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Letters, March 18

PUBLISHED: 16:28 17 March 2011

Mayor is already value for money

MAY I presume to correct the impression given in the Mercury in last week’s letters by John Hudson.

There are not two mayors of London; the Lord Mayor is elected annually by the aldermen and freemen of the City of London (the square mile) and has no jurisdiction beyond the old city boundaries. Boris Johnson is the elected Mayor of the Greater London Council, which does not include the City of London. They have entirely separate roles.

As far as Great Yarmouth is concerned, the mayor is elected by the borough council, members of which are themselves elected periodically to represent their wards.

The mayor combines an executive role with his traditional ceremonial duties and remains a councillor, representing the interests of his own ward electorate.

We get three roles from one unpaid mayor. I can see no merit to an additional mayor, elected at extra expense, as a chief executive officer who would, no doubt, be a salaried official. This would be an unnecessary extra burden on council taxpayers.

DAVID C BEILBY

Burgh Hall Park

Fleggburgh

Could residents be causing mess?

AFTER reading all the letters regarding the state of the stairwells around the Middlegate area of Great Yarmouth, I feel I would like to add my own comments.

As a regular visitor to the area, I must say they are right about the stairways and landings, but nobody mentioned about the team of dedicated caretakers, gardeners and road sweepers that are working day in and day out around the said area.

I have seen them washing and sweeping stairs, sweeping the streets, grass cutting and keeping the scrub areas free of litter. I feel they do a great job.

When you return a few days later, everything is in a mess again.

Could it be the residents and their families causing the mess?

Also, what about the fly tips that seem to appear on a regular basis. I think the council does a great job in very difficult circumstances.

NAME AND ADDRESS WITHHELD

We are all the children of God

DEAR Mr Barkhuizen, I have read many of your letters sent in this column about your views on religion and festive periods and have found them to be quite good and factually right.

However, I must reply to the letter, March 11, entitled Bible versus Vatican. I was rather bemused at the thought that Catholics could not be Christians.

First and foremost, the term Christian relates to anyone who believes in God (Jesus Christ) and follows the virtues of his teachings. Secondly, I believe the Bible has to be taken metaphorically and not to the letter; the teachings are there for you to search for, not in a thunderbolt or lightning strike.

I believe that it doesn’t matter what source, be it the Bible or the Vatican website, you get your view or teachings from; they will always contradict each other in certain forms. Even in the Bible itself, the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John contradict each other in certain paragraphs. But they all accomplish their aim in that it brings you closer to yourself, your fellow man and God.

I feel it is because man sometimes takes the Bible to the letter that we have problems with the teachings of evolution and creationism. Because the Bible says that God made the earth in seven days does not mean that that is the case.

You have to look at it metaphorically in the way that it is showing you he wanted to create life, he did create life and then he left it to flourish.

Thirdly I have a strong dislike to the word “versus” being used against any religion. There should be no battle or playground fights between what verses correspond with what stories.

Sadly, I feel that concentrating too much on the details and grammar of it all distracts us from the true message found in between the lines. We are all one religion, the children of God, and that is coming from a Catholic.

DANIEL CANDON

West Street

Great Yarmouth

Town Hall move is poor decision

AS someone who worked in the Town Hall for 17 years, I read with interest of the changes proposed therein.

As a place of work, the rooms were draughty and cold, completely unsuitable for office space due to the high ceilings, but as a cultural centre, there is no equal in the borough.

It is a disgrace that access to the Assembly Room will now be denied to members of the public as, in the past, it has hosted concerts and numerous dos.

If the courtroom is altered, it will be nothing short of vandalism as it is unique, indeed it has in the past been used by film crews. The last being a police drama starring Martin Shaw. Even if Victorian architecture is not your bag, one can’t help being impressed when coming over Haven Bridge at night to see our Town Hall floodlit.

Perhaps regeneration money should have been spent on turning the Town Hall into an arts and cultural centre as the space for theatre, exhibitions and functions is already there.

To close Trafalgar House and move the staff to the Town Hall seems a crazy decision because it goes against what a civic centre should be.

Instead of a facility open to all, it will house disgruntled staff quite rightly cheesed off because of their working conditions and the erosion of their pensions.

PAULINE LYNCH

Mill Lane

Bradwell

We are both open and transparent

I’VE heard it all now, Dennis Durrant reported in last week’s Letters that a councillor rang him up to discuss the reason for their voting at the elected mayor vote.

Or was that conversation just a talking down session to backtrack on how all councillors who voted against or abstained the proposal to adopt the elected mayoral constitution, against best legal advice, had chosen to break the law. Nothing happening like that in Ormesby.

In essence, in the constitution that the council finally adopted (although the ruling party abstained) it makes it clear that the position of ceremonial mayor will no longer exist.

The new position will comprise of speaker and deputy speaker, so the jobs for the boys will still exist. Any comparisons to the mayoral position in London are incorrect.

However, I have concerns over remarks made by Margaret Farrow last week. She expresses the burden of unnecessary costs to the town and to “open up the floodgates to corruption”.

She continues that the elected mayor campaigners should “look again how they have been conducting themselves over the last year”.

The vote Yes committee is made up of multi-party and community activists who don’t need to be told how to vote.

We are all concerned with the future of Great Yarmouth. We have raised a small amount of funding to pay for leaflets at the referendum in May.

Our opponents, mainly from the two main political parties, will probably use their council election leaflets to promote a No vote.

We are open and transparent, and have asked for a No committee to be formed to fight this issue on an equal basis. No committee has been formed.

Unlike the councillors, we have not broken the law. We just want the 70,000 electors in Great Yarmouth to have their democratic say.

How can anyone argue against that?

PETER KIRKPATRICK

Vote Yes for an Elected Mayor Committee

Council must get priorities right

I NOTICED a small article in the Mercury, March 11, stating that questions have been raised about the controversial package of cuts by Norfolk County Council. It stated that a forecast underspend of £1.79m had risen to £5.995m, a difference of £4.2m.

On the same day, my daughter received a letter from the Aspergers East Anglia Short Break Care (Respite Project).

It said that, although their tender to NCC had been successful in September 2010, with just 29 days to go to start of contract, the funding offer had been retracted.

This funding provided respite care of 30 hours per month to 35 families with vunerable children, and gave the parents/carers a well-deserved break from caring 24/7, 365 days a year.

What is going on, have the beads fallen off their Abacus? If the accountants at NCC cannot tell the difference between £1.79m and £5.995M what hope is there for any of us? There should be an immediate investigation and the re-instatement of the lost funding.

Incidentally, the TV on the seafront is still on, although the sound appears to have been turned off.

MOLLIE TIMBY

Lancaster Road

Great Yarmouth

Bring back sirens

ALTHOUGH the flood exercise was a great success, I still think that the flood sirens should be used so that the whole community knows of imminent flood damage immediately.

CECILIA EBBAGE

Lovewell Road

Gorleston

Remember who made promises

HOW well the pen of that old stalwart Jack Grice doth write. (CJ Grice, Mercury Letters, March 11). Having followed for years his many contributions to your paper, his writings are that of a old “master”. He certainly cuts to the chase and puts into print what many of us think. Along with his word “precarious” may I offer the word “complacency”!

The residents of Caister, and no doubt Great Yarmouth, suffered from, and still suffer from, complacency! Jack’s right.

Same old faces on the borough council, and same ideas, and as for the promises of “34,381 jobs”, remember who gave the promise when it comes to voting. I will.

DAVID MORRICE

West Caister

Letters page is an inspiring forum

A LOOK at last week’s interesting letters in the Mercury. A forum in itself and highly informative, which should be required reading for councillors.

After two years it is good to see that GYBC are now filling in the cracks in Gorleston sea wall. Has a geo phys been done to determine what subsidence there has been under the surface itself, because two years ago I was able to slide a steel rule in up to 18ins in some places?

Re Jim Mallard’s letter, our group has been refused any assistance by Brandon Lewis our MP over the outer harbour problems we have been highlighting and Eric Pickles, Minister for Communities just doesn’t reply. We asked Eric Pickles how we go about a public inquiry and again, no reply.

It is good to see John Laity’s idea suggested last year re the 15 second delay in the lights at the junction of Yarmouth Way and South Quay has at last been implemented and is working successfully. At least some good ideas get noted, its just a pity we aren’t listened to more often. This one only took a year while my sea wall cracks took two years plus.

The highly complicated religious argument continues which I would imagine most struggle to understand and also understand why all these people called christians can’t behave like Christians.

After a NCC Scrutiny fiasco of the outer harbour fiasco we are no further forward towards an explanation of what went wrong in the negotiations.

John Cooper and our group have put forward just about every detail in the public domain, which is significant, and all residents get fed is spin and fluff. Everyone who was at the scrutiny meeting came away annoyed and disgusted and demanded a public inquiry.

GYBC is so dedicated against telling stake holders (that’s us) any information as to why we have ended up where we are.

When I was told that our council had refused to allow a petition sheet in our town hall reception “because it was against them” you realise just what kind of democracy is being run here.

If you are able to collect signatures or can be a signing point for our petition please phone me on 600452.

I loved Steve Taylor’s satirical letter which gave the message in a way that was highly readable, informative and very much to the point.

Margaret Farrow’s letter is written in the new method for informing people without putting a real case. Still hopefully this will be the beginning of a real debate on the elected mayor question.

I have to admit the first page I open in the Mercury is the letters page, and not just to see if my letter is there but to find out what other people’s opinions are.

I know what I think so it is more interesting to find what others write. There is an old saying: “We only have one mouth but two ears”, it means listen more and that would be a good saying for GYBC to follow.

DENNIS DURRANT

Brett Avenue

Gorleston

Get rid of nuclear plants pronto

FOR all those people who are in favour of building further nuclear power stations in this country, please take note of what’s happening in Japan right now.

You may well argue that this cannot happen here in Britain, but it already has at Sellafield, formally known as Windscale. Sellafield in Cumbria stores 65 per cent of Britain’s high-level radioactive nuclear waste.

Many incidents have occurred at this location over the years including the Windscale fire, when the Windscale piles were shut down following a fire in Pile One on October 10, 1957, which destroyed the core and released an estimated 750 terabecquerels (20,000 Ci) of radioactive material into the surrounding environment.

1983 was the year of the “beach discharge incident” in which high radioactive discharges resulted in the closure of a beach, and as recently as April 19, 2005, 83,000 litres of radioactive waste was discovered to have leaked in the Thorp reprocessing plant, from a cracked pipe, into a huge stainless steel-lined concrete sump chamber built to contain leaks.

Then there was the Chernobyl disaster nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April, 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainen, where the population in that area are still suffering the results of radioactive fall-out 25 years later, and who knows how many other countries in Europe have been contaminated and are still being affected by it?

Children are still being born with horrendous deformities, cancers and leukaemia and even in northern England and Scotland there were fears that the milk from the dairy herds was contaminated because of the radioactive dust from the power station which had blown over these areas and contaminated the fields where the cows were grazing.

These are only a few of the incidents that have happened.

If this is what you want for us then you need your heads examined. Cover the country — both land and sea — with wind turbines, the sea with wave power converters and all properties with solar panels, then we can all rest in peace in the knowledge that nuclear power stations with the threat of explosions, leaks and all their contaminates and environmental hazards for millenniums to come, will be no more.

P SUTTON

Hemsby

Referee Alf is worthy of note

AS a past referee of 15 years, I found Peggotty’s Through the Porthole very interesting reading.

But can Peggotty give us a page about another well-known Norfolk referee, Alf Grey, who I believe also came from the Yarmouth area.

If my memory serves me correctly, he refereed an FA Cup final at Wembley. I am sure he would provide the same interesting life story of his career, what he does now and if he is still involved in the game in any way. Past referees are of great interest to me.

MARTIN BROOKES

Boxgrove Priory

Bedford

Surely these signs are illegal?

RE parking at the James Paget University Hospital/Jenner Road car parking fiasco.

I now notice with amusement that the Jenner Road “don’t park here” consortium has taken to putting bollards at the entrance to the James Paget Hospital. These bollards, which are a mixture of different types and colours, have obviously been obtained from various locations.

This must be illegal, due to the fact that the road is public. The police/council have not put these here. To which I ask the question: what happens if any roads around the hospital take this same course of action? Perhaps someone would like to comment.

Either way this must be illegal, or the police should remove them. Perhaps the residents of Kennedy Avenue would like to have a go at this.

People on limited income cannot afford the high price of parking at the James Paget hospital, and some don’t mind walking at least some of the way. Those from Jenner Road are committing an offence, as they do not own the road!

R GREEN

Cliff Park Estate

Gorleston

Big Society is an empty phrase

I MUST agree with Messrs J Mallard and CJ Grice. The Big Society is another empty phrase from a PM high on soundbites and low on substance, leading a government full of badly thought- out ideas.

I suppose the proposal to allow private health firms to quote for NHS work has nothing to do with the £750,000 reported to have been given to the Tories’ election fund. But a day of reckoning could be near.

The Tories and their fellow travellers should study the recent Barnsley by-election result and remember the poem “ask not for whom the bell tolls...”

A SMITH

Lilac Close

Bradwell

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