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Letters, July 25, 2014

PUBLISHED: 21:12 24 July 2014 | UPDATED: 21:13 24 July 2014

Treatment of couple disgrace

I agree with the Mercury on how the Home Office has treated Arlene and Stephen Watty from Hemsby. I find it disgraceful that a British citizen who marries a women he clearly is devoted to is told she cannot remain because he doesn’t earn £18,600. It’s a joke and our local MP should be trying to help.

Immigration is an issue I have strong opinions on. I do not share people’s views that all of the communities have integrated and do not believe it has been the success that people make out. I believe it’s created a culture of us and them and is the main reason why UKIP did so well.

Labour’s legacy on immigration between 1997 and 2010 caused this problem and this government’s failure to stop EU migration is the reason why the Watty family face being broken up just because they won’t tackle the EU and tell them where to go.

Only in this country would we hurt a British couple and deport a working woman when there are thousands of undesirables that have committed crimes and sponge off the state in this country that we should be kicking out. The whole thing is unbelievable and an absolute disgrace!

A GRANT

Caister on Sea

Pleased to read trophy is safe

I would like to say how delighted I was to read the letter from Donna Howes regarding the Great Yarmouth Badminton Association Ladies Singles Cup. It is so pleasing to know it is being cared for by it’s last winner and I would also to like to thank her for taking the trouble to solve the mystery for me. Badminton is such a great sport, and the 1960’s hold brilliant memories for me. Thank you Donna,

BRENDA SADD

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Lure of retail park to blame

The real culprit in this M&S business is not the company itself, though they have been a bit naughty regarding the secrecy surrounding the move; nor the local planners who we have come to expect to be rather toothless anyway. No, it seems to me it is the company which owns and runs the Gapton Hall Retail Park.

The company, listed as CBRE Investors/ Curson Sowerby Partnerships LLP, have their head office in London, (where else?) at 14 St Christopher’s Place.

Why shouldn’t they, as market forces and profit margins certainly seem to hold sway over most of the decisions made today. Putting anything back just doesn’t seem to come into it and as far as any considerations of a social or ethical nature are concerned, well you can forget about it.

Another sorry day for the town. I’m not sure a boycott or even a blockade of the retail park would do the trick in this case.

MIKE SPRAGG

Collingwood Road,

Great Yarmouth

More will follow steps of M&S

It is no surprise to me that M&S are pulling out of our town centre. I suspect more will follow. The town centre is in decline and their store is very dated and needs a revamp. Their AGM report highlighted that many of their smaller stores no longer fit the image.

“New concept stores” are being launched and obviously we do not justify the investment.

I am surprised that the present building cannot become a Simply Food. £5bn of M&S sales are now food and only £4bn general merchandise.

I see 262 of Simply Food stores are franchised and only 185 directly owned. This could have been a way forward rather than closure? They will lose trade as 41pc of shoppers “shop for tonight” and we are not going to Gapton Hall to sit in the jams to get our food for tonight!.

I do not understand why the developers of Gapton Hall were not required to provide buses (like Asda) and adequate traffic management.

It is ironic that Brandon Lewis was running “The Great British High Street Awards” and visiting other towns to see what they are doing. I hope he has lots of ideas for our town centre and funding, rather than funding cuts. He is also running a “Love your Market” campaign “giving a buzz around markets”. The only buzz we get in our market is being buzzed by seagull bombing and chip papers.

It is suggested that parking charges be axed. Who will pay for that? There still needs to be a need to come to town. The minister has already axed millions off the council’s budgets so how will the deficit be made up? The land used for car parks has a value if sold off so why should it be free?

The minister has offered to help. He could seek funding for an experimental free car parking scheme with researchers examining the impact and funding options. He could share the findings of his tours and get Mary Portas along, but did her work do any good? Our town was not good enough to get her help or did she think we were beyond help?

Central government could look at the impact of business rates and planning laws modified looked at to halt more out of town shops and halt the plethora of betting shops. I see we do not have all the names of betting shops yet so more to come? What happened to the casino development?

One really radical option would be to move the town centre to Gapton Hall and use the town centre for housing. David Halfyard last week may have got it right and we could redevelop the lot and use the waterfront for a marina and penthouses.

M&S could have an end of range/ returns store upstairs and food downstairs. It would be a huge success.

CHRIS WRIGHT

Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

Put gate across Acle New Road!

I read Paul Master’s letter with disbelief. How can the council charge visitors such huge amounts of money just to park their cars? I thought the idea was to encourage tourists to come to Great Yarmouth.

The loss of M&S to the town is just another indication of how parking is affecting every aspect of our lives. If the council has a hidden agenda and is in fact, trying to dissuade outsiders from visiting our town, then perhaps they should stop mucking around with car parking and put a gate across Acle New Road!

PAULINE LYNCH

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Close encounters with the buses

A couple of weeks back, cycling along Deneside from St Georges, I had to stop for a bus which clearly was not going to slow down as it came from Market Gates at the British Home Stores corner with Deneside. This was despite my having the right of way.

Traffic behind me also had to stop, including a taxi driver who seemed to think I should have ridden in front of the oncoming bus. Presumably he also gave his opinion to his fellow “professional” or perhaps they both had the same driving instructor?

In another incident on Saturday, a First bus forced me off Howard Street where the road narrows at the Rows crossing just past Stonecutters Way. I was well in front of the bus coming along Howard Street from Regent Street towards the Conge and ordinarily should have been able to go through the narrow section ahead of the bus. However, the driver continued at speed to approach and force his way through, missing me by a couple of inches.

This could only have been deliberate as the road is very obviously not wide enough for a bus and a bike at that point and the driver had plenty of time to see ahead.

The town centre traffic layout is difficult for everyone but surely pedestrians and cyclists have the right of way? Motor traffic has quite simply to slow down. I would have expected commonsense from professional drivers but a number of them just don’t get it.

Perhaps appearing in court charged with attempted murder would wake them up?

R F WARD

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Whose warship passed us by?

I live in California, near Caister and my house has an outlook directly across to the sea. On Saturday morning, we noticed a frigate-sized warship passing close by and heading south towards Yarmouth.

It could only just be seen because it was quite misty out at sea and it was moving very quickly, but it had a very distinctive red, white and blue flash design on its bow. It was definitely not a British warship and appeared to be well inside UK waters.

Did anyone else spot it? Are we being invaded by the Russians, French or Dutch? We would be interested to find out as nothing shows up on the internet and the ship didn’t show itself on the “Shipfinder” App which we use occasional to see which ships are passing.

NIGEL ROBINSON

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Get the troops out of Cyprus

July 20 marked 40 years since Cyprus was unlawfully invaded. A black day for Cyprus, a day which we will never forget as long as we live.

Forty years of waiting, 40 years of pain, 40 years of disillusion, disappointment as to why still we do not, as European citizens, have the right to go back to our houses, our churches, whatever is left of them, or visit the graveyards where our grandparents and parents are laid to rest. Why?

There are still 200,000 refugees waiting to go back to their homes, the place they were born, and 1,619 families are still waiting to find out what happened to their missing loved ones.

Thousands of mothers lost sons, wives their husbands and children their fathers.

I left in 1974 as a young girl, and I am now a middle aged woman and still dreaming of the day when I will return to Famagusta, my town, my home.

Let’s hope now Cyprus has crude oil and gas and not just olive oil and beautiful scenery, it attracts the big powers to put pressure on Turkey for a solution and the Greek and Turkish people to be allowed to live in peace, like in the past. And the 40,000 troops leave Cyprus.

MIRIAM KIKIS

North Quay

Great Yarmouth

Help with WW1 soldiers roll

I am researching the stories of the First World War soldiers named on the Roll of Honour in Caister Parish Church. Please can anyone help me with information and particularly photographs of the men?

The information will be put in a folder “Caister Remembers” which will be part of the First World War Exhibition in Caister Library from August 11 to 23. The folder will remain in the Library for future reference. This will be an on-going project.

Contact Joan Saul 01493 369021 or e-mail caisterww1@hotmail.co.uk

JOAN SAUL

Main Road

Filby

I can’t do my shop online

What a sad, sad day to hear M&S is leaving Yarmouth after many years in the town. I wonder which store will be the next to leave.

It will take a lot of effort to bring the “Great” back into Yarmouth. I love to shop in M&S as do many other people. Now it will be a bus ride to Lowestoft or Norwich.

It’s all very well to say shop online but what if you don’t have a computer. I can’t afford such a luxury as a pensioner.

Honestly what is there to go to town for? A 20-minute walk around the market on market days and over the top parking fees.

C A BALLS

Bradwell

Look to future and retail axis

Rather than, as I strongly suspect, wasting their time asking M&S to retain a presence in the town centre or provide a bus service to Gapton Hall, I would suggest our representatives look to the retail future of Yarmouth and not the past.

A new retail axis from Gapton Hall towards the town along Pasteur Road is clearly developing for the simple reason that this is where the businesses concerned believe they can best turn a profit. Instead of complaining about the exodus from the centre of the likes of M&S and Hughes we should be grateful they don’t quit the town altogether.

The bus companies doubtless will divert some of their services once they too see a profit in doing so. To this end our representatives would be best employed identifying potential sites for bus stops to service the new axis while land is still available.

RUSSELL GORDON

Youell Avenue,

Gorleston

Summer Ball raised £3,000

We recently held our Macmillan Summer Ball at the Town Hall and I am delighted to report that almost £3,000 was raised at the event.

This would not have been possible without the generous support of so many people including the sponsors, all those donated prizes to the raffle and auction and those who attended and gave so willingly to ensure this was a wonderful occasion.

Thanks must also go to our hard working committee who continuously work to raise much needed funds to further the Macmillan services in our area.

Last, but by no means least, we are very grateful for the help and assistance we receive from the members of staff at the Town Hall.

BERTIE COLLINS

Chairman,

Great Yarmouth committee

Macmillan Cancer Support

A really bad mistake M&S

Reading the Mercury, July 18, it was the first I had heard about the closure of M&S in the town centre. I totally agree with what seems to be the general view of it.

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot; I think they are making a really bad mistake. I am one of the carless elderly who like to pop in for a few special items when I come in by bus. The shop is always busy with queues at the check-outs of people mostly with just a few items in their baskets.

Are these customers going to trek out to Gapton Hall? No way. So their loyal customer will be lost. If M&S think they will attract the families who pile their trolleys high by going out of town, then again, no, they are far too expensive for most families’ big shop and they will never compete with the supermarkets.

It might make sense to take the clothing side (I believe loss-making) out of town and open a nice café but not to take our food shop out there as well.

So I say to the head honchos at M&S, think again. Leave our lovely town centre M&S foodstore alone, please.

ANNE SAUNDERS

Eastern Close,

Caister on Sea

Council allowed park to open

How hypocritical can one get? Last week’s Great Yarmouth Mercury reported “Town Hall Chiefs are fighting to keep M&S in Great Yarmouth’s high street after the shock announcement it was leaving its central location,” when it is basically the “chiefs” who have caused the exodus of retailers from, and the commercial deterioration of, the town centre!

Mr Wainwright said one issue was how will elderly people get to the Gapton Hall retail park. Did he and his colleagues not consider this when they allowed some dozen or so retailers including Outfit, TKMax, Next, Sports Direct, Carpetright, Harveys, Currys, Halfords, Brantano, Boots, Poundstretcher and Poundland to develop units at this location without considering how elderly people would get to the area, and only required limited car parking which must have made it a no-go area for a lot of people.

Mr Wainwright adds the town centre “would be left short of food retailer(s)”.

Who gave planning permission for Tesco to move to a retail park and Asda to locate away from the town centre – and now two restaurant chains to develop near Tesco?

Then who allowed the development of retail units in such an itty-bitty way to various dispersed retail park locations spread across the town? This effectively moved parts of the town centre shopping to other locations thus the so-called death knell of the town centre began years ago.

There does not seem to have been any apparent consideration, on the part of “Town Hall Chiefs” for the consolidation of the spread of the scattered units into a single sized decent retail mail which would 
have developed good transport facilities?

Only recently Bruce Sturrock of Palmers warned of the danger of developing banks at the top end of the Market Place which was ignored. And the suggestions for a school in the old Co-op store will add to the town centre’s problems.

The M&S move was “completely unexpected” to Mr Wainwright’s, and his advisory experts - and no doubt to the consultants the town is employing.

Between them they must have very poor external scanning systems for M&S stated a few months ago they were planning to open more of their Simply Food outlets units on retail parks which has been one of their successful strategies.

Anyway, is it any of the “Town Hall Chiefs” business to question the strategy of an organisation such as M&S who stated: “We want to ensure we are in the best location to serve our customers, and one which is fit for the future of M&S”. The “Chiefs” have made Gapton Park just this and I bet the sale of M&S foods will increase once the move has been made! So my conclusion is that it is really the town planners who are ultimately responsible for the situation that has arisen related to M&S possibly leaving the town centre.

MICHAEL HARVEY

Park Road,

Gorleston

Charities reject donation offers

Why is it charity shops like to put notices up of what is requested for them to sell. Then whenever anyone asks for them to pick the items up they complain they haven’t got the space. They should not get away with it.

I know of a tenant who moved into an old folks’ home and a charity was offered the furniture but they refused to collect, despite the fact they were crying out for it. Everything went into a skip!

Mrs M WOODS

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Iraq refugees would be assets

The last Christian reportedly left Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul at 12.00pm on Saturday, ending over 6,000 years of Assyrian history in the city. Assyrians have lived in Mosul for over 6,000 years, converting to Christianity over 2,000 years ago and is one of the oldest Christian communities that date back to Apostolic times. This all came to an end on Saturday, when the last Assyrian Christian left the city.

On Thursday, July 17, the State released a statement demanding Christians in Mosul leave the city. It was being reported locally that by noon Saturday, July 19, every Christian had chosen to leave. It is estimate half a million refugees have left Mosul.

I mention this for two reasons: one that there has been a continuity since the Lord’s time and the refugees will have to go somewhere. Most have had to give up everything, literally walking away from their homes and possessions with just the items they can carry. Many are skilled who would be an asset to the local community.

It is my hope local people will show hospitality and welcoming to any who are able to come to UK and Gt Yarmouth in particular.

ROGER HAYES

Beccles Road,

Bradwell

God is Santa in the sky to some

In last week’s letters T Lilly says my views are wearing him thin. A Goodwin prefers to read letters on “picking up dogs mess”. P Reeve says I need to “lighten up”. Dave Gahan says the Bible is “all a lie”. And D Charnock says it was just “thought up by well-meaning men”.

Some people who’ve read my letters in the Mercury are now dead. Letters about Halloween, Mormonism, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, atheists, Roman Catholicism, and the other fake Christianity that surrounds us. All these who have died now know the Bible is true. But it’s too late for those of them who died in their sins and will burn in Hades until the day of judgement – after which they’ll be in the lake of fire for ever (see Luke 16:19–31; Revelation 20:10, 15).

But it’s not too late for you yet, dear Mercury reader. How many days do you have left? Will you still be here tomorrow? No more chance to be sorry for your sins, to be born again and be baptised in water and later receive the Holy Spirit. Too late to turn to Jesus, the Lord God, and receive the eternal life He offers those grateful for the horrific death He suffered in our place.

I write these letters because Mercury readers won’t hear these things from their average church pulpit – that “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). Now it seems to be mainly about bouncy castles, “messy church”, food and games, electric guitars and drums, with empty songs that go 
on and on and on... Have fun, because God loves us all unconditionally.

He’s our Santa in the sky who just wants to make our lives easy – heaven on earth. But Jesus warns, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. How narrow the gate and difficult the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13–14).

E BARKHUIZEN

Albemarle Road,

Gorleston

Thanks for help after accident

My mother had an accident on Tuesday, July 15 at about 2.30pm in St Peters Plain, Great Yarmouth. She would like to thank everybody who helped us.

IAN LEARMONTH

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Praise for JPH stroke ward care

We would like to thank all the staff at the James Paget for the care by all members of staff on our mothers stay at the hospital. Whilst in their for nine weeks all we can do is praise the staff on the Stroke Unit on Ward 1, they made our mother Mrs Doris Nelson’s stay very comfortable and looked after her tremendously well. Unfortunately she did not pull through and passed away on July 6.

The NELSON Family

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Paint over the yellow lines

Concerning the recent announce-ment by M&S that they are pulling out of their King Street premises to move to smaller premises at the Gapton Hall Retail Park, I believe this is as a direct reaction over the council’s policy of double yellow lining every possible road within the radius of the Market Place. Visitors are then faced with expensive and sometimes hard to find parking.

A more enlightened action would be to remove all yellow lines from town centre streets, except of course those in need of special preferences.

Why do streets such as Regent Street west, little used except for buses, need to have lines on both sides of the road, surely just on one side would suffice.

This could also apply to other thoroughfares such as North Quay, The Conge, George Street … the list is endless - and also make all council car parks free of charge, and add to this a bylaw restricting the prices of private operated parking.

If these options were taken up I honestly believe it would breathe fresh life in to the area instead of all of the stores moving out to retail parks which do have free parking.

The Market Place is being left with just banks, charity shops and betting shops, and I believe another one has applied for permission recently.

Come on councillors, action now before it is too late!

PETER McKINNA

Alderson Road

Great Yarmouth

Parking drives visitors away

Relatives from Cyprus came over the Yarmouth to see us and join us for lunch on the seafront last Saturday. They had hired a car and drove from Boston and we were hoping to proudly show them the resort.

They were late meeting us at the place we had chosen for lunch; they had trouble getting a park anywhere near the front, all the car parks were full, and being strangers they slotted into an empty space they found a couple of roads back from the seafront.

We had a lovely lunch and walk, but horrors upon horrors, they returned to their car to find a parking penalty. I was horrified and immediately offered to pay it for them.

For goodness sake Yarmouth, get your act together over parking; you are driving people away from the seafront and the shopping centre! We will not be inviting any other friends or relatives to meet us in the town, but will stick to the villages or meet them in Norwich or Lowestoft!

AMY GODBOLT

Norwich

Community is working as one

We would like to thank David Whitely and the BBC for the balanced and sensitive programme about the after effects of the tidal surge in December, on TV last Friday.

It is pleasing to note the community, both private and commercial is working together for the benefit of the village.

Businesses may like to know that much work has been done since the closure of Pontins, through the Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority, to improve business for the holiday sector in Hemsby and Newport, not least the work done towards getting the Business Improvement District adopted.

This will mean money may be made available for specific projects to improve the area still further by making Hemsby and Newport more attractive, or paying for services not covered by the borough council.

It is for local people to suggest ideas for consideration as to what they would like to be done and as most businesses rely in some way or other on tourism they are most welcome at the next GYTA Hemsby and Newport Traders Group meeting if they contact me for details.

TONI REEVE

Seadell Shops and Holiday Chalets, Hemsby

Doggone it! Bus travel headache

I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has been in a similar situation I find myself in at the moment, let me explain. Later this year both my wife and myself will both be retired and we plan with the aid of our bus Passes we would see some of the surrounding areas by bus instead of using our car.

I contacted First Group to check about whether our small dog would be allowed to travel with us and at what charge. I received their answer stating there is no charge for them to travel, but the thing is - can he travel at all?

Let me quote you a section from their answer I received: “The dog may be refused on the bus if the driver has an allergy or fear of dogs as this might affect his driving”.

So if my wife and I and our small dog would like to go to say Kings Lynn for the day, perhaps it might pay to ring First Group offices the day before and check whether the driver of that bus is allergic to dogs so we can travel or not.

Does anyone else, like me, find their statement rather odd and a little anti customer service? I would like to know.

ALAN MARSHAM

email

Public transport hopes hitch

Marks & Spencer relocating from the town centre to Gapton Hall is yet another blow to the shopping heart of Great Yarmouth. But moreover, it exposes how wanting our local public transport infrastructure is.

I dare say one of the local bus companies would provide a service to Gapton Hall Retail Park, but where would a bus turn around in that cramped and erratic car park?

The problem is governments and councils (members of which drive everywhere and probably never use a bus) pay lip service to reducing vehicle emissions and creating greener forms of transport, and do very little to provide infrastructure (bus lay-bys, bus shelters etc.) to enable public transport to be operated.

Gapton Hall industrial estate is clogged with cars parking on the verges, the roads are too narrow and traffic congestion created by an overwhelming use of the cars is a nightmare at busy times.

On Gapton Hall Road from the chicane to McDonalds there is no safe place for pedestrians to cross the road – there should be traffic islands at intervals along this stretch of road.

No it is a sad reflection of our society today that everything is geared to car use and all the arrogance and selfishness that goes with it – so nobody cares about the people who don’t drive (both staff and customers) so companies like Marks & Spencer relocate out of town forcing more car use with the congestion and pollution that goes with it.

It is one more example of how our society puts money and selfishness before individuals needs.

TONY GRICE

Wensum Way

Belton

Businesses must fund defences

If all the businesses in Hemsby ie cafes, fish and chip takeaways, arcades, snack bars, shops, car parking, clubs, chalet parks, caravan parks, funfair, takeaways, restaurants, pubs and the Watling Trust and everyone else who makes their money out of Hemsby donated between £5k-£10k each sea defences would soon be a reality.

After all, Save Hemsby Coastline said it’s an £80m a year industry in Hemsby. The businesses would soon recoup the outlay. Those who didn’t contribute should be named and shamed.

Holidaymakers come to Hemsby and spend their money in these businesses. They must put the money back in to guarantee the future of Hemsby and Newport just like Bourne Leisure has done at Hopton.

Name and Address withheld

Treatment at JPH was examplary

After a rather nasty fall and breaking both my hip and wrist, I would just like to thank all staff at JPH and my stay on ward 6. The treatment I received was exemplary. I would like to award James Paget Hospital a thoroughly deserved “Well done you.”

SUE CATON

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