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Harbour critics on another planet

PUBLISHED: 18:05 10 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:59 03 July 2010

LETTERS to the Mercury about the Outer Harbour all too often seem to come from some parallel universe that doesn't seem to bear much resemblance to Great Yarmouth in 2009.

LETTERS to the Mercury about the Outer Harbour all too often seem to come from some parallel universe that doesn't seem to bear much resemblance to Great Yarmouth in 2009. The conspiracy theories put forward beggar belief! Actually I recognise many of the names on the letters as those of people who have written in fairly consistently over the past 10 years or so to rubbish the project.

The new harbour represents one of the biggest regeneration projects in the whole of the East of England and has brought in millions of pounds of both Government monies and private finance to secure its construction. It will help secure Yarmouth's economic future for generations to come. It will create employment - including many jobs for dockworkers.

The closure of the road near to the new facility once the new port is operational has been in County Council plans as far back as the early 1990s - it is not some new fiendish plot to deny public access! Similarly the Gorleston Pier car park has been in a poor condition for some years - it is not the fault of EastPort as “incomers.”

The success of the Outer Harbour will have a beneficial knock-on effect on revitalising the fortunes of port users in the Inner Harbour - it will not destroy port jobs. It will reinforce Yarmouth's proud position as the base for oil and gas in the Southern North Sea.

There will soon be a shortage - not a surplus - of skilled dockworkers and they should be able to command better wages and conditions of service. Negotiating new 24-hour working contracts for dockworkers during the construction phase of the new harbour and during a recession was always going to be difficult. The loss of jobs from the old Great Yarmouth Stevedores operation is enormously disappointing. We have to hope that even at this late hour talks can be re-opened between Unite the union and employers EastPort/Port of Singapore to try to agree a way forward that avoids casualisation of labour, whilst guaranteeing good pay and conditions for dockers and continuity of labour to load and unload ships within a 24-hour modern port.

MICHAEL CASTLE

Borough Councillor for Yarmouth Central and Northgate

Chairman of the Great Yarmouth Port Authority 1999-2004

THE issue of parking on the South Jetty in Gorleston clearly illustrates the lack of a strategic plan or vision for Gorleston by the controlling Conservative Administration at the Borough Council. This is an essential facility for not only the residents and local businesses but also for the wider community and tourists.

I signed the online petition as Councillor for Claydon Ward because I am in full support that this parking area should be a priority to be repaired and opened as soon as possible.

The Conservative Cabinet of the Borough Council should inform all residents about:

Why this area was not protected during the negotiations with East Port?

Why Gorleston has not received the investment it needs and deserves as a major centre of population in the Great Yarmouth area?

Why capital receipts of £2m can be taken from the sales of land at Beacon Park to fund the completion of the Yarmouth seafront but no money is available to repair a small, parking area in Gorleston?

As vice chair of the Gorleston Area Scrutiny Committee, I intend to ask to have the issue of South Jetty parking placed on the committee's agenda at the first meeting on October 7, 2009. This will enable the issue to be fully discussed in a meeting to be held in public. It should also enable full transparency to the views and reasons why this problem has not been addressed.

Cllr BERNARD WILLIAMSON

Labour Member for the Claydon Ward

SO Great Yarmouth Borough Council is in a quandary over what to do with the giant TV screen from the Market Place now it has been repaired! May I suggest putting it at the outer harbour to advertise the 900 jobs that this project would bring, and advertise the timetable for the roll on, roll off ferry. As I am certain the screen would remain blank, consider streaming 24/7 footage of the Puppet Man with travel updates to show just what visitors to this town have to look forward to.

TONY LINCOLN

York Road

Great Yarmouth

FOR the attention of the Chairman PSA International. PSA international is the majority shareholder (60pc) in a joint venture with International Port Holdings (40pc) trading under the name of EastPort in the UK. An extract under the heading of "To whom we are responsible community" within the Code of Business Conduct (PSA International) states: "This involves full compliance with local laws and authorities, respect for local culture and giving due consideration to social and environmental issues in all commercial decisions" (http://www.internationalpsa.com/about/pdf/codeofconduct.pdf)

With respect to EastPort's current development of Great Yarmouth outer harbour facilities. A great deal of public money has gone into this venture and presently the behaviour of EastPort is not acting as a responsible member of the local community, in which they have chosen to do business.

They are becoming a detested pariah within the local community of the borough of Great Yarmouth and Gorleston (See local press). The initial public promises covered in the media of increased employment is now the reality of much less and a wall of silence on the issue. They have taken to restrict or block public access to areas that is clearly no threat to security or safety of their operation.

Having once been very vocal and proactive in securing public funds, they have now developed a stonewalling strategy in dealing with the public because of broken promises and unruly social behavior, no doubt in the mistaken belief that issues will blow over with people becoming resigned to the fait de complete.

I would suggest that increasing public anger will eventually start to turn the media eye to an organisation with little or no respect for its community hosts, as this makes a very good story. Local people will also become more critical as to the accountability of local elected officials in granting EastPort public lands and public funds. At the moment, what is individual anger will develop into public action. Behaviour of EastPort will drive the behaviour of people, it will not recede.

EastPort are fast becoming a public relations disaster, their ability to both act responsibly and communicate with community, is so unnecessary. A willingness to work with society rather than against on issues that they are the root cause of, would be both appreciated and welcomed

STEVE TAYLOR

Gorleston-on-Sea

MY brother sends me The Mercury every week and I was so looking forward to my visit to my home town, but what a disappointment. The seafront, St George's Park, the Quay were brilliant, but the Market Gates bus station is chewing gum alley and could do with a coat of paint. I feel so sorry for the landladies who still have pride in their homes but live next door to houses which look like slums. Councillors get well paid and are supposed to have the welfare of all the pople in their wards, not just the few.

And are the police blind? Don't they see all the bicycles on pavements, going the wrong way? We were nearly knocked down outside Woolworths. But we noticed a motorist was pulled up, and there were three or four police cars to that.

Ten out of 10 for the owners of the Pleasure Beach. It really lifted my spirits and was so clean inside and out. Well done.

I suppose if this letter is printed nothing will be done as usual. I'm so sorry for all you voters.

JANE WRIGHT (nee James)

Westham

Nr Weymouth

THE updated library galleries will certainly be a credit to the town when the work is finished and all the builders gear is cleared away. The annual exhibition of the GY and District Society of Arts which opened to a private view on Friday evening gave us a preview. But who was the genius who decided to save a few bob by dispensing with the proper hanging arrangements, thus ensuring several days of hard work in precisely drilling the newly-emulsioned walls to take the exhibits? The results - 84 exhibits = 168 holes = filling in and re-emulsioning the walls which will have to be done following each exhibition.

Economy?

Miss R L FARMER

Marine Parade

Gorleston

JUST in case anyone missed last week's Mercury, rest assured that Great Yarmouth Community Housing are working hard to protect us all, by actively participating in the so called “Nanny State”.

We, the Rural North Tenants and Residents Association have been banned from giving away complementary glasses of wine, at our weekly Wine and Whinge events in the northern villages.

The reason, according to Denis Gilbert, director of Community Housing, is that the council is concerned that tenants may consume alcohol, get into a vehicle, and be guilty of drink driving. This will result in the council being sued. These concerns are full of possible's, maybe's and other vagueties.

Whilst his concerns are admirable, in reality his banning is unrealistic. Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a car, under the influence, is to be rightfully prosecuted. However, it is the driver of the vehicle who is liable, not the alcohol providers. If this were the case, then pubs wouldn't be able to ply their trade without fear of prosecution.

Furthermore, all of our events were focused around council properties, with those attending our events walking across the road to our gazebo. The small amount of complimentary wine enjoyed was of low strength, 8pc, and only given out at one location.

Great Yarmouth Community Housing were the first to start the “wine and whinge” events, we merely borrowed their idea. They were aware of our intentions, and I had provided them with a full list of times and locations, well in advance of our leaflet printing.

The ban will have little or no effect on our activities. We will continue to use our existing flyers and banner, but will inform all who visit us of the council's latest ruling. As the council was well aware of our activities, and acted without due thought or consultation, we may be forced to seek financial compensation.

Others, however, will suffer greater than us. All galas, carnivals and public events will fall foul of the ban if on council land, or linked to the council. I assume the recent Maritime event wasn't on council land, or linked to the council, as it had a nice beer tent.

PETER KIRKPATRICK

Chairman

Rural North Tenants and Residents Association

I RECENTLY saw a news item about ex-speedway rider Billy Bales's 80th birthday. Congratulations Billy! But does anyone know the whereabouts of one of his contemporaries - Paddy Hammond. He joined the Norwich Stars just after the war and was another thrill merchant of his day. Where is he now and what happened to him?

DAVID HUNTER

dbhunt@mx2.tees.ne.jp

THE Great Yarmouth Mercury will be publishing a special glossy Magazine in October to remember called Yarmouth in the War Years. All funds raised from the sale of the publication will go to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

We would like to ask Mercury readers if they have any interesting stories about the years 1939-1945 also any relevant pictures of the period that we could use within the publication. All pictures and articles will be returned and we will endeavour to use as much information provided by our readers as possible.

Please send any articles or photos that you feel may be suitable for this publication along with your contact details to me at The Mercury, 36 North Quay, 1st Floor, Great Yarmouth NR30 1JE.

Mrs W Willcocks

Letters continued on Page 12

ends

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