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Letters, December 10

PUBLISHED: 15:46 09 December 2010

Interests of local people come first

WHEN the long-expected merger of the Conservative-controlled Breckland and South Norfolk councils floundered at the last minute, it inadvertently ushered in a real new threat to Yarmouth’s proud 800-year history of running its own affairs.

With Breckland, having gone off and found a new “bride” far away in Fenland, South Norfolk had to cast around for a new partner.

So how does this affect Great Yarmouth? Can we now expect a shotgun marriage between South Norfolk and Great Yarmouth?

The Tories look set to push ahead with the sharing of services and management in an attempt to make the enormous savings forced on them by 27pc cuts in local government funding. This will seriously affect the quality of services in Yarmouth and will cost the jobs of many Yarmouth-based local government workers – and the last thing they will do is ask Yarmouth people for their views or test their ideas at the ballot box.

The geography of a merger between South Norfolk and Yarmouth is laughable – linked as it is only by the narrow road through from St Olaves to the Haddiscoe Bends – and the demography is as different as chalk and cheese.

Any rational assessment of what would be best for Yarmouth people would centre on collaboration with an urban authority like the City of Norwich, where the needs and aspirations of people are better matched. Great Yarmouth is a town that ran all its own services until 1974, with a strong sense of its own history and independence. It has begun the long road back to prosperity thanks to a decade of government investment in new infrastructure and urban regeneration, but still suffers the blight of higher than average unemployment, poor health and lack of affordable rented housing. The last thing it needs is to be twinned with a council that doesn’t have much experience of tackling such urban problems.

I am glad that the early part of 2011 will see a referendum where all 70,000 voters in Great Yarmouth will be able to vote on whether to have an elected mayor to lead the local borough council.

That election will have even more resonance now, as it represents a real chance for local people to demonstrate their commitment to Great Yarmouth running its own affairs and having a council that truly reflects their concerns and needs.

I shall be campaigning hard for a YES vote in that important referendum – even though both main local political parties Labour and Conservative are pledged to oppose it.

I hope that all who share my concerns will rally to the cause of an elected mayor to champion the interests of local people.

MICK CASTLE

Leader of the Labour opposition

Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Just be honest for a change

I can’t help noticing that the main protagonists in the call for an elected mayor are from the same political party that abolished this worthy role several years ago.

When they held power, this position had no place in modern society, and even attempted to sell off some of the regalia that went with the job, unsuccessfully, I’m glad to say.

I know that this new position is not the same, but does anyone really think that anyone other than a politician will get a look in?

I earnestly believe that national party politics should have no place in local government and our representatives should be people who work for what’s best for the town, not following the party line, but that’s never going to happen.

The system isn’t perfect, but, in general, the party that most people vote for gets the power and I fail to see how giving one person the right to spend our money is a smart move.

I have also noticed that some critics seem to be heaping the blame for the outer harbour fiasco (I think it’s fair to call it that) on the present council.

I’m afraid where this one is concerned the whole lot of them for the past 10 years are culpable regardless of party, and I think that instead trying to “spin” it, it’s time they hung their heads and accepted that they made a mistake. We might just respect a bit of honesty.

J DURRANT

via email

Generosity that knows no bounds

AS our Toy and Tin Appeal with BBC Radio Norfolk has commenced in the town, I wanted to write to express some thanks for making this year possible.

Firstly, thanks go to Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Our church is undergoing building work at the moment, making it difficult to run the appeal as usual. GYBC has been extremely generous in allowing us to use one of their premises to sort and wrap presents this year. It is so good to see organisations working together in the town for the good of the town – thank you GYBC!

Secondly, to the members of the general public who, year after year, are so generous; we began receiving donations even before the launch of the appeal. A special thank-you to a couple who visited me at the church and gave me a card full of supermarket tokens that they had been saving up throughout the year – even in today’s climate of financial uncertainty, people are finding it in their heart to give generously and care for others. After all, isn’t that what Christmas is really about?

LIEUTENANT GEORGINA SYMONS

The Salvation Army

Tolhouse Street

Great Yarmouth

Encourage our young performers

I WOULD like first of all to congratulate the students at Miss Curston’s drama class from Caister High School for their excellent performance of An Evening of Ghost Stories on November 17.

Each and every one of the cast deserved an Oscar. It is a shame, however, that these students were not shown the full respect by the audience that they deserved.

We so often give a standing ovation to professional performers whom we do not know personally, yet, these young talented performers, who are the most important people to us, are not extended the same courtesy.

Given that most of the audience were family members, I cannot understand why people did not feel it appropriate to fully congratulate their hard work. It is no small feat of confidence to get up on that stage. Do they not deserve our full recognition?

I do not know if this is typical of school performances now, but I would be very interested to know if this is the case. Can all our young stars expect such a lukewarm reception in future performances?

I hope that, by highlighting this issue, people will, in future, show the appropriate level of enthusiasm to the most important people in their lives at school performances everywhere.

STEPHEN PEGLER

Palgrave Road

Great Yarmouth

Why should you get free parking?

IN reference to Mrs Brenda Chilvers letter, dated November 26, may I say how sorry I am to hear that you received a parking fine, as disabled parking wasn’t free in Great Yarmouth.

If you read the parking ticket, it clearly states that if you appeal unsuccessfully, you will loose the right to pay the smaller charge within 14 days (I’ve had plenty).

May I ask though Mrs Chilvers, why you think that those with a disabled badge should park for free? Are you unfit for work? or not on government benefits, or a pension? Everyone has to pay for parking when applicable, and I think it is unfair that you feel, as a disabled badge holder, that you should be excused. Clearly you can run a car, so why not pay the few quid to park like the rest of us?

THOMAS BLOOD

North Road,

Gorleston

Why is casino bid taking so long?

A FEW weeks ago Cllr Castle was quoted as saying the £40,000 needed for the proposed new system for the mayoral elections was coming from the private sector and the handful of people interested in it.

I say handful, because I and many thousands of the local voting population realise what a complete waste of money it is and that the current system is acceptable.

He states that he has his name at the top of the list of candidates for next year which is why he is so keen for it to go ahead.

Now, for the point of of my letter. There are some very angry people connected to the new casino (and I sympathise with them), who are wondering why it has taken so long to come to fruition, while other areas in the UK are getting on with their casinos on time.

It appears that staff at the town hall have been taken off their normal work for four months to organise voting referendums which include the new mayoral system.

If this is the case who is paying them – us out of our council tax?

G CASS

Station Road South

Belton

What a trip down memory lane!

I REPLY to Mr A Watkers letter on Waveney Road. What a trip down memory lane he raised for me.

As a child, I regularly visited my nan and grandad Pye at 20 Waveney Road and my uncle and aunt Mr and Mrs Goldsmith at 21, and also a relative Mr and Mrs Gibson on the right hand of that terrace.

My grandfather was a stevedore for Palgrave Brown Timber Importers. Around this period, I used to watch the boats unload on Bollard Quay.

Thank you Mr Watker for jogging such wonderful memories for both myself and my sister. Yes, we also remember The Little Shop with great affection.

MALCOLM PORTER

Acle

Festival set scene for Christmas

I ATTENDED the Great Yarmouth Schools Music Association 61st Festival of Carols and enjoyed every moment of the entertainment.

A huge thank-you goes to the children and young people for their wonderful singing and sheer joy expressed on their faces. We must not forget the parents who attended the concerts or braved the wintery weather to escort children to and from the Hippodrome.

Praise goes to the teachers who taught the carols and Christmas music and enthusiastically encouraged their pupils.

There were instrumentalists from the schools, and the Great Yarmouth Junior Brass Band accompanied throughout.

All in all it was a superb, fun evening. Well done to Rachel Salton whom I know as an inspirational teacher but has now proved to be an events’ organiser able to motivate all these special talented people – the result being an excellent concert involving so many schools.

I hope those headteachers who did not take up the offer of participation for their young students this year, might consider joining in next time.

This concert truly set the scene for the journey to Christmas celebrations.

Dawn Roper

via email

Hope driver gets his comeuppance

ON Saturday morning, a neighbour and her two grandchildren were feeding some gulls in Havelock Road when a speeding car ran into the birds while they were still on the ground. The driver killed two herring and one black-headed gull,injuring a third herring gull, which sadly died of its injuries before I could get it to the vets.

The driver didn’t stop but he must know what he did, and needs to watch his speed down Havelock Road before he runs down a child.

Can you believe some people are so callous? Hopefully, what goes around, comes around and he gets his comeuppance.

I would however like to thank the kind lady who watched over the injured bird in the road until it could be moved to safety.

DAVE GAHAN

Havelock Road

Great Yarmouth

Have your say on proposed cuts

THE reduction in expenditure proposed by Norfolk County Council will undoubtedly eliminate some of the existing services and reduce the quality of many others.

Are you aware of what Adult Social Services are proposing to implement and the implications that will result in the short term with horrendous results in two or three years?

You have the opportunity to hear about the proposals directly from representatives of Norfolk County Council and Adult Social Services. You also have the opportunity to ask questions and dig deeper into some of the brief descriptions presented for the proposals.

If you would like to take up these opportunities, then Great Yarmouth Older People’s Network invites you to join them at a meeting on December 15 at the Great Yarmouth Town Hall; refreshments from 9.30am, followed by the meeting from 10am to midday.

If you are interested in the services for older people, you should attend, listen, ask and give your views. Do not sit back now and complain later.

IAN SOUTHAM

Chairman,

Great Yarmouth Older Peoples Network

Market is losing its uniqueness

MY wife and I have been attending Great Yarmouth market almost every Saturday morning since we moved to Northgate Street over 40 years ago, and are dismayed by its decline.

Our regular trip is like a hospital visit to see a much-loved relative who is terminally ill.

We attend from loyalty, remembering the good times, but wonder how much longer it can continue. Much-loved country stalls selling local produce are disappearing. The car park is increasing in size, and week-by- week the diversity and uniqueness of this historic gem is being eroded.

When will those responsible realise the value and heritage of the market and give it the life support it merits?

EMRYS PARRY

Northgate Street

Great Yarmouth


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