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PUBLISHED: 14:35 07 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:06 03 July 2010

BRILLIANT idea! New low energy lighting that will reduce our carbon foot print! On closer inspection the huge PFI contract that Norfolk County Council signed in 2007 has some serious flaws.

BRILLIANT idea! New low energy lighting that will reduce our carbon foot print! On closer inspection the huge PFI contract that Norfolk County Council signed in 2007 has some serious flaws. Particularly for us here in Great Yarmouth. The cunning plan will plunge vast tracts of the town into complete darkness after midnight. A fortune of our tax money being spent on providing something we never asked for and something we can't even benefit from! Simply marvellous! Unfortunately modern large scale power generation can't be turned on or off in such cavalier fashion! Making the real impact on carbon emissions from this ploy absolutely zero. Who was it then that decided we needed such measures? The tax payer or the commercial interests of the PFI? A detailed look at the huge list of lights to be switched off here, reveal that despite Norfolk County Council's assurances many very vulnerable urban streets will be in total darkness after midnight. Meanwhile some villages such as Filby appear to remain fully illuminated! The mind boggles. Predictably as the recession continues to deepen and crime rates increase, our darkened households will be forced, at their own expense, to increase their own security lighting! This however is not the biggest impact. That will be bourn by the very real fears of the old, vulnerable and all those here already affected by crime. For the majority in this town I feel the planned draconian 'curfew' is utterly unacceptable.

NICK BALLS

Windsor Avenue,

Great Yarmouth

I FEEL I must write and express my sympathy to the lady who had her film ruined at the Hollywood Cinema, but also to clear up a few facts. As it was stated in her letter last week, the problem was a mishap; sorry, but cinemas in general do not have mishaps, especially in the projection booth. I know, as I was a senior projectionist of 15 years. If the lady ever ventured into a modern projection booth, she would be quite amazed at just what does go on inside, and it's all run by electricity, belts, payout systems, even something called a brain, and this lot, sadly, sometimes goes wrong. Systems will stop when a breakdown occurs, but, the projectionist may not be anywhere near that projection room, he may be starting another film somewhere else in the complex. He is aware that a show has stopped, and that's where the problem begins. I was lucky, all five of the projectors I looked after, were in the same room, the Hollywood Cinema is all over the place, having had a wonderful tour by the chief projectionist. He has to get back to the system, and give a quick glance to see which part has actually failed then put it right, and this, depending on the fault, can take a minute or as appears in this case, longer. He is under tremendous pressure to get that show going again, without calling outside engineers - that is the last resort. Due to the complex nature of film systems, it is impossible to start again where the film stopped, you cannot rewind it. I do hope the lady remembers some of these points on her next visit to any cinema. Please remember this equipment runs seven days a week, sometimes 14 hours a day, 364 days a year, and usually all run by one person, a highly trained projectionist.

ALAN PLESTER

Butt Lane

Burgh Castle

IN response to Barry Coleman's comments about my hypocritical criticism of "twin hatters" (Mercury, December 31). Yes, Mr Coleman, I did represent Bradwell North on both councils for a number of years and during that time I was able to achieve many positive outcomes for both my District Council Ward and my County Council Division. My criticism was not of councillors but of the system which allows these same councillors to claim combined allowances, and hence have an interest in keeping the status quo. I did support the concept of Unitary Councils throughout my period as a "twin hatter" and would have been pleased if some form of Unitary Council had been established in Norfolk during my period as a councillor. One of the benefits of a Unitary Council for Norfolk would be that councillor numbers would be reduced, and these savings could be passed on to Council Tax payers.

TREVOR WAINWRIGHT

Lapwing Close

Bradwell

COUNCILLOR Coleman has suddenly become very vociferous in the fight to save his job but where has his attention been when numerous questions have been asked concerning his handling of the massively costly outer harbour project, urgent questions which affect us all in our pockets and our quality of life. Councillors have to carry the responsibility for their decisions and be prepared to defend their position if the electorate believe they are wrong. Our council both left and right are obviously unable to do this so have taken the defeatist stance of saying nothing in the hope it will all go away but this won't happen as there are a number of determined residents who will bit by bit take it all apart until the council are forced to do the right thing and come clean. It could even be terminated quickly by just one community minded person who has been involved and feels morally obliged to get it all off his conscience. I believe there is at least one councillor who feels in such a mind. The facts will out! In parallel to Tony Blair and the question of weapons of mass destruction we all believed the spin. Our council promised 1,000 jobs and more and more tourists but we finish up with containers, the noise of handling and possible traffic chaos and the need for a bridge where we will have to pay to cross the river. We should all be very, very angry!

DENNIS DURRANT

Brett Avenue

Gorleston

AS a member of the Audit and Risk Committee for Great Yarmouth Borough Council, I challenge the Tory prospective parliamentary candidate for Great Yarmouth to make a statement about a damning Audit report for Brentwood Council during his time as Leader of that council. There is a remarkable parallel with the Tory controlled Great Yarmouth Borough Council who have had years of poor Audit Commission reports culminating with their refusal to give an Audit opinion a couple of years ago.

Local press reports in the Brentwood Gazette on-line give the details of how bad the council was managed and local residents had scathing comments and allege corruption on this council which has a large majority of Tory councillors. Did he know what was going on and does he take responsibility for events during his Leadership of that Council. Earlier there was a scandal of that council refusing to reveal councillor payments and making massive expenditure on consultants.

PATRICK HACON

Caister South Ward

Great Yarmouth Borough Council

WE have just had our black wheelie bins emptied after the Christmas period and I am annoyed that due to Christmas and the lateness of collections they did not take away the two extra bags that I had left next to my bin. Surely for once they could have bent the rules and realised that most people would have extra rubbish and taken it away.

D PERKINS

Great Yarmouth

WITH regard to recent letters concerning the proposal to increase the catering facilities on Gorleston Lower Parade. The Mercury printed my letter and photo last year concerning this issue. I expressed concern then that our council was going to allow the disused lifeguard hut to be altered and used to sell drinks/meals and the like. I strongly suspected this was only the thin edge of the wedge.

It is, because we now learn they apparently they want to take away one of the shelters and incorporate it with the stall/café. At that time I also contacted several council members to ascertain their views on this possible change of use. Most of them were against the change. However, one of them was so concerned at my attitude, that they felt it necessary to visit me at my home. They explained that I did not understand that Gorleston should not be the lovely homely resort it is, but we should move with the times and modernise it. They explained that they had visited Southend twice over a period, and a particular entrepreneur there has built two modern cafes/restaurants. Apparently these are partially on the promenade and overhang the beach on staging, with very pleasant outdoor seating?

I understood that this entrepreneur or another one, is interested in building one of these modern café/restaurants on Gorleston Parade, on land/beach, to the south of the existing yachtpond.

I explained I have lived in Gorleston all my life, but have travelled extensively and visited many resorts. I am never against change if it is for the good. I told the councillor that I had spoken to many local people and holidaymakers - who visit Gorleston and its beach for it's charm - and nearly all prefer Gorleston as it is. I am aware most of the shopkeepers on Lower Parade don't want further competition. I hasten to add I have no personal interest in the existing shops or tenants there, and do not know them.

I would be interested to know if the person who is submitting the proposed change comes from Southend. If the entrepreneur is not successful in Gorleston, he/she may like to try their luck at Mundesley, Southwold or Walberswick. I'm sure the authorities there would welcome him there with his futuristic ideas,

JOHN CALTHORPE

email

TALK about the Nanny Society! I read last week how NHS Norfolk is warning people who enjoy the odd glass of wine in their own homes to be careful of their alcohol intake. What a cheek! They would be better served targeting pub chains who advertise four drinks for 99p each! It is offers like this that encourage people to drink too much, stagger around the streets, fight, and then expect the A&E department o treat them - not respectable people enjoying a quiet drink at home!

PAULINE LYNCH

Mill Lane

Bradwell

I READ with dismay the council intends to sell of the small brick building, formerly the first aid post, on the seafront at Gorleston; and demolish the adjacent covered seats to accommodate yet another café. This is part of a conservation area 17 and as such gives the council the opportunity to demolish this unsightly building and maybe extend the covered seats. The seats are the only ones close to the beach and shops, accessible for disabled people. We already have enough cafes and tearooms to cater for visitors.

BERYL BROWNE

Wedgewood Court

Gorleston

SO, Norfolk County Council wants to save £2m on street lighting (Mercury, December 31), what a refreshing idea, councillors that want to save money. Whether it is the county council or Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Yarmouth borough council taxpayers are still the ones to gain, or lose! Let's re-cap: council taxpayers, through no fault of their own, lost £2m in the Icelandic Bank fiasco; about another £2m on the taking over of the Haven Bridge from Great Yarmouth Port Authority; a loss of half a million pounds on gifting away the Breydon Bridge, and let's not forget the £1m council taxpayers paid out over the Gardens Contract that seems to be no one's fault. Now that comes to about £5.5m. Those of us who worked in the private sector, or still work in it, fully understand the penalties for making errors of judgment. Someone losing £5.5m of a company's finances would be looking at joining the dole queue.

Councillors? Now there is a privileged group of people, lose £5.5m and it's "Oh well, it's someone else's money, who cares. We will carry on claiming our expenses". It appears no-one gets the slightest reprimand.

So yes, I can fully understand why the ratepayer has to sort things out, by walking in the dark, seeing an increase in sexual assaults, an increase in muggings, with car thefts and burglaries up, just so councillors can rack in another £2m to squander.

Isn't it about time we saw a few heads rolling over all this waste of council taxpayers money? And if we have to pay a price by walking in the dark, then those councillors responsible for the losses should at the least not be seen in County Hall or our Town Hall ever again.

JOHN L COOPER

Burnt Lane,

Gorleston

saveourport@btinternet.com

WOULD someone please tell me where the health and safety people are? There has been no grit on the pavements nor side roads for those of us who have to walk everywhere. If they were gritted, think how much the James Paget Hospital would save in treating people. Please give us walkers come thought.

Mrs JUNE WILLIAMS

Old Mill Road

Caister on Sea

RESIDENTS in Fritton and the surrounding area have worked extremely hard over the last year to 18 months to fight the application for a gravel pit in the village, which would destroy the beautiful Fritton Woods as we know it and would create a tremendous amount of traffic and disruption for the residents in those villages on already troublesome roads. The campaign has garnered around 20,000 signatures and as such is a fantastic testament to how communities can come together and the county council recently ruled that the area was not in their opinion an ideal site, so the campaign appeared to have worked well and got the right result.

However, now the applicants have lodged a new application so we cannot rest on our laurels with this one. The organisers of this campaign and the parish council are still working hard and you can find all the information on the Facebook page they have set up if you search Fritton Woods, or contact the parish council or write direct to the county council notifying them of our opposition to a gravel pit being developed in Great Yarmouth at Fritton.

This community needs all our support to protect this wonderful area of woodland and our roads into and out of the Great Yarmouth area, all of which would be adversely affected if the application were ever approved. I hope readers will join me in supporting this community campaign.

BRANDON LEWIS

Prospective Parliamentary Conservative Candidate for Great Yarmouth

I LIVE in Middlegate and because of the CCTV cameras at both ends of the street, it is nine times out of 10 a quiet area. There are the Friday and Saturday night groups of people going home from a night out, however they have never been really unruly. I've only lived here 15 months and this one's okay right now.

There are many alleyways; one at the back of my house that runs along behind the back of the flats which has lighting right now and it should be kept on at night because there is a kids' park at the back and I have seen a few people congregating there at night. It's supposed to have a locked gate either end of the alleyway but people keep busting the lock at one end to get in, so it's not repaired anymore. Then there are other dodgy spots around Middlegate which shouldn't be in the dark, especially at the entrances to flats.

I will honestly say that although it hasn't worried me, living here I think I will always make sure now that I am in the safety of my own home before the lights go out.

Having said that, the county council should have let the residents of the streets involved know what they were going to do so they could get feedback. I wasn't told.

They should give everyone a chance to voice their fears - some people may like the fact their property has light on it and may see it as a deterrent for burglars and feel safer. Is the council offering to install outside lighting for those that want it? Front and back doors of the houses in Middlegate have full glass panels, toughened yes, but still able to break. I'm not a council tenant so would have to supply my own lighting if I wanted it.

Having the lights switched off overnight will impede the efficiency of the CCTV cameras so are they going to use infrared. I will state there have been times when a group of 4-5 young teenagers have tried to climb up to the CCTV camera, but have so far not managed to do any damage as they can be seen. Lights out will mean they would have more time to do damage.

Finally, if someone wants to break into your house, the five-hour light switch off time would be an ideal time as no-one can see.

PAMELA LONG

Email

I READ with dismay about the proposed turning off of the street lights. It is hardly about saving the planet and more about cutting costs on the electric bills, and will we see a cut on our council tax. It is just a recipe for disaster, the fact they are plunging whole housing estates in darkness just ready for the burglars, car thieves and rapists to go about unseen. Surely it would be much wiser to just switch off every other one, rather than the lot. And what about the fancy lighting for the holidaymakers, I hope they are going to be turned off too. We will all be under a curfew as it will not be safe to walk the streets at night.

A W LAWSON

Anchor Court

Southtown

IN response to the Scrooge-like savings by our county council planning to shut off street lights. If the present weather continues for years to come, is the council going to pay for all the folk who cannot see the ice on the pathways on the unsalted side roads and pathways and then fall and have broken hips, legs and all the other bones that are liable to break on ice? Our particular road, which never has any sort of treatment on the ice, will lose 16 out of our 23 street lights and where is the sense in that? Is our council so oblivious to the elderly and disabled who have to walk on ice as it is, to shut off lights to create a hazard for it's citizens? During the second world war the street lights went off and burglars had a prime time. Wake up and take note county council, you are like the ostrich with it's head in the sand.

R BATLEY

Colomb Road

Gorleston

LOOKING ahead to putting my children into education, it is depressing to learn that our young people in Great Yarmouth are at the bottom of the country for test results in reading, writing and maths.

This isn't their failure or that of their dedicated teachers. It is a failure of this Labour government that promised so much and failed to deliver. That famous soundbite - “Education, Education, Education” -by Tony Blair and his spin-doctors has a hollow ring over a decade later. How can Great Yarmouth develop and reach its full potential when our greatest assets, our children, aren't provided with the tools they need to succeed? We need to set our teachers and governors free to run their school and stop suits in Whitehall from ruling our local schools from over 100 miles away.

Things need to change in our schools if the next generation of schoolchildren aren't going to be hampered by a lack of basic skills. I fear that for many nearing the end of their school career it is may already be too late.

OWEN DARBY

Bradwell

MAY I take this opportunity through your letters column to thank all those people in the Great Yarmouth area who have supported the Santa's Sleigh Appeal for 2009 organised by Yarmouth Lions Club. In addition to delighting many hundreds of children, I am pleased to announce that this year the appeal has raised in the region of £7,000 for the club's Charity Account. This money will be spent on deserving individuals and organisations in the Yarmouth area over the next 12 months. Once again the club is pleased to have received an anonymous donation of £500 towards the appeal and would like to thank the person concerned for their continued support. The club would like to thank all its supporters who have supported its events and appeals during 2009 and wish everyone a Happy New Year for 2010. For further information on Lions activities in the Yarmouth area, contact the secretary on 01502 730923.

GRAHAM GIBBINS, Club Secretary

NORFOLK Broads Lions Club would like to thank the many generous members of the local community throughout our area - the Northern villages - for their kind donations to our Lions Charity Fund. We raised the magnificent sum of £3,900. Our special thanks must go to three organisations which provided us with a great deal of support. These are the Cadets of Winterton Marines, Caister Squadron Air Training Corps and the Volunteers of the Hemsby Inshore Rescue Services. Our thanks must also go to everyone who supported us. For details of the club contact the secretary on 01493 721384.

DAVID RICHARDSON, Club Secretary

BEFORE Christmas, I received a survey from Brandon Lewis and the local Conservatives asking for my opinions on the NHS. It's refreshing to actually be asked by a politician for my opinion rather than receive the usual party political propaganda. Even so, I cynically thought I would hear no more even if I returned the survey. To my surprise, a follow up letter arrived in the post this week. Not only did it thank me, it set out some of the results as well. It has gone some way to restoring my faith that not all politicians are the same - only interested in chasing our votes. Instead, some like Brandon seem genuinely interested in the issues that affect their local community.

V SNEDKER

Martham Road,

Hemsby

ALTHOUGH I'm not acquainted with the old Nelson cake, so lovingly described by Peggotty, I do mourn the passing of the Chelsea bun. To eat it, the experienced among us unwound it, as it was rolled into strips before being cut to bun size and given a sugfar coating. Does anybody remember it?

Miss R L FARMER

Marine Parade

Gorleston

THE Millennium Manuscript is coming into public view again in Gorleston, what good news! This unique work of art which was created in the millennium year, 2000, will be providing inspiration to the contestants in the new Poetry section of the Gorleston St Andrew's Competitive festival. The inclusion of Poetry will be a worthy addition to this prestigious festival in Gorleston, and I look forward to hearing and seeing the presentation. So many talented young people take p[art in the Competitive festival; they are a real asset to the area and a good example of hard work and commitment.

Gorleston on Sea heritage Group will be providing their own celebration of 10 years of Millennium Manuscript at one of their exhibitions later in the year.

Ms DOREEN R FEUELL

Church Road

Gorleston

AS most of the country came to a standstill we should say well done to all the postmen and postwomen who carried on in terrible conditions to deliver the mail. You deserve a medal.

MRS D HODDS

Ormesby Road,

Caister on Sea

MAY I ask people to put leftover food, from Christmas or any other time, in their bins and not in public places, especially dog walking areas. This causes a big problem to owners that have dogs with health problems such as diabetes or pancreas disease. I am sure you wouldn't want to have to pay the vets bills I do due to this problem.

Mrs J GOODWIN

Bateley Avenue,

Gorleston


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