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Letters, April 29

PUBLISHED: 16:00 28 April 2011

Borough needs elected mayor

I AM in favour of an elected mayor for the borough of Great Yarmouth, along as those wishing to throw their hat in the ring don’t have to be local councillors.

It is also quite right that this individual should be paid a respectable salary for undertaking this work, especially as they will be an ambassador for the borough, and standing up for the rights of every individual living in the borough, rather than the political line that they have to undertake, whether they admit it or not.

It is about time the people of this borough had the opportunity of being able to vote for an individual they feel can truly trust to represent our fine borough in a non-political role.

The borough needs an individual who has balanced ideas, principles, a person who has real, long term experience of dealing with people from all walks of life, rather than someone that has to constantly toe the party line.

Our town needs a person who can unite the hard working people of the borough and the Town Hall behind him or her. An individual who can take the borough forward in a positive and realistic light, who has no political agendas how worthy they may be.

I know my comments will upset a number of my personal friends within the borough, but one of the things my mother taught me, was the fact I have to stand up and follow my convictions, even though they may be unpopular at the time.

One of a number of the people I have great respect for, is William Wilberforce, the man who finally got Parliament to abolish slavery. He lost a lot of friends along the way because he would not back down from what he believed in, but achieved his objective because he had the courage of his convictions.

BRUNO PEEK

Please get this clock restored

TO whoever is in charge of the historic Newtown Methodist Church clock, please, please not remove the existing movements (works).

Get it restored and if you have to, get the winding mechanism converted so the clock is wound electronically.

If I read the article right in the Mercury, a complete electric clock is proposed to replace existing clockworks. I beg you not to carry out this, in my opinion, retrograde, irreversible action.

There are I am sure clock enthusiasts who would be be prepared to carry out restoration work free of charge and you would only have to pay for expenses incurred.

GED PITCHFORD

North Market Road

Winterton

My thoughts on Christianity

MAY I offer a few more thoughts on Christianity? Having seen Anne Widdecombe’s programme, any chance of helping the cause must be welcome.

The Venerable Bede did explain that Easter derives from Eostre, an Anglo-Saxon God, it is true, but finished the point that it was the English translation of Pesah or Pasca, the Hebrew word for Passover.

The connection between Easter and Passover is obvious from the dating and significance. I submit that it says more about English than about Christians. I repeat my point that we do not ditch a thing merely because someone else gave it to us.

Fasting is integral to Christian spirituality, as indeed Our Lord practised it. It is what he did for 40 days in the wilderness and this ordains Lent rather than any extra-Christian supposed source.

Depriving us of joyful things that we can use to celebrate feasts is rather puritanical and really rather mean-spirited.

We have, of course, been there before during Oliver Cromwell’s time. I am reminded of the definition of a puritan as someone who wants not to be abstemious him – or herself – but someone who is worried others may be enjoying themselves.

The tendency to see the world in black and white terms, or dualism, and to see everything outside the boundaries of their own church as evil, and to claim some inner wisdom derives not from Christ but a very different source. It is known as gnosticism and should be avoided as its practice is essentially sterile.

Behind the Christian religion of course is the shocking news that Jesus was a Jew, who was trained as a rabbi and came to fulfill the law not abolish it.

If we take some mythical, pristine Christianity without any cultural input we have an impossibility. That is how humans do things through our cultures. Christianity grew out of Judaism and took on Hellenistic influences from the surrounding world.

What we do however is weigh each thing up on its merit. Just as Christianity comes to us we know the most important things are faith, hope, and charity/love and we forgive others as God forgives us.

I shall stick with my Easter and ritual and pray that God will forgive me and save me, but that is God’s prerogative not any human’s.

STEPHEN CONWAY

Victoria Road

Gorleston

Postal decision is just crazy

JUST what does the Great Yarmouth Post Office think it is playing at?

Apparently it has unilaterally and without consultation or prior notification decided that postal deliveries in Ormesby, Scratby and California will at best be on alternate days and at worst two days apart.

This may also be the situation in other areas or villages but I can only talk for my locality.

I understand the postmen are willing to work the necessary overtime to facilitate a daily delivery but the Post Office is not prepared to pay and, presumably, doesn’t care about the customer.

All this after a massive increase in postal charges, I wonder what bonuses the directors will get this year?

Twice now important letters to me have been delayed; one (about a financial matter requiring an urgent reply) arriving on April 6, having been posted first class on April 1.

And they wonder why we use the internet when we can!

CHRIS HOGG

email

Advice over high blood pressure

AFTER having a chat with a friend who suffers with high blood pressure (global chronic hypertension), I have discovered a society in the UK which is looking at the rogue gene problem so as to help people with this little talked of condition.

The effects of high blood pressure can be many – artery damage, aneurysm, heart damage, damage to brain, stroke, and damage to kidneys.

The objects of the society is to raise awareness of this condition among the general public, and raise funds to get research for this problem. The society also exists to give support to sufferers if they want advice and direction with problems or they want someone to talk to, who understands their situation, because they have similar problems.

If this is any help to anyone suffering with high blood pressure, perhaps they would like to get in touch with Dr R E Duffy (retired) society president. Tel/fax 01379-741375 or e-mail: GCHS1@mail com

JOHN SPOONER

Cherry Close

Bradwell

No, I did not miss the point

IN reply to the comments in last week’s Mercury regarding the Ross Kemp show: I have not missed any point at all.

I have been involved helping the police and am appalled that horrendous crime goes on anywhere and the victims have my greatest sympathy, which goes without saying.

The letter writer’s comments are unhelpful, unfair and hurtful and people should not judge without knowing the full facts.

You have no idea of how upset I am for those young girls and the fact my house was used in the crime. The Ross Kemp programme was a separate issue.

LINDA PYE

By email

What a lovely tribute to Mags

IT was lovely to see that the Original Dusmagrik Young People’s Theatre Company dedicated Alice in Wonderland to its late co-founder Mags Miller and a delight to see Dusty and one of Mags’ daughters there at the recent performance.

This talented company loses members yearly as they reach 18 yet there seems to be a bottomless well of talent there.

Three beautiful Alices, a cheeky Cheshire cat and adorable small animals all played with enthusiasm by younger members .

But for me the seniors stole it – a beautifully costumed White Rabbit, glamorous Golden Afternoon girls, funny caterpillar (well played Tom Forder), a convincing Mad Hatter and a stunningly acted Queen of Hearts most beautifully costumed with just enough meanness to scare the little ones.

This was a treat all round, an escape in a difficult world. I loved it. A fitting tribute to our Mags.

Well done to all concerned especially the unseen team without whom this would never be possible. Finally I understand the chairman was taken ill; our best wishes for a swift recovery.

PAT ROACH

Bradwell

Long-awaited improvements

WELL, well, well. At last, after years of neglect, the change to the toilets opposite the Royalty cinema is commencing.

It’s taken a long while for money to be spent on something which reflects on the town, and also nice that money has been spent on something north of the Britannia Pier.

Can we now expect the same transformation to the toilets at Salisbury Road?

MRS P LARNER

Blake Road

Great Yarmouth

Putting the record straight

OUR attention has been drawn to letters published on Friday, April 22 in your newspaper.

We request a correction of the factual inaccuracies published is made at the first available opportunity.

The capital investment of our previous tenants in the cranes was 100pc privately funded.

There was no public funding and no cost to the public purse either for the acquisition of, or subsequent transfer of the cranes by our previous tenants to other terminals in their ownership.

ELIZA O’TOOLE

Deputy chairman

Great Yarmouth Port Company Ltd

Sending out the wrong message

I AM sure all of those motorists who pay all the insurance, road tax, and have an MOT and driving licence, are pleased to see those who do not brought to court and made to pay the price.

I commend the recent police operation “Utah”, checking vehicles at roadside stops.

It must, however, be demoralising for police to bring a multiple offender before the court who may be fined for no licence and be let off for other omissions under the banner, “no further penalty”.

This seems to send out the message that if you have no licence, don’t bother with the other, as you may well get let off anyway, or have I misunderstood the expression, “no further penalty”?

Anyone using a vehicle on the road knows very well they are committing offences if they don’t have the required cover, and should pay for each offence committed.

T E SORRELL

Germander Court

Bradwell

Influence of an elected mayor

THE council has gone to a lot of trouble over this last year to try to deny the local residents the opportunity to vote on the question of whether or not to have an elected mayor, even at one stage being prepared to put themselves outside the law.

They must have had a strong reason for doing so.

The duties and responsibilities of the present position of mayor are simply ceremonial; an elected mayor, however, would have executive powers.

He or she would have the authority to influence the direction of the council and be involved in policy making. Looking back on some of the dubious decisions arrived at over the last few years, that influence has been sadly lacking.

One of the many subjects that has exercised the minds of the contributors to the letters columns for some time now, more than any other, has been the lack of information regarding the contractual details on the setting up of the outer harbour.

An elected mayor, I’m sure, would have the authority to examine that information and a subsequent responsibility to make that information publicly available, if he or she thought that was in the ratepayers’ best interests.

Was that, after all, the reason the council tried to prevent a referendum on having an elected mayor?

T BROADBENT

Hebrides Way

Caister

Information is insufficient

CONCERNING the scheme to have an elected mayor, there has been insufficient information and debate to arrive at an informed opinion, so it is quite inappropriate to hold a referendum on the matter.

The draft constitution has hardly, if at all, been discussed. Until a short time ago, only one person had asked to be sent a copy, and it has not been distributed to our public libraries.

It is on the borough web page, but it is difficult to follow and seems to be incomplete.

In any case, it would be inaccessible to those with a poor grasp of English.

Nothing has been done to report the views of those who live in towns which already have an elected mayor.

Popular misunderstandings have not been corrected. An elected mayor will not be equivalent to the mayor of London, still less to the mayor of New York. A belief that an elected mayor will have responsibility for crime and disorder persists, a belief encouraged by the constitution. As for councillors becoming the champions of the people, how can they become that any more than they are now?

The constitution says little about political processes and implications. The role of the mayor’s manifesto is not mentioned and, as with national government, there are no guarantees that a mayor would abide by it.

Councillors seem to have approved a constitution which provides no checks on the mayor’s power, such a degree of power that is not entrusted to any leader of any democratic body anywhere — and he will have his way for four years.

Procedures for the determination of the budget and policy framework are confusing. On one page of the draft we are told the cabinet decides the budget and policy, which then has to be approved by the council: by how may votes, we are not told.

On another page, we are told the council has the ultimate responsibility for the budget and policy. So, are we to assume that the cabinet continues to invent budgets and policies until it chances on the one the council would have chosen in the first place?

And if the budget and policy are determined by the council, could they be made so restrictive that the mayor has too little freedom to make decisions? No wonder the office of one mayor, when pressed, had to admit that it did not know who had the last word — the mayor or the council.

Mission creep is advancing. For example, only recently, have we heard that the power of the managing director will be diminished? To be replaced by expensive consultants, one wonders?

It looks as though the electorate is marching into this referendum blindly. The present system is not perfect while a single mayor, when the novelty has worn off and integrity died, will be just one person to be influenced by vested interests, even though he has no responsibility for planning or licensing, and not much else either. Much better to be governed by bloody-minded councillors whose squabbling is just the exercising of democracy, and much to be preferred to a mayor’s diktat — and if, as a consequence, things do not get done, that may not always be a bad thing.

J F LAMBERT

Elmgrove Road

Gorleston

This was no gentleman

I WOULD like to send a message to the gentlemen who let his dog foul the pavement right outside my front door on Church Road, Gorleston on Easter Monday.

Luckily I opened the door first, and not my five-year-old, who would have walked straight through it and spread it everywhere.

Then when I went to clear his dog’s mess up, the front door slammed on me and locked me out and left my five-year-old on her own indoors until her nan arrived after 10 minutes with a spare key.

I hope he reads this and thinks about his actions next time, and how my five-year-old was left hysterical because I was outside and could not get to her.

KERI ROUSE

By email

Stop boring us all to death

FOR weeks now, we have had letters from readers with views on the interpretation of the Bible. Dare I suggest that these people get together and discuss their beliefs among themselves?

Why do your readers have to read about the views of Mr Barkhuizen et al week after week? If Mr Barkhuizen wants to spend his time interpreting the Bible then that is his choice but, personally I have more important things to do than worry about what the Bible says about how many legs animals and birds have!

Arguments about religion and its interpretations have been ongoing for years so please will they stop boring us to death with their views and your paper stop printing their letters.

JILL CARTER

Caister

There are other ways to travel

IN response to Pauline Lynch’s letter in the Mercury (April 22) re the car parking charge she had to pay, did she not realise you are allocated space free for half an hour, that is 30 minutes and not 32 minutes, at which point you enter a higher level of payment to park your vehicle.

My suggestions to Pauline to avoid any future payments of these charges are to use either her legs, a bicycle or even public transport to reach the James Paget Hospital.

After all these car parking charges monies are being ploughed back into the hospital to make improvements, a thing the present government is trying hard to avoid doing.

PETER McKINNA

Alderson Road

Great Yarmouth

Is this loan a success?

I READ with interest the Conservative literature for the upcoming elections. As one of the five “successes” they are claiming to have acquired extra money to help voluntary and community sector groups in the Borough to help meet Big Society goals. As a worker in the local Voluntary and Community Sector, I am staggered that this £100,000 loan (which must be paid back next year at “commercially competitive” rates) is deemed a Conservative success, particularly at a time when many local voluntary and community sector staff are losing their jobs due to the impact of cuts imposed by the Coalition government.

TOBY CULLINGHAM

Station Road North

Belton

Mystery of the ‘ lagoon’

NOW the pompous stances of the two ugly cranes has disappeared from our skyline and the outer harbour, I am now tormented by curiosity as to what will in future protrude from the confined of the hidden lagoon. With the whole area appearing a highly secretive test site, with gates, guards and high fences, it feels as if a passport is required to proceed any further. And these are roads which were built as a right of way for motorists.

If a construction firm has a working site, they build their own access road to it and don’t confiscate the existing highway. Access to the site could be gained by their own road which could be a continuation of Hartmann Road, across the South Beach Parade to take up the old Esplanade area. Nothing would need to travel along South beach Parade at all.

Just because a road runs past your site does not mean it is incorporated in the land deal. I refute the inference it does.

J DYE

Gonville Road

Gorleston

Let it stay a holiday site

I READ with interest the article on Pontins holiday camp, Hemsby, on the front of The Mercury (August 18). It says they propose to build 191 homes on the former camp site. I would like to see it put back to its former use. In the past they have tried to get the site developed for housing, but have been turned down.

P TURNER

St Margaret’s Way,

Fleggburgh

Let it stay a holiday site

REF the letter “Let’s not lose a unique chance to find Jetty roots,” from Michael Boon. As a native of Gorleston who has lived and practiced here for most of his life, it does not surprise me that yet again we appear to have missed the boat in relation to the preservation of our cherished jetty which is one of the few remaining landmarks to remind us of Nelson’s close association with Great Yarmouth.

It beggars belief that the structure used by him to gain shore following his courageous victories at sea has been allowed to end up in which a state that obliteration is being considered.

It would surely not have been too much to expect that funds could be diverted from use on yet another ill thought out monument which has given such pleasure and proved to be such an attraction to summer visitors to the town.

Returning to Mr Boon’s letter on this subject, he clearly has the knowledge and experience to know the facts of the matter. I was amazed the decision to destroy our jetty was taken without any effort being made to excavate the seabed to assess the condition of the basic structure. To me, the complete destruction of a structure in this manner signifies a cover up on responsibility for past negligence.

I make one final plea to save it for future generations before it is too late.

I will not be alone in recalling the words of Paddy Rowe, our history master at Great Yarmouth Grammar School who in the 1930s extolled the past glories associated with our jetty, which he told us had served as a mini harbour for generations and became the chosen site for many famous anchorages and embarkations.

My lasting memory is of the throngs of folk lining the jetty to view the swimmers competing in the long-established annual Pier-to-Pier race.

Dr Wm HAMILTON-DEANE

Middleton Road,

Gorleston


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