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Letters, December 7, 2012

PUBLISHED: 10:17 10 December 2012

Shift footbridge to North Drive!

ON my weekly run to the footbridge over the Caister bypass I am increasingly bemused as to what is the actual function and purpose of this structure?

It doesn’t link any settlements, nobody ever seems to use it and it is certainly not there just to allow people to to hang birthday or other anniversary signs above the road.

I then recalled the eloquent plea by Councillor Tom Garrod in your newspaper some weeks ago for some sort of crossing on North Drive to benefit both care home residents and tourists alike.

So there you have it. Shift the darned thing to North Drive at a fraction of the expense of building a new structure. a perfect outcome given the current parlous state of the borough’s finances.

MIKE SPRAGG

Collingwood Road,

Great Yarmouth

Saddened by the death of teacher

I WAS saddened to hear of Barry Drake’s death. He taught me at Great Yarmouth College of Art between 1970-2 and he was a truly inspirational teacher and friend along with the likes of Barbara Balls and Emrys Parry.

I’ve never encountered a teacher with more passion for their subject, he will be sadly missed.

BARRY SUTTON

Email

Magical nights at St George’s

HOW wonderful to see St George’s up and running at last after what seems to have been a vey long time in coming.

I have been privileged to attend two concerts in the past two weeks, completely different but both magical evenings in their own right.

The first was the Ralph McTell performance, writer of the Streets of London; the second was to see Robert Powell in an Evening of Charles Dickens, tracing the lifetime of Dickens, his trials and triumphs and acting excerpts from his many books.

I shall certainly be going again to this beautifully and sensitively restored building.

The sharp-eyed passerby may have noticed the circles which have been put in place on the north side in preparation for the planting of trees to replace the original ones planted in memory of lived ones and subsequently felled to make way for the new scheme.

I have submitted a list of the original donors to the council who have agreed to have one engraved plaque on which to record these people.

But as the original planting was done way back in 1981, I would be most grateful if anyone who donated towards the cost of the original trees would contact me, so I can ensure no-one is missed out.

VALERIE HOWKINS

Southtown Road,

Great Yarmouth

Cut councillors and save more

THE pages of the Mercury are full of the appalling settlement given to Yarmouth by the government and the fact our council must sack people to make vast savings. It seems to me one source of large savings has yet to be implemented. As Yarmouth is now run by a small limited number of councillors in a cabinet, surely we do not need all the present 39 councillors. Therefore we could save thousands of pounds if their numbers were cut to say, around 15 and these were elected once every four years.

Think how much money could be saved in not paying thousands of pounds to all these extra councillors, also in not holding elections every year, and in the reduction of the extra administrative costs associated with having so many councillors.

Even larger savings could be made by reducing the number of Norfolk county councillors from over 80 to perhaps around 35. Then, for what they are seen to be doing, members of parliament could well be reduced from well over 600 to around 300.

If the police can be controlled by one untrained and unqualified person, as a commissioner, surely the number of equally non trained and unqualified councillors and MPs could and should be reduced.

I am sure those with political and vested interests will claim that this reduces our democracy. I would counter that claim with the fact more and more people have little faith in councillors or MPs.

People are becoming more and more disillusioned so fewer and fewer vote. Is that democracy at work?

BRIAN E CALLAN

Busseys Loke,

Bradwell

Silver gilt went to the mayoress

YOUR article titled “Silver gilt given to mayor for £350” in the Mercury, November 23, stated that the silver commemorative groyne was presented to the borough mayor Mrs Walter Driver on March 3, 1902. She was in fact the mayoress, the first lady mayor being Mrs Leach in 1924.

ANN DURNING

Bells Road,

Gorleston

None can prove existence of God

I HAVE a strange feeling that Mr Huggin’s reply to Mr Gervais will not convince him to believe in God. However, he can no more “prove” there is no God than I can “prove” that there is one.

He cites the existence of poverty, suffering etc, but much of this has been brought about by mankind itself.

The teaching of Jesus Christ have motivated thousands of people to try to relieve these conditions wither individually or collectively. Jesus claimed to have been sent by God and it is no accident that much of this belief came and still comes from nations which were once known as Christendom.

So suffering occurs, but God acts to relieve it, not by himself but through those who believe.

F REEVE

Springfield Road,

Gorleston

I heard as bomb blasted Grout’s

I WAS working on the top floor at Grout’s the day it was bombed. My sister and I had done a week of 2pm to 10pm, then we worked on the Saturday 8am to 11.50am. I walked home to Stanley Road and sat in a chair near the big window. We heard this plane and I said to my mother “He’s low.” I thought he was going to hit the chimney pots and I could see the pilot.

Then we heard the thumps - a wall on Kitchener Road was hit,then the dividing wall nearer to Grout’s, then the one on the mill, another one fell on Manby Road.

I was put on other work on Belfort Place, now Sainsburys car park. We were lucky the pilot was later than our clocking off time. I was 17 years old.

DAPHNE TRAYNIER

Charles Close,

Caister on Sea

Grout’s workers closure protest

I WAS interested to read the articles on Grouts in the November 30 edition of Great Yarmouth Mercury.

The article of the Grout’s bomb hit reminded me of something that my mother told me. She was a weaver at Grouts during the second world war, which was a reserved occupation owing to the mill’s production of parachute fabric.

She was also detailed to do fire watch and first aid (I still have her attaché case, number 14, with war department packages still in it).

She mentioned a person called Charlie Box, who, when sirens sounded, dived under the nearest table while she went out doing fire watch. The blue plaque mentions that Grouts closed in September 1972. This is not strictly correct.

During the 1960’s Grouts changed hands several times from Carrington and Dewhurst, Carrington Viyella, Jersey Kapwood and then finally Gainsborough Cornard.

It was Gainsborough Cornard who issued the closure notice to the workers on 16 September 1972 in the warping room.

The workers took over the factory conducting a sit-in until the end of 1972. The factory gates were eventually closed mid 1973.

During this time the crepe bandage processing division still traded under the name of Grouts. They transferred to the Harfreys Estate for a couple of years finally being moved “up north” in about 1975.

The picture of Joseph Grout, which hung over the stairwell in the main office block, was later displayed in the Time and Tide Museum.

JOHN ANNISON

Suffield Road,

Gorleston

Council staff cuts inevitable

AS the cabinet member responsible for the modernisation of the borough council, may I make clear to Richard Hudson and the people of the borough of Great Yarmouth that the Town Hall staffing restructure was inevitable due to the drastic cuts in funding from central government.

However, this has given the new Labour administration the opportunity to make long-needed reforms and to bring about radical changes to make service more efficient and effective for the whole borough.

One of the ways the admin-istration intends to bring the council into the 21st Century is to use modern technology in order to save money and make it easier for the people of the borough to access services.

None of the changes have been carried without full consultation with the staff and unions who have welcomed many of the proposed changes and the open and transparent way in which this has been done.

Of course, this may mean staff may have to work in a different way and because of this, we have ensured there will be full support and training for staff that require and request this to improve their skills. Finally, the Labour administration has been able to achieve this without any compulsory redundancies.

BERNARD WILLIAMSON

Cabinet Member for Transformation and Regeneration

Cuts to services are the issues

CLLR Coleman must have some strange ideas on Yarmouthians if he thinks public toilets are on everyone’s minds and an election issue.

We must have reached the bottom if that is the case and accounts for where things have gone wrong. Serviced toilets cost, and more than a penny, with inflation.

The Mercury flushes out the wide range of issues that affect the town. The state of the local economy so stressed the town cannot justify a bookshop; and it seems for every goods news story on jobs another on job cuts follows. Comet this week?

The Tory-created cuts to services, housing, crime, poverty, bus and rail facilities surely are the issues unless one is caught short.

I am surprised the toilets were not sold off by the Tories as most things have been. Why are locals subsidising the Victorian seafront toilets with their historic interest?

On the topic of Gorleston, I enjoy the views from the Cliff Top car park and have long wondered why it is free when Caister Beach Road has seasonal charges from 8am to 9pm and is empty apart from high season between 10.30 until 4pm. Who dreamt up that? Did not the Tories close Gorleston Pier car park?

I would like to see a review for parking with a view to a reduction in charged hours and traders giving refunds on purchases. Unfortunately, car parking fees have become a good earner and a maintenance cost and the land (in most towns) has alternative uses and therefore, a cost.

I wish the councillors well in their battle to revive the borough and cut the budget, which are irreconcilable aims. Surely, the Tories must have some ideas?

CHRIS WRIGHT

Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

Not £10m, it’s £3.3m savings

IF you are especially vigilant and listen carefully, you will notice a gentle rustle of acceptance coming from the Labour Council that my explanation of the funding deficit is correct.

All through the summer the need for £10m savings over the next three years was being peddled by the Labour Cabinet. The publically funded Borough News stated: “To achieve a balanced budget by 2015/16 we need to make £10 million of savings.”

I explained that in reality £3.3m need to be saved once over a three-year period. Savings made in one year would automatically carry forward to future years. Labour councillors tried to refute my explanation verbally, but never backed up their factious statistic in writing.

However, evidence of their acceptance of my stance is beginning to stir. Not in an open apology for attempting to mislead the borough, but via council documents and coded comments in debate.

The council’s medium term financial strategy recently sent to the Department for Communities and Local Government clearly states that net savings of £3.3m need to be achieved by 2014/15. There is no mention of £10m.

In the recent council debate on restructuring, the deputy leader referred to the £3.3m debt –recurring. Endorsing my point that once a saving is made it does not recur. Listen carefully for future snippets of fiscal reality from Labour councillors.

BARRY COLEMAN

Deputy Leader of Conservative Group

Dualling Straight will create chaos

I LIVED in Halvergate from 1949 to 1983, I then moved to Acle and am still here, I therefore know the Acle Straight well. It has once more become a talking point for local councillors and politicians to show theIr worthiness it seems.

Dual the Straight, is the call, it will help business in Great Yarmouth and increase safety margins. No, it will create even further chaos until we deal with both ends.

Dual the short piece from Burlingham to Blofield to create traffic flow and in Yarmouth build a link road from the A47 to the A149 to join the junction near the racecourse. A new idea? No, that was the recommendation in the Norwich to Yarmouth Study in February 2001. A new link road through the Bure Loop, a bridge crossing the Bure, will relieve the heavy traffic into town and put into almost to the seafront.

If building this new road, create a new shallow broad in the Bure Loop for water sports and create an inner harbour for Broads users, the cost of this will be less than 20pc of dualling the Straight. Make money available to move some of the dykes back from beside the road. And for safety, we all know most accidents along the Straight are caused by speeding and consequently overtaking install average speed cameras at both ends and prosecute those who break the limit. As most HGVs have now been limited to 50mph then make that the speed limit along this road.

BRIAN GRINT

Springfield,

Acle

We could have avoided the cuts

IN response to Cllr Barry Coleman’s letter, November 30, “Loo Charges will be an Election Issue”.

The borough council spends £600,000 per year of council tax payers money on public toilets. The council is facing a shortfall of £10m over the next three years due to the loss of Transition Grant.

Due to this funding gap, the council is looking at ways to cut spending and increase revenue.

One of the areas we are looking at is the way the council manages its currently attended public toilets, and those affected are Market Gates, The Conge, Tower Toilets, The Marina, The Jetty and Gorleston Pier Head.

We have been carrying out a public toilets survey as to whether the residents of the borough, and the Tourist Industry would prefer: Unattended public toilets, with a mobile cleaning service which remain free of charge, and remain open longer; or the attended six public toilets only, with a charge per person, which would then save six jobs.

We fully understand that residents of the borough are feeling the effects of the Tory-led Coalition Government’s cuts, and would not wish to see any additional charges placed upon them at this very difficult time, but had Cllr Coleman, as leader of the council for 11 years managed the transition grant received over the last two years amounting to £7m (which is now no longer being provided) in a better way, we could have avoided some of the unpopular decisions we may have to make in the future.

Cllr TREVOR WAINWRIGHT

Magdalen Ward

Good to meet the memory makers

I WOULD like to say it was a lovely day at the Wickhampton St Andrew Church on Saturday at their Christmas Coffee Morning and my book signing.

It was good to meet up again with the people who had contributed their memories for the Wickhampton book and to see them all together having a yarn about the good old days on what was a very cold day.

The Rev Damon Rogers and congregation are all working hard to raise funds for some heating which will be a bonus for this beautiful old church which has some very interesting old wall paintings on the north wall.

SHEILA HUTCHINSON

Colman Avenue,

Stoke Holy Cross

Religion so far off biblical mark

CATHOLICISM is something I know little about, says Stephen Conway (Letters, November 16). He suggests I be instructed in the “Catholic Faith”, even if I were not to “convert”.

But why would someone who holds to the Christian Faith wish to convert to a religion so far off the biblical mark?

Take for example Exodus 20:4–5, the second of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image ... you shall not bow down to them.”

Ignoring this, Catholic churches have a statue of a dead Jesus on a cross or lying in the arms of Mary, the “Queen of Heaven” (according to Pope Pius XII). When Catholics enter, they bow to their statue – each time they do so they break the Second Commandment!

Also, despite the way Roman Catholicism portrays Him, Jesus is no longer dead and fixed to a cross. On the third day after His death – the punishment in our place for our sins – He arose physically alive from Sheol (Hades), the place of the dead, and is now seated in majesty at the Father’s right hand in heaven. This Jesus will soon return in glory to judge the living and the dead. Are you ready to meet Him?

E BARKHUIZEN

Albemarle Road

Gorleston

Religion controls people’s minds

I FOUND Mr Huggins’ reply to my previous letter very sad and a sign as to how religion controls people’s minds beyond all rational thought.

It seems he and others are living in the hope of something better. Instead of living for today he would rather waste it waiting for something that will never happen. When we die, we die. There’s nothing more. That’s why it’s important to live for today.

The reality is we have nothing to die for. And if there is a god then I will be having a word with him about how wrong he’s gotten things! I mean what other being could say - worship me and do as I say or I will torture you for all eternity? The bible is full of contradictions. It’s like an old version of Harry Potter. Talking snakes, magic, flying dragons.

Also, If you dispute the existence of Zeus you too are an atheist. You cannot dispute the existence of one as you are insulting many different cultures. Tell there is only one god to the Romans, Greeks or the Norse people that they have to answer to your God. Anyway, it’s that time of year where Christians claim a Pagan celebration as their own. Cue the “If you’re an atheist how can you celebrate Christmas?” comments. Merry winter’s solstice everyone.

RICHARD GERVAIS

Downing Road,

Gorleston

A thank you would be nice

HOW nice of the lady who wrote in last week, thanking the gentleman who gave her money for the car park. A few weeks ago, I found a wallet on a bus the containing cars and money, which I handed to the driver and left my telephone number at the depot. A thank you would have been a nice reward.

S HODDS

Email

Shopping trip not happy one

LAST Monday I decided to “do my bit” and support Yarmouth town centre shops. I had some Christmas present shopping to do plus some things I wanted for myself.

My mobile phone had given up the ghost, so armed with the make and model of a new one I liked I went into a mobile phone shop. I was told sorry we don’t have that one, I wasn’t asked if I would be interested in another make, model etc, so came out of that shop and ventured into another. This assistant said yes, they do sell the mobile I wanted and do I have a car?

I asked why? The assistant said they had two phones left but they were in their “out of town” outlet and she would reserve one for me. Feeling slightly guilty I took the reservation slip and thanked the assistant.

Never mind I thought I’ll make up for it by seeing if I could get a winter skirt. The shop I went into used to have a good choice, alas the only choice this time was either a short or long, black skirt. I bought the long black one, which to be fair is lovely. Feeling quite pleased, I thought I would buy a pair of shoes.

I found a nice pair in the first store but they didn’t have them in my size. In another shop I found two pairs I liked, but, surprise surprise, they didn’t have them in my size either!

I lost the will to carry on with my town centre shopping and decided to go home and not feeling guilty at all, stopped off at the “out of town” outlet for my mobile phone. I am beginning to think maybe “online” shopping is the way to go!

Mrs E MASON

email

Education news wake-up call

THE news that fewer than half of Norfolk’s secondary schools are offering an acceptable standard of education should come as an urgent wake-up call for all of Norfolk’s County Councillors. But only those who belong to the ruling Group, and more particularly to the county cabinet have been, or are now, in a position to do something about it.

Quite rightly Ofsted’s chief inspector was quoted as saying “the inequalities for local children are quite stark.” When he goes on to say that “this is completely unacceptable” there should be no-one in Norfolk to disagree with him.

I seek to make no party point here but I remember eight years ago, hearing the Labour Group’s schools spokesman frequently warn that education in Norfolk was under-resourced. Despite its taking such a huge proportion of the county’s budget and responsibilities, the county leadership, over the years seems to have exercised an oddly “hand-off” attitude to the way the education for our Norfolk children was actually being delivered in the county’s schools.

What makes those new findings so worrying is that they cannot be excused by any external factors since they show Norfolk’s schools performing badly when compared with both the national average and with all our fellow Eastern Counties. However the one bright spot is the performance of Norfolk’s special schools. Here the results were truly excellent. Clearly there are lessons to be learnt here!

There can be no starker judgment in how a Council discharges its stewardship that in how it serves the generation of children in its care.

GEORGE NOBBS

Leader of Labour Group

Norfolk County Council


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