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PUBLISHED: 15:10 05 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:32 03 July 2010

TO put it mildly, John Cooper was unwise to believe the promises made by the council and other agencies of regeneration (Letters October 9). He is also deluding himself if he believes that his status as a stakeholder is anything more than cosmetic.

TO put it mildly, John Cooper was unwise to believe the promises made by the council and other agencies of regeneration (Letters October 9). He is also deluding himself if he believes that his status as a stakeholder is anything more than cosmetic.

John has also been negligent in not investigating occurrences at other regenerated ports. Bearing in mind what has been said of other port developments he is naive if he believes that a viewing platform looking over the outer harbour will be built. That was probably just another example of a promise which developers never intended to keep. Whoever heard of a port management allowing prying members of the public to spy on its port activities?

It is naive to believe that replacement labour will be recruited locally. Apart from employment legislation which forbids discrimination, casual labour is likely to be recruited from the ranks of ex-servicemen who can double up as security guards. And it was naive to believe the new port will be integrated into the town. Quite possibly it will be a town within a town with its own links to the outside world across the river to who knows where.

John invites ratepayers to insist the powers revert to what was promised. But ratepayers and the electorate in general cannot help old women whose homes are being judicially stolen for the benefit of developers. They could not help a mother who was driven to kill herself and her daughter because of years of abuse which the police ignored.

They do nothing to help grandfathers who are persecuted for taking photographs of their grandchildren. They cannot even lift a finger to defend the sovereignty of their country. How pathetic and futile then for John to call for “insistence” from the ratepayer. Even if they managed to organise a mass trespass to keep open the harbour road the ex-army security guards would soon put a stop to that.

John does not seem to realise that Britain is in a state of transition. As the electorate becomes increasingly demoralised by the uncertainties of who is doing what and why, they are becoming more and more irrelevant, all through their own fault. Unless it gets its act together it could be the highland clearances and the enclosure movement all over again.

J F LAMBERT

Elmgrove Road,

Gorleston

I HAVE just seen the proposed plan for the reordering of St Andrew's Church, Gorleston and I am quite devastated and feel so upset when I look at the ground plan. This shows the removal of the pews with replacement by chairs. This is like tearing the heart out of St Andrew's. Only the choir frontals are to be retained which I think is a thoughtless idea; after all the choir (older and younger choristers) need to be able to sit down if only for a few moments between hymns.

The Lady Chapel is still shown but the plan only refers to a “chapel” at the south-east corner. This is the Memorial Chapel for our war heroes and must be retained as a reminder for local families and for the holding of proper memorial services, especially now. Again there is no marking of the wonderful ancient Bacon Brass. By all means repair the leaking roof, but stop the gimmicky services and revert to the authorised services, especially evensong, with the regular comforting ringing of the church bells. Fortunately the 1662 communion service is still retained.

CECILIA EBBAGE

Lovewell Road

Gorleston

MIKE Castle is an old friend of mine but I cannot agree with some of his remarks about flood risk as quoted on page one of The Mercury, October 23. Of course we must study the new information and revise flood plans as necessary, but when he suggests the evacuation was a waste of money I have to differ.

The Police acted on the prediction there would be a flood and when I looked at the peak, the tide was less than a metre below the top of the river wall. Yes, the people who co-operated with the Police and were evacuated spent an uncomfortable night and arrived home next morning to find their home intact will agree with Mike's comment, but they are mistaken. By taking part they helped the Police and the other statuary and voluntary bodies to perfect their plans for dealing with a disaster situation. Detailed plans worked out on a desktop often show their weaknesses when exposed to the real thing.

So you may think who is this Balls to pontificate on the subject - is he talking a load of the same. Well some years ago, before I became too old and infirm, I was a member of a group called RAYNET. This consisted of licenced radio amateurs who volunteered to prove communication links in emergencies. We did exercises with the Police, Red Cross and St John's to test the emergency plans. On one occasion I attended a conference called by the Police to review plans and was very impressed by the careful and professional way they worked on the subject. I fully support their action of two years ago.

LIONEL BALLS

Great Yarmouth

I HAVE been following (on occasion contributing) to the continuing “saga” of EastPort UK-GYPA and the various quangos and departments responsible in handing over the assets and fundings.

Countless and knowledgeable readers have contributed their own concerns and comments and there appears to be great cause for concern over “who” our elected officials are really representing? I find it amazing these concerns are being allowed to gather momentum, without some credible explanation from the powers that be.

Surely the people with accountability are showing no responsibility by allowing these concerns: Gorleston Pier, laying off of stevedores, access routes etc, to gather momentum, without some form of reasonable explanation or debate. Something they owe to the people of Great Yarmouth and Gorleston.

It can only appear, to some, as some great conspiracy or elected officials having ulterior motives. I think that while doubts remain over the methods or reasons over the relocation of these assets some form of public or open inquiry should be advocated?

We, the electorate, continuously are bombarded with manifestos - locally and nationally - about “democracy, transparency and open government,” but as with the recent row over MP's expenses these are proven to be nothing but soundbites. Therefore is it not time this subject is once and for all closed out to conclusion?

Maybe The Mercury could take the lead and use it's circulation to canvas opinion amongst it's readers?

KENNETH WJ EKE

Email

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Should we close down this issue? Should our representative councillors step forward with their views? Write to Letters at address below

IN reply to the various articles recently regarding the proposed cyclepath from Hopton to Gorleston, I think a few facts need to be known. The issues raised by the residents were that of health and safety, not as Mike Butcher so hilariously states, “a case of not wanting people going past their homes”!

At the recent meeting at Gorleston Golf Club, a vote was taken, with all the attendees voting against the pathway except one! Both councillors in attendance were also against.

There has long been a route along the A12 with no problems/incidents whatsoever over the last five years, and it is used by many people. Why do NCC therefore feel the need to waste £90,000 on another that will in fact run parallel to the existing one? If, as they say, it is not suitable, then surely the ideal solution would be to upgrade the existing one?

The siting of the proposed new one would have it running along Warren Road. There are several safety issues with this proposal that the planners have failed to take into consideration. This is a private road that is quite narrow, any HGV's, delivery vans etc are unable to turn from the golf club onwards and have to reverse as there are no turning points. There are no footpaths. The current pathway includes a 150m length where pedestrians/cyclists have to mount the grass verges to allow traffic to pass. It is therefore not safe to take a higher volume of pedestrians and cyclists.

The T junction of Warren Road and Links Road is extremely hazardous, whether entering or leaving, this was agreed also by NCC who installed double yellow lines on Warren Road .

The cyclepath is extremely isolated along the route by the golf course with few users and no lighting. There are no plans to light it. This would be very dangerous for school children to use during the winter time. There is also a no de-icing policy on Warren Road.

There is also the issue of flying golf balls either side of the pathway from the Golf Club.

The residents feel sure the parents of children who it is proposed would use this path to and from school would be extremely concerned with the above safety aspects. It should be noted that the residents of Warren Road contribute towards the cost of maintaining the road and public liability insurance. They are concerned that the increase in users would affect the future costs of both of these. There has been a one-off payment offered by NCC but in the resident's eyes this is nothing more than a sweetener.

It should be noted also that the plans include chopping back further vegetation. There has already been a significant removal of vegetation including blackberry bushes etc which has reflected on the habitats of the wildlife. With all the current argument regarding wildlife on the Acle Straight should this be allowed to continue here?

All those who disagree with the proposed cyclepath should make it known immediately to NCC.

SALLY GRAY

Kennel Loke,

Gorleston

AS Home Watch Coordinator I had one of my neighbours call in on me last Sunday to report an incident that left him in dismay. Not normally a person to get ruffled, he was a little upset to say the least by what had just happened and also by the lack of response from the police.

In the early hours of Sunday morning my neighbour spotted a stranger on our road covered in blood and wearing only a pair of trousers and a shirt.

At first he thought that the man was in need of help - possibly being the victim of a crime, assault or having been involved in a car accident etc - he went on to say that the man looked as if he had been 'out all night' and had bleeding lacerations to his face.

On asking the man if he was alright and in need of assistance the rebuke from the stranger made my neighbour re-evaluate his first impression of the situation. Instead of being a victim, was this man a perpetrator of an unknown crime instead?

Then being uncertain of the circumstances he found himself in, and whether his position was safe or not, 'being public spirited' he beat a hasty retreat to his house and phoned the police to report the incident.

The police's reaction - not interested! Despite the general public being told by the police to report anything suspicious and not to get involved in an affray, this response by them has startled me. I have normally had a good response from the police in my dealing with them over 25 years as a Home Watch Coordinator.

Could this response be down to the fact that over the weekend the 'thin blue line' is still stretched very thinly. It used to be that only three officers (if you were lucky, so I have been told) patrolled an area from Winterton to Hopton and out to Martham/Acle/Belton during the hours of darkness? Is this still so?

On returning to the street after making his phone call, my neighbour found the man had vanished and with him the mystery of what had happened!

Name and Address withheld

WITHOUT effort I have located 11 official documents and two press releases, where Great Yarmouth Borough Councillors, Port Authority and GYPC Members have written: “The Outer Harbour project is to be built around a Roll-On Roll-Off Ferry service, and Superfast Ferries have been nominated as the preferred ro-ro operator.”

That was 2005, and with exuberance, the East of England Development Agency (Eeda) is promoting the certainty of 1,000 new jobs in the Outer Harbour with three daily ferry services (Which the £8.7m grant was for).

We have Eliza O'Toole in 2006 saying: “We are concentrating on getting the harbour built at the same time talking to potential ferry operators.” Then Alistair Bailie throws in his weight with the statement: “We do believe in the potential for a ferry market and construction of the harbour will attract a quality operator.”

But now we are being told it will be “ten years before anything happens,” by EastPort, and a borough council director saying: “We have never seriously considered a ferry service, I know your listeners are interested in passenger ferries but we are interested in getting jobs, hence the container terminal.” He went on to say: “It will be five to 10 years before the jobs start to materialise.”

Just how many jobs will result in container traffic? 40 to 50 perhaps and the town congested with traffic. Only 950 short for what Eeda gave our money for.

Looking at all the official documents, it seems to me that the county and borough councils, port authority and Eeda have misbehaved.

We know now there are no jobs, Harwich will have the work for the new large wind farm. Instead of making work, workers are sacked, because of this enormous sham even grainworkers in Lowestoft are losing their jobs. Log on to Submission to ODPM and DTI by Eeda see just what their objectives were, and compare what Yarmouth has now and you will see for what this quango has cost us. Nothing has improved.

JOHN L COOPER

Burnt Lane

Gorleston

MAY I say a big thank you to Gorleston Pavilion for putting on such a great show on Monday, October 26. The show was Hooked on Country, Sold on 60s and was performed by the Magnificent Seven. They were all on stage for three hours and put everything into it making it a great night. It was so good to go to such a lively and sincere show and although I see all the acts from time-to-time on their own, I look forward to this show again next year.

JOAN BUTCHER

Clover Way

Bradwell

RE the letter last week on changing the bus route on our road, by Evelyn Winey. My husband and I are over 60, and wonder how Mrs Winey managed before buses started through here, just over two years ago. Did she not have to walk to Thurne Way or Ormesby Road like us and many others? How would she like double-deckers outside her house, where people on the top deck can see and be seen from our bedroom windows, and single-deckers at sitting-room level? Our peace and privacy are gone. How can you put being inconvenienced over people's lives - with residents' cars parked, this road was never meant for buses of any kind.

MRS A CAFFELL

Prince of Wales Road

Caister

COUNCILLORS fought tooth and nail to avoid a single unitary council for Norfolk rather than the current system. I wonder why? Was it because they thought it was a retrograde move or was it because 50 of them wear a second hat as district councilors, claiming allowances ranging from £12,000 to as much as £43,000. Around the subject they have built a wall of silence, there has been a refusal look at the issue, leading Martin Bell and the Taxpayers Alliance to take an interest. They believe proper debate is needed, because it would seem they are putting their own monetary interests before the people they represent.

There will be £140m cuts in services this year. Surely a time to look at other means of saving money rather than just cutting essential services.

Having a single unitary council covering the whole of Norfolk would show a saving of £71m. Two councils, one for Norwich and the other covering the rest of Norfolk, would save as much as £83m. Half the proposed cuts would not be necessary. Admittedly they would lose the benefit of some of their allowances but what are they there for to make money or represent our interests. If I ask the question why do you do it most reply "to put someing back into the community." There you go boys and girls, now is a real chance.

Another major issue is conflict of interest between the two hats illustrated by Great Yarmouth Borough council. Three senior councillors sit on the board of the Port Authority, they are there to look after our interests. I presume there is a fee but leaving that aside how do they reconcile giving away our port without making provision to protect our assets for residents, namely Gorleston Pier which is getting into a desperate state, so much so that it isn't safe to park cars on, EastPort says. It's in a conservation area and a focal point of our resort. The Port Authority handed it over after years of neglect, EastPort presumably accepted it as it stood knowing they would need to do something, something which should have been written into the agreement.

Council leaders say now is not the time let them get the outer harbour up and running, wait till next year. Peter Hardy, representing the council on Radio Norfolk this week, said it could be 10 to 15 years before they can claim to have provided the much vaunted 1000 jobs which will not just be for Yarmouth but spread through the whole region. This sounds as if it will be that amount of time before EastPort will even think of doing it. Is this correct Mr Hardy, if not when?

John Cooper has written some excellent letters in the Mercury that have educated us all. He has spent hours on research, so take the time to read what he says. Nothing he has written has been denied and I am sure it doesn't finish there.

Have your say, press for an enquiry, write to your councillor because we can make a difference if we stand up for our rights.

DENNIS DURRANT

Brett Avenue,

Gorleston

THE Art School, the Post Office and now the Custom House. Will the Town Hall be the next to be made redundant?

GWYN KELF

North Drive,

Great Yarmouth

MANY of us will have been affected by news of the increasing casualties and loss of life among British troops serving in Afghanistan this year. As Remembrance Sunday approaches it is a time to remember not only those who fought so bravely in the last century but also those who are serving their country now.

Many servicemen and women have been killed or seriously wounded in action this year leaving many families dealing with a sudden bereavement or struggling to help a loved one come to terms with a life-changing injury. Conflict affects not only the men and women on the frontline but also those they leave at home; wives, partners, mums, dads, grandparents, children, brothers and sisters.

The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen & Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help has been providing vital assistance to our troops and their families over three centuries. From the elderly D-Day veteran who needs a helping hand, to the young serviceman crippled by a landmine in Afghanistan, SSAFA's trusted brand of care ensures that our troops can turn to us for support when they need it most.

In the last 18 months the charity has opened two “homes from home” for seriously injured troops and their families, and launched vital support groups for bereaved families and the families of injured service personnel.

As SSAFA approaches its 125th anniversary our work is just as vital today as it was when we were established in 1885. Last year alone our Norfolk Branch was able to assist 626 people.

Anyone who has given just one day's paid service is eligible for SSAFA's support including past and present members of all three Armed Forces, members of the Territorial Army, our Reserve Forces, and those who have done National Service.

contact the Norfolk Branch on 01603 403322 or visit www.ssafa.org.uk

ALAN HORNSBY

Chairman,

SSAFA Forces Help Norfolk branch


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