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Letters (August 12)

PUBLISHED: 16:42 11 August 2011

Bus station? We

don’t think so

OLD enough to hold concessionary passes, a very welcome benefit, we have travelled extensively both in the UK and abroad. But never have we encountered such a dark, grim, disorganised place for buses as Great Yarmouth.

It cannot be described as a bus station as there are no facilities. The toilets too far away, the info sceen unreadable due to reflection, new signs a complete waste of money, timetables difficult to read due to it being dark and people sitting in front of them, no regular rail station service – unbelievable.

There is also no-one to give info so visitors have to rely on the people waiting for buses to help them.

The list is endless and every “improvement” has only caused disruption at a huge cost without actually achieving any improvement at all. So many problems for local residents, how do holidaymakers not familiar with the area manage?

What a terrible advert for Great Yarmouth, maybe the money spent on TV adverts could have been put to better use. These ads may encourage one visit – the bus area could deter many more.

Well done to Swift coaches for providing the “necessary” seafront service.

M and D LAWRENCE

email

It’s unacceptable

COULD someone tell me why choosing not to work because the wage offered is not acceptable, but taking money via working taxpayers – often themselves on low wages – or pensioners paying taxes, is. How is this allowed as a so-called lifestyle choice?

Name and Address withheld

I’m heading for a cardboard box

WITH reference to the letter last week: It wasn’t worth having a job; my husband has just been made redundant, three years before retirement.

We have had to claim for help, myself being disabled. We are getting £80 a week towards a rent of £135 a week and £17 a week towards council tax. We are having to live on £205 a fortnight pension credit and this has got to make up the rent, council tax, food, electric,gas, insurances etc. The only way you benefit in this game is if you have kids! As I can no longer have kids guess I will be in a cardboard box pretty soon.

Mrs G AKERMAN

Address withheld

Meeting made me proud

JOHN Cooper did Gorleston proud at the meeting last week over the pier situation. He was calm, but persistent and smoothed a situation when someone with a very loud voice kept trying to bait Brandon Lewis.

He didn’t even come from Gorleston and because of this Mr Lewis was on the point of leaving.

There was a really good crowd despite the dreadful weather, so it was nice to be in the Pier Hotel in the warm. Lots of people spoke up, asking good questions and making great sensible comments, so the MP. was in no doubt of the strength of feeling of Gorleston people.

John Cooper proved Gorleston people aren’t stupid, and aren’t going to be treated as such.

Also, one strong statement from one of the audience was to show how many Gorleston people were interested and demanding answers about the pier and Gorleston in general – and not just John Cooper and Dennis Durrant. He got applause from everyone.

I was very proud of the local people too. They backed both John and Dennis and showed how many there are who care.

JOAN LOBBAN

Email

Have you found

Mum’s ring?

I AM writing on behalf of my elderly mother in the hope that you could publish my email. During her holiday in Great Yarmouth last month my mother lost her engagement ring.

She thinks she left it in her hotel room but the search there proved unsuccessful. The other possibility is that it fell off of her finger while in Yarmouth town centre on Wednesday, July 20. The ring is 18ct yellow gold with three claw-set diamonds.

My parents celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary next month so as I’m sure you can imagine, this loss has caused great upset to both of them. If anyone has any information, please email me at ali@mkendall.plus.com.

We are offering a reward for its return.

ALISON KENDALL

Cheerier music

would be great

IT’S a shame that your readers don’t read the letters properly; after a couple of correspondences about the Market Place music, I asked if it was possible if the musicians and singers could cheer their music up a bit. I didn’t say they shouldn’t sing or play; in fact the trumpet player can play quite well but only songs that you would want to hear at a funeral.

I can only repeat what our customers say to us, I don’t need to make anything up. As for St George’s Theatre opening up and having acts there I think this would be a great idea as we wouldn’t be able to hear it from where we are. Bonus!

SUE GIBBS

Email

Figures show

I was right

IN the run-up to the referendum in May I came in for a fair bit of abuse from local political figures opposed to having a Great Yarmouth elected mayor voted in by local voters rather a leader picked behind closed doors by as few as 20 councillors.

They concentrated mostly on talking up the “vast extra” costs of change, and while I knew the wild figures they were coming up with were total rubbish, it is only now I can say I told you so, using figures provided by council officers after the finalisation of the election accounts.

Cllr Barry Coleman said in his article in the Mercury, April 15, that the Elected Mayor Referendum was “costing the council taxpayer £51,000 to administer even though it is being held in conjunction with local elections. If the referendum is successful a further £100,000 needs to be found for a mayoral ballot. This equates to 3pc on our council tax bills.”

Wrong, wrong and wrong again!

The borough council budgets £50,000 to run a stand-alone local election. Holding the Elected Mayor Referendum on the same day meant economies of scale and the combined cost of the two elections was £72,751 – an additional £21,000, not £51,000.

The minister Eric Pickles and local MP Brandon Lewis had already announced if a “Yes” vote was achieved the first Elected Mayor for GreatYarmouth would have been elected on May 3 next year – the same day as the 2012 local elections – so that wouldn’t have cost an extra £100,000 either.

Needless to say, neither of these equates to an additional 3pc cost on council taxpayers. Without raking up well-known expensive faux-pas like the big screens, local council leaders still manage to spend £35,000 or more every year running their own borough news propaganda magazine (in the face of their own minister calling for the abolition of council newspapers) and much more every year keeping Gorleston seafront car parking totally “free of charge.”

Yes, those of us living in Yarmouth do remember Gorleston Cliffs car park being resurfaced and having barriers erected some years ago and the parking charges were dropped before they started in the face of a local outcry.

There is still a lot of support for an elected mayor. Almost 40pc voted “Yes” in May despite the misinformation given to local electors. I have no doubt when the coalition government announces in the autumn the towns and cities they want to have Elected Mayors it will trigger a new petition campaign here in Great Yarmouth. Those picking up the baton will certainly get my support and encouragement.

MICK CASTLE

Town Wall Road

Great Yarmouth

Honest answers

to questions

THURSDAY, August 4, MP Brandon Lewis let the people of Gorleston know he is able to understand the concerns ratepayers have. After he recovered from the surprise of being confronted by such a large group of complaining residents, he answered questions in a most honest way.

I won’t say sorry for the way I organised the meeting between Brandon and the public. As I saw it, there was no other way, as I think Brandon was under the impression Dennis Durrant and I were the only complainers.

I did not do it to be offensive. I will say I am grateful for the effort he put in to make this unscheduled meeting the success it was. And I speak for everyone when I say we look forward to the next meeting with Brandon, councillors and hopefully Richard Packham.

We would like the email addresses or telephone numbers of people who attended the meeting; also those who turned up on Tuesday and couldn’t make Thursday. We need to contact them to get a steering committee organised and to tell people what is happening.

Dennis can be contacted on jimminy.cricket@ntlworld.com; and my email is saveour port@btinternet.com. I can also be called at any time on 653721.

JOHN COOPER

Burnt Lane

Gorleston

Dangers of

North Sea

HERE we are again, into the “silly season”, when folks on holiday do things they would never dream of doing at home. On the very day a teenager was buried alive while digging a six foot trench on a Californian beach, which collapsed and nigh suffocated him, the self same thing happened much closer to home, here at Caister.

A 15-year-old girl dug an hole on Caister beach which collapsed and buried her: had it not been for the quick thinking of Caister Lifeboat personnel, and all of the emergency services, including the Air Sea Rescue helicopter, a young life would have been lost.

Other incidents I have witnessed so far this year are a mother leaving two young children in the sea while she returned to her car to get dry towels; and young unaccompanied children swimming some 50m offshore – very dangerous, bearing in mind the tied-race on this coast.

There was a 47-year-old man who damaged his spine while diving off the North Beach, and had to be airlifted to hospital, and jet skiers going out as far as the Scroby wind farm in a brisk north-easterly which had kept all the experienced fishermen on the beach.

I find it very hard to understand how holidaymakers come to the coast from towns and cities and think the North Sea is the same as their local swimming baths. The under-tow currents on this coast are so dangerous only those who use it for their trade, the coastguards and the local lifeboatmen understand them.

The people do not only put their lives at risk, but also those who have to go and rescue them.

I expect the season to go on for a few weeks yet with possible reports of river rescues, lilos being swept out to sea, and people jumping off bridges or breakwaters, possibly under the influence, or just plain showing off.

Please remember it’s not just your life at risk but those who have to come and rescue you.

A G OVERILL

Chairman

Caister Parish Council

Frustration of

bus travellers

RE the letter in last week’s Mercury, “Ashamed of our bus station”, I can understand the frustration of bus users travelling via Market Gates. If only there were the chance to ask a human being how to get various bus services and destinations. Many county councils publish a county-wide bus timetable, something that is not done in Norfolk. It costs 10p a minute to ring Traveline for bus inquiries; it should be free.

It seems if you want to travel by public transport you are a second class citizen. We can no longer go to the town hall and renew our pensioners’ bus pass or rail pass. Since the change of time for free, from 8.30am to 9.30am, a number of constituents have complained to me about having to pay before 9.30am to attend hospital appointments, also volunteers have the same problem.

I do not want to use my car causing more congestion and pollution. It is time for those who can make travelling by public transport a pleasant experience to wake up. Otherwise fewer people will use buses and trains.

Cllr MIKE TAYLOR

Central and Northgate ward

Need for an

open meeting

AS chairman of the North Yarmouth Road Safety Group, I was very interested to read in last week’s Mercury “£100,000 for new signs”, having campaigned for new signage etc for the past eight to nine years to be installed on Caister Road.

Having inquired further as to the meeting which took place on August 8, I was told it was a closed meeting. Now how on earth can the powers that be, who sit behind desks all day every day, ever begin to know what goes on here, or what we are doing, or the speed and noise some vehicles emit when using the road.

We have speed cameras manned by police quite regularly but I can’t help thinking that with clearer signage etc it would make their job eaiser. Still, we shall go on campaigning, and probably in about 10 years’ time or so, when there have been several more accidents, perhaps we will get our signage.

Maybe next time the county council has a road safety scheme it can have an open meeting so we can all voice our opinions.

KENNETH BLOODWORTH

Caister Road

Great Yarmouth

Anger over car

park change

ON Monday on most weeks, I go to Gorleston for some shopping and a general look around and a cup of tea. I always park in the car park behind Wilkinsons; it has been for the last year free for two hours. But this week I was very upset to see it has now changed to only one hour free; after that there is a charge of £1 if you want to stay another hour and no return after two hours. I would like to know why this has changed.

The car park is still the same, in a bad state of repair, water lays very badly and the barriers are broken. I thought we were trying to encourage people to shop locally. One hour is no good for shopping and a cuppa. No wonder people go to the retail parks.

MARGARET TAYLER

Watsons Close

Hopton on Sea

Think of us,

Port Authority

I WRITE as one of the people present at the meeting with Brandon Lewis about Gorleston pier car park. There is to be another meeting at which it is hoped members of Great Yarmouth Borough Council will be present.

Unfortunately Mr Lewis has no power to deal with the matter but he does seem to understand the importance of the pier car park, not only for those wanting to use the popular end of Gorleston beach, but for those who want to walk along the pier.

The climate at the end of the pier is very different from that in the car park. The walk itself is a traditional one for residents, going back over many decades, hence the depth of feeling in the matter. If the Port Authority had any respect for their feelings, they could have spent the money wasted on the fence on some resurfacing, as a start to a complete refurbishment of the surface; the fence itself is an eyesore.

The loss of so many parking spaces, particularly in the summer, means it is almost impossible to get a car near the beach for easy access and families have to trek for a considerable distance with windbreaks, picnic gear, and often prams as well, enough to persuade them to go to another resort for their day by the sea. The Port Authority needs to have more regard to the legitimate feelings of the inhabitants, because the welfare of the borough and its residents should be a vital part of its remit.

ALEX CONWAY

Victoria Road

Gorleston

Battle on

two fronts?

AS a concerned observer of the Gorleston Pier situation, I attended the meeting on August 4. Conclusions drawn were that EastPort’s main concern seems to be the pedestrianisation of the pier, rather than the main item: the car park. As a walkway, the south side of the pier has had money spent on resurfacing it. The car park area appears a separate item as it has had money spent on an elaborate wood and steel fence around its perimeter, giving me reason to think we have two factions to worry about.

As the labour force that erected this fence have dealings with the borough council, are we looking to battle on two fronts to obtain a solution to the problem of Gorleston pier?

JACK DYE

Gonville Road

Gorleston

Happy memories

from Peggotty

AS usual, Peggotty stirs up happy memories of our town in the days before the second world war, and his comments in Through the Porthole last week about the Garibaldi rang a bell with me.

I was born above our fishing tackle shop on Regent Road and can still recall the boisterous, good-natured young men from the hotel and the charitable work, particularly for the hospital, that they carried out in the 1930s. They manned floats for the carnival parade and, using the long-handled butterfly nets which we gave them from our stock, collected from the holiday crowds on Marine Parade and right up to the market. One of the anthems they chanted went something like this:

We’re all right, Happy as can be, we’re all staying at the Garibaldi.

It’s glorious, Victorious!

One bottle of beer between the four of us,

Glory be to God there aren’t any more of us

Cos one of us could drink the bloomin’ lot.

NICK POWNALL

Seafield Close

Great Yarmouth

Thank you to

hospitals

I WOULD like to compliment all members of staff involved in the coronary care unit at both the James Paget and Norfolk and Norwich Hospitals, for their kindness, dedication and level of care provided to me and all other patients during my recent stay on the two units. Nothing was ever too much trouble for them, and all patients 
were always treated with great respect at all times, by ever cheerful staff. The wards were spotlessly clean and the food very acceptable.

One frequently hears complaints about standards of hospital care from the media, but I believe no one in Norfolk should ever fear for the standard of care they would receive in either of these outstanding 
units.

ANNE KEABLE

West Road

Caister on Sea

Appalled, but

not surprised

ON reading an “address withheld” letter in the Mercury, August 5, I have to say I was shocked and appalled but not surprised to read how a councillor went round to someone’s house and harassed them for writing a letter to the Mercury.

The right to freedom of speech is one of the many things our forefathers have fought and died for over the years and no-one should have to pay the price of harassment for expressing their right.

It seems the main requirement to be a councillor these days is a dictatorial attitude. I have written several letters in the Mercury about Ludham parish councillors who organise an annual fireworks display in the graveyward around the war memorial and the wargraves of those who paid the ultimate price for us to have those rights.

And I have to say I have 
had so much positive feedback from people about what I have written that the couple of negative comments and being called a misreable old b.... have not bothered me. At least it proved they 
read what I wrote and that was the reason for writing it.

ROBERT B DAVISON

Malthouse Farmhouse

Ludham

Cadet’s stall at fete

ON Sunday, Cadets and staff of 2356 (Caister) Sqn Air Cadets joined in at Caister Lifeboat fete.

They had a fundraising stall and recruiting stand. The Cadets had a good day, and on the fundraising competition that tested people’s knowledge of aircraft, the winner was Paul Watling.

In September, the Cadets will be holding their own open day and barbecue at their HQ in Edinburgh Close.

If you would like to know more about the Air Cadets, who meet on a Monday and Wednesday evening, call 01493 722210 or contact me, OC Flt Lt Pam Chart, on 01493 745403 or 07880 
956489.

PAM CHART

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