PUBLISHED: 10:20 30 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:37 30 June 2010
STUCK in Great Yarmouth by volcanic ash, we were due to for home in the United States on Monday this week. Our time in Yarmouth was a most unpleasant experience.
STUCK in Great Yarmouth by volcanic ash, we were due to for home in the United States on Monday this week. Our time in Yarmouth was a most unpleasant experience. As a family having spent a few weeks in the little island of Lanzarote with its wonderful clean streets, and its toilets, some with shower units, were spotless. It also had wonderful infrastructure and roads with no potholes. So we were shocked at the litter, not only in the town of Yarmouth but, at the roadsides in the surrounding country we felt unsafe walking the streets at night. We felt intimidated walking past gangs of youths who we understand are referred to locally as Hoodies. However, nothing could have prepared us for the toilets in High Street, Gorleston and the one on the beach road. The first thing was the smell. It hit you like a brick wall. The stainless steel urinals, less than attractive, were nothing on the dirty stainless steel toilet bowls and cubicles. Such was my concern, I refused to allow my young sons to use them and forced marched them to the little Morrison's shop where the toilet was small but very clean. My wife said the female toilets were just as bad and also refused to use them. Not good for a British seaside resort. My friends say the locals rarely use public toilets so most are unaware.
AFTER years of disruption and frustration by drivers forced to put up with by the Highways Agency, the fiasco on what is supposed to be a roundabout (keep traffic flowing) seems no nearer to becoming frustration-free. The only time the Gapton roundabout actually worked was when the traffic lights failed and everyone was forced to agree the situation had temporarily improved! One is now informed by the Highways Agency that they cannot put a Right Turn rrow on the road surface because “Clearer signage might confuse overseas drivers”...what utter codswallop. Does the Agency think overseas drivers have just plopped into the great Yarmouth fiasco? No, they would have experienced quite a bit of UK driving and road signs before finding themselves at this roundabout-from-hell. Do you think the Agencies in other EU countries fracture their own systems so as not to confuse British drivers? No, they don't (which is why for example, British Troops have to take a BFG - British Forces Germany driving test before being posted there). As for civilians visiting EU countries, we are always cautioned to learn about the rules of the road and signs of the country to be visited before going there. If the Highways Agency is going to adopt and modify our road signs and approaches to “marry” with other countries, we can expect to see No Right Turns against oncoming traffic; instead we will have to Turn Left into a slip road before swinging right to face the traffic as a crossroad...
Come on Agency, get your act together. Northbound traffic is still backing up on the approach to the roundabout, as far back as the previous roundabout; doesn't that speak volumes that once again you have got it wrong. Or is it a ploy to keep yourselves gainfully employed and trying to justify having another river crossing, which will do nothing to relieve the flow of traffic on the A12 circumnavigating Great Yarmouth.
Name and Address withheld
A FEW months ago it was proposed that there should be a memorial to the much-loved Dr K Hamilton Deane of Gorleston.
I realise that these things take time, but nothing more seems to have happened, perhaps we shall hear soon.
IN 1996 the EDP published an excellent article on Great Yarmouth being a deprived town, high unemployment, high death rate, high rates sickness, and school leavers having a hard time to find jobs. Wages for workers throughout the borough were half the national average. Council officers and councillors stated that Yarmouth was the most deprived town in Norfolk; they were quoted as recognising the problems and that all was looking good for the future.
2010 and many millions of £s have been allocated to Yarmouth over these ensuing 14 years, for "regeneration", and officers and councillors at the top tier representing the borough, between them have "overseen" the progress including the formation and management of an Urban Regeneration Company established in March 2005. Not to mention the outer harbour. Perhaps readers would like to give them marks out of 10 for their efforts and how well we are faring now.
The town received £8.7m for the South Denes area, several million was spent on the Golden Mile, and a very large sum was spent on St George's Park; not to mention the money taken from Gorleston's Beacon Park used on Yarmouth's Golden Mile. Has all this spending filtered down to make the council taxpayer's lot better, I think not!
Let the officers, councillors and the parliamentary candidates tell us how the ordinary person in the street has gained in his pocket and if their stress levels are any lower after these 14 years?
No provision has been made to replace the lost earnings from oil and gas revenue; we now have to pay the maintenance and repair of Haven Bridge and parts of the river, when 14 years ago the port paid its own way.
Spin, a millennia word, and redundancies replaced the 1,000 promised jobs from receiving public grants for building the outer harbour. The business plan called for a ro-ro ferry for the new harbour, (which would have been very handy now with the Iceland problem), but we got a couple of container cranes that were not in the business plan.
The latest vessel in the outer harbour, the jack-up, did not need the outer harbour as we can all remember the jack-ups stationed off Scroby and serviced by supply boats from the inner harbour.
It would be interesting, especially at this time of electioneering, if the same individuals who stated in the EDP 14 years ago the “good times” were to come, were asked how they felt they had progressed in making the lives of ordinary council taxpayers better?
Great Yarmouth is still the most deprived area in East Anglia and school leavers still struggle to find suitable employment. Many of us think there have been no changes these past 14 years - they have been stagnant.
JOHN L COOPER
I WOULD like to know why Great Yarmouth Borough Council has £2m tied up in Icelandic banks and the county council has £32.5m, also in Icelandic banks, and yet our council tax rises every year. Perhaps someone from the council would enlighten me.
TRYING to get anywhere in the borough by road has proved to be a nightmare in the last few weeks. First there was almost one month's disruption outside Vauxhall station while a pedestrian crossing was constructed causing tailbacks both into and out of Asda's car park and onto Acle New Road as the stop/go boards were being used against the traffic light sequence. Then at Bradwell, chaos after another few weeks of traffic lights, which come and go, outside the entrance to Rainbow Store and petrol station, causing problems along Mill Lane, Burgh Road and Gapton Road. At the other end of the scale you have the “free for all” that is now Gapton roundabout, as motorists, not knowing which lane to use are “cutting” each other up. Will there be a death there before correct markings and signs are put up? The excuse that more signs must confuse “overseas visitors” won't wash. Where are all these tourists going to come from, the Outer Harbour?
WE went to Gorleston Pavilion Theatre to watch Dusmagrik's 25years show. It was superb! What talented young people, fantastic costumes and it was very slick. From beginning to the finale, we were entertained. Well done to everyone who played a part in putting on this show. We are looking forward to the next production.
TERRY & SANDRA WEST
HOW busy the local Conservative Party is? I know from the press they have been all over the place like mould in a damp summer but saving Bradwell's Post Office services and solving the problem at Gapton Hall roundabout - well! They would support the Health Service although their party opposed it at it's inception and supports better education. Then the Tories will be able to spell lent (not leant) in future election handouts.
MY 82 year old grandad, Robert Felgate, known as Bob, recently told me a story from about 35 years ago and I thought I would write to see if any readers could help. He told me of how he rescued a horse that had fallen into the River Bure, I think somewhere near the White Swan public house as this is where he moors his boat. He had managed to fasten a rope around it and then it swam slowly beside his boat - the Dawn Frances - up to near the pitch and putt course where there was a slipway that it could walk out on. A local policeman was there at the time and took photographs promising to send my grandad copies. This is why I am writing as the said photographs never arrived and unfortunately the policeman's name is not known. It must have been quite a sight to see and one of your readers may remember this or know who the policeman was.
Mrs NICOLA DORSETT
SO work on the Gapton Hall roundabout has been finished. I wonder who is responsible for the design? Was he/she a student? We have signs on the road that differ from the sign on the posts; we have arrows pointing to a white line that finishes on the centre of a white lane line; road signs and posts seem to have increased and obscure vision. How long before a lorry drives over the island from the south and becomes involved in a collision due to there being a hard right hand turn? I could go on, but what is the use when we read the Highways Agency's Mr O'Dell saying: “We are only allowed to use straight ahead arrows,” etc. But in the next paragraph he states that “if the road markings are confusing then the agency would consider changing them." So there we are, two sentences that both state the opposite. What chance do we have?
M E HOOD
Gorleston on Sea
THE Great Yarmouth Older People's Network (GY OPN) has been very fortunate to be awarded funding from the over 50's Participatory Budgeting selection process. This is to devise and circulate a newsletter for people over the age of 50 in the borough.
We are looking for a volunteer editor to work on this project with us. If you are interested in helping us in this exciting new venture please get in touch with me on 01493 720635.
THE fiasco continues, a few weeks after the first road markings etc were installed. I, and no doubt many others, complained that south to north markings were incorrect. Since then the Highways Agency has lured drivers, including large foreign lorries, onto the roundabout in the belief a dual carriageway awaits on the exit. Drivers with local knowledge participate in a grand prix starting line up (many happily!) to be first to the single lane on offer, even Jenson Button would baulk at the idea of participating in this manoeuvre knowing any damage would have to be paid by himself directly or indirectly. All this worry and danger could have been avoided by a man with a paintbrush and ladder for a few hours. One lane Left to Gapton, one Straight on for Norwich, one Right for Pasteur Road etc. Sadly ministries seldom listen to the public. How ironic their first choice - nothing - would have been proved to have been the safest to date! I suppose it is too much to hope that somebody will place a sign on the slip road entrance from Beccles Road onto the relief road saying Give Way. Infiltrate before we have a major accident there.
PERHAPS it isn't too early in the next financial year to anticipate the publication of the Eastport accounts. Will the figures be stated clearly in the Mercury? I'm sure we will all be keenly interested to examine them.
Miss R L FARMER
I WRITEregarding the clearance of the memorial garden in the area immediately south of St George's including the removal of the healthy mature trees which were paid for by local people in memory of loved ones who had died. Thirty years ago I was responsible for obtaining the necessary planning permission to landscape the area. I also gave my personal guarantee to pay any shortfall in the necessary funding to complete the scheme. The details are written on a stone on the south facing wall of the building. A substantial proportion was paid for by people donating towards the trees, the seating, the flowerbeds and the decorative Yorkstone paving, granite sets and local flints which encircled the base of each tree. The area has now been completely desecrated and all the trees cut down. Many people have been deeply upset, particularly the ones who paid for the specially selected trees which had been originally approved by the planning committee. It would have been reassuring to have had the opportunity to meet the current planners to at least discuss the future development of the area. The trees are now gone and no amount of discussion can bring them back, but it still begs the question as to why we were not consulted before this dreadful and insensitive deed was done. The offer of the possible reinstatement of the memorial plaque is very small recompense for all the heartache that has been caused by this thoughtless act of legalised vandalism.
IN last week's Mercury you featured a Labour minister expressing his concern about the state of our pubs. Well, I find it totally hypocritical they now want to put through measures to help out our pubs, when it was due to Labour's policies that brought about their demise. Firstly the smoking ban, which hit a lot of town centre pubs, then the tax increases on alcohol, amusements and business rates all combined to their downfall. I do not believe that it is all the fault of supermarkets; they have been selling cheap beer for many years and it made little difference to the pub trade. It was only when the smoking ban took effect and people were treated like lepers that many decided to stay at home in the warm to have their enjoyment instead of having to go outside in all weathers just to have a smoke. By the way, I would like to know where all the thousands of people who said hey would use the pub when they became smoke free have gone.
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