Letters November 19
PUBLISHED: 17:03 18 November 2010
Wind is hot air from councillors
LITTLE did I think when I wrote my most recent letter to the Mercury that events would unfold as quickly as they have done. The very day my letter was printed we had the “there’s a recession on” excuse from a councillor printed in the same paper.
The redundant cranes are now going (by the way, how can you close something that has never been opened?). Just wait now for the request for extra investment to modify the harbour facilities in order to exploit the “1,000 jobs” opportunity in wind technology. The only wind around here is the hot air coming from councillors trying desperately to put a positive spin on what appears to be a damning indictment of their earlier decisions.
I’ve not heard anything as good as this since 1984 when Arthur Scargill pronounced the miner’s strike to have been a famous victory for the trade union movement! You coudn’t make it up.
Burgh St Peter
Intent on wasting taxpayers money
DESPITE repeated denials from Labour leader Mike Castle and deputy leader Trevor Wainwright that the Mayoral campaign is not political, isn’t it odd that more Labour Party faces have put their names to the campaign?
Last week’s letter from the “Yes campaign” also indicated something awry. We were told that this referendum would happen at the same time as borough council elections next year in order to cut costs to the taxpayer; well, it seems this is also not correct.
They now hope to hold this election in March. Why do they still seem intent on wasting taxpayers’ money while we are faced with record levels of debt?
Forget about coastal erosion
I WOULD like to reinforce my argument about the predictions of coastal erosion at Scratby by replying to Mike King’s letter of last week.
As a long term resident of Scratby, Mr King should know the most damaging winds are those from the north to north west not north east as he states. The section of coastline I was referring to is between the end of the rock berm and Newport.
As a lifelong resident of Sctraby, I am fully aware some erosion did take place further south towards California in the 1990s and was subsequently protected.
At Scratby, the present extent of the foredunes at the base of the cliff is a vast improvement on the situation immediatly after the 1953 surge when all the foredunes were washed away and the bare cliff exposed. Even if this were to happen on a regular basis it would take many years for the cliffs to erode to any extent. The cliffs here are made up of solid chalk bearing clay unlike the sand cliffs at Happisbugh and strong tidal surges that cause damage only occur when a northerly gale combines with a high spring tide, a very rare occurrence.
I suggest those living near the coast forget about erosion, live a peaceful life enjoying the views overlooking the sea and time will show the SMP to be totally wrong in its predictions and the blight residents are suffering will go away.
As for extending the rock berm anyone who believes the borough or the government will provide more than £3m to protect against erosion that might occur are living in cloud cuckoo land but who knows, one day even pigs might learn to fly.
Don’t put your heads in the sand
IN the last few weeks there have been several letters regarding the council proposing to spend more than £3m extending the rocks from California thru Scratby. Some seem to be well researched and factual, others less factual and simply opinion.
I own a property in Scratby (not coast top, but second line) that is forecast to be destroyed by erosion in the relatively short-term. Now, some may argue that it’s my own problem for purchasing knowing that erosion was likely. Not so, when I bought there had been no significant erosion at Scratby ever.
Over the last 5-10 years erosion has started and been significant. If you look at the storm pipe on the beach by the end of The Esplanade, less than 10 years ago the cliffs came right to the end of the pipe. Now, there is about 12 feet of pipe exposed. There used to be numerous paths down to the beach, now there are very few, the reduction due to the erosion of the cliffs leaving big drops to the sand below.
I agree with Mr Cooke, last week, there is an amount of sand and marram grass that has accumulated and started to build up in the place of the erosion. The trouble is that now regularly, there are high tides that come to the foot of the cliffs which a few years ago would have been exceptional. Only a few weeks ago with a high tide and moderate on-shore wind, all the sand and new grass that had built up towards Hemsby was washed away. It only needs a high tide and strong wind and that new sand and grass in Scratby will wash away again, probably taking new sand and cliff too. Nature is wonderful, to quote a throwaway line, but it is also cruel.
With the recent Pathfinder exercise, I have learned my property may be gone in 25-50 years. This conclusion, I am told, made by technical experts based on science and forecast climate change. This opinion of experts, and opening my own eyes to what is happening down on the beach convinces me this will happen if no action is taken. I will probably be dead by then so will not be affected. To others, this will be a devastating and financially ruinous event.
I would ask residents and visitors to take a look at the beach and reflect on what you see. Erosion has started with vigour. To deny this is putting your head in the sand, and that sand is moving.
Not just for me, but for the sake of all the families and businesses whose properties are at risk, I urge support to Scratby Coastal Erosion Group (of which I am not a member) and Great Yarmouth Council in their endeavours to extend the rocks and protect the beautiful environment that is Scratby.
Name and Address withheld
What is Great about Yarmouth?
GREAT Yarmouth – what a town! Two new container cranes being sent back to China as the £20m outer harbour can’t handle container ships. The heliport closing and moving to Norwich in May, resulting in the closure of hotels, guest houses and pubs due to lost trade as the travelling offshore workforce will no longer be staying in the town.
All of this in the face of the VAT rise in January. Thank god I don’t have to depend on this town for a living otherwise I’d be seriously worried come the new year. Great Yarmouth? What’s great about it?
Cranes flying off for the winter!
I THOUGHT I was reading an ornithology report in last week’s Mercury as it was stated that wax wings have visited Great Yarmouth in droves but that the cranes are leaving, obviously to fly south for the winter!!
Folk have been sold down river
FOR about 25 years our local authorities have been wrestling with the problem of how to fund an outer harbour for Great Yarmouth; I don’t know why though, to situate one that sits on the end of a 500 yard wide peninsular and can only be accessed through the town centre doesn’t make much sense to me, but then, what do I know.
In 2006 along came the answer in the form of a white knight by the name of International Port Holdings. IPH had all the necessary credentials; big company (two personnel), well established (less than three months) and a great track record (this was its first project), how many more boxes do you need ticked.
So all the usual suspects with vested interests; council officers, local politicians and dignitaries, went into “enthusiastically embracing” mode and climbed on board. After all, IPH had a great plan. It would build the harbour and all it wanted in return was all of the money we had saved up, our entire port operation and assets, and the town’s heritage. It didn’t want anything that was not commercially viable of course, like Haven Bridge or the run down sections of Gorleston quayside, so it handed those bits back to the council.
Having tucked the deal under their belts IPH was sold and became a wholly owned subsidiary of investment group Global Infrastructure Partners. It all got a bit complicated after that with partnership agreements and joint ventures with international port operators.
None of this matters very much now anyhow, it’s anybody’s guess who actually owns the new harbour but one thing is for certain, Yarmouth doesn’t, and it paid for it at a price that cannot be measured in monetary terms. The people of the town have, quite literally, been sold down the river by people in positions of authority.
In fact, there’s any amount of old boys around town who, ten years ago, could have told all the experts with their computer models precisely why the outer harbour bird would never fly, but then, their opinions were only based on common sense and local knowledge and that would never do, would it?
But not to worry; now we are told the collapse of the container port project is a good thing really. Now there are new and much more exciting prospects for the future as Yarmouth becomes the renewable energy capital of the country with hundreds of jobs and thrilling new opportunities for economic growth. Appropriate really; a pretty useless harbour for equally useless windmills.
There have been calls for a public inquiry, I must say I have often wondered if the council had the legal right to give away so much of the town without public consultation but that would probably just mean more taxpayers money wasted on lawyers and a tanker load of whitewash, I would prefer a public flogging.
I suppose I can stop getting all excited about the third river crossing now?
It’s all cobblers
LIKE many members of the public we have been following the public relations farce that is the outer harbour with a mixture of hope, disbelief, anger and just plain cracking up..
BARBARA BRETT & DAVID NETTLESHIP
Minor alteration could solve issue
THE Outer Harbour is in fact but a huge bell which like any other bell only sounds when it is struck by a hammer or excited by another of identical pitch close to it. When this happens the water enclosed within the bell, the harbour, develops wave movements we call the lop. This means that if we can prevent the bell from ringing we can stop the lop. I think a minor alteration to the harbour entrance could easily solve the problem. Perhaps someone may be interested in my idea which I will be happy to discuss with anybody. Alternatively I might publish a short pamphlet
DAVID J M BUDDERY
Disappointed GPs abdicated duty
IT is brought to our notice that GPs surgeries are unable to override the latest computer programming preventing them prescribing anything other than the generic ingredient, thus allowing pharmacists to issue what brand they wish.
The claim it saves £600,000 a year is not worth one life. It is a drop in the ocean. Having successfully lobbied government to abolish PCTs and give power back to GPs we are disappointed GPs have abdicated their duty.
As a country we donate £9.4bn to International Development Aid. Much goes to India, Pakistan, China, and even Russia. All who spend their money on nuclear weapons of mass destruction instead of their people. Weapons that one day could be turned against the UK.
Our EU contribution is 6.4bn a year and rising. It is mainly the elderly and the too frightened to challenge their GPs who have been switched to 30-year-old technology second rate third world medicines. Is this how we want our love ones treated? No! We speak on behalf of thousands of elderly veteran members.
Did you see car get damaged?
I AM writing to see if there were any witnesses to the damaging of my vehicle on Monday, November 8 between 8.30-9.30am, as the driver did not leave any details.
The car was parked in Church Close in Caister, at the back entrance to the Caister Castle restaurant.
I was very shocked and extremely upset to find the vehicle in such a state of damage and even more upset that the person who did this did not leave any details.
My vehicle is a black Fiesta on a 09 plate. The timing of the damage was during the school run so there would have been plenty of people walking by at that time, so hopefully someone may have seen something. The car was parked opposite to where I live.
If anyone witnessed the damage being done to my car, please call 07730547870. Even now I find it so hard that someone could do this and just drive away as if nothing has happened
Police would have stopped me
IF I had turned right from The Conge through “No Entry” signs and parked in the middle of the road to enable me to use the cash machine, I am sure the following police car would have stopped me. Why then was the first police car allowed to get away with it on Saturday evening? It is no wonder the police do not get the respect they think they deserve.
Local government reform pointless
IT seems the Labour Party’s Yes Campaign for an elected mayor has surfaced its head again, and there is no doubt this is a Labour Party Campaign despite their denials.
Taxpayer’s money has already been wasted on this campaign when the borough council was forced to trawl through an invalid petition earlier this year which was riddled with inaccuracies. The council has then had to spend more time looking at the new petition. One point he has made in his correspondence to the Mercury was that this would not cost the council any extra to run as a referendum would take place on the same day as borough elections. This is false.
Borough elections will only take place in some parts of the borough; this means other polling stations would have to open across the borough an extra 12 that would have to be staffed by the council at taxpayers’ expense.
My next point is in reference to Peter Kirkpatrick’s letter that they now hope to hold a referendum in March, contrary to what they had told the public before.
At a time when money is tight do we really want to be wasting our money on trying to force through pointless local government reform.
Hawthorn Road, Gorleston
Make best use of the harbour
NO doubt the news of the failure of the container port and the loss of the heliport will bring a flurry of “I told you so” letters in The Mercury. As a former ship’s master and rig manager I forecasted several points to friends with offshore and maritime connections and find that some of them have indeed come true.
The entrance to the harbour facing due east ensured it would suffer from an easterly swell and you only have to look at the Dutch harbours to see that they put in as many as three sets of breakwaters to ensure shelter. It would obviously be a prohibitive cost to add a covering offset breakwater now but this should have been thought of during the no doubt mega costing feasibility studies before construction.
The rumour is that Yokohama fenders have been ordered to protect the vessels and harbour walls and if true it is a step in the right direction. It is no use crying over spilt milk and it is now necessary to take action to make the best use possible of the harbour.
Wind energy work is not like oilfield support which entails supply vessels servicing the installations while drilling and producing oil and gas. Once wind turbines are in place maintenance does not need large vessels and very few personnel.
If a maintenance barge is needed it is generally Danish and uses little or no local labour. Like the container trade which is sewn up by Felixstowe and Ipswich in this area, the wind energy work has already gone to other ports.
The heliport move was a foregone conclusion despite the denials. It has survived for 50 years without a hard runway and it is much more economical for the move to Norwich. The drilling and service companies will be able to fly their crews into Norwich and will not have to find accommodation for them some 25 miles away in Yarmouth.
The downside for small businesses in Yarmouth will be felt severely especially in hotels, restaurants, taxis, trains, shops and hire car companies and once again employment will be affected among the heliport support companies.
Perhaps instead of criticising the mistakes already made in our area, readers may be able to suggest projects to improve the situation and not let projects like the proposed Cobholm marina and housing go by the wayside as has happened in the past.
My partner and I set up our company some 21 years ago and despite many setbacks have diversified from simply being a taxi company to being a major employer in the town and we have received no grants or handouts in this time.
We will miss the heliport work and container trade but we will keep a positive outlook and this is what is needed in Great Yarmouth.
Will gates go?
CAN you inform me, now that the outer harbour has gone ‘tides up’ if the monstrous gates will removed allowing the taxpayers of the borough, access to the harbour’s mouth, a location that has been enjoyed by many, for years. Many of us, over the years used to enjoy a short lunchtime break, a sarnie and an ice-cream, watching the waves breaking, and the boats and ships coming into our harbour. You stopped that. We want it back.
Ormesby St Margaret
In support of blue plaque
WITH reference to a letter in the Mercury (November 5) from Dr Hamilton-Deane regarding the late Arthur George James (pictured) being honoured with a blue plaque, I would like wholeheartedly to support his wishes.
I had the good fortune to serve under George James’ leadership at Herman Junior School from 1955 to 1970 when he was promoted to the headship of Cliff Park Junior School.
He was truly an inspirational leader putting Herman Junior School in the forefront of very many aspects of education. He will perhaps be best remembered for his foresighted initiative in 1959 when, with overwhelming parental support, he organised the building on site of a pool for teaching swimming.
So successful it was that, under his guidance, many other schools in the area quickly followed suit resulting in thousands of children being taught to swim.
He was a great lover of sport and in particular football but, nevertheless, he was ever at great pains to point out the enormous lifelong benefits and importance of children learning to swim. He would emphasise too that it was something suitable for nearly all children and, in particular, for those who lacked the stimulus of success elsewhere in their lives.
Personally, like many others, I feel I owe a great deal to George James; the example he set has so very often influenced the pattern of events that have taken place in my own life and career. There is so much more that could be said in his favour to which a single letter could not possibly do justice — his life was undeniably exemplary.
Another change of direction
SINCE the inception of the open fronted, east facing, all weather, deep water Outer Harbour tales have been told of the prosperity this would bring to the people of Great Yarmouth. Initially tales of roll-on roll-off ferries bring cargoes and tourists. Hotels, casinos with a great deal of well being. Then a change of direction: containers, undermining all our dreams. Great cranes stamping a seal of approval to their intentions. Slowly tales of ships turned to hardships.
General cargo ships were coming up against the wrong type of water rolling into the harbour affecting the whole function of the set-up. It has now been decided to try something else. The two cranes will be done away with dropping the idea of containers. Go full out for the wind farm idea in 2015. By then things should have calmed down and everything should be super.
How good are these practices?
IN response to your article “Broads Vicar to Resign” (November 5) I would like to point out that the annual firework display held in St Catherine’s graveyard, Ludham had already started before the Rev Khambatta moved to the parish.
I am in recent receipt of a letter via Norman Lamp MP from the clerk of Ludham Parish Council which states the firework display is organised by the parish council and does so with the permission of the Parochial Church Council.
I called the Rev Khambatta to question over an article in the EDP in which he claimed St Catherine’s Church, Ludham was the gateway church to the Norfolk Broads churches and an example of good practice.
If the he has as much support as he claims for such activity as firework displays in graveyards and licensed bars in church why is it after his nine years here these so-called good practices have not taken off in the churches of his other three parishes, ie Catfield, Hickling and Potter Heigham.
ROBERT B DAVISON
OH frabjous day
PERHAPS we can now have a cautious joke at those hated cranes:
Oh frabjous day! Hip, hip hooray!
We thought those cranes were here to stay!
But now we hear they’re going away!
Oh frabjous day! Hip hip hooray!
(With apologies to Edward Lear).
Miss R L FARMER
Public inquiry is best option
BECAUSE of all the public interest that has been aroused by the Mercury, television and radio I believe the council will shortly have to make a statement concerning their negotiations for the outer harbour but I don’t know if it will be what we want. A public inquiry is really the only way to know what is hidden from us. We ratepayers are the losers in this “deal” and if we continue to put on the pressure I see little alternative to the inquiry.
We are fed a lot of spin but no tangible facts concerning jobs and what the chances are of getting wind farm and decommissioning work because the outer harbour wasn’t designed for this, or was it? We have learned not to trust politicians. Just be straight with us and we will be more interested in politics. Have meetings before an election so we can get to know you a little. We must stop voting for a colour and vote for who we believe is best for the job. An unexpected benefit from all this has been we have seen how politicians react when they are criticised and it certainly is a revelation from some. We all wanted the outer harbour to be a big success and still do but this is going to call for great co-operation between the council, EastPort and ourselves as stakeholders which we are, be it as ratepayers or those in need of work.
Two reasons to say thank you
I WOULD like to express my thanks to two sets of Yarmouth people. The first is to the dedicated team of amateur gardeners who set up the garden outside the town library. Their hard work was recognised at the opening ceremony on October 31, to which I was lucky enough to be invited when the mayor cut the ribbon. Volunteers and local people featured in the film that was shown and we were also treated to the most wonderful food including pumpkin soup. We all look forward to the spring when the bulbs and flowers will be at their best. The others I would like to thank are a group of young people who were outside near the entrance to the Conservative Club on Friday evening (November 12). I promise I wasn’t drunk but I slipped over and landed flat on my back. The teenagers came over to help me and check me over to make sure I was all right and apart from feeling silly and having a bit of a headache and some bruises the next day, I was fine. In these days when youngsters sometimes get a bad press, it is heartening to know that there are some kind, considerate and great kids in Great Yarmouth.
Coastal erosion won’t go away
WE are replying because Scratby Coastal Erosion Group have been mentioned by others in their letters. Not to do so may give the impression that we are not paying attention which we certainly are. However to get involved in a technical debate about coastal erosion would serve no purpose and interested parties should contact the coastal manager at Great Yarmouth Borough Council - Mr Bernard Harris.
In 2005 the draft Shoreline Management Plan 2 covering Scratby beach was changed from ‘hold the line’ to ‘no active intervention’. We have been campaigning since then to get this changed back. If we don’t no one will be allowed to protect our beach in any way whatsoever. We have had a lot of support both locally and nationally, for which we are very grateful, but as yet we haven’t achieved our objective.
Coastal erosion won’t go away. Its not if, but when. The experience of the rock berm at California indicates that an extension to that up to Newport could buy us up to 50 years respite. By then new techniques could be developed and political opinions could change. The next generation deserve to be left with something to work with. We do not want them to look back at us and accuse us of giving up. Our parents never gave up when faced with war and we don’t intend to either.
Scratby Coastal Erosion Group
We’re not in the same league
FOLLOWING recent events, ships being turned away and ships having trouble remaining on berths etc, when are we going to realise our limitations and accept we are not in the same league as Felixstowe, Harwich or the Humber. Has anyone from our council being to see their facilities? As to “wind generators” being a source of future business, Lowestoft and Harwich are already established so we are late as usual. In my opinion they are not cost effective; one only has to look out to Scroby Sands or down to Lowestoft. They are often not active through the year so not a very reliable source of power generation. Lately I have been reliably informed that wind generators are now being demolished in Denmark as they are so inefficient. I suggest tidal turbines should be developed. Tides are always flowing and have been since the world began. We should encourage design engineers in Yarmouth to build efficient sea water turbines, this could bring business to Great Yarmouth and also provide local employment and keep the “Greens” happy.
A H OSGOOD