PUBLISHED: 18:27 01 September 2011
How informed were members?
GREAT Yarmouth Borough Council cabinet last week voted in support of the planning application before Norfolk County Council for the construction of a waste incinerator at Saddlebow, King’s Lynn on the opposite side of the county.
It is tempting to make the obvious comment, but instead I will simply question how well informed its members were at the beginning of the debate.
The agenda for the meeting refers to a report by the head of planning and business services. This ran to some 17 pages.
However, it consisted solely of photocopy extracts from chapter five of the environmental statement submitted by Cory Wheelabrator.
Chapter five deals with the single topic of need. It does not even contain a detailed description of the proposed development, let alone of the waste incineration process that is to be carried on within it.
As far as I can see, therefore, there was no information before the members on: alternative sites, traffic concerns, air pollution, visual impact, hydrology, flood risk, noise and vibration, loss of amenity, effect on the natural habitat, socio-economic impact and any number of other issues. These are all material planning considerations.
I cannot see why anyone should pay any regard, therefore, to its decision.
Layout is key to rubbish depot
SOME time ago I wrote a letter to the Mercury criticising the present layout of the rubbish collecting depot at Caister. I am glad to see the powers that be have recognised these shortcomings and have in hand the reorganisation of the site.
However, having seen the plans for the proposed site (and seeing the cost of the improvements), I would refer whoever has planned this extravaganza to look at the site I gave as an example. It is not only a well run depot, but a well laid out one I have visited on many occasions at Billingshurst, Sussex.
Without having to travel to Billingshurst the layout of the depot can be seen by whoever on Google Earth. The beauty of this site is that at no time are the public subjected to delays with lorries moving full skips. As the skips are approached on a raised road there are no ramps to climb up to empty rubbish into them, a blessing for the disabled!
And there are two skips at each location, one in use and the other on standby. Simple! But knowing Yarmouth, simplicity is to be avoided at all cost.
Charged for loss of connections
THE report in last week’s Mercury concerning the loss of phone connections in Bradwell made interesting reading.
We were without internet access for three days and landline telephone for six days. Upon telephoning our provider (not BT) on a mobile phone and running up a hefty charge, we were informed they had checked the line and there was no fault!
They suggested the fault was in our property and for a £99 call out fee they would investigate.
Needless to say we declined their offer and set about making other arrangements. However, before we could implement them, both internet and phone lines were restored. Not surprisingly we have changed our service provider.
What with having to put up with frequent power cuts in this neck of the woods and now losing communication, the place is beginning to resemble a third world country.
Complaints just seem ungrateful
PLEASE sir, can I have some more?!
To my surprise when I opened my Mercury on Friday there was almost a whole page devoted to people moaning about other people’s good charity – such as the new community centre being donated by Tesco, where people in Caister want more disabled parking spaces and to hurry along with it.
And then one person complaining she couldn’t take advantage of Asda’s good nature postponing, not cancelling, her collection for Help For Heroes at the front of the store. And they tell us that the younger generation are ungrateful. How very dare they.
Anger and shock over collection
IN July, I organised a collection at Tesco in Great Yarmouth on behalf of Help for Heroes and was really impressed by the help and support we were given by the Tesco staff, especially the charity contact for the store. We collected £1,443 over the two days thanks to the hard work of volunteers and generosity of the customers. Countrywide £553,000 was raised.
We were all looking forward to helping Gloria Solomons during the Asda weekend collection over the Bank Holiday but were shocked and angry to learn that Asda Great Yarmouth had contacted Help for Heroes less than a week before the event and cancelled the arrangement – because they were having a George sale!
I just cannot understand how the local branch can defy a national instruction (all the large stores have separate charity divisions which authorise and issue rules for charity collections) especially with a charity such as H4H.
It also amazed me to hear that alongside their George sale this weekend there was a local group collecting for themselves.
Thank you Asda, we now know where your interest lies and well done to those who are now refusing to shop there!
Too long to set up a meeting
I AM horrified that Great Yarmouth Borough Council needs four months to organise a simple meeting with residents. The excuses are pretty pathetic: Halloween and holidays.
There are something like 80 working days between now and when the suspected date will be. Surely just one day within the next 20 about half a dozen people can find time to attend.
Councillors and officers are after all paid to look after our interests – a wonderful chance to prove it.
The managers of Gorleston Pavilion have kindly shown their community spirit in offering their facilities and one of the items on the agenda is the bus service to Gorleston beach.
So how about it councillors? Be proactive and get the service returned in time or at least arrange a service for the night of the meeting. At least there would be no Halloween concerns then.
Is there a hidden agenda in their reason for wanting to put off this meeting? Do they think residents will get fed up and not bother? Maybe they think the dark nights will deter many.
Remember all you who are dissatisfied with our council it will be ballot box time again in May. Use your vote properly and think about it first – just how satisfied are you with your councillor? We need some changes.
What happened to Port reserves?
ON March 27 2002, the Great Yarmouth Port Authority had £6,360,311 in their reserves. This was five years and two months before our port was gifted to International Port Holdings.
All the accounts and minutes were secreted away in a 30-year embargo denying anyone the right to view these articles that should be on show at the public library.
Going by the reserves from 2002 and earlier, it is logical to think that as the port, from 2002 to 2007 was as busy, those reserves would have stayed very much the same.
We have no way of knowing this and if we ask Great Yarmouth Borough Council with a Freedom of Information question they will say they cannot help and we have to contact the port authority. But it is not answering emails or the telephone. Even those involved in steering the deal through say, in response to FOI questions, ask the port authority.
Because of all the secrecy from councillors and officers, the big question is, along with the £18m grant all the fixed assets of the port which were given to IPH, did we also give them the £6m plus in cash, or is that still in the bank paying a defunct board’s expenses?
We will never know will we? We are only stakeholders, not privy to answers.
JOHN L COOPER
Mike will be sadly missed
I WAS very sorry to hear of the death of Mike Butcher.
Although he was an opponent of mine during the elections in Bradwell South and Hopton, I always found him very friendly and a good clean opponent. We often had an interesting conversation when standing at the polling stations as we had similar working backgrounds, both of us having spent time offshore and in the Far East. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him and my condolences go out to his wife and family.
Hopton on sea
I WAS very sad to read and hear of the sudden death of Mike Butcher.
I always found Mike a generous and thoughtful man, always one of the first to put his hand in his pocket to help those in need, was a great representative for those he represented as a councillor, and will be missed by many.
Let’s keep the truckers rolling
I HAVE been attending the East Coast Truckers charity truck run for a number of years and have been amazed by the fantastic efforts of all the lorry companies and drivers in giving up their valuable time to give our local children a day of fun.
I have truck-driving friends who have recently been made redundant due to the haulage industry in the UK suffering the results of a downturn in work.
However, these guys, along with many, many others, still refuse to give up on their passion and they clean, polish and shine their machines to get together and show the nation they want to help their local families.
As usual, a huge number of people turned out in the sun to wave the trucks on their way with their precious passengers, all waving back and enjoying the attention. It took a handful of local police officers to hold the traffic at the roundabouts along the route so you will understand how appalled I was to hear funding for the police may not be available for the 2012 truck run.
I have a multitude of ideas to keep the charity day running but if funding a few police officers is the issue, I know local officers would happily work a few hours on their day off for free to keep this day going. If this proves a problem, I’m convinced local people would club together and pay for the police time used, I know I would.
My email is just to thank the truckers. Shiny trucks, shirts and ties, and the best of all, smiling children’s faces. I will certainly do all I can to help the East Coast Truckers charity keep this run going in future years.
Spare us a few police officers
FOR many years we have seen the annual day out for disabled children organised by the Truckers and I think we all appreciate the time, trouble and expense contributed so willingly by the drivers and owners.
It really is a heartwarming sight to watch (and hear!) the procession along the Golden Mile.
We now learn that, because of the lack of resources, this event cannot be policed next year and may have to be abandoned. How many officers are required to oversee a peaceful convoy of experienced drivers on a Sunday outing?
It is ironic that we see on TV literally thousands of policemen on duty at the Notting Hill carnival but two or three cannot be spared for such a worthwhile event locally.
Safety fears at crossing site
AS a driver who uses this route daily, am I the only one who has noticed that the area where the children cross to the old railway line to go to the Cliff Park schools, is obscured by bushes?
When you stand at the junction and look at the roundabout on the relief road you cannot see the traffic coming off the roundabout heading to Victoria Road.
As a driver, when you come off the roundabout, you cannot see people standing at the junction waiting to cross until you are on top of them.
Last year my wife reported this but nothing was done. Is it right this has to be reported time and time again? The crossing is heavily used during school hours. Whoever maintains this area whether council or highways, should they not monitor this situation before someone is seriously hurt?
Not a decision for the majority
WHEN first elected as a borough councillor in 2007, I believed my main objective was to fight for what the majority of Yarmouth community requested.
Now, reading last week’s report in the Mercury concerning the abolition of the residents permit parking scheme, I was saddened to hear the decision was not for the benefit of the majority, but for the minority.
I couldn’t attend this meeting but at least my fellow ward councillor Mick Castle stood up for what he believed to be a fair deal for our town. At least he is not a “yes” man.
Cllr Reynolds stated: “We are living in tough economic times.” This is very true, so why is it the council still publishes and distributes the borough news to every household? To me this is a luxury that should be shelved until we are more affluent. At a cost of approximately £33,000 per year, I am sure this revenue could be put to better use. After all, most people just flick through the pages and discard it. We cannot afford such a luxury especially in these “tough, economic times.”
Cllr MARIE FIELD
Northgate & Central ward
A better society is what we need
I AGREE with the notion there has never been a better time to be alive than now. After all, people are living much longer; proving we have the best of everything and for most of us the standard of living is certainly higher than ever before.
There is nothing we cannot buy nowadays either from the supermarket or from the internet. There is also (sadly) the perception that if you cannot afford it you can still get it, either from the state or on credit.
The younger generation today seems to be far more academic and knowledgeable about life than in my younger days (1970s).
However, things that are definitely not for the better include manners, politeness, honesty and respect (lack of). I have neither a magic wand nor an ancient talisman to conjure up a simple and quick-fix to put things right, but the bad behaviour and low standards of so-called celebrities and over-rated footballers have much to answer for regarding this rather appalling aspect of modern life.
But it’s these fundamental qualities and values that make us better people and therefore a better society. So, it’s not so much a big society we need.
It’s more of a better society with unconditional respect for others. I’m not quite sure how we can go about changing society for the better but perhaps the first step is: not idolise Z-list celebrities and overpaid sportsmen as demi-gods as most of them deserve no more adulation than anybody else. Once we have learned this, perhaps then and only then, would we truly be on the way to be having the best of times and living it now.
We must unite to save our jetty
I REFER to Mr Beckett’s letter: “People should be allowed to vote”, published in the Mercury, on August 26.
Like many others, I was deeply moved by the publication of the photo of his grandfather relaxing on his beloved Yarmouth jetty.
His stirring words expressed so aptly our right to have a say in what is to happen to our treasured historic jetty, which served as a mini harbour for our naval hero Lord Nelson and his men during those courageous victorious voyages.
How right he is in voicing the feelings of so many of our townsfolk who, following my previous letter with its plea to save the jetty, have uttered their resentment at the dictatorial manner in which this matter has been taken out of our hands to be dealt with so summarily.
I once again appeal to those good folk to unite in demanding a reason for the destruction of our jetty.
In truth, had this structure been given the care it so justly warranted, there would not now have even been a need for its renovation.
The high-handed way in which its obliteration has been decided upon without even having taken the trouble to excavate the seabed to assess of the condition of the basic structure, beggars belief.
Visitors have noted the steady deterioriation of such cherished momentoes of our history, obviously resulting from neglect, and wonder what on earth is happening.
Fellow Yarmouthians, in the same spirit of our hero’s command “England expects...” our duty is to leave no stone unturned in our effort to ensure this historic landing site be preserved for us and future generations.
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