What are the concerns of Gorleston residents?

Gorleston seafront. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Gorleston seafront. Picture: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

Gorleston people often speak of the town’s uniqueness - but some of the issues it faces are common across the country.

Gorleston seafront. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Gorleston seafront. Picture: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

According to our online survey the most urgent concern is pressure on services, for example doctors and dentists, in an expanding town.

Almost 90pc of people who took part felt this was a problem.

The town is currently served by a merger of three medical centres on three sites known collectively as The Beaches Medical Centre.

This includes the Central Healthcare Centre on Sussex Road, the Gorleston Medical Centre at Shrublands on Magdalen Way and Hopton Surgery.

Collectively the practices look after 25,000 registered patients.

And although the town is growing, with new developments either in the planning process or already approved, Gorleston is classified by the NHS as a hard-to-recruit area.

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Earlier this year NHS England and Health Education England launched a recruitment scheme to alleviate the GP shortage, with trainee doctors offered a one-off payment of £20,000 in return for a commitment to work for three years in the area.

The NHS has confirmed that one trainee doctor has signed up to the scheme and will start work in Gorleston in August.

Emma Flaxman-Taylor, Great Yarmouth Borough councillor for Gorleston, said: "As a council we have a policy to follow within the local plan.

"We don't have a neighbourhood plan.

"With Gorleston it's a bit difficult because there's no parish council."

The councillor also said that during the planning process there is no input regarding health provision.

"I do think some kind of health report would give some kind of an idea," she said.

"Planning gets reports from Anglian Water and Highways.

"Maybe there should be some influence from health."

Councillor Marlene Fairhead, who represents St Andrews Ward, said it was not easy to get doctor appointments.

"People go to A&E at the James Paget Hospital because they can't get appointments with a doctor," she said, adding that this puts more pressure on staff at the hospital.

Councillor Trevor Wainwright, of Magdalen ward, said there is shortage of GPs in the country as a whole.

"Brexit is playing into it," he said.

"GPs are going back to their countries of origin."

Doctors surgeries are private businesses and the borough council has no influence on GP numbers.

Another concern is unemployment and lack of opportunities for younger people to work in the town.

Figures for unemployment in Gorleston are difficult to find, as these are calculated for the whole of the borough.

The main employment sectors are hospitality and care, with energy another employer but its locations are outside the town.

Big employers are the Pier and Cliff Hotels, TJs, Wilko and the James Paget Hospital, while seasonal work is found at the holiday camps, the Haven, Summerfield and Park Dean.

Another important place of work is at Gapton Retail Park, at TK Maxx, Next and Marks and Spencer.

Despite the concerns, more than 70pc of respondents said they are happy living in the town.

The best thing about Gorleston is the seafront and beach, with the High Street another contender, our survey shows.

Some of people's least favourite things about the town are anti-social behaviour, traffic and overdevelopment.

When asked what people would like to see change in Gorleston, they said better policing, improved transport links and more facilities for teenagers.

The biggest challenges facing Gorleston are the threat of commercialisation, housing without facilities and services, infrastructure under stress, the need for more schools and doctors and overpopulation,

We asked how do you think Gorleston has changed in the last ten years?

Almost half (43.9pc) said for the better; 38.7pc said for the worse; while 17.3pc said not at all.