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Letters 1

PUBLISHED: 09:38 05 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:57 30 June 2010

I HEARTILY sympathise with passengers on the No 2 route and urge them to keep up the pressure although there is little hope of much response from First Bus as they don't have the decency to even acknowledge correspondence.

I HEARTILY sympathise with passengers on the No 2 route and urge them to keep up the pressure although there is little hope of much response from First Bus as they don't have the decency to even acknowledge correspondence. However people on that route are indeed fortunate to only wait for 20 minutes on the Service 5 we often wait for an hour and sometimes two. We have been trying since last April to get First to look again at this service, to no avail. Just delaying tactics and broken promises.

The fact is that the whole of First Bus network across the Great Yarmouth borough needs to be reviewed. We fully appreciate it is a commercial undertaking but surely public transport is meant to serve the public? To ensure viability any route needs to cover as wide an area as possible in order to achieve maximum passenger usage at lowest possible cost ie one vehicle and driver, rather than two or three vehicles running half empty.

To be successful any review needs to be done in consultation with passengers especially those totally dependant on public transport. It is absolutely useless the company having discussions with councillors who, most, but not all, have cars and very rarely use public transport. I suggest that before the May elections, all councillors, parish, borough and county leave their cars at home for a week and take the bus. This would give them a real insight into the pressures suffered by many residents on a day to day basis. As in all things one can only truly understand another person's problem by actually sharing it with them, in this case 'travel the road.'

M B GREY

Butt Lane,

Burgh Castle

WE very much welcome the support shown by members of the local business community in seeking to work together with us and our stakeholder partners in identifying the best approach to improve the overall environment at Great Yarmouth station and the surrounding areas.

I have been encouraged by the enthusiasm and interest expressed and some positive initial discussions on the way forward have already taken place. In partnership with Norfolk County Council, our immediate plans include making improvements to the pedestrian access at the station and installing a new customer information screen and improved signage. With spring approaching, we are planning to put-in new planters for floral displays to help brighten-up the station, and a number of new poster boards have been fitted.

In the meantime, the station team at Great Yarmouth and our retail partners continue to make every effort to maintain the station facilities to the best possible standard and to provide excellent customer service.

JAMES STEWARD

Area Manager, Rural Routes

National Express East Anglia

We all know that first impressions are of the utmost import. They can be warm and welcoming or cold and depressing and leave a lasting memory. Great Yarmouth railway station casts a dark shadow over any visit and this is so unfair to our town and it's residents. For comparison, I would remind readers of the unfair initial impression of Norwich which used to be gained by visitors from abroad arriving at it's dilapidated bus station and of how it's regeneration has transformed it to a pleasant and fitting introduction to that great city. Surely our sense of pride and decency demands that something immediate and radical is done to transform our railway station, not forgetting the Vauxhall Bridge entrance to the town as well. Spencer McCormack's excellent plan will I am sure give a real jump-start to the much needed improvements and I trust that the campaign initiated by Brandon Lewis will produce a permanent reformation to what after all is the gateway to our town - Great Yarmouth.

DR W H HAMILTON-DEANE

Middleton Road,

Gorleston

AS our town railway station is much in the news lately, I have another question concerning it.

Ever since the 1960s, when the last steam-hauled train left Vauxhall Station, there have been just two steam-hauled specials arrive, organised by the Heritage Steam touring companies. Both were fully booked weeks in advance, with 500 passengers on each, who made their way into town and arrived back for the journey home with all the goods. They must have spent a considerable amount of money in town.

What is amazing is that the last of these specials was about seven years ago and none have arrived since. This begs the question, whatever must be wrong with Yarmouth, when most major seaside resorts whose stations survived the Beeching axe have at least one of two of these specials every year.

Scarborough has one arrive almost daily during the peak weeks; even Lowestoft has one, sometimes two, each year.

If the two trains I mentioned had arrived half-empty, this situation at Yarmouth could be expected, but with the two that arrived being such a success, it must give the town's tourist chiefs food for thought as to why the town has lost so many day-trippers and hundreds of thousands of pounds over the years.

A WATKER

Sturdee Avenue,

Great Yarmouth

I WRITE in support of South Yarmouth residents, concerning their irregular, unsatisfactory bus service. Their complaints are mirrored all over the borough: buses arriving together; long gaps between buses; not adhering to timetables; passing people waiting at bus stops; rudeness to passengers; lack of care in waiting for people to be seated before driving off. First Bus needs to get their act together and give their customers the service which they deserve and pay for.

Cllr BRENDA TAYLOR

Nelson Ward

Great Yarmouth

I AGREE with comments regarding buses to and from Barrack Estate area (Mercury, February 26). We are never sure when, or if, the bus is going to arrive or not, but I find most drivers are pleasant and helpful. But it is the waiting, more so during the bad weather we have had, that aggravates the problem. The money spent on the bus station has one wondering, when at times it is quite empty, with no buses in sight, plus Sundays and holidays, when we are the second biggest seaside in England. I must add that dirty buses inside and out does not do much for Great Yarmouth, so please, First Bus, let's see some improvements very soon. We are sure your staff would also enjoy their jobs more too.

RICHARD FIRMIN

Havelock Road

Great Yarmouth

I MUST be missing something with regards to our town centre and the so-called pedestrianised area around the Market Place. Stupidly I thought when something is called pedestrian I was led to believe that meant no vehicles but to my amazement as I stand there having my lunch on the local tea stall, it's more like a thorough for vans and bikes of every shape and size. I watched as cyclists ride straight past the police officers and not a word is said. Who would be liable if one of these vans, cars or cyclists hit somebody? Security vans drive straight down the main thoroughfare at lunch times on a market day do a three point turn and park right outside the shops and then sit there with the engine running while they have their dinner. Why are the barriers left unlocked at the south end to stop cars and vans from using the paved area; maybe one or two of these van drivers or cyclists need a ticket to curb the problem but with the police ignoring the situation it will only get sorted out when the inevitable happens and somebody gets hurt. Typical!

BOB SEWELL

West Road

Caister-on-Sea

IN relation to the letter “Council Cuts” in The Mercury, February 26. Another way to cut costs would be to turn off street lighting at night? Answer: Who said that!?

MARTIN ANDREWS

Wight Drive

Caister-on-Sea

After reading about the Stafford Hospital in the national press, I feel I must write about our local hospital, the James Paget, which really must be at the other end of the scale.

I was in Ward 6, bay one, from February 3 to February 10, due to having a hip replacement. All of the staff were brilliant. On arrival my wife and I were offered a cup of tea, which I considered to be a very nice gesture. After my operation I was treated with the utmost respect, and cannot fault any of my treatment.

The beds were made and changed every day, and an army of cleaners visited the ward on six of the seven days I was there. The one day they were not there was a Sunday. If you required assistance, you rang your bell and a nurse was there straightaway. One of the auxiliary nurses, Barbara, was absolutely brilliant and helped me wash on my first day after my operation and was the first person to help me walk with a walking frame.

The food was nourishing and hot. In fact, I cannot fault anything about my stay, my only grievance being that our nurses are not paid enough. They have to work very long shifts, for what? An urgent pay rise is needed, as they are all dedicated, efficient and worthy of praise. Where would we be without them?

JOHN BROOKSHAW

Southtown, Great Yarmouth

Many thanks for showing old photos of The Lady Haven over the past two weeks and, as I am the landlady, I show a great deal of interest in the pub. I do have a copy of one of the pictures.

After moving in here over 11 years ago, I tried to find out the history of this place and the area. I've been given a lot of information but no photographic evidence. I have three paintings of The Lady since the rebuild but wanted some of before the war and after. I do have a copy of The Lady that was shown in the paper two weeks ago but nothing of the "shack".

Is there anyone out there who has photos of inside and/or outside of the wooden shed, the older version before having an argument with a bomb, or even after? I am trying to make up a history or who had the pub, who enjoyed their time working or drinking here or even a bus ride to somewhere!

If anyone can provide history or photographs I would be dearly interested. I'm more than happy to copy the photos and return them by secure mail.

GILL ATKINSON

The Lady Haven

Cobholm

RE the letter regarding the seals at Winterton. Harry Nickerson does a wonderful job looking after the beautiful animals. He goes with his team long distances to collect injured and sick seals that are washed up and abandoned on the shoreline, looks after them until recovery and teaches them to swim. I've seen that during the summer months. It was lovely to see the girls in the baths with them. Surely it's better than being left on the beach for days and people tormenting them and dying long deaths.

Harry then releases them back to the sea when well and old enough. It's such a shame he is not open more often. It must be a struggle with no donations. As things are going, without him and people like him, our great-great-grandchildren will have nothing - no birds, or animals or wildlife.

MARY COX

Cherry Road

Gorleston

A great idea from J Dye in last week's Mercury - either a pedestrian area or piazza in front of the cafes and shops on Gorleston seafront. Concerns about parking there and on the pier, could be greatly solved if the First buses ran a regular service there as they used to. Failing that perhaps Anglian buses could be approached?

Mrs P THORP

Hurrell Road,

Caister-on-Sea

I FEEL I must write totally agreeing with the comments of John Laity last week, regarding those stupid traffic lights at Yarmouth Way. I use this road on a regular basis and find these lights seem to be set just to annoy the motorist. There is no common sense in the way they operate. I, along with Mr Laity, and I'm sure, many other road users hope a piece of common sense is used in correcting this matter asap.

DUNCAN SUTTON

Bells Road

Gorleston

LAST week people across Norfolk took part in a whole host of events to mark National Apprenticeship Week. We were thrilled to see so many people taking time out to showcase the huge benefits that apprenticeships have brought to businesses, public sector bodies and local communities throughout the region.

As a former apprentice myself, I was lucky enough to visit Prior Diesel in Great Yarmouth and saw firsthand the difference that young people are making. Keep up the wonderful work!

The government's recently announced Apprenticeship Grant for Employers offers small and medium-sized businesses in Norfolk the chance to recruit 16 or 17-year-olds while receiving a £2,500 grant for doing so.

I hope that businesses take up this offer, which will deliver huge benefits to local businesses and young people. More information can be found on apprenticeships.org.uk

TONY WRIGHT MP

I WAS interested to see in last week's Mercury the letter and photo of Cobholm Island, as I was also born and spent all my school days on the island. Mr Smith was quite right in saying what was the island. But all the people who lived to the south and west of Mill Road considered they were islanders. I remember the Lady Haven getting bombed. There were two more pubs not mentioned: the Windmill Tavern and the Salbury Arms. It was nice to read about the Garping Gull (Breydon Arms) as I was born quite near it on Stone Road and although I was married and had moved from the island, in 1953 I was visiting my late parents and we were all in the Garping Gull when the water came in the door. We all waded to the family home on Stone Road where we were marooned in the bedroom for 24 hours. This was the Great Flood of 1953. There were many more roads which come to mind such as Breydon Road, Tyroleen Square, Norman Lane etc. Incidentally I still have relations living on Gatacre Road after moving from Isaacs Road.

H HARRIS

St Anthony Avenue,

Gorleston

I READ in The Mercury of death of the late Keith Watts, former Acle correspondent. Keith and Joan his wife were, and still are, great family friends. I can well recall Keith was my personal sounding board on epilepsy sufferers and much of the success that sufferers locally now enjoy - better treatment and understanding, started in its infancy through Keith and Joan. When I lived in Mill Lane, Acle I walked across to the Watts home and they would always make me welcome and go kindly over my rough attitude or wanting change for epilepsy to happen calmly. Patiently both would explain to me the best way forward carefully planning a long term strategy. How right their logic has turned out to be. My epilepsy appeal now stands at £120,000.

MALCOLM PORTER

Great Plumstead

WITH regards to the potentially hazardous situation of dog mess being littered all over our lovely beach, I think it's time to do something about it. Okay, you have signs in places that people can see, threatening fines. These only work if people actually read them. You need to take a more severe approach towards offending dog owners. Don't just close your eyes and ignore what I am saying, the matter is serious and holds detrimental effects on our economy. Visitors are being put off coming to Great Yarmouth and spending their money because having to contend with such a large amount of dog mess on our beach is downright disgusting.

Please remove yourselves from your chairs and take a walk along the beach and prom. Take another pair of shoes just in case you stand in anything you can't see because it has been naturally covered by sand. The situation has increasingly got worse over the last 12 months.

GARY SMITH

Great Yarmouth

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