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PUBLISHED: 16:38 17 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:57 16 September 2010

AS a resident of the Scratby Cliffs area for the last 35 years, I must object to Alan Smith's letter in the Mercury (July 30). It is complaints like this from non Scratby beach visitors that give the wrong impression of this area to the borough council's environmental health department.

AS a resident of the Scratby Cliffs area for the last 35 years, I must object to Alan Smith's letter in the Mercury (July 30). It is complaints like this from non Scratby beach visitors that give the wrong impression of this area to the borough council's environmental health department.

Mr Smith should have checked the cliff top land ownership records and long-established DIY sea defence procedures in this location before making such statements.

Firstly, residents in this area are keen to keep this environment clean, and as one of the many residents that walk the cliff top and beach areas daily I can assure Mr Smith that no rubbish is being dumped on the beach.

Secondly, nearly all the properties along the Promenade - up to the California cliffs rock berm sea defences own their cliff top frontages and the adjoining beach up to the high water mark. Consequently, they can legally deposit grass and garden cuttings on their section of cliff face which is their property. They can also give permission to their friends and neighbours (in this location) to deposit their garden cuttings on their section of these cliffs.

Thirdly, it has been established practice for all residents in this area (and only residents in this area) to deposit their organic (bio-degradable) grass and garden cuttings on the cliff faces in this location, to stabilise them and help prevent their erosion, because no sea defences exist in this location.

The current Kelling to Lowestoft Ness Shoreline Management Plan (SPM 3b) for Scratby (from the California rock berm sea defences) for the next 100 years is to do nothing and allow this area to be sacrificed to the sea.

Consequently, the 35-year established practice of depositing garden cuttings on these cliffs to encourage plant growth to stabilise them should continue.

The following evidence supports this:

The foredune and cliff face, adjacent to the Esplanade between houses Nos 17 and 31, has been stabilised by the extensive coverage of “Russian vine” - a plant which has grown and spread along and over the foredune and cliff face from residents purposely positioned garden cuttings, stabilising and helping to prevent sand and soil erosion from the foredune and cliff face.

The cliff edge at the north end of California Avenue has been extended 10m seawardy in the last 30 years by the depositing of organic garden material; significant extensions of the cliff to seaward adjacent to the Esplanade and the Promenade have also been achieved in several locations by residents depositing organic garden material; the landward side dune along the valley between Newport and Hemsby has also been significantly built up by the continual depositing of organic garden material by residents.

It is a proven fact the positioning of brush wood/shrub branches in or on sand dunes or banks will encourage the build up of sand (blown by the wind) and reinforce these sea defences.

If you walk down the valley from Newport Fisherman's cottages to Hemsby, you will see numerous garden plants and shrubs in both the seaward and land side dunes which have grown from garden refuse deposited there over the years and are now playing an important part helping to stabilise these dunes.

In fact, with the approval and backing of GYBC environmental health officer and planning committee, in 1992-1995 as part of the Hemsby Marrams Management plan, the practice of inserting and depositing garden cuttings in the dunes between Newport and Hemsby was agreed as part of the local dune management plan.

Lastly I must point out it is only the residents of this area that can deposit these bio-degradable garden cutting on the cliff faces and the depositing of any other materials is fly-tipping and strictly illegal.

MIKE KING

Scratby Cliffs

IT'S the school holidays and everyone is in the same situation: watching their finances.

If you want to go into Great Yarmouth for just a walk and to get the children a bag of chips or ice cream, it's going to cost you £5 for three hours the minute you step out of the car.

If the car parking was cheaper more local people would come into the town for a walk along the seafront, probably spending more money in local businesses, which would help their trade.

On a recent trip away to Northampton and Milton Keynes, some car parks were free and others were £3.50 for all-day parking.

I obviously feel their councils must want their locals to use the facilities all year round. I think if Great Yarmouth Borough Council reduced the rates we would all be happier.

Mrs S CHAPMAN

Coast Road

Ormesby

I WAS impressed that in an Eastern Daily Press article it was stated the outer harbour can load 1000 tonnes of grain per hour.

I presume this means that when the 25000 tonnes capacity boat comes, it will be loaded in one day. But what isn't stated is that to haul the grain from farm to the port will mean more than 1000 lorry loads will have to pass through the town to the outer harbour and, of course, these same lorries will have to return through the town which means 2,000 lorry journeys per day when loading the boat.

This is more than one a minute night and day - the result could be chaos and not a single new job for any locals.

So far, we have had two grain boats, Arklow Raven 4000 tonnes loaded and River Pride 1000 tonnes; another two will arrive this week, all of which could have been loaded in the inner harbour because, in 2004, the Port Authority opened a new grain store on the east side of the river with a capacity of more than the first two boats together could carry.

When Eastport was given our harbour it was closed, and has probably stood empty for several years with the loader mothballed in a yard on the peninsular.

Our port under the new ownership has been open for 15 months and, so far, there has been no ferry, no containers, a mountain of aggregate, some periodically transported through the town. A grain terminal which is forecast to export 500,000 tonnes of grain per year, which means more than 40,000 lorry journeys per year to navigate our roads, where there will be peaks and lows in the amount moving.

Fortunately, I think the 25,000 tonne boats will be few and, in the main, they will be small boats, some, or many of which could have used the inner harbour. The grain terminal only employs five people and probably most of this grain business has been taken away from other local ports.

It is all very well for Eastport to say the outer harbour is doing business, but it isn't the type of business that will bring in the promised 1000 local jobs or all those potential tourists.

I am sure Eastport is doing its best to attract more business but it isn't able to provide what our town requires, which is jobs. Their main criteria isn't what drove GYBC in their quest for an outer harbour, which I think all residents supported in the form that it was sold to us.

To be fair to Eastport, they operate just how you would expect a business to, they have loans to pay off and dividends to consider. The business has to grow profitably, which is just what they are trying to do. Their main criterion is not employment but to maximise profits, and they will go out to attract suitable customers to achieve this end.

Did GYBC take its eye off the ball and not have sufficient levers and checks to achieve their aim? It was their responsibility to see that the correct mix of users could be, and were attracted to regenerate the borough by bringing us work and the multitudes of tourists - and in that they failed in the negotiations.

How well was the market researched and was Great Yarmouth's geographical position and infrastructure right for the kind of users needed? I may be minded to think perhaps an outer harbour wasn't right for us, after all we had to give a profitable harbour and much else away to get it. Were there other possibilities?

Our one hope now is the wind farms, perhaps. It is too late to put the clock back, but taxpayers have to know how this all came to pass.

This is not an attack on Eastport or the outer harbour but an attempt to summarise the situation and consequences as I see them. It is now up to GYBC to defend its position by facing up to answering our questions because we need an inquiry as to why we gave so much away.

Thought for the week - Mr Eddie Freeman has recently stated: “We are now the east coast's deepest non-container port between Tilbury on the Thames and Immingham on the Humber.”

DENNIS DURRANT

Brett Avenue

Gorleston

ONCE again, a downpour has disrupted our lives. Roads flooded; police having to block roads off; the fire brigade having to attend; sewage coming up through the drains and into our homes.

Luckily, we were at home at the time and were able to barricade the back door. Despite having a six inch high doorstep, the water still managed to creep in. Anglian Water, when contacted, had received numerous calls, all of which had to be logged and investigated.

Five and half hours later (10.30pm) someone arrived to pump out. Sorry, but it's a bit late. All that's left to do now is clear up the mess in the backyard and front of property. If you are elderly like my neighbour and live on your own, who is going to do it? It's a health hazard.

Why, when Anglian Water has just spent millions putting in a new pumping station does this happen? It seems we are paying for something we are not getting, despite increasing council tax payments and sewage bills.

To add insult to injury, some insurance companies want guarantees that environment agencies are going to address the matter. What is our local councillor doing? Are we still living in the Dark Ages? The advancement of technology seems to have passed Yarmouth by.

Name Withheld

Harley Road

Great Yarmouth

WHEN the road network was initially devised for the estates in Bradwell, the planners included nice grass verges which were pleasing to the eye and broke up the cement and tarmac appearance of the road structure.

However, we now seem to have a permitted culture which allows people to park on these grass verges at their pleasure. Not only does this reduce the verges to muddy, rutted, wasteland, eyesores, they are also on several of the cul de sacs, cars parking on the verges at their entrances which is a positive danger.

In order to see clearly, you literally have to pull out on to the road to see if any vehicles are coming and, in doing so, face these same vehicles hitting you. This is an accident waiting to happen.

I have spoken to the local police who have said I would need to speak to the Town Hall which I have also done.

The Town Hall was not sure it was their responsibility and so on. This was at least a week ago and nothing has changed.

Can we not do something about this before something happens, instead of after? These people who park like this have perfectly adequate driveways and are too lazy to use them.

A carefully placed post, sign or tree could prevent a tragedy occurring.

C PALMER

Address withheld

AT last, slowly but surely Mr Cameron is rectifying the wrongs that have been plaguing us all. He said he would clean up the waste that quangos were sucking out of the public purse, and it's happening.

One of my own gripes has not been all about money and the wasting of it. It has been about democracy.

Every nationality which calls itself “democratic” looks toward the British, but for several years now the Borough of Great Yarmouth, in my opinion, has been far from “democratic”. We, the ratepayers have been governed by the cabinet system. This means six members of the party having the most seats in council form a cabinet that can operate with impunity.

But joy of joys, our MP Brandon Lewis has confirmed to me in a letter that Mr Cameron's Government, in new legislation, will allow councils to move back to the committee system of governance.

Several years too late for the giving away of our port, the thousands spent on giant TV screens and the many other wastes of money we can all think of.

But a note of caution: Mr Lewis does not say if the changeover is compulsory. If it is not, I cannot see our six cabinet members falling on their swords and agreeing to moving over to the committee system.

Compulsory or not, I do so hope our council does the right thing and make the governing of our borough Open, Relevant, and, above all, For the Benefit of the People.

JOHN L COOPER

Retired Port Welfare Officer

Honorary Freeman of the Borough

BRAVO to the person who mirrors my sentiments about the RSPCA switchboard service!

Over the years, I've contacted them on a number of cases, from cruelty to finding injured animals.I have always been met with a condescending and arrogant person who has been absolutely no help at all.

I do support the RSPCA with monthly donations but, unfortunately, the only good I've ever seen them do is when they are followed round with television cameras.

I know at times their hands are tied by the limitations of law, but this is no excuse for how I've been treated at times when contacting them. In fact I don't bother anymore.

If I find an animal in distress, I take it to the vet's at my own expense and get the appropriate advice from experts in the area.

The RSPCA needs to wake up to what damage they are doing when people are met with such rudeness.

JEANETTE CHARITY

Lound Road

Blundeston

IN response to R Cornwall's letter re his getting in touch with the RSPCA, I would also like to say I'm shocked, but, sadly, I know all too well what a waste of time calling the RSPCA is.

For one, they are very difficult people to get hold of and you just go round in circles when calling. But on finally getting through to talk to a person I also found them rude and unhelpful.

According to their call centre, a cat is free to roam, so cannot be classed as a stray unless injured, and dogs are the responsibility of the local dog warden/council. And when it comes to wildlife, the only time they seem to be interested is if a TV crew is on the scene!

As an animal lover I have had a few dealings with the RSPCA over the years and not once have they helped, each and every time they have wRiggled out of helping an injured/suffering animal.

It's about time people knew the truth about the RSPCA and gave their hard-earned cash to some of the smaller charities where it will be used to save and treat animals and not swallowed up by admin fees or used to pay for huge call centres.

Name and address supplied

I AM amazed at Charles Stenner's letter about meddling in other cultures.

While I agree that Suez and Cyprus were very badly handled, and, despite the good final result, our reasons for invading Iraq were very suspect, I fail to understand why he thinks that our and the Americans' presence in Afganistan is not justified.

Does he not remember that when Al-Qaeda destroyed five aeroplanes and the Twin Towers on 9/11 they were operating from Afganistan and supported by the Taliban who were the government of the country at that time.

So, it was those two religious organisations who were meddling in other cultures. Does he think that we should have allowed them to carry on using money gained from supplying drugs grown by the farmers in that country to create more murder and mayhem in the name of religion? I don't think so.

So what does he suggest? That we should allow some other religious organisation, I assume he means Christian or maybe Jewish, to negotiate with Al-Qaeda or the Taliban to achieve something - but what? A promise not to blow up more buildings and to rebuild the Twin Towers maybe? A fat chance.

If he really thinks that then he is living in cloud cuckoo land. Also, let me reassure him that the problems he is talking about do most certainly arise from political differences.

They may be superficially presented as having some sort of religious base, but this is not unusual. Many times in history religion has been used as an excuse when people are seeking power, land or money. The Crusades are an excellent example of this.

Finally, I would agree with him that the church is wealthy, but blessed - I am not so sure.

DEREK BROWN

Royal Naval Hospital

Great Yarmouth

TIMES they are a-changing, and maybe for the better too. Step back and take stock of what has been happening to Gorleston seafront over the past few years.

Just for once let's give some praise to the local council that keeps the cliff-top grass and hedges trimmed, puts in colourful flower displays, rakes the beach, collects the litter and looks after the model boat pond (thank goodness we still have it).

Notice too how the shabby beach huts have gone, numerous new bench seats have appeared, the red tarmac has been tidied, there are new railings here and there, and the shelters are kept in order.

We have a pleasing bandstand with Sunday afternoon performances, a re-vamped beach café, one of the best beaches in the country with a 'Malibu' style lifeguard station - and how lovely it is to see those immaculate donkeys.

There is a thriving pavilion theatre, 'top-of-the cliffs' facilities for exercise and a good promenade for walkers and joggers alike.

We pop down to this lovely sea front of ours several times a week and never tire of its pleasurable atmosphere. A small piece of old English charm with a sprinkling of the contemporary that is clean and family friendly.

This year in particular the gradual changes that have taken place are really starting to show. Have we perhaps finally turned that long-awaited corner?

Mr and Mrs A OLIVER

Bradwell

I HAVE just retired and decided to buy myself a dog.

After 12 weeks of keeping my dog in its own environment, I ventured out for walks on Mill Lane playing field. I was absolutely disgusted with the amount of mess on the field - it only takes a minute to pick up your dog's mess and put in bins provided.

The football season is about to start so it's not very nice to get covered in dog's mess. If you can't clean up after your dog I suggest you don't have one.

C BALLS

Bradwell

I REMEMBER donkeys working on Gorleston Beach in the early 1950s. Perhaps a reader can come up with the exact year they ceased working there.

Miss L R FARMER

Marine Parade

Gorleston


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