Letters, October 30 2015
PUBLISHED: 20:57 29 October 2015
Shared decision seals our fate
At last Thursday’s borough council meeting, 100pc of UKIP’s councillors supported the minority Conservative administration and by doing so sealed the fate of Great Yarmouth. Together they decided Great Yarmouth will join with North Norfolk District Council and share a chief executive and a section 151 finance officer.
What value does the Conservative leader place on local services if he believes a part-time chief executive working 2.5 days a week will be in the best interest of Great Yarmouth. Great Yarmouth is an area of complex needs, activities and programmes.
We are an international centre for gas, oil and renewable energies; we are one of the most important tourist centres in the UK; we have two of the most active enterprise zones in the UK; we have a large stock of council houses; and one of the largest asset bases of land and property in Norfolk. The skills and experience required in Great Yarmouth are far beyond those needed in rural North Norfolk.
The Conservative leader of the council presented his proposal for sharing with North Norfolk without any business case or concrete evidence to show the value to Great Yarmouth. We all know shared services and joined up working is the future of local government and indeed, many shared services were implemented by the previous Labour administration.
But, Labour councillors argued strongly that Great Yarmouth must maintain a clear and independent voice at a time of massive changes. These include the devolution proposals for a joint Norfolk and Suffolk combined authority. Labour councillors believe any changes to the structure and governance of Great Yarmouth should take place when more details of the Norfolk/Suffolk joint devolved authority are available.
Labour councillors believe the council cannot be managed on a part-time basis and indeed, it has already been indicated a part-time chief executive will need a deputy, assistant or management team.
So where is the saving in that? We will never know because the minority Conservative council leader, Cllr Plant, has not got his business plan together yet. He refuses to discuss the matter further and blocked the discussion being brought before the scrutiny committee. The Conservative and UKIP alliance are putting Great Yarmouth at risk. If there is to be an agreement to move forward in a way best for Great Yarmouth, there must be a consensus to do so and this should be based on sound evidence not political dogma.
Chairman Scrutiny Committee
Great Yarmouth Borough Council
Please clear out stinging nettles
Hooray! At last they have tidied up the trees and bushes on the public footpath at the back of Yew Tree Close, which is a short cut to both Hillside and Woodlands primary schools.
Hopefully that will encourage walking and means there will be fewer cars parked on Yew Tree Close and surrounding roads, so there is room for the parents who have a long way to come to school and need to park.
But the stinging nettles still remain! All they need is weedkiller as they are a pain to avoid. Perhaps in future they could do both and this would encourage people to walk, so there are fewer parked cars and traffic for residents and parents alike.
Surely this would also be safer for the children.
Come on council, don’t do one without doing the other and do more often.
Name and Address withheld
Cyclists riding with no lights
With the nights drawing in I have noticed a lot of cyclists both on the roads and on cyclepaths with no lights on. Are they not aware they need to have front and rear lights both on the road and on cyclepaths?
If one of them gets knocked off and injured you can be sure it would be the motorist who the finger is pointed at. Also are cyclists aware not all paths are cyclepaths?
I live on Burgh Road where at great expense a few years ago a purpose-built cyclepath was built. Why then do cyclists ignore the cyclepath and cycle on the path on the other side which is not a cyclepath? There are signs saying end of route but these signs are ignored by many.
Please cyclists can you read The Highway Code and abide by the rules of the road as most law-abiding motorists do. I write this letter as a pedestrian who has had many near accidents with cyclists when taking my dog out for a walk on what are pedestrian paths not cyclepaths.
Genie won’t go back in bottle
The letter about half a free car park and half a bridge is typical of the way Great Yarmouth Borough Council operates. They have allowed restaurants to be built on land in front of Tesco while refusing permission for a Dunehelm to be built on land owned by Pasta Foods, thus leaving half the site derelict.
It’s a bit late in the day to worry about the state of the town centre as you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.
While we are on the subject of shopping, it seems wrong we are no longer going to be given plastic bags for purchases of new clothing. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to cram a new outfit on top of my meat and two veg,
Bus change cuts off our route
I was most disappointed to read Anglian Buses’ new amended timetable as from November 2; the number 7 route will now operate a revised route with buses no longer running via Middleton Road in Gorleston and instead diverting via Lowestoft Road and Avondale Road north of James Paget, and via Mariners Crescent.
This is of a great inconvenience to those who live on and just off Middleton Road and why on earth Anglian bosses should insist on this route being diverted is beyond me, as Lowestoft and Avondale Road both already have a good bus service in the form of First Bus number 1 and 1A services.
I do not own a car and like make others who live close to Middleton Road and relies on this bus service, many elderly and disabled persons and those like myself without a car, will now have to make the extra hike walking either for the new revised route on Lowestoft Road or onto the Magdalen for the First Bus number 8 or X1 services.
Once again, just like in the late 90s and into the first part of the Millennium, Middleton Road will once again be without a bus service and all the marked bus stops on this road will become obsolete and redundant.
Could I dare suggest either Anglian Buses rethink the idea or indeed a new operator looks at this route for another service.
Terns have more right to the land
I was deeply disturbed to see on the front page of the Mercury on October 16 the headline Terns threat to 194 homes bid’
The threat is actually to the breeding and nesting terns and not to the homes. The terns have more right to the land than the property developers who want to take yet another area of grade A agricultural land out of the food programme.
There are many brownfield sites in Great Yarmouth and empty homes which need renovation or complete rebuild rather than use land which we so badly need to feed the ever growing population of Great Yarmouth, Great Britain and indeed the world.
Once this land is taken out of the food programme it cannot be replaced. If we continuously take from nature there will be no nature.
The RSPB strongly advises against this development. Over and over again we take away the natural habitats of such beautiful creatures in our pursuit of greed. It must be stopped.
These kinds of developments only profit the developers and not nature or the local population.
This should be reported to the local people, they deserve the truth.
CLLR LYNNE CONNELL
Seafield Road North,
Pleased at a new pub in Gorleston
I am pleased that Wetherspoons are opening a new pub in Gorleston. I remember using one of their early pubs in Wandsworth SW18 back in 1979 shortly after they had been establishing themselves as a growing company. The pubs have no music and also are àn economic place to enjoy a well kept rotating list of real ales abd ciders and food.
They have been gradually spreading out nationally from their original London base. Buying ex cinemas. banks. bingo halls. shops. hotels and turning these buildings into pubs using as much of the original features as possible. For example the impressive Hamilton Hall.outside London’s Liverpool Street Station.
Well, this will be a good addition to their chain. And wish it success.
Petrol station is not needed
It was with concern I noted in your issue of October 16 that Sainsbury’s Supermarket Ltd has applied for permission to demolish the Tudor Tavern on St Nicholas Road and redevelop the site into a petrol station.
As the building has been allowed to deteriorate over the years it may well need to be demolished but a petrol station is not needed as there is a perfectly good one next door together with a very efficient and convenient car wash.
We do not need two petrol stations within a few metres of each other. If the idea is to put the existing one out of business, then shame on Sainsburys. Hopefully the council will refuse this application.
Lovely to see the Carr couple
How lovely it was to see a photo of Roy and Doreen Carr (Peggotty, October 23). Roy used to be a regular in my father’s pub, the Suspension Tavern, in the 1960s. I don’t think I have seen Ray for about 40 years.
He had a boat on our slipyard that he repaired and built called the Brot. They had a proper launching but I think it was just an excuse to have a few drinks. Roy was a big strong man always working and I can always hear my father saying “Come on Carr, just one more for the road.” Wishing him and Doreen all the best.
Please support Poppy Appeal
On behalf of the borough council, I would ask your readers to support this year’s Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal, which is the Legion’s most important source of money.
The work of the Legion is devoted to people whose needs arise from service to their country- they range from Veterans of the First and Second World Wars to those who served in conflicts in places such as Cyprus, Falklands, the Gulf, Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan.
Our donations provide the practical help for those in need during times of hardship and distress and is wisely spent on such things as helping to maintain residential homes, convalescent homes, sheltered workshops and a multitude of other large and small measures which help those who have given so much for our freedom and security.
I would like to invite members of the public to come to St George’s Park on November 8 for the Remembrance Day Service commencing at 10.55am. Also there will be a service at 12.30pm at the Far East Prisoner of War Memorial at the Jetty Marine Parade.
Other events marking Remembrance Day are November 3, Blessing of the Crosses at St George’s Park at 11am and the Festival of Remembrance on November 7 at St George’s Theatre.
Tickets are on sale now.
I also hope you will observe the two minutes’ silence on November 11 to express your gratitude and honour of all those who have died in the cause of peace and freedom throughout the world and to remember the sacrifices made for future generations to enjoy the freedom that was won.
Cllr SHIRLEY WEYMOUTH
Mayor of the Borough of Great Yarmouth
What about the austerity cuts?
With regard to Cllr Lee Sutton’s letter in last week’s Mercury, I should like to congratulate him for voicing his beliefs, supporting the members of his ward, and alerting us to the Conservative council’s projected plan to put a temporary ice rink on the Market Place at Christmas.
I am appalled that in these time of austerity and imminent cuts to budgets that the borough council can even contemplate spending £100,000 of ratepayers money on a gimmick for a few days, with no lasting benefits and no guaranteed profit, while at the same time proposing to axe the Marina Centre bowls facilities for residents and stakeholders for 15 years!
Is there any logic in this? Has the borough council forgotten that it is supposed to be supporting and helping those who elected them?
Wake up residents to what is happening to your hard earned money. Don’t sit back and watch it wasted, lost or given away to outsiders and private companies.
Regeneration must come from within, and by working together so borough council it is time to get your priorities right. Time to consider the people, their rights, needs and well-being, and importantly where and how money should be legitimately spent.
Great Yarmouth Indoor Bowls Club
500l of oil stolen from our tank
I would urge local business owners and residents to check the level of heating oil in their tanks as it appears thieves are at work in our area.
My business had more than 500 litres of oil stolen from our tank within days of it being delivered. When this happened to us previously the thieves left a little oil in the tank, so it was a while before we realised. This may be the case with other business and home owners now.
I would encourage them to check the level in their tanks and if they suspect oil has been stolen to report it to the police.
Cllrs vote put the ratepayers first
At a full council meeting a majority of councillors voted to investigate the possibility of sharing a chief executive officer with North Norfolk District Council. All attending Labour and Independent councillors voted against.
This has the possibility of saving both councils £50k-75k pa on this one post. Factor in other highly paid posts such as a s151 officer and HR and the savings yearly are not as Cllr Wainwright suggests “relatively small.”
During this interim engagement the two councils will produce a business case, which will also investigate all other methods and means to reduce back office costs, to ensure as much as possible, frontline services are protected.
In last week’s letter Cllr. Wainwright jubilantly described two earlier attempts of sharing as “failures”.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
South Norfolk could not be agreed at the time, and Labour stopped the agreed sharing with Breckland when elected to power nearly three years ago, not because it wouldn’t save ratepayers money, but because they wouldn’t contemplate sharing, again describing savings relatively small.
Had that happened, the council would not currently be in such a difficult financial position, with savings in the 2-3 years of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Interestingly, the previous coalition government offered GYBC under his leadership £400k to investigate the possibility of shared CEO, and he refused.
The current investigation is being funded by the Local Government Association (£25k) and is costing the ratepayers nothing at all.
The Local Government Association has evidence of savings over 3-4 years of £60m from councils that have shared, and have the benefit of ongoing savings year on year, to protect and enhance frontline services.
The EDP even described the initiative as “ a potential marriage made in common sense”.
The last Labour administration refused £400k from government, employed an interim CEO (a very good one) at a cost of £1000+VAT a day, and other interim officers at up to £690+VAT, and refused to look at sharing officers.
Suffolk have six councils sharing CEO and back office, Waveney and Suffolk Coastal being the nearest, and report savings of £900k pa.
This administration is not irresponsible, we are simply investigating the possibilities.
Residents will, I hope, welcome the fact that Conservative and UKIP councillors have put ratepayers first.
Councillor, Bradwell North
Station is not a blot on landscape
I’m appalled to read of Brandon Lewis’s scheme to erect housing on top of Great Yarmouth’s Vauxhall Station. On such a scale it would be wheelie bins everywhere and even more vehicles needing parking spaces.
If he’s so blown away with what’s happened in London with so-called housing connected with the Crossrail development, perhaps he should move, to be among the buildings which please him. With the lack of space in London the only way is usually up or down, which we don’t need in Yarmouth.
Vauxhall station is a low-line single -building, which is not a blot on the landscape. I would expect anyone coming to Yarmouth from the south would think the town hasn’t a station, so insignificant it is.
It’s a pity he didn’t put his energies into securing a covering loan of funding, to cover the cost of the complete refurbishment of the iconic Bure Bowstring Bridge, whilst all the manpower and equipment was in place, to save waiting for the ‘fund pot’ to grow to enable the second part to be completed. Now that would have made an elegant entry, also to have made it vehicle friendly as originally intended, and tidy up the southern approach. So what’s next on his mind, housing on top of Tesco and Asda? They are flat-topped buildings?
Personally I could see a rooftop garden/seating area above the station, where the station café could spread to, with reasonable views and passenger waiting area also. With the proposed, but delayed re-signalling of the area, it would seem that Vauxhall station would be lucky to keep a couple of tracks in the platforms. A far cry from when Yarmouth was Great.
Editor’s Note: This letter has been re-printed because it had not been proof-read and corrected, after being typed in. We apologise to Mr Hopkins for the errors in his contribution to the debate.
Help with details about emigrants
I live in Wellington, New Zealand and have tons of information about migrants arriving both to here and Australia, but I’d like to have definite facts about emigration from your end.
There must have been some excellent organisation, judging by the huge numbers of British assisted migrants arriving weekly by sea to Sydney and, where my interests lie, Moreton Bay, thence to be known as Brisbane. Our National Archives, also New South Wales and Queensland State Libraries are mines of interest and assistance.
I am researching three sets of migrants to Australia 1848 to 1852 from Martham and need to know how they organised it all, especially since they were nigh on illiterate farmworkers, probably penniless.
I am hoping to slowly retrace the Martham Chapman family (mum, dad and seven children aged 18 down to nine months), from their arrival to their final settlement, 240 miles inland.
They accomplished this in the blazing heat of a Queensland summer and I can just visualise the trauma, travelling by ox-cart or walking. They were brave, hardy people, those Norfolk emigrants!
Can anyone help me with any commercial directories from the 1850s onwards. Were there Emigration Agents?
How did people know about the migration to New Zealand and Australia, and how did they go about organising it? If anyone can help in my research please email me on email@example.com
Nee Leath, originally from West Somerton
999 services were here very quickly
Last Friday morning I was unfortunate in having an accident while using a circular saw.
My wife, seeing what I had done, was about to take me to hospital when a former police officer, who was at my neighbour’s house, quickly assessed the situation and said it was an ambulance job, whereupon he immediately called one on his mobile phone.
A paramedic arrives within minutes, gave me oxygen and put me on a drip, by which time the ambulance had arrived. I was stretchered in and my wife accompanied me to the James Paget.
Within five minutes of being wheeled into the accident unit, I was taken to a treatment cubicle and attended to by a kind, friendly nurse. The damage took eight stitches to repair but I am making good progress.
I would like to convey my sincere thanks to Andrew who called the ambulance, the paramedic who initially attended to me, the ambulance crew, and the nurse who attended to me at hospital.
Nobody could have received quicker and more sympathetic attention than I did, and the management of the James Paget can be proud of their staff.
Dr MICHAEL PRETTY