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Letters, December 31

PUBLISHED: 16:33 30 December 2010

Blue badges for a good reason

I DO not know where all the unused disabled spaces mentioned by Mrs Lynch are because as the holder of a Blue Badge myself I frequently find it difficult to find one. The reverse of her suggestion is nearer the truth. If those without Blue Badges kept out of disabled spaces it would benefit those supposed to be there. Frequently, one sees spaces occupied by cars not displaying a badge and recently next to mine a car parked from which emerged three teenagers who hurried off into the supermarket. Please remember that disabled Blue Badges are issued for a good reason.

ALAN SMITH

email

Our news is read many miles away

THOSE of us who have read The Mercury for many years appreciate its value in recording events in the town as a newspaper dedicated to Great Yarmouth and its surrounding district.

I know that it is sent to former residents of the town so they can keep pace with what is happening. I was not certain just how far the knowledge of The Mercury travelled until provided with an example yesterday. I published my book, Great Yarmouth’s School, a history of the last 100 years of the Great Yarmouth Grammar School and the successor, Great Yarmouth High School, on the Salisbury Road site on December 11 at a launch in Palmers in Yarmouth. The Mercury had given publicity to the launch in an article by Peggotty in the December 3 issue with a follow up of the launching ceremony and details of the commissioning of the book by the head teacher of Yarmouth High. I was very surprised subsequently to receive an email from the very far west of Canada from a former Grammar School pupil who had read Peggotty’s article in The Mercury by email and wished to order a copy from me. He came from Sidney in British Columbia which is known as Canada’s first Booktown with 12 unique bookstores all within easy walking distance of each other. Thanks to The Mercury a copy of the book on Great Yarmouth’s school will be winging its way westwards in a long distance sale. I have had many enquiries from all over the country but this is the furthest connection by several thousand miles. It is a curious connection that John Thomas Townsend of the Norfolk family, 2nd Viscount Sydney was High Steward of Great Yarmouth from 1815-1831. Sydney in Nova Scotia Canada and in Australia were named in honour of his father. Great Yarmouth’s School is a limited edition and remains on sale in Palmers and the Veritas bookshop in Gorleston while stocks last.

MICHAEL BOON

Addison Road,

Gorleston

Have no fear of slanging match

I WOULD like to put the minds to rest of the owners of the Outer Harbour at Great Yarmouth, also councillors and unelected officers of Norfolk County Council.

There should be no fear by those mentioned above of me turning the inquiry into a “slanging match”. I am not going to lose my cool demeanour, as I am not on trial. I am in possession of reams of documentive details of what has taken place since the year 2000. I would also expect those councillors and officers to stay equally calm during the scrutiny committee meeting soon.

I look forward to Mr Eddie Freeman being present so I may tell him that I have nothing against him or International Port Holdings. Nothing should jeopardise this long awaited meeting, as it is the vehicle that will eventually bring to light the all the waste and expense on something that should have been an overwhelming asset for the whole of Norfolk, not the drain on ratepayers it is now.

JOHN L COOPER

Burnt Lane

Gorleston

Saddened by asset stripping

AS a long time seagoer who has used the Great Yarmouth port since the mid-60s and is now an expat retiree, I have been greatly saddened by the “rape” of Yarmouth’s greatest asset.

To me, it is patently an asset stripping exercise on a grand scale and the new outer harbour, was merely for the greater gains to be had from commercial exploitation of all the land on the peninsular and river frontage. Thanks to the endeavours of concerned citizens, such as John Cooper, at long last it appears that an inquiry “might” take place but “they” will try to crucify the messenger unless an official public inquiry in instituted.

JOHN MacNAB

Den Helder,

The Netherlands

Bus memories

READING about David Cooke in Porthole, December 24, I see that he owns an ex Great Yarmouth Corporation bus, CVF 31T. The bus was new to the Yarmouth Corporation in March 1979 - and was number 32 - not 1974 as stated in The Mercury. The bus was kept on the fleet until about 2000?, three years after First Bus took over the great Yarmouth fleet.

ROBERT KELLY

email

Consultation on coastguard now

AS a retired Coastguard Officer I am concerned for the future of the Coastguard service and wondered if you are aware that the consultation process of the Future of the Coastguard service at national level is already under way? Documents are available on line at www.mcga.gov.uk and may be downloaded by interested parties or copies may be obtained by writing to The Maritime and Coastguard Agency in Southampton

TIMOTHY J PICKARD

HM Coastguard 1984 to 2006

Usual visionary statements

“HARBOUR under scrutiny” headline greeted me from the news stands last week, upon reading the Mercury leader, it seemed a fairly representative view of the current situation. However, as in the style of “Not the nine o’clock news” it contained the usual smattering of visionary statements.

I give you, “...this is just the start for the outer harbour, not the end of it…” really hope this is true for all us funding it. However this is a futurist statement that can only be judged by history not your judgment.

“…Endorsed by the hard-nosed business people…..” can you factually share that confidence with us? Sorry there is a thirty year embargo on the public viewing information of this kind.

“An inconvenient truth…” would be that most of this haranguing could have been avoided if a similar public relations exercise that heralded the arrival and perceived benefits, was matched with an openness from the Town Hall steps.

For me I would welcome more media challenge as to these utterances, when claims such as 750 jobs created (formerly 1,000) I would ask, for example, are these direct employment or secondary such as support from taxi drivers to hairdressers?

Just the facts ma’am, leave the spin at the scrutiny review door, a good start would be to address the facts from readers in the Mercury letters pages. The best factual quote from a reader last year “Cranes fly South for winter”.

STEVE TAYLOR

Clarence Road

Gorleston

What went on needs exposing

HAVING previously lived and worked in Great Yarmouth over many years since the 60s, mainly associated with the offshore industry and using the then thriving river harbour with all types of vessels, I was astonished at the folly of the proposed outer harbour when initially mooted and was convinced of it’s ultimate failure..

If a “most unsuitable” location could be found for a deep water harbour then Yarmouth would fill the bill. No natural depth of water; no easy access for large vessels other than directly from the east; exposure to adverse prevailing winds causing silting and water column movement; proposed harbour location at the tip of a peninsular inaccessible to large road vehicles and with no direct rail access; no dual carriageway or motorway road system within 10 miles of the town (or any likelihood of ever being any); a rail heading with limited road goods vehicular access on a branch line to Norwich; road freight access to the harbour site via the congested seafront (dedicated to the holiday trade) or via Town Hall Quay; two old and limited accessibility bridges over the river (Haven and Bure bridges); roads impassable during the holiday season; etc .

The idiocy of embarking on such a folly beggars belief compounded by the squandering of £ millions of UK and EU state funding and giving away all the port and associated land etc to a foreign company who, I firmly believe, intend to asset strip all they can. I believe what went on needs exposing.

IAN BONE

South Marston

Wiltshire

Spending beach taken from plans

I WISH to clarify the comments which were made in addressing the criticism of the Outer Harbour which, in my opinion, were misleading to readers.

I agree very strong south-easterly winds do affect Felixstowe, in the manner that it is not safe to work container gantries under these conditions, however under south-easterly gale conditions ships can remain safely moored in Felixstowe. With regard to the entrance of the Outer Harbour, the position may have been determined by hydraulic modelling, however at that time, there was a “spending beach” incorporated within the design, which was subsequently taken out of the plans, to provide additional quay space, giving rise to the swell entering the harbour not being dissipated.

I contacted a co-founder of International Port Holdings in June 2007, prior to commencement of construction, expressing my reservations that the spending beach was going to be dispensed with. Sometimes local knowledge can be invaluable.

BARRY COLLINGWOOD

Pebble View Walk,

Hopton

Way forward is public inquiry

IT is good news that after thorough research by John Cooper in co-operation with our residents group, the county council (NCC) is to investigate if we have got value for money from the outer harbour.

Many more millions of public money has been put into the project than is admitted but this inquiry will only apply to NCC involvement. We are grateful to the Mercury, TV and radio who have reported on the campaign to make residents aware of our research. Also it is pleasing that many like-minded people have also contributed with letters in the Mercury with their own opinions

This won’t be the end of the campaign but hopefully the beginning of the end because we still need a public inquiry which involves Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Great Yarmouth Port Authority, with the ability to look at documents and evidence, some of which is buried in Norfolk Record Office for 30 years and yet more which our council claim to be commercially sensitive. We have all the hard factual evidence that is required by the scrutiny committee to substantiate our complaints and concerns. It is therefore totally up to the committee to properly review this evidence, and not be swayed by the “sexed up” version of events. If proper scrutiny is carried out we have no doubt the only way forward is for a public inquiry”

DENNIS DURRANT

Brett Avenue

Gorleston on Sea

Mixed response over permits

I SEEM to remember that at the start of the programme to start charging for parking permits that “they” stated this would be either cost neutral or even accrue a profit for the council. I even sent a letter to the Mercury stating that this would not happen. Now we find that a proposal to increase these charges elicited a mixed response. What a surprise.people do not want ot pay more for the same benefit.

ME HOOD

Claydon Grove

Gorleston on Sea

Good luck with sorting this mess

YOUR front page article in the Mercury, December 24 reference the outer harbour. At last someone in the borough, nay Norfolk, is at last getting some where in bringing to everyone’s notice the ridiculous situation we are in.

As a single mum in a full time job I deplore the waste of my rates on what is in my opinion a white elephant. I also think that just because I am not up in the world of politics, I do have the common sense to take offence when certain councillors write in the Mercury that “All is well and on course”. I and my friends trying to make a living in a town that is only interested in the “Golden Mile”, applaud John Cooper’s tenacity and wish him the best of luck in sorting out the intolerable mess.

Mrs SHEILA ATKINSON

DaVolls Court

Gorleston on Sea

Make Christmas a proper holiday

ALTHOUGH there are people that need to work over Christmas; doctors, nurses etc, why on earth do some shops want to open on Christmas Day and then most on Boxing Day?

I thought Christmas was a holiday to have some time with friends and family. How can those people enjoy Christmas themselves knowing they have to work the next day. I bet the people who own the shops do not go in. It’s about time we return to Christmas as a holiday and let everyone enjoy it - and keep the shops shut for at least Christmas and Boxing days.

Mrs J BULLEN

Email

Council dragging over mayor vote

IT seems that Great Yarmouth Borough Council, or more importantly, its elected members, have selected ineptitude in matters that don’t suit their own ambitions.

The “Vote Yes for an Elected Mayor” committee have encountered major obstacles, with it’s dealings with the council. The petition had to be re-submitted after petty rejections, it seems that council officers so much spent time looking at the petition, so delaying the casino application. Bet the town is sorry about that.

While a petiton has prompted a referendum, the council has dragged it’s feet in determining a date for the Mayoral vote, but the current leader of the council can announce himself Mayor Elect.

The petition calls for a vote in March, the Council prefers a vote in May, alongside other local and National voting, to cloud the Mayoral issues. I support the Yes vote for an Elected Mayor for the simple reason of removing politics from local government. An Elected Mayor will support and look after the views and needs of Great Yarmouth, they will be accountable and sackable.

PETER KIRKPATRICK

Vice Chairman,

Vote YES for an Elected Mayor

Santa has all the family values

E BARKHUIZEN is correct when he states that Christmas is based on a pagan festival but then so much of religion has been nicked from other sources, and of course most of the Old Testament has been taken from myths, legends and stories of earlier civilisations.

Of the two main characters from the Christmas stories, one said: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me,” Matthew 10:34-36

And: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26

The other said: “ Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas!”

A no-brainer really, I’m going with Santa as the man with family values.

DAVE GAHAN

Havelock Road

Great Yarmouth

Jobs created and more are likely

FURTHER to Mr Dennis Durrant’s question as to how many jobs have been created by Seajacks, I can advise you that, since January 2007, Seajacks has grown from a single employee to a company which employs 150 individuals today. Thirty are onshore, based locally here in Great Yarmouth, the remainder are offshore crew of which 95% are British, with around 50 of those coming from the East Anglia area.

We have a new larger jack-up being built in Dubai which will be delivered in May 2012. This will create a further 70 jobs immediately. In addition we are building a new office and warehouse facility opposite the Outer Harbour which will be completed in September 2011 and we envisage recruiting another 20 employees to cope with the increasing demand for our services during the coming year.

The outer harbour, like any other development is not immune from criticism, but for our part and speaking for the offshore wind sector in general, it provides an accessible, deep water harbour which is big enough to accommodate the next generation of vessels which are being constructed to install and maintain the several thousand turbines which will be erected in the North Sea over the next ten years.

BLAIR ANSLIE

CEO Seajacks UK Limited

Back from Malawi

MY husband and I have now returned from Malawi, where we saw all the progress that has been made using the donations of local schools, clubs, churches and individuals, under the direction of Aquaid. During September, I appealed for knitting wool and thanks to your readers we accumulated a huge amount which is now being used by the local woman. No more wool is needed. Once again, thank you.

BRENDA TAYLOR

St Georges Road

Great Yarmouth

Time to get to the truth of the matter

AT last it seems we are to get the truth about how things were allowed to get as they are with the Outer Harbour. Perhaps we will also find out in these times of cuts to public services, why we as ratepayers are now lumbered with the cost of running the Haven Bridge and looking after the Gorleston Quays. Then there is the question of our Gorleston pier, it will be nice to learn why our council cannot get it usable again. Altogether the whole deal is a farce, a costly one thank goodness some people have now forced Norfolk County Council to investigate; we then want Great Yarmouth Borough Council to have a similar investigation.

Mrs M HARVEY

email

It’s going to be a momentous year

2011 will be the year when the borough wakes up to the folly of a Government cutting public expenditure too hard and too fast. Places like Great Yarmouth will suffer especially because we have many people experiencing difficulties and living on low incomes.

2011 will however usher in the first of many hundreds of new Port and Energy job opportunities based around the town’s new Outer Harbour (strangely it will come “against the tide” just as oil and gas did in the 1960s in the death throes of the fishing industry).

It will see the Great Yarmouth and Norwich City Colleges finally working together to make sure we get a new generation of skilled young men and women to fill those self-same jobs.

2011 will also see the transformation of the interior of the Town Hall to house many more council workers currently scattered in unsuitable accommodations around Yarmouth and Gorleston – and creating a fabulous new council chamber in the famous old Victorian Magistrates Court Room.

2011 will probably see removal of what’s left of the Jetty structure, and attention will instead focus on what if anything can be done to give “a new lease of life” to the old Winter Gardens.

It will be the year where we find out who will be delivering Yarmouth’s large Regional Casino – and importantly where it will be developed within the town.

2011 will see local people resist politically-motivated attempts to “merge” the South Norfolk and Great Yarmouth councils – but there will be joint-working with other councils where it is in the interests of local people.

2011 will see Yarmouth leading the way with the first Referendum in East Anglia being held to decide whether the borough is to have an Elected Mayor chosen by all 70,000 local voters or a leader as now, chosen by as few as 20 councillors.

Happy New Year!

MICK CASTLE

Borough Councillor for Yarmouth’s Central & Northgate Ward


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