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PUBLISHED: 12:59 27 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:58 16 September 2010

ARE the powers that be trying to force the Phoenix Swimming Pool in Bradwell to close?

I swim a mile every Tuesday evening plus a kilometre another once or twice a week.

ARE the powers that be trying to force the Phoenix Swimming Pool in Bradwell to close?

I swim a mile every Tuesday evening plus a kilometre another once or twice a week. I have been doing so at the Phoenix Swimming pool, Bradwell, for the past three years. I use the pool to train for my one mile open-water swimming events, this year swimming in the Great East and Great London Swims and last year as part of a triathlon team and for the Great East Swim.

Having returned from holiday, I arrived at the pool at 6.30pm (a little earlier than usual) to be told that it would be closing at 7pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. It would however reopen at 7.30pm. Why? The staff were still there. I was told it was the new rules set by the Marina Centre.

The only time I can fit in to swim a mile is on a Tuesday between 7pm and 8pm. I have children. On a Tuesday evening the pool is busy with adult swimmers (all paying). There are no problems with getting the children out of the pool at 7.30pm.

It was suggested by someone that the increased prices and the half-hour closures were a way to make the pool less well utilised and therefore a reason for closure. Please have a rethink on this half hour.

DIANA BRUCE

Bracon Road

Belton

I AM aware of the recent correspondence in your paper about the eye clinic at the James Paget University Hospital.

We, the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind (NNAB), are the local charity that helps in the eye clinic. We provide local and national information of a non-medical nature to those attending the eye clinics, as either patients or carers, about the services available to visually impaired people in Norfolk.

We have been doing this for about 15 years. The East Suffolk Association for the Blind also helps. We are just about to appoint an additional part-time member of staff, part of whose role will be to increase our presence and help in the clinics.

In addition, we have two full-time community workers covering the Great Yarmouth area whose role is to provide a visiting, advice and support service to those in the community with sight problems.

Finally, we have a new equipment and information centre at 12 Hall Quay, Yarmouth, which is open on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 10am to 1pm, where people are welcome to drop in. The telephone number is 01493 745973.

In this centre, we hold exhibitions and provide IT, Braille and craft classes. Our leisure co-ordinator runs a book club in Yarmouth, as well as taking people to heritage sites throughout the county. Sailing, walking, tandem cycling and bowling are run specifically for people in the Yarmouth area.

If anybody is interested in helping the association, please contact us as above. By the way, well done the WRVS for raising the money for the new digital camera.

JOHN CHILD

Director

I WOULD like to ask the people who are regularly launching Chinese lanterns from Hemsby beach to stop this dangerous activity.

I know these lanterns are being launched in the evenings when there is a breeze blowing out to sea, but these coastal winds change and some of the lanterns are being blown back on shore and have set fire to the marram grass dunes and cliff face shrubs.

There is evidence of this from the recent fire on the dune sea defences at Newport near the fisherman's cottages; I noted two burnt-out lanterns in this location after this fire.

The marram grass on these dunes holds them together and in this location this dune is the only protection preventing the sea flooding the Newport to Hemsby valley during storm surges.

I am not a kill-joy but these lanterns are dangerous because they are made of paper and have a night light in them with a naked flame, so unless they come down over the sea they can start fires where ever they land.

I would also suggest that the reported UFO sightings at Hemsby - re: letter in last week's Mercury - with lights that suddenly disappeared were these Chinese lanterns as their candle night lights go out suddenly some times.

MIKE KING

Scratby Cliffs

WITH reference to the letter in the Mercury about the closure of pubs and the smoking ban, I feel the government didn't give a choice in the matter.

Most pubs in this area and all over the UK usually had two rooms which could have been smoking and non-smoking, giving the public the choice as they had years ago with the snug and public bars.

A lot of revenue has been lost due to the closure of these premises, through drink sales, tobacco sales, machine taxes and so on. Therefore, the general public is paying for this loss through their taxes.

I personally would go to one particular pub in our area where about 30-40 people would be playing pool and drinking. After the smoking ban I went back to this particular pub and there were only four people there - and one of those was the barman.

There is no doubt in my mind that the smoking ban has seriously damaged the licensed trade.

RUSSELL GORDON EDWARDS

Managing Director

Ocean Room, Gorleston

RE Mick Castle's letter about local pub closures, I feel it is mostly due to a lack of money around nowadays.

The smoking ban has not helped but with beer averaging £3 a pint, it is an expensive pastime. It is always sad to see a pub either boarded up or pulled down but, regrettably, I think it's a sign of the times.

I was especially saddened by the closure of The Talbot a while ago. I spent many a fine hour in there years ago!

RICHARD GOODINGS

Avondale Road

Gorleston

I DID not want this matter to reach the paper as I feared the problems would become worse, but now an article has appeared, I wish to state a few points.

I would like to point out one important factual error Mr Robert Green makes in his letter (August 20): Jenner Road is un-adopted and is the private property of three building companies one of which, Persimmon, is responsible for your notices.

Jenner Road has become a race track for staff and visitors to gain access to the hospital making it very dangerous for residents to leave the estate either by car or on foot. It has become the default car park for the James Paget. People only use the hospital car park when Jenner Road and the surrounding streets are full up. The residents of the estate are bombarded by noise, pollution and abuse. No one has any privacy from the 24-hour car and foot traffic.

The original residents of Jenner Road were not aware of the impending problems that the JPH would cause them as they were not made aware of the access and parking issues by the developers.

In this day and age, most councils accept the car is now of secondary importance to residents' health, well being and safety. The planning permission granted by the council for Jenner Road to be used as an access road and car park is, in my opinion, totally unacceptable.

The loss of revenue to the JPH is also quite substantial and in today's cash-strapped times every penny raised is important. I urge Mr Green and others that we have a right to peace and privacy and to please park in the car parks provided by JPH.

TIM CALEY

Jenner Road

Gorleston

IT can be a funny old world and sometimes difficult to see some things logically. Take this week when two items in the Mercury and one personal encounter added proof to how illogical, even this day and age some things can be.

Firstly in the Mercury I find a new scheme has been launched to help people with gambling problems.

Gambling is addictive and a form of escapism and addicts build up debts which cause some to carry out frauds and crimes to get the money to feed their addiction. One person is known to have gambled away £300,000!

The charity Norcas is holding sessions in Yarmouth in an effort to help people with what is an increasing problem, which is good news for those unfortunates.

On the other hand, in another news item, I find: “Yarmouth casino licence up for grabs”. Four operators are expected to lodge an application. The winner is offering leisure facilities to the town as an add-on. Good for the town but not such good news for those unfortunates.

A new business is moving into Yarmouth which will offer goods which can be paid for weekly just like the catalogue books did but the rub is that the interest rate is 29pc which in the case of one particular 40” LED TV priced at £1,266 paid by 156 weekly instalments of £11.69 will mean a total payment of £1,823.

I know times are hard and weekly payments are helpful to many people, but deals like this certainly help no one in this climate.

My personal peculiarity was a letter from the company which does my home insurance. I thought maybe it would go up a little this year because for the first time in 40 years I had put in a £120 claim for spoilt food in the freezer. Last year £178, this year £390 - an increase of £212.

When I queried this, I was told: “It is because we have held your premium for the last three years and this brings your premium back in line and you also made a claim.” Needless to say I have changed insurers and saved almost £200! Let this be a lesson to all who pay up without questioning or just leave it to the insurance company to renew.

DENNIS DURRANT

Brett Avenue,

Gorleston

NO, your letter writers are not guilty of taking too little water with it. I am here, having landed many moons ago,

I try not to expose myself to the disease-carrying human species. A species who spend their time warring with each other and killing other humans in their millions over faiths, religions, gods and things that go bump in the night; or is oil and greed the driving force?

I am just a little green at the obscene money paid to some humans for playing games, hosting the Olympics, the BBC TV stars and the BBC director general (£850,000pa plus expenses).

With the elderly on State pensions paying £140 for a licence to watch their own TV while dying in their thousands because they cannot afford to heat and eat, I think the UFO spotters could divert their energies to the humans and leave us aliens alone.

We do not want to meet but will just wait until the humans are extinct by their own hand.

Amazing, but true, Britain gives £9bn in International Development Aid to countries such as India, China, Russia and Pakistan. All who spend their money building nuclear weapons of mass destruction and armies one million strong, instead of feeding their people.

Now Britain is doing it. Is Britain, with its puny armed forces of 170,000 the right country to engage in protecting the world while financing its enemy? Should it send its young humans to Islamic Afghanistan and Iraq blowing them up at enormous cost? Then spend more rebuilding those countries.

Like the Swiss, should the Brits stay at home? They could keep looking for those little green men, or like the humans in Great Yarmouth spend millions on an outer harbour that will never be used.

I read of one contributor to the letters columns who has been attacked on the streets of Great Yarmouth for criticising that monstrosity.

Turn it into a marina has been suggested by some. Then Yarmouth might have some rich dudes land to spend their money.

MADISON MITCHELL

Email

LOCAL knowledge is a wonderful thing. It can help you through your day, making life easy when locating business properties, shopping areas, recreational facilities and even medical centres and hospitals.

But this “local knowledge” is only of benefit and any use providing the “local area” is not prone to irregular, random, grid-locking changes.

Great Yarmouth has a new one-way system, plethora of traffic junctions, fluctuating road traffic levels (holiday-makers and race goers, no offence intended) and two bridges. The ability to make reasonable progress during one's daily motoring, is brought abruptly to a halt by the sudden and unexpected raising of these two aforementioned bridges to allow safe passage to the vessel passing beneath.

Regardless of longevity in the vicinity of Yarmouth, the repeated unannounced raisings of these bridges at random times is guaranteed to frustrate even the most tolerant of motorists and pedestrians.

Operators of vessels (commercial and pleasure) do so in full knowledge of tidal ranges and are aware of the draft which requires them to ensure the depth of water below the hull is of a greater amount.

Likewise, they are aware of the air-draft which requires them to ensure there is a greater amount of air space available when passing under bridges. They are skilled in the art of planning a passage from A to B, sufficiently to enable them to arrive at a harbour at the time when the harbour bar has adequate depth of water to ensure they do not run aground - as well as arriving at fixed bridges when there is also sufficient air draft for them to pass safely underneath.

Having said all this, why cannot some operators take reasonable steps to arrive at bridges when there is both adequate water depth and air draft?

Much has been said about the fact that Britain is now a full paid up member of the EEC, so why cannot we adopt the same common sense approach to bridge opening that is employed successfully elsewhere in Europe?

On the approaches to all bridges that move (lift or swing) they have signposts which inform the general public: “This bridge will lift at 10:00 /12:00 /14:00 /16:00 and 18:00 hours daily.”

This essential and valuable piece of local knowledge then enables everyone to plan their daily movements around town, without disruption.

The information is also readily available in print within newspapers and magazines, tourist maps and street maps. The operators of vessels are also made aware of the lifting/swing times of the bridges in the harbour notes and on their charts.

To bury one's heads in the sand and hope the ever-present irregular traffic grid-locking will go away, serves no purpose except to add fuel to the fire for those in favour of yet another bridge.

Name and Address withheld

I AM at the moment trying to find a workable solution to the age-old boy racer problems on the seafront.

The car enthusiasts are just that; enthusiastic car owners simply looking for a night out, showing off their cars and socialising. Sadly though, a small minority are disruptive, abusive and dangerous. These are the ones whose antics need to be addressed.

In the past fortnight, I have contacted various people who would be in a position to help us, the residents, with this problem. I have to say that everyone has been very supportive, understanding and more than willing to give constructive help or advice, everyone that is except for our MP.

I contacted Brandon Lewis to ask for his help in his capacity as our local MP. It took eight days for him to reply, and then he said it “wouldn't be appropriate for him to intervene at this stage''.

Well sir, I am not impressed! Sorry sir, but I don't dance to that tune.

A meeting has been organised, and we are coming together as a community, with the help of the police, to find ways of addressing the boy racer issues. This is the first time I have ever requested assistance from an MP. I won't make the same mistake twice.

SHEENA McBAIN

Email

MANY thanks for Peggotty's excellent article on the Singing the Fishing programme and its local contributors. Also thanks to the BBC for the 50th anniversary re-run. It was good to hear my father's voice again.

LIONEL BALLS

Bure Close,

Great Yarmouth

THE story came too late for me thank goodness. I was within 50 yards of Gorleston police station heading in the direction of Lowestoft when a small black car drew up alongside. An elderly man leaned over the passenger seat to ask the directions and distance for Gatwick Airport. When told he was heading in the wrong direction and it was about 150 miles, he glanced at his petrol gauge. Shaking my hand and thanking me profusely he claimed he had been showing watches at an exhibition. He produced two boxes with two good looking watches marked £299. He said I could have them for £40 as he needed some money to buy more petrol as he had gotten lost. I only had £15 but he offered to drive me to the bank.

I fell for it. I just knew this had to be a con or he did work at the exhibition and stolen them - maybe but he seemed so “nice” I thought this person is in genuine need and wants to get back home to Italy.

I refused to go to the bank but was persuaded to hand over the £15 in my wallet. My mind was telling me if I bought a cheap watch at market it would be at least a tenner. I think the police claim that they are only worth £5 might be a little low. However, I note they have put a “real police constable” on the case. Yet when burgled or for criminal damage they screen most cases out and don't bother.

Am I angry at Superhero Watchman. No, but guess what my family are getting this Christmas for presents. I am more angry to receive my BT telephone bill showing the call I made to the RSPCA via the operator because the main number did not work cost me £17.

The operator did not inform me it was being transferred to a mobile phone number. What did I get from the RSPCA trying to report a dog in distress from the heat; nothing but abuse. My later attempt to email the RSPCA Norfolk West email address came back with the message from “the postmaster”: “Could not deliver this message”.

I have noted the numerous letters where others have fallen victim to the RSPCA. I am sure Mrs S Hewitt is a lovely lady ([lease continue to report neglect) but I was not sure if she meant report neglect and cruelty to humans like me or to the animals at RSPCA. Maybe she could tell us the RSPCA's chairman and CEOs names and addresses as it seems more secret than the Director General at MI5. We can all drop them a line suggesting they resign and return the £68m the RSPCA reportedly has on deposit in offshore accounts.

The moral of the story; do not trust the RSPCA. Buy your Christmas presents from the old Italian man driving a small black car. It's a steal.

R CORNWALL

email

ALTHOUGH a landlubber, Peggotty's references appertaining to the fishing industry woke many memories for me. I was born in Peggotty Road and my first glimpse of the outside world were fish houses at the bottom of our garden. This environment shaped much of my childhood in the 30s.

I started Greenacre School aged four, and we invariably closed our lessons with a sweet little helper asking God to “bless the fishermen”.

By the time my elder brother left school and started work I was considered old enough to inherit his weekly task of repairing to the fishwharf and appeal to the fishermen for any herring. I was never refused; probably they had sufficient empathy to understand our plight in those austere years. Occasionally they filled my bag so full I had to drag it along the cobbles, wearing a hole in it and losing much of my catch by time I got home. By some process, these herring seemed to last us throughout the week.

On Saturday afternoons, and by way of change, I was commissioned to a kipper house on Exmouth Road to buy two pennyworth of pieces which I believe to be kippers with the gills split and could not be regarded perfect. On one occasion I got 27 for two pence.

On the Sundays we went to chapel.

Besides the free herring, our domestic economy was augmented by my mother lodging three to six fisher girls (in addition to her own family). These hard working souls in their colourful head scarfs and rag-loaded fingers gutted and packed herring at astronomical speed often in the open air and harsh conditions from very early morning till midnight by the glare of paraffin lambs.

My most memorable occasion, however was when my father took me to the fishwharf on the last Sunday afternoon of the season to witness a farewell service by the Scotch fishermen and though only a child being held in his arms, sensed the hazards of their calling and recollect the emotional experience, which still echoes in my memory of hearing these soulful voices singing “God be with you till we meet again”.

DAVID KING

Falcon Court

Great Yarmouth

IT was nice to read Mr and Mrs Oliver's appreciative letter on the beauty of Gorleston's seafront and the many improvements that have been made.

The pity is that so few people now come to enjoy the lovely sands which were once thronged with families.

MISS R L FARMER

Marine Parade

Gorleston

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