PUBLISHED: 16:07 23 September 2010 | UPDATED: 12:45 27 September 2010
NOTED with interest the two items on page two of last week’s Mercury relating to windfarms. The first was the tail end of the front page article extolling the potential for new local jobs in the expanding windfarm industry, the second related to a petition to stop a windfarm being located locally. The irony was not lost on me.
Last weekend I drove across the Fens and was surprised at the large number that have been installed over recent years, totally changing that “flat landscape with big skies” that has, for some, had its own peculiar beauty for hundreds of years.
A recent study by the Royal Academy of Engineering looked at the comparative costs of generating electricity taking into consideration installation, maintenance and other plant lifetime costs and also decommissioning in the case of nuclear generation. Their conclusions make interesting reading. Coal, gas and nuclear generation all came within the range 2-3p/kwhr with on-shore wind farms at 5.5p and off-shore at 7.2p/kwhr.
A significant proportion of the increased costs for wind generation were as a result of having to have standby conventional generation capacity. The capacity factors for coal and nuclear are in the region of 80-90 per cent. This factor indicates that they are capable of producing their full rated output for 80-90 per cent of the time they are required to run. The most efficient wind farms struggle to get close to 40pc, with the majority nearer to or below 30 per cent, hence the need to have standby capacity for when the wind doesn’t blow.
I’m on the side of the Nimbys of Hemsby. From what I can see, wind energy would seem to be a cul-de-sac technology that blights the landscape, cannot ever reliably provide more that a small portion of our energy and will always need to be subsidised via taxes or increased electricity bills to make it viable. Now where did I put that candle?
DENNIS J BEAN
Burgh St Peter,
THE football season is here so I combine my Saturday afternoon dog walk with some spectating at Gorleston recreation ground . As always, I take my dog fouling equipment with me to clean any mess the dog leaves. The footballers do not want to play on a dogs toilet, but what a pity the footballers cannot clear their rubbish away when they leave. On my Sunday morning walk round the Rec, I counted 48 empty plastic drinks bottles left around the two pitches that were in use Saturday. Come on you budding David Beckhams, take your rubbish home.
I WOULD just like to add a few words to the debate regarding the venue of the New Year’s Fireworks Display at Ludham Cemetery. As a one-off location for the Millennium Celebrations it always had a dubious quality about it. I am not sure why it was repeated but whoever is sponsoring the event is obviously quite happy with the outcome, as far as they are concerned, and so it has continued. It would have been a nice gesture if someone had made some kind of an effort to find out if there were any objections from the local community to the graveyard being used on a regular basis for this type of activity. The Church representatives can only surmise that the incumbents would not mind - the living relatives just might, of course.
On a personal note I find this activity to be distasteful and completely and totally inappropriate at this location.
Robert Davison also brings into the debate the fact that the church has bar facilities for certain events. Quite why this would be necessary escapes me as there is a rather large public house just over the road from the church itself.
If it really is necessary to have a loud, whizzy bang and flashy New Year’s Eve Celebration Event in Ludham then whoever is sponsoring the current event should find a more suitable place to hold it, away from the centre of the village, charge at the gate, raise money for a charity or the church and do it properly.
PEGGOTTYS assumption that the explosion on the beach involving three lads, one losing fingers, could be correct. I recall as a schoolboy during the middle of the war, a lad was hurt and lost fingers from his hand after picking up a antipersonnel device dropped by German aircraft but do not remember if anyone else was killed or injured. We, as schoolchildren, were given talks on these devices; they were in the form of black and silver lookalike torches, and round cannisters with wings which when deployed opened up in the shape of a butterfly, hence their name Butterfly Bombs. These devices were designed to maim. Mrs Platten is correct that a boy or boys were hurt or killed but it did happen much earlier. I hope Peggotty find these reminisces of help in unravelling the event on the beach or golf course.
I WAS interested in Peggoty’s article on people killed by mines during and shortly after the second world war. I have tried to trace such events that occurred in the Fleggs because when I was young I heard these stories from people who were present when these tragedies occurred, but they did not write anything down at the time or subsequently. The people, who were mature enough to have a clear view of what went on, have now died and the stories have been largely lost.
There are sources of information such as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Roll of Honour website: www.commonwealthwargravescommision.org and www.roll-of-honour/norfolk/parish. These also list civilian deaths but by the nature of things this does not contain every event.
Press reports of inquests are, of course, available and registries of deaths exist, but can be difficult to find if dates are not known. I, therefore wonder if you or your readers can help me with my enquiries?
I have been interested in the Parish of Hemsby for many years and my parents talked of an incident on the sandhills during the war and I have pieced together the following: The only civilian to be killed in Hemsby was a girl blown up by a mine on the sandhills. An Ormesby man told me she attended school in that village with him. Her name was Sheila Reed and there is a memorial to her in St Margaret’s Church. David Cook, who was living at Newport at that time, told me recently he saw Sheila and her brother, both of whom were known to him as he had played with them. He thinks they were on the sandhills after rabbits. The story goes the boy stood on the mine and survived but his sister was blown to pieces. David said he remembers Sheila was about 14 at the time and that she had been evacuated from Yarmouth to avoid the bombing and may have been living in Scratby at the time. He thought it happened after D-Day, 6th June 1944.
I do not want to dwell on private grief but I feel it is a worthwhile exercise to get the record straight with precise details and dates; also to point out war is a dangerous business with many tragic and unintended consequences.
I have recently been watching TV trailers where muscle bound heroes and their beautifully made up colleagues survive enormous explosions and the only injuries they seem to suffer is cosmetic patches of blood. They then shout defiance at the world clearly unscathed by the experience.
I feel such TV programmes are fiction of the worst kind but are beloved of special effects men in film studios. I suspect that in the real world such, explosions would result in psychological trauma, deafness, blinding, serious injury or death as war memorials will testify.
CONGRATULATIONS on The Tour of Britain. What a marvellous sight for all the spectators who lined our roads to see this. The organisation was impeccable and there was little disruption to traffic. I can still picture the mass of police motorcycles followed by the rider who led for most of the race coming down Jellicoe Road and the bridge closely pursued by the main body of riders, who at one stage were seven minutes behind but were now only 30 seconds adrift. And what a finish. The final sprint to the line was anybody’s race and was won by a cycle length. Let’s have more please.
HOW fantastic it was to have the Tour of Britain cycle race pass through the heart of Norfolk before the sprint finish on Great Yarmouth seafront. What made the event so good was the fact that the race came through numerous villages allowing so many people the chance to witness at first hand the speed, bravery and spectacle of the top riders in full flight. Not only was this good for the local economy but would hopefully give people and particularly local children the inspiration to get out there and be active and realise there is more to life than Playstations and X Boxes. Hopefully the Tour will be back next year with even bigger Norfolk crowds cheering them on.
I AM now researching the history of Freethorpe for my tenth local history book. I am looking for old photographs, old documents and memorabilia, and for people who would like to contribute their memories, or tales their grandparents may have told them of life in the village in days gone by. It is not a large village but there was a brickworks there in the 19th century, two pubs, a blacksmiths, several shops and farms, and an abattoir.
Anyone interested please contact me on 01508 492239.
HOW I agree with the lady who wrote last week suggesting we check our supermarket bills. She is, however, lucky if she has only been overcharged on three occasions, this has happened to me on numerous shopping trips in fact I would say it is a common occurrence. On each occasion I have had to go to customer services and they have refunded the difference but this is quite time consuming and as it happens so often, I wonder if they are really so incompetent or are they are just increasing their profits. I have warned several of my friends and they now check all their supermarket bills, and like me they find they have been overcharged on several occasions. So be warned, check your bills.
IN response to two letters in The Mercury, September 17: “Save your Voices for what Matters” and “Developer is doing his utmost at site”.
Can I assure John Cooper that Gorleston Labour councillors are fully supportive of his and other residents efforts in demanding that International Port Holdings carry out repairs to Gorleston’s South Pier. We share the view that this pier should be repaired and IPH should allow residents and holidaymakers alike to enjoy the facility.
We are the same Labour councillors that are “shouting about the Cap and Gown” and who supported the 900 residents who signed the petition against the development. The Cap and Gown was demolished with undue haste, and we are now left with something resembling a bomb site in the middle of a residential area. It is strange to see Cllr Patricia Page defending the developer when she failed to support the residents who opposed the development.
Unfortunately on both these issues, we as Labour councillors can shout as loud as we like, but the Conservative administration who have run Great Yarmouth for the last 10 years do not listen to our views and have total disregard for local democracy by abolishing the Gorleston Area Scrutiny Committee.
Cllr TREVOR WAINWRIGHT
THE Petition for an Elected Mayor for Great Yarmouth has been signed by over 5,000 local people and signatures verified are approaching the 3,500+ number required to trigger a Referendum where local people, rather than just Councillors will be able to decide the issue. If that verification process is completed in early October, the Elected Mayor Referendum will take place on the same day as the local elections on 5th May 2011.
Here is a brief outline of how this could work in Yarmouth and also the required changes to the Council Constitution. A key point is that all 70,000 local electors would be able to vote on who should be our Elected Mayor rather than a decision on a Council Leader taken by as few as 20 Councillors (simple majority of 39 total).
What about the cost? All elections cost money and this one is no exception. However, the £40,000 cost for a Referendum will be provided for in the normal way as an element within the rate support grant for Yarmouth. The Mayoral Election will take place on the normal local election Polling Day which means no additional expense will be incurred.
The new Elected Mayor will combine the roles of Leader and ceremonial Mayor but will be elected directly by the public rather than indirectly by any political party. He or she will directly appoint the Council’s Cabinet and Chair meetings of this.
The Elected Mayor will represent the Council at all key Civic events and will be assisted by the Council Chairman, who will undertake visits and functions that the Mayor is unable to attend.
What will happen to the pageantry and local charitable fundraising associated with the present ceremonial Mayor? It is envisaged that the new Mayor will wish to designate annual charities and that much-loved customs will be continued within the new format.
Will there be financial savings as a result of the changes? Experience elsewhere suggests that there will scope for savings and more focussed timely decision-making. In the Yarmouth context, a “hands-on” Elected Mayor will directly lead to the down-grading of the existing Managing Director post and the loss of another senior council officer. Responsibility allowances for cabinet support members will no longer be payable. The civic team already service both the council leader and ceremonial Mayor.
How much will an Elected Mayor be paid? The position is an onerous one and will be a full-time position. An appropriate scheme of remuneration will be fixed by an independent body to ensure that this adequately reflects the nature of the Elected Mayor’s duties and responsibilities. This is however likely to be lower than the salary applicable to the senior council post to be deleted from the council establishment as a result of the changes.
I WRITE in response to last week’s letter “Lets join forces”. It seems for some reason that some people are against the plans to re-generate the old and very unsightly first aid shelter into a retail outlet. Now if these new plans are by the same person who applied last time then I think the only reason for people to object would be because they are worried of the competition. I recently went along the Prom to where the old cafe halfway along is, and what a transformation! It is clean, modern, with excellent prices and a joy to sit in whilst overlooking the beach. I know some people say it is not in keeping with the seafront to have an outlet alongside the beach front but if I remember correctly, when the outdoor swimming pool was there it had more than one outlet overlooking the beach. Also if people were to take the time and look at the plans they would see that instead of being a rundown shack we would all benefit from a building which is to be built to look like the new bandstand. And surely if the pavement is wide enough on the other side of the road where queues often block the pavement then with the width of the Prom in this area it must be wide enough for a car to drive along let alone a mobility scooter. Also with the amount of young children that use our lovely beach it must be good for them to not have to cross the road to get an ice cream?
I think it’s time to stop moaning about this project and allow someone the chance to improve what I think is Gorleston’s best feature, our seafront. I have been a Gorleston resident for over 60 years.
Mrs J COX
I WRITE in reply to an item in last week’s Mercury: “Support soars for windfarm protest”.
I understand 300 people have written with objections to the four wind turbine scheme at Ormesby/Hemsby by SLP Energy. I write in support of the wind turbines. If only 300 people out a possible 3,000–5,000 population within the area, have written in to complain, then they are in the small minority. The vast majority of people are in favour of them or don’t give a damn either way. There are no good reasons for not having the turbines. They are environmentally friendly and silent, leave no toxic waste and will benefit the population with cheaper electricity in the long run. The natural energy supplies - coal and oil etc. are drying up and wind, wave and solar energy are the way forward.
Some of the arguments the objectors put forward are totally ridiculous for example - birds flying into them. Birds have more sense than the objectors and would not be so daft as to fly into the moving blades. Another objection put forward was regarding the concrete bases that the turbines will stand on – if and when the turbines are ever removed then the bases could be used for farm buildings etc - leaving no toxic waste to pollute the environment for millenniums to come. Another objection was flicker; they do not flicker because they don’t spin fast enough to create flicker and the bigger the turbine the slower it turns.
The land pinpointed for these turbines is in a very rural area and I cannot see how they will impact on the surrounding population in any way. The old Meteorological Station would be cleared up and the land put to better use. The existing turbines at Somerton have had no impact on the environment or residents and are a sight to behold, not a blot on the landscape. I see that Mr Reynolds and Mr Brandon Lewis as well as Mr Jim Shrimplin and most of the Conservative members of the borough and parish councils have all jumped on the bandwagon. It’s a pity they don’t all share the same enthusiasm for bringing cheaper allotments for Hemsby residents who are being asked to pay over the odds for their allotment plots, which by the way the local residents are still waiting to hear from Hemsby PC as to when the plots will be available and allocated to people on the waiting list. I hope the government planning inspector will visit the site and see no objections for going ahead with the SLP Energy plans, and like Mr Reynolds I think it will be “marvellous” and I will be delighted with the response from the government-planning inspector.
ON Saturday, September 18, The Disabled Swimming Club turned up at the Marina Centre for their weekly therapeutic swimming session - the only exercise most of them get - only to find police “no parking” cones in the disabled bays outside the Marina Centre and down Trafalgar Road. A lot of the members, some in wheelchairs, had to return home. The swimming session ends at 10am and at that time those bays were not being used. I know there were different events going on in the town which is great, but why penalise disabled swimmers? Was it a lack of communication perhaps?
Marina Centre Physically Disabled Swimming Club
WHY is it that every company that has undertaken work from Great Yarmouth Borough Council to keep the cutting of grass all in order so sadly lacking in good workmanship. The council does not inspect their work enough. Only this week grass verges have been cut and because the workmen do not clean up the cut grass it blows all over the pavements, roads and even blocks the drains. If it is down to cutting costs, then this is false economy as call-outs are inevitable when problems arise from block drains. I suggest the council uses the same company that takes care of the verge and flower beds outside the Town Hall as it is a credit and looks immaculate. Maybe it is because the person in charge at the Town Hall will not stand for shoddy workmanship on his or her doorstep.
Name and Address withheld
FOR those of us that live in Gorleston I am sure we can feel justly proud that we have such a fine and beautiful building in the centre of the town. Situated on high ground the tower has been for centuries a beacon of hope and security for seagoers and, in more recent times, a welcome sight for aircrews returning from dangerous daylight missions over Europe during the second world war. I refer of course to the historic and well-loved St Andrew’s Parish Church.
Having been fortunate to have attended there, man and boy, since 1929 I have witnessed the succession of incumbents over 80 years or so, knowing that they hold the church in trust for the people of Gorleston, use their best endeavours to maintain and beautify the building in every way. I recall a visit several years ago by Dr Donald Coggan, who later became Archbishop of Canterbury, remarking that the oak pews and their carved end motifs were some of the finest he had seen and should be preserved at all costs. All of this is now seriously under threat as we learn of a proposal to remove all the oak pews from the church, replace them with chairs and make other alterations to the interior including the chancel as to make it completely unrecognisable to all those that have worshipped there over the years with the resultant loss of dignity that we have always been accustomed to. I have no hesitation in condemning this as both sacrilegious and vandalism of the first order. When we are told that the estimated cost of this exercise is upwards of £500,000 it is inconceivable to me that money is expected to be chanelled to this ill considered scheme when true Christian efforts should be directed at helping causes such as Natural Disaster funds, Cancer Relief and many other worthy charities that require our assistance.
STANLEY F V STYLES
ANOTHER vital service lost! It seems that yet again the people of the northern villages of Great Yarmouth are being ignored. The college bus through Martham to Norwich, run through Ambassador Coaches has stopped! This I only found out on the second day of term after ringing the company to find out why the coach hadn’t turned up! Checking the internet, my son would have to catch the 6.30am bus from Martham, travelling around the villages to Yarmouth, changing to the X1 to Norwich. Which, without delays and a run at the other end, meant he could just make it to City College for 9am. However, panic over, I have now found out that the Flexibus, Acle, have added a college bus from Martham to meet the X1 bus in Acle. They can pick my son up at 7am, so he can then catch a slightly earlier X1 bus, giving him a bit of breathing space at Norwich. The gentleman I spoke to at Flexibus was very helpful, but did say it depended on how well the service was used, as to how long it could continue. The bus does have to be booked in advance, call 01493 752223, and they accept the NCC student bus passes. So far they have turned up on time and the drivers have been very friendly. Hopefully, more students will use this service and they can keep up the good work.
Mrs LINDA SHERIDAN
BELLE-TON survival. Thanks to the information in the Mercury, it was very interesting to see the exhibition of old photos in Belton Village Hall last Sunday. Those of us who have lived around for 20 years and many far longer, can enjoy many such opportunities now, as we have time in retirement. Well done Belton, for your efforts and offer of fine reminders to us and older relations.
I WOULD like to ask Glen Tubby, the general manager of Yarmouth Racecourse, and his team, how the three-day meeting recently at the track comes to be called a festival. With no reduction for pensioners like myself the minimum entry is £16 per day or £23 premier ring. This is meant to be festival. But the total of 23 races over the three days seven races’ prize money is under £2,000. Five races’ prize money is under £3,000. This makes a total of 52pc prize money is under £3,000 of the 48pc above £3,000 prize money. Seven of the races are below £4,000. This makes out of 23 races only four offer above £4,000 in prize money. Surely no way can this be called a festival? In future maybe Three Day Meeting would be a more suitable title.
OUTER harbour, deep water harbour, hidden lagoon? The latter I think is the most appropriate with silt readings as they are. The indication is a deep water harbour has been created but surrounded by shallow water makes it impossible for access by ships with a deep draught. Excitement building up over work that could be coming to the port, in guess when? 2015 to 2023. Jack up vessels capable of transporting four turbines. Let’s hope these turbines do not need to travel too far by road. What is the port going to be doing for the next five years whilst waiting for this windfarm? I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble but please don’t let us get too excited over forthcoming job prospects. We have heard it all before.
MAY we respond to Cecilia Ebbage’s anguished letter about the re-ordering of St Andrew’s Gorleston. We cannot agree that removing the pews and replacing them with high quality chairs, putting in a new floor and heating system, replacing the lighting, and providing a proper AV system is “tearing the heart out of the building”. The heart of St Andrew’s is not the furniture but the people who worship there. It’s their love for God and each other, and their desire to serve their community. The Vicar does indeed plan to retire next year, but to suggest that the whole matter will be “left in limbo” is nonsense. The Church Council passed the plans for re-ordering the Church by 22 votes to 0, and there is a strong and committed team of people who have grasped the vision of a renewed Church who will carry on with the work of fundraising.
Neither do we agree that this process has “happened so quickly”. Our plans were first made public in May 2007, and we have made strenuous efforts to keep the local community informed with an exhibition in the Library earlier this year and two public meetings which were well advertised in the press and at our Christmas services. Tony Ward, our Vicar, is always willing to come and talk to any local groups who would like a detailed presentation of the plans. Please ask!
We understand that many of us find change difficult, distressing even, especially when it touches on matters so basic as the faith we choose to live by. However we believe that making the Church fit for purpose in the 21st century, as the Victorians did in the 19th, is the best way to serve God and the community of Gorleston today and in the next few decades.
We are holding a Family Fun Day this Saturday, September 25th, from 11-4 with bouncy castle, face-painting, some items from the Community Choir, and many other attractions – and it’s all free, including a barbecue. It will also give us a chance to explain our proposals first hand to anyone who is concerned about them, and a warm welcome awaits all who come.
ST ANDREW’S MINISTRY TEAM
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