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Letters, March 4

PUBLISHED: 15:37 03 March 2011

We must focus on our plus points

DO the councillors on various bodies involved with the outer harbour, namely GYPA, GYBC, NCC, truly represent the economic interests of Great Yarmouth? Do they fulfil the wishes of Yarmouth taxpayers and our need for more local jobs? By mixing loyalties and presenting us with obvious conflicts of interests, loss of much public money, delays and stagnation, it works against the interest of Norfolk.

Hydrology studies should have shown up the faults in the outer harbour design, easily rectified there and then. Instead, Yarmouth’s economy stagnated further during protracted debate, horse trading and a final shotgun wedding with IPH, later sold to GIP.

The harbour is a long-term asset. We need a team to support and enable GIP to invest long term, with ideas on how to make the port more viable for multiple uses, that understands the potentials of a fast continental ferry service and the benefits of training a local labour force.

Norfolk needs to send a message to the Continent that it is a good, easy-to-reach holiday destination for families, an ecologically minded nearby choice for our neighbours in Holland, Germany and Belgium. From sun-seeking and big skies to cycle tourism, Norfolk can deliver. We also need to expand and invest in modern, future orientated businesses that serve the need of a low CO2 economy, windfarm maintenance, as well as construction of alternative energy innovations – there are plenty of them here in Norfolk.

We must make this harbour work for Norfolk, engage Yarmouth’s unemployed and sixth forms with modern training facilities and apprenticeships in engineering, jobs that serve these new long-term concerns, positive future prospects, off-shore and onshore.

INGO WAGENKNECHT,

Rockland St Mary

Shelve election –we can’t afford it

THANK goodness some of our councillors have enough sense to veto the mayoral election. I did sign the petition but wish my name to be removed from the roll, as when this was being pushed about we were not aware of the critical ecomonic position that we are now in.

I am sure there are many who signed that petition who would like to withdraw their commitment and save our council a lot of wasted money in an election.

It will cost thousands of pounds and I would rather my bin was emptied on regular basis than have a figurehead in the Town Hall.

What sort of people are pushing to waste yet more of our pitiful council allowances? This town can do without an elected mayor until which time we can afford it.

ROY BATLEY

Colomb Road

Gorleston

Put in context – I applaud rebellion

I WAS in attendance on the evening of the borough councillors’ “rebellion against the referendum on an elected mayor for the town, having attended to ask a public question on the prospect of job cuts due to the proposed shared services scheme with South Norfolk District Council.

I applaud councillors of both parties for the stand they took in light of a point both The Mercury’s editorial and Cllr Castle’s letter failed to mention. The night in question was the budget session of the council where decisions had been made to cut or freeze the allocation of funding to many important services in the borough.To then set aside £50,000 for a referendum on a new salaried position of £70,000 per year, was nothing short of obscene at a time where council staff on far less will be fearing the prospect of redundancies and borough residents will feel the effects of service cuts.

The councillors who voted against the proposal that night were doing what they were elected to do and that was to run the borough in the best interest of the majority of the electors and without wasting taxpayers’ money. The stand councillors took is one they will have to account for at their next election, that is our democracy in action, and I’ll wager we won’t be seeing any “revolt” of the electorate over this single issue!

How many of the 3,500 who signed the petition for an elected mayor realised they were supporting the proposal for an expensive consultation for a highly paid figurehead in our, unfortunately, deprived town, and at a time when normal services are being reduced due to the financial crisis?

Perhaps the most democratic solution would be to start the non-taxpayer funded parts of the process again and see who still support this lunacy. Have two petitions circulating, for and against the proposal that way those who feel strongly enough about the proposal can have their say without siphoning away vital funding for our public services.

COLIN FOX

Austin Road

Great Yarmouth

Local democracy can only benefit

AFTER four months of councillors doing their utmost to wriggle out of having to run an elected mayor referendum in Great Yarmouth, it now appears the Secretary of State has instructed them to fix the date for May 5 – the same day as the local elections and the government’s own AV voting referendum. Perhaps now we can have the proper debate about why 70,000 local voters should be able to choose an elected mayor to lead the borough rather than as now have a leader voted in by as few as 20 councillors.

The “Yes to a Great Yarmouth Elected Mayor” campaign is a totally non-party-political organisation whose single aim was to collect the thousands of signatures needed to trigger a referendum and then go on to secure a decisive Yes vote on May 5. The committee of 12 includes supporters of all the main political parties, local business people and community workers from across the borough, and when an elected mayor election comes, some of these same people will very probably be pitted against each other as candidates. The early indications are there will be a multitude of independent candidates. That has got to be good for local democracy!

My personal view is that the new system will re-invigorate interest in local politics and enable communities and the business community to engage more effectively with the local council. There is certainly scope for savings to be made – for example the current 39 councillors could well be reduced to as few as 27 but giving a bigger role to those councillors as “champions” for their communities.

MICK CASTLE

Town Wall Road,

Great Yarmouth

Such arrogance beggars belief

SO our council is so arrogant that some councillors now think they are above the law and have the absolute power to ignore the 3,500 residents who signed a legal petition to get a referendum.

It doesn’t matter if you agree with the referendum or not, it is this arrogance that must be remembered when we go to the polls in May.

Any leader and followers who go against the law and the desires of a large section of the public to impose their own will, are not only out of touch but have been in power for far too long. Especially when the leader comments it is democracy in action! It is time we took elections seriously and voted for the best man not a party, because at present we only vote for the person a political party has selected for us – does this make sense?

However, although some councillors are prepared to break the law, I am sure some will stand for the position they are arguing against? An elected experienced businessman with enthusiasm and vision who can select from the best would encourage independent candidates to come forward, which would be a new experience – thinking people without party dogma.

The outer harbour deal has left most residents questioning the negotiations. Was too much given away? What will be the cost of liabilities we have taken over?

GYBC steadfastly refuses to answer any of our group’s well thought-out questions, in fact it has not answered any questions other than with spin and gobbledy gook.

DENNIS DURRANT

Brett Avenue,

Gorleston

Give staff credit they deserve

WHEN people have a complaint about the James Paget Hospital, why don’t they send in a letter of complaint to the management of the hospital, instead of going to the press, and deflating the whole of the hospital staff.

I have just spent a few days in the JPH having a hip replacement.Yes they are short staffed, but that makes no difference to them, they just work that bit harder to make sure your stay, is as comfortable as they can and get you better as quick as they can.

All the nurses on my ward worked very hard, under a great deal of pressure, from some patients. The ward was very clean, at all times, the food was excellent, and with the budget the catering staff get, they work wonders. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff: they spend time with you and sometimes work over their shifts, to get their work finished.

I hope this letter of support gives them the credit they all deserve. I thank you, one and all for getting me back home, a very happy man.

ANDY HOWARD

Cobholm Road

Cobholm

Can we hope to see more lights?

I SEE Hopton has just had four new lights erected on Station Road and two on Coast Road; it’s about time.

Will they be adding some more lights, not just on Station Road and Coast Road, but on Watsons Close, Julian Way estate, Warren Lane and Sea View Rise etc? My turning received them a couple of years ago along with some others, and it seems a bit daft they never covered all of Hopton.

JOHN HUGGINS

Turin Way,

Hopton

Think before you use rat poison

ON February 20 one of our beautiful tabby cats died suddenly. The speed in which this big healthy six-year-old moggy was cut down leaves us to believe he was poisoned, probably by rat poison.

We are devastated to have lost him in such a traumatic and unnecessary way. Please think carefully before using arsenic-based remedies to rid gardens of mice because you could kill more than you intend!

PAULINE LYNCH

Mill Lane

Bradwell

At last, saga gets true recognition

LAST week the EDP has been doing what the Mercury has been doing for nearly three years: highlighting the saga of the gifting of our port to International Port Holdings. One can only be satisfied with the coverage. We are now looking to have a referendum for a public inquiry, if that is how to attain it, perhaps there is a knowledgeable person out there who can advise us, maybe Eric Pickles MP?

Last week’s Mercury’s front page of the councillors deciding for the electorate not to proceed with a referendum for an elected mayor really underlines the dictatorial way this council works.

It’s no wonder we the ratepayers are now responsible for so many £millions for what was once the expense of Great Yarmouth Port Authority.

I am not for or against an elected mayor at this point in time, I do know that if any councillor puts their name in the hat, I would vote against them.

Several businessmen and women spring to mind who would run the office of elected mayor in a very credible way,.

Finally, it was refreshing, (but three years late) to read in the EDP that the stakeholders were ignored and not consulted over the 30 or 35 year leasing of our river port.

Below an extract from a Ministry of Transport document:

Guidance on Modernising Trust Ports 2nd Edition 2000AD; detailing how Trust Port Boards should conduct themselves with Stakeholders.

1.5.2 We expect trust ports to identify their stakeholders and to include them in formal consultation on significant decisions. Stakeholders should also be consulted on the possible forms and extent of any stakeholder benefit that the board proposes. That way, the stakeholders, in whose interests the port is maintained and operated, can have an opportunity to articulate what they believe those interests to be.

1.5.10 Trust ports should monitor proposals to extend the scope of Freedom of Information Act 2000. In any event, trust ports, as independent statutory bodies, should aim to comply with the spirit of the Act in responding to reasonable requests for information from the public.

JOHN L COOPER

Burnt Lane

Gorleston

Maybe it’s time for a total rethink

A RECENT TV programme reviewed the extraordinary changes in the past 30 years from docks, roll-on/roll-off to containerisation.

This gradual global industrial change has impacted on the vast increase in size of cargo ships, which can only be berthed in comparably sized ports.

A Mike Page photo of Felixstowe’s port could be contrasted with a 1980s’ Norfolk docks scene, when the outer harbour was first proposed at a meeting of Great Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce. This would reveal the scale of the change which has crept up onYarmouth’s port without there being any mismanagement. I think this change also has an impact on the EDP’s campaign to dual the A47 from the Norwich’s Southern By-pass.

But we must be forward looking. Is there scope for developing the cruise trade and other niche markets? It never occurred to me in 1948, as a student working at Potters, that this successful holiday camp would be transformed into a national bowls centre.

The new Norfolk/Suffolk economic team should prospect how Yarmouth can promote its surrounding villages with publicity comparable with its devotion to the Golden Mile. The growth of Fairhaven, Bewilderwood and Fritton indicate there is a growing public demand to visit Yarmouth’s countryside, as well as its traditional beaches.

Is there scope for assisting visitors to use Wherryman’s Way, Weaver’s Way and Angle’s Way, which all converge at the rail station without clear signs on how to start them? How could Eastport be included in the cruise itinerary like the Scillies?

RAY WALPOLE

Thorpe End

Norwich

Letter informs me I owe. . . nothing

I PAY very little actual income tax (the government gets my money in every other conceivable way!) this is because of a great deal of allowable mileage in connection with self employment.

I am never late with my income tax return, nor payment when it is is owed.

For the year ending April 2010, I was actually two months ahead of the cut-off date. I was surprised therefore to receive this week a self-assessment penalty notice for late return.

Surprise turned to amusement and no little anger when I noticed that my ‘fine’ had been calculated at £0.00.

One wonders how many hundreds (or thousands) of similar pointless communications have been sent out at a time when the government is assuring us of how much waste they are cutting out!

STEPHEN WILLIAMSON

Sunninghill Close

Bradwell

Chance to show our appreciation

MICHAEL Falcon, the High Steward of Great Yarmouth for over 25 years, is giving a talk on his reminiscences about the town on Friday, March 11, at 7.30pm in the Masonic Building, Albert Square.

Not only will this be a most interesting talk, but it will be a wonderful opportunity for the people of Great Yarmouth to show their appreciation to him and his wife for all they have done for the town for over a quarter of a century.

Last year, he was awarded the Freedom of the Borough and a good turn out to hear him speak would really show how much his dedication to the town is appreciated.

Money raised from the occasion will go towards the refurbishment of the organ and the pinnacles on the tower at St Nicholas’ Church, Yarmouth. Tickets may be obtained from Brahams at 16 Market Row or from Dr Paul Davies (01493 843647).

HUGH STURZAKER

Why can’t this bus run on time?

ONCE again the Number 2 buses are still not running on time. I waited one hour in the week for it to come to go into town. This was on Trinity Avenue, Gorleston. Many times we have waited and it doesn’t show up at all.

Knowing there are a lot of older people waiting in the cold is very unfair. They always seem to miss a bus out. If you say anything to the driver they just say it’s not their fault. Now I hear they might even take the 2 off all together.

How are the older people going to walk up to the bus on Middleton Road in the winter. Is this another so-called cut of this goverment?

Mrs THEREA WHITMORE

Trinity Avenue

Gorleston

Shoplifter gets off we foot the bill

COULD someone please enlighten me as to how it is possible for what appears to be an gentleman (Cases in Court, February 25), who is for all intents and purpose a prolific shoplifter, being able to steal no less than eight times from Great Yarmouth high street, and still not be punished by either a custodial sentence or hard labour?

I and my partner own three shops and the support we have experienced in the past from the legal system has been far from acceptable. So, the criminals win again and we, Joe Public, lose out and never see justice. The bad guys will get a slap on the wrist. What a joke.

SUE INGRAM

email

Try taking a glass half-full approach

RE letter, February 25, “Not Much To Be Proud Of,” how sad that Mr Lincoln cannot appreciate all the effort being made to improve the area in which he lives. Yes, we would all like to see more police, more CCTV, more jobs, but we live in the real world. Is he not aware of all the cutbacks that are being made to public services?

If I am able to support anyone, such as Mr Mendoza with his plan for York Road drill hall, who are willing to get up off their backsides and try to improve our environment, I shall continue to do so! I did not use the word “proudly” – I simply stated the area in which the drill hall is situated. Could Mr Lincoln take a little stroll to look at the improvements and regeneration in Nelson Ward? For example: Sharp 2 project; St George’s Park; The Art School; St George’s Chapel, the library and much more.

Don’t leave your glass half-empty, Mr Lincoln, it’s so much better to contribute and have it half-full.

Councillor BRENDA TAYLOR

St Georges Road

Great Yarmouth

We must let the people decide

WHY are people so negative about this elected mayor issue? Over the past 20 years there have been more towns joining this new wave of governing – 13 already preside, and next year there will be a further 12 towns joining in. If it was useless and crazy, it would have died a sad death by now. I feel we need to restore faith, trust and respect back into politics. The only way to do this is to give the people in our community the democratic right to have their say on how our town is governed.

I have said many times there are a lot of intelligent people in our community and I am sure they can decide for themselves whether to vote “yes” or “no.”

There have been a lot of bad decisions in our local and national governing bodies. The ordinary people in our town cannot be any worse at decision-making than government officials. The expenses scandal did a lot of harm to all parties and it has been hard for many politicians to recover the lost respect. I truly feel if the people in this Borough of Great Yarmouth are given the right to decide the issue, we will be on the first rung of the ladder to restore trust and respect back into politics.

I honestly believe that an elected mayor, by the people, will be like a breath of fresh air for the Great Yarmouth community.

MRS MARIE FIELD

Audley Street

Great Yarmouth


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