Readers’s letters, February 23 2018
PUBLISHED: 11:03 24 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:03 24 February 2018
Problems walking Bollard Quay
We all know that pedestrian access has been restricted along Bollard Quay but, because of concrete obstructions, people using wheelchairs or mobility scooters and parents pushing prams are no longer able to travel along that side of Southtown Road.
Instead, they are forced to cross over and then cross back if they want to remain on that side of the road. This surely must be more of a health and safety aspect than the hypothetical risk of an injury from the industrial use of the quay.
As a solution, why doesn’t the Port Authority recess the wire fencing near these obstructions by about three feet so as to enable such people as mentioned above means of continuing their journey.
N S WILLIAMSON
Ice rink users were subsidised
At a time when the average Council Tax for 2018/19 will be increasing by £100 per year, we see cuts to services, including our warden service which affects some of our most elderly and vulnerable residents.
We also see all of our Community Police Support Officers being made redundant.
At the same time the Conservative controlled borough council are announcing the ice rink in the Market Place over Christmas lost £119k of council tax payers money. This is on top of the £110K the ice rink lost in 2015/16.
This year the ice rink attracted only 7,010 users, which means that every person who used the rink was subsidised by £17.
Although allegedly footfall in the town centre was up, traders say they did not notice any significant increase in their sales.
It was the Great Yarmouth Labour Party whom, when in control of the borough council, committed £1m to the Town Centre Initiative Reserve, this was to bring long term benefits to the town centre, and not on short-term vanity projects which so far have cost council tax payers nearly a quarter of a million pounds.
Cllr TREVOR WAINWRIGHT
Leader of the Labour Group
Cuckoo makes his way back to UK
On February 13, PJ the cuckoo was recorded as being in northern Nigeria, so he is not so slowly making his way back to these shores. Remember he can be tracked on www.bto.org.
We can therefore be grateful for all the birds arriving, the additional minutes of daylight and degrees of warmth, the extra yard of ground that can be walked.
On the subject of birds returning, I well remember the February morning at a staff briefing at the Sixth Form College when a keen ornithologist from amongst our ranks announced that he had spotted an egret on the Vauxhall roundabout at the entrance to the town and had anyone else had similar sightings.
Lacking what the French call ‘l’esprit d’escalier’ or staircase wit, it was only later that some of us got together and thought how opportune it would have been if we had stepped forward in unison while singing: ‘Egrets, we’ve seen a few, but then again too few to mention’.
Spring has sprung.
Breathtaking and a very sorry saga
The decision to exclude the League of Friends shop from the JPUH new planned foyer, must be the worst public relations exercise the hospital has ever perpetrated.
The arrogance of the administration to not even consult the League of Friends, just to present them with a letter telling of the closure, is breathtaking. The offer of a portable building at a cost, in the car park, is a token effort not worthy of consideration.
It seems the nearly £2m raised by the League of Friends is to be thought insignificant, with commercial interests to take precedence. Will Marks and Spencer contribute so much income?
The hospital board and CEO seem very quiet on this matter, a sorry saga which does the James Paget no favours.
JOHN R DRAY
Don’t leave waste bins teetering
Can someone please tell the borough council’s refuse collection department that as they go on their rounds emptying wheelie bins, would it be so difficult for them to put the bins into the gardens/gateways rather than teetering next to roads?
They are accidents waiting to happen. Do we then sue the council for the damage to our vehicles? Surely someone on the council must realise that empty plastic bins with wheels pose an acute health and safety risk to pedestrians and motorists alike.
Pothole funding is a must for roads
The potholes on the A47 between James Paget Hospital and Hopton are getting bigger. On television Highways England stated that they did not have enough money to repair the potholes.
If that is the case, who was the person sitting in an office somewhere who came up with the stupid idea to put traffic lights on the roundabout near Links Road at Gorleston. We do not need lights there.
As far as I know there has never been a bad accident there. The money wasted on these lights could go towards filling the potholes.
By having the lights it will cause tail backs from Links Road roundabout as far as the Hopton roundabout. About a few weeks ago the tail back was past Hopton roundabout as far at Jay Lane.
With people using the A47 to get to work and summer visitors coming to Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and elsewhere it will cause more avenues of traffic.
It will be like the tail backs you get all of the time between Gapton Hall roundabout as far back as Harfreys roundabout, caused by the traffic lights on Gapton roundabout.
If Brandon Lewis, who is now chairman of the Conservative Party, said that he was concerned about the condition of our roads. Why doesn’t he ask his boss, Mrs May, to cut some of the millions of pounds she gives to foreign aid and put a few million into this country.
I bet if all the people who had to spend hundreds of pounds getting their vehicles repaired for the damage caused by the pothole were to sue the government, Mrs May would soon find the millions to repair our roads.
We fought alone for ferry service
What a forgetful councillor Mick Castle is! He states he is very disappointed at the news in the Mercury reporting the ferry is postponed. Is he really disappointed or is he just having a dig at Brandon Lewis MP and the Tory party.
I ask how can he be disappointed? He was one of the main supporters of International Port Holdings (IPH) that our councillors gave our river port and all its assets to. Mr Castle, like most of the Norfolk and Yarmouth councillors, believed every word of what IPH told them and in doing so all we got was a container company, a grain company, a granite company and a company dismantling gas platforms. The promised employment of at least 1,000 persons has shrunk to about 15, and Mick Castle is disappointed!
A group of us ratepayers fought tooth and nail to force the council to divulge the reason for not insisting on a ferry service in 2007; since 2003 Superfast Ferries had been the favoured ferry service, but did our councillors join the call to have a ferry what the £20m was given for? No! They fought against us and the rest is history.
JOHN L COOPER
Admit ice rink was financial mistake
In October last year, the Conservative and (then) UKIP borough councillors agreed to hire an ice rink for the Christmas period in Great Yarmouth. This decision was opposed by Labour councillors on the grounds of cost.
I freely admit I love Christmas, and have enjoyed watching many people enjoying the ice rink in Norwich when it was outside the Forum. It created a lovely atmosphere.
The article in last week’s Mercury on the committee’s review of the venture reported the 2017 rink in Yarmouth did not cover its costs and the venture needs a bailout from the local taxpayer of £118,966. This equates to a subsidy of almost £17 for each of the 7,010 tickets sold. Hardly value for money!
While I do not begrudge any skater their fun, I question the Tory and UKIP councillors’ priorities and economic competence.
Kay Grey (UKIP/Tory) was in favour of hiring the rink, saying “the majority of the residents I have spoken to said they want it back.” However, out of a population of nearly 100,000 in the borough only 7,000 tickets were sold, some repeat visits, and included visitors from outside the borough and the taxpayers subsidised them.
Graham Plant (Conservative Group leader) said it is not often a borough councillor “could bring a little bit of sunshine and joy to its residents.” Only a small proportion of our local taxpayers shared the ‘sunshine’. That amount of money would have brought an awful lot of ‘sunshine’ to the many local residents who need to visit food banks, exist on Universal Credit and have struggled with the 1pc pay cap the Tory councillors support. How many local children who have lost the support due to cuts to children’ services would have enjoyed that ‘sunshine’ also?
The increase in footfall in the town centre did materialise but did not translate into increased spending in local businesses.
It can be difficult for people to admit publicly they were wrong but I sincerely hope councillors who agreed to the rink will have the courage to admit they were on this occasion.
This is at a time when councils are cutting more services because of relentless underfunding by the Government. If this is the level of competence from those currently in control of the borough are they suitable representatives to be re-elected in in May?
Automatons will take control of us
Have we ever stopped to think that the world has already been taken over by aliens? In the form of an automaton.
The idea is put into our heads at the age of 17 in the shape of a car, which is now moving into a more advanced state of thinking for itself, irrespective of where it is parked.
It is a plague which will eventually control civilisation’s movements by doing what it wants to do with regards parking.
Mobile power units will cruise the streets in order to move these automatons which have run out of power sometime in strategically awkward places. Yes, we are being taken over by aliens!