problems. A lot of my teachers’ time is spent dealing with them instead of learning. I am worried if we have bigger classes the problems will only get worse and my rate of learning will decrease because of the lack of time my teacher will have with me.
My reading progress has already dropped in this school and I am worried it will slow even more. I moved to North Denes partly to get away from a boy who misbehaved in the playground.
Our school already feels cramped and although we have got some room our classes are small so having 30 or more children in a class would not be great for us. We don’t have much dining space either. I found out on Google there is no legal limit on class sizes for key stage 2. This really worries me as I find it hard now so being in a bigger class would not be best for my learning at all.
I don’t understand why Swindell children can’t stay at Swindell until the new school is completely ready for everybody, I don’t think this should really be a problem. Why can’t Norfolk County Council not move them straight after the new school is built? I loved Swindell and the teachers when I was there I learnt most of what l know now from them. I would not want to see them all moved and squashed in to our tiny building or mobiles. My friends feel the same and some are really worried about the changes.
We want a new school but only want the children from Swindell to come when the new building is completely ready so we can all have the space we need. I also would like some of the really good teachers from Alderman Swindell and teaching assistants to come to teach at my school. My teachers at North Denes told me our school might not get more teachers because we already have enough. So we would just get more kids, I don’t get this. My year 2 teacher at Alderman Swindell was really good and I would love it if she came to my school when the new one is built. My cousin is in year 3 at North Denes and he agrees with me he doesn’t want the Alderman Swindell children to come until the new school is ready please can you do this for us as we are really worried about it and it would stop us worrying and let us concentrate on our learning.
I wish that Norfolk County Council would just leave us alone because Alderman Swindell doesn’t want to close and we don’t want them squeezed in to our school. Thank you for your time.
GEORGE SMITH, aged 9
Great to see Out There success
It was an absolute pleasure to come back to Great Yarmouth to enjoy the 10th Out There Festival in the town last weekend.
It’s great to see something that has grown so much local support over the years. A celebration of the weird, wacky and wonderful.
The weather certainly didn’t deter the crowds and it was lovely to see local restaurants and bars busy as a consequence.
Congratulations to SeaChange Arts and the borough council for continuing to make it happen. The Donald Trump parody over the weekend couldn’t have been more apt “Let’s make Yarmouth great again”.
This really is something the town should be proud of. More please!
Extra spaces is more choice
I for one don’t want to see Trafalgar College and the Charter Academy merging. The beauty of having two secondary schools in Yarmouth after so many years has been the extra spaces provided and the extra choice offered to local families.
The expanding “all-through” primary schools in the town took in over 350 new entrants into their reception classes last year and have the capacity to take in 400 each year. That indicates a clear requirement for about 1,800 secondary places for 11-16 year olds in the years to come.
Since the county council closed all but one of the town’s secondary schools back in the 1980s, around a half of Yarmouth youngsters have routinely had to travel to Gorleston or Caister. That has been particularly damaging to inward investment because a town with good schools is more attractive for those looking to locate here.
Parents and pupils at the Trafalgar College chose that school because of its distinctive maths and science specialism and its ethos of an extended school days but no imposition of homework. It is also a secular rather than a faith school.
For good or ill the new Great Yarmouth Charter Academy has a defined Christian ethos and a very different school regime.
In terms of practicalities, the seven-hectare site the Trafalgar College has in Southtown can have new buildings developed there without any disruption to existing students, whereas developing an expanded 1,500 student school on the very confined Salisbury Road site represents major disruption to the facilities available.
When the county council was looking to expand the old High School whilst I was cabinet member for schools it was predicated on closing the seaward end of Beaconsfield Road to enable the school campus to expand onto the roadway. Presumably four-storey buildings will be needed to lever in the additional capacity on a much smaller footprint.
In terms of school places also the 1,500 spaces will include 140 sixth form places so spaces available for 11-16 year olds will actually fall from a current 1,500 to some 1360.
This is therefore potentially a backward step for education in Yarmouth. If the merger goes ahead a seven hectare site on Thamesfield Way will also become surplus to requirements and there is a real danger this will fuel more “out of town” retail development. The government will no doubt want to sell that land off to the highest bidder!
Yarmouth North and Central
Spend rink cash on the market
What another waste of taxpayers money, to think of buying an ice rink for the Market Place (it’s only there for Christmas).
I suggest that money could be better spent on lowering prices for stall holders on the market and get some people to come and sell their goods at it. Everyone I know is saying how small the market place is now and I know a lot of people love a market.
There must be better ways to spend that sort of money on projects in and around Great Yarmouth? Come on council, say no to the idea and see some sense for a change.
Mrs M FOWLER
Interesting piece on the coal boats
Hello I live in Caister on Sea and I am registered blind and I listen to your newspaper through the system called Grapevine which I’m sure you know about.
I was very interested in listening to the magazine section and September 8 edition regarding the coal boats that travelled down the river Yare to Norwich in the 1950s. I grew up with my sister in Bedford in that era and our parents ran a grocery shop in Bedford and when the school summer holidays came along we would be spending a month down at my aunt and uncle’s house in Surlingham where we played on the Marshes with our cousin and very often we noticed the boats going across the top of the dykes that led to the river.
That time of our life was a very interesting site having grown up in the town of Bedford, my sister would help my aunt in the house and I would help my uncle and my cousin feeding the pigs and the chickens. The house was done a very bumpy lane but had no electricity, no mains water supply and no mains sewage at that time and the only gas we had to cook on was Calor Gas, those were very interesting days and I thank you for that article
Concerned over schools merger
I am deeply concerned to hear of the proposed merger of Trafalgar College and the Great Yarmouth Charter Academy. With many parents investing their children’s lives and futures in the publicised vision of Trafalgar College and a promise of state of the art facilities and extensive site development, I feel that their expectations have been sadly let down.
With this move taking place and the merged school becoming tenants of the Great Yarmouth Grammar School Trust can we be assured as to the appropriateness of the length of time of the lease, which for Norfolk County Council or Government owned land is 125 years.
I would also like a clearer idea regarding the proposed loss of jobs in this merger. Our town rightly deserves quality education provision, but surely there is a more appropriate way of achieving it?
Cllr Nelson and Southtown
Thanks for obit for my husband
A heartfelt thank you to Caroline Buddery, who keeps us aware of many local events. She researched and wrote an obituary for my husband Roy Walding. This appeared in the Mercury on September 15. I am so grateful for all your hard work Caroline. Well done!
We will be better off out of EU
I have just finished reading the long reply to my letter regarding Brexit sent in by Judith Daniels.
I would like to clarify a few points made. We who voted leave certainly did not do so to make the country poorer, but by stemming the flow of billions to the EU we will immediately be better off. The control of our borders are paramount and if it means very tough measures in these days of terrorist threats so be it.
I see nothing wrong with a country looking after its own first, surely this is automatically the duty of any Government, look at Germany and France for example? She states this is a multi-interconnected world where we do need to depend on other countries for support and aid. I must be missing something, I thought this country gives far more than its fair share of foreign aid.
With regard to free trade with the rest of the world, it is not “pie in the sky” and will not take years, talks are already underway with the US and China. The delay if any will be caused by dithering politicians and Remoaners who can not and will not accept the Referendum vote to leave, the UK has tried to negotiate to reform EU bureaucracy for many years without success.
The pro EU campaign worked extra hard with our money to convince us to stay, this was rejected by the majority and shocked the system. As far as crimes against the economy is concerned, no it is not Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson or Michael Gove, but former Prime Minister Gordon Brown stands accused for selling off our gold reserves at giveaway prices. And single-handedly signed the Lisbon Treaty.
Concerning the divorce bill of about £50 billion the EU mentions I was totally against it but now I have changed my mind and as we are a generous country I feel a figure of about £45 billion is fair so we should instruct Brussels to make out a cheque for that amount made payable to the UK government.
We do not need another referendum thank you, the vote to leave won but instead we need to ask the question which I cannot seem to get printed but will try again, if leaving the EU will be so awful why is it that people without EU passports struggle to get here in their droves rather than stay in the nice big safe thriving EU when they know we are leaving it? Answers on the letters page please!
Waterways will never be reborn
It beggars belief the council are thinking about investing £1.7m in a project at the Waterways of which died a death about 25 years ago and will never be reborn.
Sadly Yarmouth now is a shadow of its former self because industry has gone, the summer season is very short and the market place is dying.
Can the council not see that and what this town needs is industry back, and proper jobs with decent pay, so come on councillors and invest that £1.7m into trying to get good business back into the town and off incentives to do s.
For goodness sake do not invest £1.7m on the Waterways because then people in white coats will come to see the councillors.
P J MANTRIPP
When will works be continued?
Could some one explain why the roadworks have stopped on Trinity Avenue, Gorleston? The men have disappeared. I heard one of the reasons was they got the wrong pipes. I would take them back and bring the right ones… not in this case.
A lot of the older people use the bus stop right besides the building site. They have to walk right up to the top of the road. Traffic is being diverted and so is the number 9 bus. Have the workers just given up and left a right mess.
We were told it could be a couple of months. You couldn’t make this up. Help.
Long may ‘old timers’ continue
Gorleston Pavilion’s Summer Laughter Show may not attract huge publicity but it certainly pulls in full houses every week with coachloads of holidaymakers and plenty of locals too. And I’m not surprised having seen the show this week after a couple of years’ break and finding it had come on leaps and bounds – most of the leaps from the five talented dancers.
Nigel Boy Syer may have been its mainstay for an incredible 23 years but he and more recent arrival, the all round talented entertainer Olly Day have injected such fresh pace and variety. They head a small team who serve up such an enjoyable two and a half hours so all credit to musical director and singer Andy Pelos, choreographer and dancer (and circus performer) Sue King; and Ritchie Hurren whose lighting and screen work really impress. Recreating a tribute to ITV’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium was one of the best sequences I’ve seen in many years of watching Pavilion shows and I never expected to find myself comparing this one favourably with the famous Cromer Pier!
All credit to the Pavilion and the faithful Stuart and Kevin who run the theatre, produce this show, pull in the coach parties and most laudably, by so doing, help to boost Yarmouth’s out of season tourist season and hotels from the end of April to the middle of October (there are three performances left on Tuesday evenings).
It’s amazing that while seaside entertainment might come and go over the decades Great Yarmouth and Gorleston maintains after almost 120 years the Hippodrome Circus and the Pavilion with both providing such outstanding light entertainment in 2017. Long may they continue!