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PUBLISHED: 16:47 20 December 2007 | UPDATED: 10:14 03 July 2010

THE response from Great Yarmouth Borough Council to the questions recently asked by the Mercury, regarding the future of the Marina Centre and the Large Casino site, provides residents and the holiday industry with no confidence their interests will be protected in an acceptable manner.

THE response from Great Yarmouth Borough Council to the questions recently asked by the Mercury, regarding the future of the Marina Centre and the Large Casino site, provides residents and the holiday industry with no confidence their interests will be protected in an acceptable manner.

The threat still remains the council may decide to demolish the Marina Centre and fail to replace the facilities elsewhere in the town, which for many reasons is an unacceptable option.

The council must surely by now be fully aware of the real damage they would needlessly create by exercising this option, they would knowingly sacrifice the health and well-being of many residents including the disabled, and also all the Marina Centre employees would be made redundant.

In fairness to potential visitors, promotional brochures and internet advertising would have to state the town has no public swimming pool, no public indoor bowls facilities, or sports hall etc, all currently provided by the Marina Centre.

Yarmouth is expected to receive one of the eight large casino licences being awarded by the government specifically for regeneration. The Marina Centre swimming pool alone last year was used by 79,000 people with a further 29,000 people taking lessons. Demolition of such a valuable public asset, particularly without replacement, cannot be classified as regeneration - it is more akin to degeneration.

The development proposed by Mr Albert Jones' consortium of a £35m leisure complex on the South Denes (a genuine regeneration site) will create an estimated 1,000 new jobs. In addition to the large casino it will include a 180-room hotel, cinema, bowling alley, restaurants and bars.

A public exhibition of this project was staged last week, and it was very evident that several years of detailed planning has produced a truly outstanding development.

Mr Jones stated there will be 800 car parking spaces within the complex, and public transport has been arranged to operate between the town centre and the complex every 15 minutes. One final obstacle remains before the building of the complex can commence ie securing the large casino licence.

Yarmouth can have both the South Denes Complex as exhibited and also retain the Marina Centre facilities. The alternative option of demolishing the Marina Centre to build the casino will automatically decimate the proposed South Denes Development.

MP for Great Yarmouth, Tony Wright has publicly given his support to the South Denes project, and I sincerely believe this option will have the support of the vast majority of residents.

TONY ARCHER

Caister

OVER the last few months I have been following the boundary change proposals with interest. It does appear that many, both residents and councillors, are either missing the point or following personal agendas. Everyone should be aware the status quo is not an option so the three choices are linking with coastal villages as far north as Wells to form a coastal unitary authority, being swallowed-up by a newly formed Norfolk Council and losing most of the powers we currently have, or linking with Lowestoft, a town we already have strong links with.

Many of the objections voiced against a “Yartoft” authority seem to be based on politics or ignorance, with many holding the view we should not involve ourselves with Suffolk. What people seem to forget is that almost 20pc of the current population of Great Yarmouth reside in an area which was part of Suffolk until the boundary changes in 1973.

It is now time to put aside petty issues and start to consider what is best for Yarmouth. Is that likely to be achieved by linking us with several small coastal villages with whom the only common factor is the sea, or by being swallowed up by a Norfolk Council who have done so much for us in recent years, or to join with a town very similar to our own, with whom we have already have major links both commercially and in the provision of services. It is only the “Yartoft” option that could possibly lead to major improvements both commercially and individually.

Finally, if our current political leaders are having such difficulties in deciding, then surely this is of such importance, possibly life changing, that they must have a referendum and let the people decide their own future.

JOHN LYNCH

Mill Lane,

Bradwell

AS a regular visitor to Norfolk both summer and winter I was saddened by the flooding yet again in Norfolk. It seems Norfolk always seems to take the brunt of flooding and the government which seems to have a never-ending amount of cash to send abroad to any country that has a flood says there is no money available for flood defences in Norfolk.

They say if there was some payback to the government in putting flood defences they would consider it. Well what about putting rocks 400 yards out to sea in a vulnerable stretch of coastline and using the stretch between the eroding coastline and the rocks as landfill. After all the government has stated we are running out of landfill sites. This would be their payback that they want.

When the area is levelled it could be landscaped to put the land back as it used to be and protect houses that are at this moment in danger of flooding. Surely this land reclamation would be good for the people of Norfolk and the government. I am the last person that wants to turn Norfolk into a giant rubbish tip but is this a workable idea or am I just talking a load of rubbish?

D SHARPE

Bramley

Rotherham

IT'S getting harder to use a phone in this busy world. I would like to say how hard it is to hear messages left giving instructions at doctors surgeries, hospitals, shops etc. You name it and it's rare if you can hear correctly. You sometimes can hear someone waffling on about press this button, that button and the other.

It's infuriating to get someone talking really fast as if time is running out. I have lots of calls weekly and as soon as I ask: “Can you speak up please, I am deaf,” they put the phone down. I only need them to raise their voices. I'm not asking for the impossible.

Shops and firms who have answering machines should make their messages louder, carefully spoken and slower - think of the deaf.

When people tell jokes about deafness I fail to see any humour in it or any jokes about various afflictions. I was in my mid 30s when I started going deaf so I realise how hard it is to become deaf. Try and understand and put yourself in my position, or I should say “our” position.

Name and address withheld

WHAT a shame that due to health and safety fears, panto stars can throw only marshmallows into the audience. But then, you wouldn't want to be blinded by a bull's eye, hit in the mouth by a gobstopper and just imagine the damage a handful of mint balls could cause!

PAULINE LYNCH

Mill Lane

Bradwell

READING the letter from J Grint this week about the bombed houses on Bells Road made me think back to my boyhood days during the war, when the that bombsite was our playground.

After the rubble was cleared how quickly nature came to town with barley grass that stuck to our socks, wild mallow the seeds of which we ate, grasshoppers in abundance and butterflies to chase with our nets. After such a tragedy an ideal playground for us children.

We fought our own war there with wooden rifles, clambered about in two bombed houses and floated pieces of wood in the large static water tank erected there to provide water for firefighters, often chased away by “Bouncer”, the local policeman who came by on his rounds at about 7pm each evening. We certainly couldn't fall in because we could only just see over the top! Sometimes an army lorry would draw up and soldiers jump off for bayonet practice.

Not only did we have our bombed site to play on but also the shops on the other side of Bells Road that had their doors and windows blown out. One had a large cold room in the back which made an ideal den. For we children, too young to understand the terror of a world war, there were idyllic summer days and the excitement of collecting shrapnel and the silver strips dropped by the German planes to confuse our radar.

We also collected army badges by asking soldiers if they had a spare badge. When we saw an American serviceman we would ask “Got any gum, chum?”

In this day and age of parents frightened to let children out on their own our parents saw no harm in allowing us to roam far and wide even if there was a war on.

DENNIS DURRANT

Brett Avenue

Gorleston

IN response to Rachel Moore's article on boxing (Mercury, December 14) I would like to make several points.

The reason behind the recent upsurge in boxing on TV is due to Sky TV no longer holding the exclusive rights to televise boxing bouts. The masses have not had access to these bouts without paying but now it is back on terrestrial TV for all to watch (or switch off!)

Rachel Moore does not have to endure this “brutal, ugly and thuggish” sport (her words) that is what the off switch on her TV is for. The contenders are all fully aware of the consequences of their chosen sport and are handsomely rewarded for the risks taken. The safety rules in place nowadays ensure that no boxer is exposed to unnecessary damage.

The public voted Joe Calzaghe BBC Sports Personality of the Year showing his well-deserved popularity and skill in being world champion for the last 10 years, rather than a “nearly man” like Lewis Hamilton. I am not disputing the achievements of Lewis Hamilton but I cannot think of a more deserved winner than Joe Calzaghe or a more noble art than boxing.

RAFFAEL SKEET

Gresham Close

Gorleston

WHILST I realise it is Rachel Moore's job to be controversial might I suggest that next December she treats herself to a ticket for the schools festival of music at the Hippodrome. Hundreds of young people gave the audience an evening of beautiful music and song all very professionally performed. In his address at the end of the concert Canon Michael Woods asked if there was anyone from the press present. The Hippodrome fell silent. So next year Rachel have a wonderful evening and then give these young people who worked so hard, the headlines they deserve.

BRENDA FULLER

Russell Avenue

Great Yarmouth

WE like to travel on the bus to avoid parking, car use etc and on Monday we went to Norwich on the X1. The journey there was fine, the usual comfortable coach although a little late, but the journey home was enough to drive us back to the car.

We arrived at Norwich bus station 15 minutes before our bus was due and the weather was windy and freezing. The time came for our bus to leave but no bus came and it mysteriously disappeared from the departure display. The queue grew longer and longer and one of us went into the office to find out where the bus was. Nobody knew anything but apparently the last two buses had been late as well, so we just had to stand and wait in the cold to keep our place in the now even longer queue and the wind seemed stronger and colder.

Three young people turned up at the head of the queue then went into the office and came back out with two members of staff. From the discussion that followed it seemed one of them was a tagged offender who needed to get back to Yarmouth on time and the staff told him he could get on the bus first when it arrived. They cleared this with the woman at the front of the queue but no explanation or apology was given to anyone else. The queue was now very long with working people going home and many older people patiently waiting in the cold.

After a freezing 45-minute wait an ancient double-decker, that must have been dredged out of the back of the garage finally arrived. It was filthy with no heating, the inside window sills awash, rain dripped through the tops of windows and there was a constant smell of diesel exhaust. Not suitable in any way for a journey to Yarmouth.

Is this really the way to run a bus service, look after customers and promote and encourage the wider use of public transport?

Name and Address withheld

IT is wonderful to see so much entertainment laid on for the people of this Borough and my family and I will be endeavouring to see as much as we possibly can. However to comment on James Brown's letter I am glad he has enjoyed Dusmagrik shows so much. The children greatly enjoy doing them and their recent performance of Peter Pan was much praised.

When Dusty and Mags Miller retired last December, the running of Dusmagrik was taken over by the Great Yarmouth OP's and Dram's and already two shows have been performed under their management. I would like to point out that more than 20 of the current Dusmagrik children and young people aged six to 17 are performing in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Britannia Theatre and family tickets can also be purchased for these shows from December 22 to 29. Good luck to all who are on stage this festive season and to the people of Yarmouth and Gorleston, remember - use it or lose it.

KEITH SEABROOK

Caister Road

Great Yarmouth

I'M pleased James Brown and his wife enjoy Dusmagrik Young People's Theatre Company shows (Letters, December 14). I would like to thank them and all our supporters for helping us to raise £1,250 for Children in Need during our recent production of Peter Pan.

Mr Brown seems surprised to learn he would to be able to take his grandchildren to a pantomime for £20. Other senior citizens reading this may be interested to know that they too can treat their grandchildren to a traditional Christmas family panto for £20 where 22 current members of Dusmagrik Young People's Theatre Company will be appearing alongside an adult cast in Jack and The Beanstalk.

MARY CARTER

Dusmagrik Young People's Theatre Company

RE Friday's front page item on wind turbines in Ormesby Road, Hemsby, reporting that SLP Energy, the company behind four proposed 125m machines, have withdrawn their planning application in advance of a meeting of councillors on Tuesday, where it was expected to be rejected.

It is disappointing a decision on this important proposal will now be delayed until consideration is given to any revised application. On the general subject of windfarms the reasoning behind them is unequivocal - they provide a source of clean electricity. Last week's article pointed out that the four machines in question would generate enough electricity to supply annual demand for 5,500 homes for 25 years.

One can hardly have failed to notice that the question of dangerous climate change is regularly at the forefront of the news, with constant warnings from experts that we must act now to reduce carbon emissions. The time has already come, perhaps, when the presumption should be in favour of wind energy schemes, unless there are overriding and substantial dangers to public health or safety or to wildlife.

IAN HOLMAN,

Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Great Yarmouth

EVERYONE is familiar with the phrase “Christmas is coming”, and also, as we approach our 29th Christingle service at St Nicholas Parish Church, so is the phrase “Christingle is coming”.

This year's service is on Sunday at 4pm.

At Christingle, families, friends and children come together to bring their offerings for children and young people in need - in return those presenting a Christingle envelope, containing monies the children have collected, will each receive a lighted Christingle to process, in candlelight, around the church. This procession makes a memorable climax to a truly children's Christmas service. A great moment for both children and adults!

We do hope that many, many of you will come to St Nicholas on December 23. We make 300 Christingles, but if you wish to make your own, as we know some groups do, please do so. All proceeds go to the Children's Society.

We thank you for your support over the last 28 years, please continue, your help is needed more than ever.

JANE FREEMAN

Christingle committee member

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