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PUBLISHED: 16:32 25 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:11 30 June 2010

I HAVE been reading with interest and alarm various articles concerning Fritton Woods. Over the past 40 years, I have at times, lived and worked in the Belton and Fritton area.

I HAVE been reading with interest and alarm various articles concerning Fritton Woods. Over the past 40 years, I have at times, lived and worked in the Belton and Fritton area. During these periods I had much contact with many of the older generation; unfortunately most of those wells of information are no longer with us, so I will relate a little of what they told me.

The area we know as Fritton Woods was formerly leased to or owned by the MoD for military training. Today there still remains various concrete bunkers and tank traps. I was also told by the “old ones” that while the area was in control of the army, various large pits were excavated. The purpose of these pits was to bury and cover over obsolete ordnance (ie bombs, bullets and other devices of war). Not long after the second world war ended, the Forestry Commission embarked on a large tree-planting project on the site, resulting in Fritton Woods as we know it today - a pleasant green area with limited development along part of its only accessible road. The recent application for permission to extract sand and gravel from the area was opposed by Fritton Action Group. Their ranks have now been swollen by “the world's leading authority” in the shape of Dr Van Steenis, who has prophesied that should aggregate extraction be undertaken it could result in some very unpleasant side effects, such as cancer, heart attacks, emphysema, child deformity, even “juvenile delinquency and knife crime,” all of this resulting from particle emissions and bulldozer exhaust. Sorry doctor, but I cannot swallow that pill - or is there information as to exactly what is buried under Fritton Woods? Is some of the obsolete ordnance of a type likely to present the health horror that Dr Steenis predicts? Could some of it be in the nature of chemical or biological warfare? In view of the proximity of one of our main drinking water supplies (Fritton Lake and Lound Water Works) along with the expansion of many of the nearby villages, I suggest this matter should be looked into and investigated by a far greater authority than Fritton Action Group or Brett Aggregates.

JOHN BAKER

Pier Plain

Gorleston

HANDS shaking I read with trepidation the lead article in this morning's Mercury: “Quarry could be a killer”. We'll have more heart attacks, cancer, emphysema, soaring asthma rates, strokes, diabetes, blood turning sticky, depression plus an increase in juvenile delinquency and knife crime. My goodness, just what are they planning to do in Waveney forest?

Well, a company called Brett Aggregates want to extract sand and gravel and it will be the bulldozers they use that cause this blight of biblical proportions. Now come on, no-one wants a quarry on their doorstep, I understand and sympathise with that, but do we really need any more of these over-hyped scare stories?

Half a million deaths from BSE, hundreds of thousands dying from swine flu, planes falling out of the sky because of the “millennium bug”, the list goes on and on. Dr Van Steenis seems to have made a name and presumably a good living for himself by taking up the role of pessimistic crusading expert against large scale incineration, new power stations and now sand quarries and bulldozers. They scare us with tales of an inevitable man-made global warming catastrophe blamed on eating too much beef and taking holidays in Greece, they stoke the fires of terror that an epidemic of obesity will kill all our children, insisting we all should revert to some kind of primitive lifestyle that they claim is compatible with nature.

Lets all hope the Outer Harbour doesn't turn out to be too much of a success then. With all those extra lorries chugging through the town, plus the thousands of additional tourists in their hundreds of Volvos, we'll expect to see piles of bodies in the street if Dr Van Steenis is remotely right with his assertions.

DENNIS J BEAN

Burgh St Peter

OVER many years as a borough and county councillor, I have observed plenty of political posturing and manoeuvring in the council chamber by my opponents. Recently this has been on the increase as the Labour government impose devastating cuts on local councils to make up for their financial mismanagement in Whitehall. Labour councillors weep crocodile tears as they bemoan the effect on local services. Last week I was not surprised to watch their latest attempt at trying to escape responsibility at County Hall, as we discussed plans by fire chiefs to make changes to local cover. I was angered that Labour councillors voted against consulting residents on the plans. They cynically attempted to deny residents in Gorleston and Great Yarmouth a say on the matter. I assume they are so embarrassed by their government's action they preferred to keep the public in the dark. My concern is that serious cuts could be on the way if new rules, dreamt up by ministers, force officers to move crew and engines away from areas considered too “middle class”. No doubt, Labour councillors will not want that little plan discussed openly either

Cll BERTIE COLLINS

Lawn Avenue

Great Yarmouth

WERE you the driver of a small blue car, on Perebrown Avenue on Tuesday March 16, around 6.30pm? If so, why didn't you stop after you ran over my cat? My neighbours saw you do this and had to inform me he was in a bad way, he didn't even make it to the end of the phone call to the vets. I accept accidents happen, but I would expect any caring person would have some compassion and a little common decency to at least stop, help, or offer some form of apology. Yes he was a cat, a much loved cat, most people on this road knew him, and cared about him. He guarded my garden diligently, was a gentle foster dad to two kittens I found abandoned and hand reared. He was a big fella, lovely long hair, and a lion-like mane, he had a name, "Bruce". So you see, he wasn't "just a cat," he was my cat. If you recognise yourself in this letter, you might also want to know, I had to tell my daughter when she came home, it was her 12th birthday, she was devastated. What hurts more is the thought that you didn't care enough to offer an apology.

TRACEY HORN

Perebrown Avenue

Great Yarmouth

SOME time ago we were issued with a grey bin, also one for recycling rubbish. Last Wednesday at 7.30am, the council's refuse dustcart turned up and proceeded to take the large grey bin (communal) and empty it, followed by the contents of the green bin! In effect rendering the recycled contents useless. Is it one rule for the refuse collectors, one rule for householders?

Ms TROMPSON

Nottingham Way

Great Yarmouth

I DON'T blame people wanting better when it comes to the Yarmouth Rail Station. It does look very sad and neglected. Redecoration and a general makeover would make a bit of difference - but in the long run that won't be nearly enough. I favour a more radical redevelopment of the site within the next 10 years. The Vauxhall Bridge area is a key site in our town's future regeneration of neglected riverside land. The borough council should press the 1st East regeneration company to include the railway station in its grand plans for that area. We need monies from developers to help deliver a modern 21st century rail terminus - I'd be happy to see the present one completely demolished!

MICK CASTLE

Borough Councillor

Yarmouth Central & Northgate ward

MANY of us responsible dog owners clear up after out dogs on Southown Common, it's the irresponsible ones that don't. I totally agree with what Darren O'Grady is saying about the health of the kids who play football on the field, yes, it is a hazard, and something should be done about. When we walk our dogs on the field, if we let them off the lead we keep an eye on where they go so we can clear up after them. Even we responsible dog owners have to be careful where we walk otherwise we also end up stepping in someone else's dog mess. The enviromental rangers say they patrol this area regularly, but they don't, you're lucky if you see a van that checks the field, they're more interested in checking the play park than the Common itself. If you're going to take your dog/s on the Common please clear up after it, as we don't want to lose the one piece of open grass space we've got, all because the minority can't be bothered. The bags are so cheap to buy, you can get 300 scented nappy sacks for 62p.

Name and Address withheld

I CAN sympathies with the comments made by the representative of the young footballers in last week's Mercury and can only applaud their efforts in raising the issue through your paper and on Facebook.

But this is nothing new, and bringing the issue to the owner's attention would often lead to abuse and threatening behaviour. Having to wash the resulting dog doos from a young child's clothes is no joke and the prospect of losing your sight frightening.

The actions of irresponsible dog owners can be readily seen on the beach at Caister, near the Lifeboat Shed, and Winterton where both areas are like one big dog latrine. Close by, the large car parks do a roaring trade where a continuous change over of cars, some from as far as Norwich, disgorge dogs of various sizes all day. They, with their owners, disappear onto the beach and return shortly after, many without the little telltale bags.

Dogs at toilet can be seen the whole length of the North Drive but the deposits there are not so obvious due to the large area presented by the grass lands in the two miles from the Britannia Pier to the Iron Duke. What is needed is a draconian action to resolve the problem and a fine of up to £1,000 might help resolve the problem. As an incentive to encourage people to come forward as witnesses I suggest a reward be given to the witness for a conviction, say £300. Failing to pay, the dog is taken away.

Name and Address withheld

ST Mary's Singers, Hemsby needs new members. The group has 12 members at the moment and we would love to swell these numbers to at least 20. If you enjoy singing and can hold a tune, if you are a member of the congregation or have no connection with this particular church or any other church but you just enjoy singing and would be prepared to sing at weddings, special services and the Maritime Festival throughout the year and you would like to give it a try, please get in touch with Donna or Fr Adrian. We meet every Monday evening at 7pm in the Barn Room / St Mary's Church. Hemsby. Contact: Donna 07860 136099. Fr Adrian Ling 393227. No experience necessary and no need to read music.

Fr ADRIAN LING

EROSION. After the marine engineering approach, may I offer a layman's views on the subject. I feel the erosion around this part of the coast has been caused by man's interference with the ebb and flow of the tide. In earlier times Yarmouth harbour was graced with two lattice piers which allowed the tidal and sand race to flow unhindered along the east. Now if certain barriers in the shape of solid structures are placed directly in the path of this tidal and sand race to delay its tidal timing, it will eventually cut out the pause period of the ebb. You would then get a down tide colliding with an up tide, at which point erosion is caused. My inference now is erosion is now being crafted either side of the obstructions.

J DYE

Gonville Road

Gorleston

ENCOURAGING dog-walkers to clear up their dogs' mess seemed to be working and made people feel grateful to have clean pathways. Well that was short-lived because now there are neat little parcels of plastic bags of dog-mess in alleys, lanes, under hedges, in trees, in hedges - anywhere and everywhere. Dogs are taken home, why can't their mess go with them or in the bins provided. Whatever can be done about this on-going problem? Are more bins needed, mind you I've even seen little parcels dumped around the base of the bins!

Name and address withheld

I WOULD hope you will allow me to respond to the personal comments made by Molly Wells (March 19) regarding my previous account of my stay in Ward 6 at the James Paget. It was an accurate, first hand account of my stay in Ward 6 and Molly Wells is fully entitled to offer details of her own stay but should not condemn me because I did not enjoy the unblemished experience which she did. Molly Wells should consider the possibility that because my comments were raised elsewhere long before this exchange, improvements have been made which now justifies her view. I certainly hope so.

Finally the Mercury was given my name and address, but the reason I asked for it to be withheld is that, as I stated in my original letter, I left Ward 6 in the summer of last year along with an infection both painful and at times debilitating, not to mention embarrassing, although thankfully not contagious, but for which the prognosis is several more months of the same. I have no wish for this information to be made available to friends and work colleagues by adding my name in print. Those that need to know, including the hospital, are well aware of it.

Name and Address withheld

JUST how democratic is local politics? I think the answer lies in how few people feel it worthwhile to turn out to vote. A 30pc turnout certainly isn't democracy and mantras such as: open and transparent, customer focused and performance driven insult our intelligence because it is easy to talk the talk but you also have to walk the walk to be believed.

A handful of councillors who are the people with the power make the real decisions and present them to the council to rubber stamp. The result of this final decision is not based on anything except which party has the most hands to raise. Beware councillors who refuse the party line because they could be abandoned by the party and to be a monkey without a colour is a very dangerous position to be in when you face re-election. Well, what is the reason for my letter? Last week I attended a cabinet (anyone can do it) meeting because two items to be discussed were of interest and I looked forward to learning the council's argument for any decision they would make. One was whether the council would object to an act of parliament being put forward by East Port to allow them to complete their hold on their empire which used to be known as the Port Authority but is now a "sovereign state" within the borough because of the many concessions given by our council. Concessions many believe were to the detriment of residents and port users. We were all told of the benefits of this project and I, as were most, happy to believe in them but now wondering why when it appears it will cost us as ratepayers and lose rights that we have had for generations - Gorleston Pier and the right of way around the peninsular to mention just two. Where will the 1,000 jobs come from and the 120,000 tourists?

The council refuses to discuss the rationale which allowed them to give so much away with so little in return which is where I return to the cabinet meeting. But I will vote at the coming elections and I hope all readers will as well, if only just to show that this isn't Apathy-on-Sea any more.

DENNIS DURRANT

Brett Avenue,

Gorleston

SO the views of the 975 residents from the Magdalen Estate who signed the petition objecting to the plans to build 15 homes on the demolished site of the Cap and Gown public house count for nothing in the eyes of the Great Yarmouth Planning Committee, who met March 16 and approved the plans after hearing from officers that "it would be hard for the authority to fight any appeal by the developer if the scheme was rejected because of parking concerns."

It may be hard to fight an appeal by the developers, but this should not be a reason for approval. If the planning application had been refused, and the developer chose to appeal it would have been referred to the Planning Inspectorate on the grounds of over development and lack of parking around the area. The Planning Inspectorate would then have decided on the outcome. When I was on the council I recollect a housing development on the Royal Oak site in Ormesby was refused planning consent by the planning committee for exactly these reasons, and the developer was asked to come back with a further plan which they did, and this was eventually approved to the satisfaction of the developer and local residents.

Why is there one planning process for Ormesby and another for Magdalen? Could it be that the Northern Parishes are mainly represented by Conservative councillors, many of whom sit on the planning committee? It was good to see Councillors Walker and Williamson standing up for the residents they represent, it is just a pity the committee did not see fit to listen to them or to the residents of the Magdalen Estate.

TREVOR WAINWRIGHT

Lapwing Close

Bradwell

THE first of the bi-annual Great Yarmouth High School Old Girls' lunches will be on Thursday, April 8 at the Burlington Hotel, Great Yarmouth. If there are Old Girls who would like to come along to this event, and are not on the mailing list, please contact us at the address below. The Old Girls Society was originally formed for ex-pupils who attended the High School on Trafalgar Road, but in recent years we have been delighted to welcome ex-pupils who attended Lynn Grove High School. Our lunches are usually attended and thoroughly enjoyed by 65-70 members and there is plenty of “do you remember ..?”

JANE FREEMAN & JUDITH GILBERTSON

10 Balmoral Avenue

Great Yarmouth

NR30 4DZ

I ALWAYS read the letters pages in the Mercury because I know I am guaranteed a good laugh with some of the contributions. Last week, we had Peter McKinna and his stocks, bemoaning the loss of trees in the Market Place. Put my name down to throw some rotten fruit and veg.

Then there is a “white elephant” down at the harbour entrance. Absolutely brilliant!

I've written in before about the white elephant and some people stand on Gorleston cliffs watching the shipping on the horizon, hoping that one might do a left turn and come this way. Not a chance.

It's getting to the stage now where the expression BOGOF (as in the supermarkets) would be acceptable.

Finally, why has South Denes road been closed for so long as there is certainly no traffic going along there. I, like many others, used to enjoy sitting there looking out to sea before all this money-wasting construction started.

G CASS

Station Road South

Belton

CAN I bring to your readers attention that all Boots Pharmacies have agreed to pilot, on behalf of the Royal National Institute for the Blind, the use of audible prescription labelling. You can request an audible reader when handing over your prescription to be made up. There is no charge for this service but it must be asked for on presentation of your prescription. The small recording, that you will be given, will be attached to your medication, and by pressing a large button on the front of the recorder the pharmacist will relay what your GP has prescribed for your and how often the medication is to be used or applied. If you have a change of prescription the recorder can be re-recorded by the Pharmacist. This is a very valuable service for many sections of our society and Mrs PENNY COX

Secretary,

Great Yarmouth VIP User Group

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