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Readers' letters 2, December 18

PUBLISHED: 18:11 17 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:58 03 July 2010

PLEASE may I make a couple of further points regarding the Warren Road cyclepath?

Those who think the A12 route is acceptable would be more credible if they had actually used it themselves at some time.

PLEASE may I make a couple of further points regarding the Warren Road cyclepath?

Those who think the A12 route is acceptable would be more credible if they had actually used it themselves at some time. If, as is most likely, they don't own bicycles perhaps they could walk the route from Gorleston to Hopton or even borrow a golf buggy! To get the full benefit, they could trundle back in the opposite direction and have fast-moving traffic coming towards them just a couple of yards away. When they have recovered, they could comment on the safety issue from firsthand experience instead of making facetious remarks when other people's lives are at risk.

Lacking any other arguments, now cost seems to be a concern and yet we are told in the same edition of the Mercury that a third river crossing could need £122m. If my slide rule is correct you could get a couple of thousand cycle paths for that amount which makes the objectors appear somewhat mean as well as meanspirited.

That's just the financial cost. The human price to pay is one we are already experiencing from previous road schemes imposed on the town. Apart from the costly A12 'improvements', the Gorleston 'relief' road is no such thing as witnessed by ever-increasing congestion in Gorleston High Street. The Gapton Hall and Harfreys area is off-limits to both cyclists and pedestrians due to the poor design of the footbridges (and entailing the effective blocking of Suffolk Road.)

The Pasteur Road junction with Southtown Road is a deathtrap and Fullers Hill cuts an ugly swathe into the town (though admittedly in keeping with the design disaster called Market Gates.) There's also a new road at the Beacon estate ominously waiting to be extended across the fields.

Now Queen Anne's Road is threatened. Locals will recall when it was possible to walk that way out under the railway line and onto the unspoilt marshes. It still retains some of that character, with allotments and the garden centre and no doubt some nice sunsets (if not the smell of coal gas.)

Why flatten it? 'Extra capacity' rather than relieving existing congestion? Profits for a private company based in Singapore (which will employ about 5 people having sacked 11?) This isn't progress, it's idiocy!

Cyclepaths are very much a part of any joined-up regeneration plans - they benefit local people on a human scale and at little cost. However much it's inhabitants might wish, Warren Road cannot exist in isolation. It is part of a wider network which will eventually connect the entire length of this area from Caister to Hopton and entail long-lasting health and environmental benefits.

I hope the planners and local people will see the scheme in this way and go ahead with this positive development.

R F WARD

Albemarle Road

Gorleston

I WONDER if the people signing the current petition for a Directly Elected Mayor for the Borough realise the potential cost to the Council Tax payer. The estimated cost of holding such a vote is in the region of £50,000. Mr Castle's argument that it can be held at the same time as the district elections in May is incorrect, as the time has passed for that to happen.

After enough signatures have been amassed, it will take time to verify the forms and then another four months for a detailed constitution to be tabled. Then it needs ratification from the Secretary of State before the referendum can be held. Such an exercise would be very heavy on officers' time, just as we need to make significant savings.

A Directly Elected Mayor is designed for a unitary authority. I am not aware of any at District level. Such an office is expected to control most council policies, something impossible at District level in our two tier system.

The whole process is a political game by Messrs Castle and Wainwright to “spice up” the political scene. The option of a Directly Elected Mayor became law 10 years ago. It is strange that they are such recent converts to this idea. There has been a deathly silence from all other local Labour politicians including Tony Wright MP, on the issue. I would be interested to hear from them.

The local Conservative party is totally opposed to such an expense on a futile exercise at a time when we are struggling to maintain services in difficult times.

One final thought: how does Mr Castle reconcile these actions with his proposal last week that we embrace the Norfolk unitary option within the next 15 months, which would mean any elected mayoralty would be irrelevant?

Cllr BARRY COLEMAN

Leader,

Great Yarmouth Borough Council

FRITTON Woods, Waveney Forest or is it Fritton Pits? The Bretts Aggregates planning application was received at the County Council Office last Friday. Now we all know their intention is formally applying to extract gravel from the woods, to use the A143 in Fritton and access through a field. Albeit ignoring 20,000+ signatures of people objecting to this disruption, the only route available within the application is over this land with the co-operation of the present owner, will not notice a thing, other than an opportunity to substantially increase their bank account.

CHARLEY BAINES-BURTON

Fritton

I AM truly amazed at the comments by Councillor Graham Plant regarding the £53,000 Government grant to the Borough Council to assist with initiatives to increase business in the Town Centre.

He regarded the amount as a “joke” - this comment from a member of the ruling Tory council that spent nearly £1 million of taxpayers' money on three television screens in Great Yarmouth; two sitting on the seafront and one somewhere in the UK that was originally in the Market Place. This waste of money exemplifies the way the Tories run the council. Perhaps they should talk to the market traders and businesses around the Town Centre to see if £53,000 is a joke.

Of course he comments on the grant yet not a word of compliment for the millions of pound in regeneration money the Government has already given, including the £2.3 million spent on St George's Park - how was that money spent? Or what about the £3million for St George's Chapel (Theatre) and of course the millions in SHARP funding for the secondary holiday area, or the £5 million for Southtown and Camperdown?

I could give a list of Government regeneration money received in the past 10 or so years.

I only wish that during my many years on the council from 1980 to 1997 we had a Government that gave Yarmouth millions of pounds, even £50,000 would have seemed like we had won the jackpot, instead of the continuing cuts we had to endure from successive Tory governments.

TONY WRIGHT MP

WE would like to bring to the public attention that an application for planning permission has been applied for the old lifeguard hut and adjacent shelter on Gorleston promenade! There was a lot of interest from locals when the building was put up for tender in April this year and as traders on the esplanade we are disgusted to hear of the application for many reasons but mainly two.

One, the plans proposed are for hot and cold food sales and there's no need at all for another catering outlet especially with green neon signage!

And two, because the plan for the adjacent shelter is a seating area for the outlet. This is totally inconsiderate to the general public who we thought it was for and to our regular customers who already use it.

After looking at the plans, we feel insulted as we previously put a generous bid in for the old lifeguard hut ourselves with the intention to keep the police there as their recent presence has been valued. We are also very concerned about the preservation of Gorleston promenade, and the closing date for the public to make their representations in regards to the application is Tuesday, January 5.

T KELLY, C DIMASCIO, M SWANN, S LAURENCE

IT saddens me to see the great work that those involved with the new Newtown Youth Centre is now in jeopardy because of a funding crisis. The centre fulfils an important role in our local community, providing enormous support to many of our young people helping them reach their full potential.

Yet at the same time, the ongoing saga of MP's expenses highlights how out of touch many of our profligate elected representatives can be. Our own Member of Parliament still benefits from a handy £10,000 windfall gained when he gave up the lease of his taxpayer funded London home.

During this Christmas season we often reflect on the role of the Three Wise Men in the Nativity story and the gifts that they made. Perhaps, Tony Wright can find the courage to show that he is just as wise and give up his taxpayer-funded bonus. I am sure the co-ordinators at the Newmtown Youth Centre would put it to good use.

RICHARD E STORER

The Promenade,

Scratby

HOW sad I was to hear on Radio Devon this morning that the last commercial fisherman in Great Yarmouth is to hang up his nets for the last time in the new year.

Born in Gorleston-on-Sea in 1928, I well remember the fishing fleet in my boyhood, and standing with my mother on Gorleston pierhead by the “Pepper Pot” and watching the boats coming and going in the continuous line to the fishing grounds. A more exciting view than the present vista of wind turbines!

I visited Great Yarmouth and Gorleston whilst on holiday during the summer for the first time in 70 years. There was of course much changed, but at the same time nothing much was different. My most pleasant surprise was to find the Gorleston boating pond still in full use, I used to sail my yacht and Hornby speedboat there when I was a boy. At least the dreaded Health and Safety have not got their hands on it.

I hope perhaps one day a memorial of some sort may be erected on the old fish wharf to commemmorate the once glorious industry that was the old Yarmouth. If so will gladly give a contribution.

PS I used to live in Elmgrove Road, Gorleston. I was evacuated from there on June 2 1940; is the Anderson shelter still in the garden of No 16 I wonder?

RICHARD BEECHING

Victoria Street

Devon

INTERESTED readers of the Mercury outside our area could be pardoned for thinking what an apathetic place Gorleston and Yarmouth must be when they see just a handful of residents taking a real interest in a major project that appears to have gone wrong in as much as what was to be a roll on roll off port helping to produce 1,000 new jobs with ferries bringing 120,000 potential tourists to our resort and surrounding areas ending up as a container port also aggregates, grain and cement with noise and dust pollution and probable traffic chaos. The grant was awarded on the promise of a roll on roll off ferry and the previously mentioned jobs and tourists to create regeneration which we were the ratepayers were led to believe up to the end. They will not come clean and give us new estimates for the current situation.

John Cooper has done a remarkable job scouring the internet to find out the amount of information he has. Our council has also done a remarkable job in remaining totally silent presumably because they are unable to defend themselves. When John and I question the council and individual councillors who are on the board of the Port Authority we get replies claiming sensitive commercial information despite Department of Transport recommendations for Trust Ports which says our guidance to the ports says that they “should aim to comply with the spirit of the Act in responding to reasonable requests for information from the public”. All of us in the community are stakeholders of Great Yarmouth Port Authority they should be fair and open with us. Their response and that of GYBC concerns myself and others and makes me wonder what have they got to hide? Is this a cover up and if so what else has been covered up?

I will repeat that as before I was not against the original concept of the outer harbour which could bring major benefits to our borough but the fact is our council has given so much away in terms of our assets and taken on responsibilities which will cost us all in GYBC and NCC rates. The community as a whole was not considered and I believe there could come a day when we will not be allowed access to the south pier just as we have lost access to much of the riverside. Just six words spoken by a councillor at a meeting stick in my mind “we gave them all they wanted.” If this doesn't make you angry then perhaps it makes you feel guilty of not caring.

Writing a letter with your own concerns isn't difficult. You can just send a letter to the Mercury stating “I demand as a ratepayer and stakeholder that Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Great Yarmouth Port Authority and Norfolk County Council is open and honest and tells us all the details of the outer harbour project.” That's all it takes to register your concern. You can email it, post it or take it to the Mercury office but please do something to prove we have pride in our borough and refuse be misled and short changed.

DENNIS DURRANT

Brett Avenue

Gorleston

THIS is addressed to the person or persons who were driving too fast on Heather Road on the evening of December 9. Thank you for running over and killing our family cat, Jesse, and then driving off. She didn't die straight away so thank you for causing untold pain and suffering to an animal that's done absolutely nothing to you. Thank you also for making my children cry. Please note Heather Road is NOT a race track and we don't appreciate you using it as such. Given that it's Christmas and it's the period of goodwill to all men I'm prepared to forgive you, but only if you're brave enough to turn up on my doorstep and apologise to my family in person. If not I guess you'd rather hide behind the wheel of your car until you do something like this again.

STEVE BROWNE

Heather Road

Belton

IF you are the proud recipient of two large garden pots holding two beautiful palms this Christmas, please be aware that they could be the two stolen from our front garden last Tuesday night. I have three Christmas wishes for the thieves: that the plants, unhappy with the move, shrivel and die; that the pots both crack in the first hard frosts; and that whoever took them put their back out while getting them over our wall and spend the next few weeks doubled in agony! Merry Christmas!

MOIRA GRANGER

Salisbury Road

Great Yarmouth

I RECENTLY visited Edward Worlledge Community Junior School. The school is for children aged eight to 12 and the proportion of pupils with learning difficulties is high and many have emotional, social and behavioural needs too. The staff have a very difficult job often being teacher, quasi-councillor and social services provider, and do an outstanding job, according to Ofsted in 2008: “This is a good school working in very difficult circumstances.” Unfortunately, like all schools the school is judged on the government process based targets despite dealing with the more complex issues of many of their pupils. On December 4, the Mercury reported that the school was in the bottom 200 for the percentage of pupils attaining level four in English and Mathematics. These targets set by government are hard to meet in schools like Edward Worlledge and do not fairly represent the work being done there.

Having visited the school it is clear they are a classic example of the victims of Labour's process-based tick-box target mentality and “big brother knows best” attitude to local communities. This is a school that was clearly working hard for pupils, with committed staff who are under huge pressure working with issues that some pupils and their families have and not getting the full back up of the system to support them and the families they work so hard to serve. They clearly do a good job with the pupils they have, but they do not fit the tick-box approach of Labour and as such suffer at the hands of government quangos like this. Even a quick visit and meeting with the head, deputy head and entire staff body indicates how committed the staff are and what a good job they are doing with the pupils they have with the limitations they are given by the system.

BRANDON LEWIS

Prospective Conservative MP

Great Yarmouth


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