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Nothing but a facade

PUBLISHED: 15:15 08 May 2008 | UPDATED: 11:01 03 July 2010

I EXPECT many people saw the opening of St George's Park on television and read the reports in the newspapers last week; children singing, laughing and playing in this lovely new park.

I EXPECT many people saw the opening of St George's Park on television and read the reports in the newspapers last week; children singing, laughing and playing in this lovely new park. The new area looked fantastic; my eager children were excited to go there.

So, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, we went. Our afternoon out to the park ended up with three traumatised young children and my husband, daughter, her boyfriend and another friend ending up in A&E at the James Paget Hospital. The reason? My daughter asked a gang of hoodies to stop throwing traffic cones at the birds.

A big thank you to the man in the black baseball cap who helped my family. As we left, another member of the public, who also helped, told us “nothing has changed, it happens here every day.”

A lot of money, time and effort has been spent on that park, well, I feel I should say wasted on that park, because the attitude has not changed. Until something is done to stop the gangs congregating in that area, it's as dangerous as it was before.

Parents beware. Don't be fooled by the shiny exterior, it's nothing more than a facade and the amount of unsupervised children there worries me sick. The reality is that children and parents are still at risk from uncontrolled feral gangs. If this letter can prevent another decent family becoming victims of senseless thuggery, then it's worth it.

Name and address withheld

THOSE cafe owners who have taken the borough council to task over its proposal to have outdoor seating along the seafront should take a look at how it should be done by visiting EJ's Diner near to the Wellington Pier.

This man obviously has pride in his establishment with all staff in smart uniforms, his menu boards and café, signage all colour-coordinated and now also with a proper seating arrangement outside in a tastefully done fenced area with colourful umbrellas and new tables and chairs.

Just what the council were hoping for. A fine example for others to follow. Well done.

CHRISTOPHER STANLEY

The Great Court

Royal Naval Hospital

Great Yarmouth

JUST before seven in the evening on Thursday, May 1, a large dull red car possibly a BMW or Mercedes automatic swooped up to and stopped in a rural clearing outside my house. The driver, a dark haired person aged approximately mid 40s, opened the door to let two dogs out. The driver stayed in the front seat with the door opened and engine running while the dogs sniffed around presumably to do a mess. The driver then got out still with the engine running and leaned against the car watching while one of the dogs did a large mess two feet from the dog litter bin and next to the sign asking to clear up dogs mess. They then roared off but not before I shouted to clear it up which he/she ignored.

I have two dogs myself and if there was ever a case of blatant disregard for bye-laws and giving responsible dog owners a bad name this was it. What makes it worse is that just past my house is the start of an uninhabited dirt track half a mile long where if a dog has an accident it can be discretely kicked into the hedge to join the doggie bags full of muck hanging on the brambles. Now this mess will get on my car tyres and brought into my drive for my grandchild to play in.

My only regret is not getting the registration, as the incident was all recorded on CCTV.

PETER CHURCH

Sandy Lane

Belton

I OVERHEARD the telephone conversation reported in Letters, May 2, by Ms Plane. Our Customer Service Supervisor attempted to explain the reason the green bins were not emptied was due to contamination. We cannot empty contaminated green bins as they, in turn, contaminate the whole load collected by the truck. The truck can then be rejected at the recycling centre.

She explained that if the contaminants were removed, we could empty them. Our supervisor then explained the householders “Duty Of Care” to ensure that waste is correctly disposed of. This is incumbent on all householders.

What we were trying to explain is that if the tenants did not meet this Duty Of Care, they could face a prosecution. It would be in their interest that she check the bins and advise accordingly.

With regard the comment on the area being a “general tipping area,” we would hardly disagree. This is because there are a several residents who fail miserably in their Duty Of Care. They simply expect GYBC to clear it up, at the expense of all those diligent, compliant residents whom it's a pleasure to serve.

On a more positive note, a GYBC Recycling officer will be visiting the area to (once again) try to educate the tenants.

IAN BARNETT

Service Delivery Manager

GYB Services Ltd

I TRUST that all those involved with the football tournament held at the playing field on Allendale road in Caister this last weekend had a successful and enjoyable time.

However, would it not have been practical and indeed courteous of organisers to warn local residents of the disruption and inconvenience that would be caused, not only by the volume of vehicles parked along surrounding roads but the inconsiderate behaviour of some individuals towards residents' vehicles, properties and the maintenance of driveway access.

Whilst I applaud any attempt to encourage community activity I feel a little more consideration towards the wider local community would foster greater support and toleration of future events. If football clubs are said to be the heart of a community, this one has only succeeded in blocking its own arteries!

Name and address withheld

THE problems at the Gapton Hall roundabout trundle on with the council seemingly unable, or unwilling, to come up with a workable solution. The majority of those who use the roundabout would agree that the easiest, cheapest solution would be to turn off the traffic lights and allow the traffic to do just that...flow.

A possible solution might be found across the North Sea in Holland where, in a town called Drachten, all road signs and traffic lights have been removed leaving responsibility for road safety and efficient traffic flow firmly in the hands of drivers. This, you would think, would only help to increase traffic problems and lead to a surge in accidents.

Strange though it may seem, the reverse has happened. In the nine years the system has been in place there have been no fatal accidents; whereas before there was one every three years. Just the other day I witnessed a near pile-up on the Gapton Hall roundabout because the lights halfway round it had changed to red and vehicles were queuing across the main carriageway blocking the flow of traffic from the Yarmouth side.

In Drachten, the purpose for removing all traffic lights, white lines and other traffic signs, was to create an element of danger which in turn encourages personal responsibility, awareness and concentration to protect yourself, the driver, and thereby avoid injury to others. Which is pretty much what happens to drivers when approaching a roundabout or junction.

Your brain immediately considers the danger to yourself, and/or others, and tells you to act accordingly by either braking or continuing if safe to do so. Could such a simple yet radical solution be the answer to our problem? It certainly bears thinking about.

This council's obsession with traffic calming schemes, speed humps, mini roundabouts and traffic lights have cost money better spent elsewhere and done nothing to improve traffic flow throughout the borough; in fact in most cases the problem has been multiplied.

If the council does not want to consider or investigate the Drachten solution, then will it not consider the simple action of “flicking” a switch or two to turn the lights off at the Gapton Hall roundabout off for a couple of months just to see what happens. You never know, traffic might just begin to flow freely again.

TERRY BOLGER

Caister on Sea

HAVING read your article by 'Porthole' in the Mercury on May 2 regarding roller-skating I felt I had to drop a line to say about the memories it brought back to me.

I had quite a few sessions at Gorleston-on-Sea Rollerdrome and the Winter Gardens rink but started out rollerskating on Gorleston-on-Sea Lower Promenade with the old type steel wheeled skates that used to fit over shoes and had two brackets on the front fitting over the front of the shoe which were tightened up with a special tool and had a strap around the back of the heel.

We used to see how far we would dare go up the biggest slope and come roaring down. I had many a bruise and scrape but wonderful times. Whatever would Health and Safety make of that now, Oh my!

DON BULLARD

Elm Avenue

Gorleston-on-Sea

MY name is Paul Burton, and I live in Leicester in the East Midlands. I am writing to say how pleased I am to see the rebuilding of the Wellington Theatre building. While I believe it is a huge pity it will not be reopened as a theatre, at least this building has been rebuilt and will again be open to the public. I believe Family Amusements (the company who own the pier) should be congratulated for their work.

Although I haven't visited for Great Yarmouth since 2002, I did make visits to the resort in the 90s and the early part of this decade and really enjoyed watching shows at the Wellington Theatre. The work that Jim Davidson did to keep the theatre going for the extra seven years should not be forgotten.

Over the years that wonderful theatre played host to many a star. From Benny Hill, Morecambe and Wise, Arthur Askey and Mike Yarwood, some of the country's finest entertainers trod the boards there. My hope is that the people of Great Yarmouth will join me in campaigning for a plaque to be erected on the front of the rebuilt building, which I believe will now be a state-of-the-art ten-pin bowling alley which will remind both young and old of is former use.

I look forward to the reopening of the building and to making a return to Yarmouth to seeing all the wonderful developments which I have been reading about. Finally, my thanks go to those individuals who via a Yarmouth-related website have been answering my questions and in some cases even going to the trouble of emailing me photos on the rebuilding of the Wellington Theatre building.

PAUL BURTON

Oadby

Leicester

DO we know the cost of repairing that monstrosity of a town hall? Would it not have been better to have sold it to a property developer and put portacabins on what ground the outer harbour will not need? Just look at The Maltings

H G Perry

Gorleston

I READ Peter Gray-Read's letter published on April 18 rather late as I have been away. There seems very little more to say on this subject as his letter makes it clear that while my support for continuing this research on the lines that the scientists wish to follow is based on their current success to date and the promise of better results in the future. This will of course help to deal with various genetic disorders.

Peter's objections appear to be based on nothing more than a religious belief for which there is no reliable evidence whatsoever. We are of course a democratic society and if a majority wish to ban these advances based on such beliefs then so be it despite the damage and distress that may be caused by such a ban. Hopefully common sense will prevail and we will be able to offer some hope of assistance in the future.

Just one small point I would make. Laws and ordinances that enable a society to run smoothly are not the result of any particular religion and were in use by human societies long before any of the current religions were even thought about.

DEREK BROWN

Nelson Road South

Great Yarmouth

DURING one of my regular excursions to Yarmouth Market, and looking at the top of buildings for interesting observations, as one does, I spotted a sign that read “Market Row fading to Broad Row.”

I don't know how others would interpret this, but to me personally it suggests that Market Row is interesting to start with, but becomes less so the further you walk down it, and that Broad Row has simply faded into significance.

I then walked to the Central Arcade, interested in the work being carried out there, only to find that a great many of the shops have disappeared. I suggest a sign announcing “Central Arcade just fading away” might be appropriate.

T ANDREWS

Northern Close

Caister

I WOULD like to thank all the people that voted for me on May 1, although the result was not what I had hoped for. I do appreciate those that bother to turn out and place their votes. It seems that people place their votes on the fence-sitters and not those with an agenda to get this county and country back to what it should be, run by the people for the people of Great Britain.

How do people still vote for a government that has stripped the hard-working people of this once great country of hard-earned wages and pensions? I know that the Labour party lost over 300 seats in local elections but that should have been at least doubled. Do people not have a thought for the lower paid workers and pensioners? Why do they bury their heads in the sand and not see where this government is taking us all - to a united Europe with no controls over our taxes, laws, or defence. Is that what our two world wars were about?

COLIN ALDRED (UKIP)

Groomes Close

Hopton-on-Sea

I WOULD like to thank the 713 residents who voted for me on May 1. It has been a privilege to serve the residents of Bradwell North as your borough councillor for the last six years and I hope during that time I have made a difference on issues and concerns affecting all residents of Bradwell North.

Unfortunately as hard as you try, national issues affect the results of local elections, which is a great shame as councils can lose good local councillors through no fault of their own. I will still continue to represent residents of Breydon as their county councillor, until new elections are held for any new unitary authority that may be formed within the next two years.

TREVOR J WAINWRIGHT

Member of Norfolk County Council for Breydon Division

LOCAL Tories must be pleased to pinch two seats from Labour in last week's elections when only a few weeks ago they feared they would lose control of the borough council. Some own goals by the Brown government certainly made life a little harder for our candidates!

I don't think Barry Coleman should be too cock-a-hoop, however, because the town areas of Yarmouth are still largely a Tory-free zone, with Mike Taylor, Michael Jeal and Penny Linden all re-elected and Labour holding eight of ten seats. The Tories once had a few more councillors, even when it was Labour who ran the council prior to 2000.

For us on the Labour side, we still have two more seats than we were left with in 2004, and it's worth remembering we still went on to re-elect Tony Wright MP the following year.

It's not pleasant, though, losing again after winning Tory seats “against the tide” in 2006 and 2007. In Yarmouth we revisited our policies after losing in 2004 and let local people know that we were on their side, championing distinctive policies that put local people first, including the introduction of residents' permit parking in areas where local people found it virtually impossible to park near their homes. We now need to do the same job in Gorleston too - once a Labour stronghold.

Realistically this was probably the last elections run on the current borough ward boundaries. Probably the next contest in 2009 or 2010 will be fought on the county divisions where Labour holds currently six of the nine divisions on the Norfolk County Council. If the Tories are successful in their bid to the Boundary Committee, this will be for a Norfolk Coastal Council, stretching from Hopton to Hunstanton. If my colleagues and I win, it will be for a new Great Yarmouth and Waveney Unitary. The jury is out!

MICK CASTLE

Borough Councillor for Yarmouth Central and Northgate

WELL done to Andrew Ellis for bringing to our attention the disgraceful misuse of public funds to allow council staff to park free during working hours. If they are allowing the staff to do this why can't health service workers who also need to park during their working hours be supplied with free permits as well as other disciplinary bodies.

District nurses, doctors on home visits, midwives and social workers also need to park in Great Yarmouth to carry out vital community duties, therefore, they should be entitled to the same level of parking benefits. Everyone who lives, works or visits Yarmouth is well aware of the problems associated with parking.We are all aware that little is being done to ease the situation. There is plenty of land in Yarmouth that could be used for the development of multi-storey parking in conjunction with a park and ride system. Perhaps the council should invest the money spent on free staff parking to improve the parking facilities for all people in Yarmouth and not the privileged few?

Name and address withheld

I READ the article about the possible genetic link to MS with the Scottish fishergirls which appeared in the Mercury on May 2 with interest, and found the headline somewhat ludicrous. My mother was diagnosed with MS when she was approximately 37 years old, although she had complained of co-ordination problems from the age of 31 and was informed she had a “tropical disease”.

She eventually received the correct diagnosis from a Harley Street specialist. My mother was born and bred in Great Yarmouth although her father originated from London and her mother from Essex having no connections with Scotland whatsoever.

Unfortunately my mother died with MS at the age of 58, some 20 years ago and it would appear that a cure and full understanding of this disease is still as unattainable as ever.

Carol Calver

Main Road

Filby

AS long-standing members of the Marina Centre Physically Disabled Swimming Club, we would please like to have this letter inserted in The Mercury.

With over 40 years of complicated experience as a trained nurse in caring for all levels of physically disabled residents, and during the latter half of this time I have become a full time carer for my wife who is totally wheelchair and bed bound. I know only too well the vital importance of acquiring and maintaining the assisted exercises of a person's unusable limbs. Limbs that will not move to help the rest of the body to carry out everyday personal functions.

A good able carer can provide much of these assisted exercises but it is extremely hard work and involves a good deal of risk of injury with knocks and falls, especially if one or both parties involved become over-tired or even a little careless. To minimise the strain and danger here the use of water therapy is quite remarkable in its value. It is unique and priceless, both from a physical and mental aspect. My wife and I like so many of our good friends, have for several years now, been able to utilise and thoroughly enjoy these unique facilities of water therapy and its associated amenities at its very best in the Yarmouth Marina Centre swimming pool. There is nowhere within 100 miles or so to compare with its excellent services for disabled people especially and for countless hundreds of able-bodied people in general.

Evidence of the value that the Marina is to us people have been made abundantly clear over the past couple of months when the March gales damaged the roof and enforced total closure for several weeks. My wife and I among many, many others, felt stranded, immobile and totally miserable. It is no exaggeration to say that disabled limbs began to cease up.

Thankfully it is now open again and we are back to what has become an extremely important system of safe, enjoyable and easy activities. It helps us enormously through our difficult disabled lifestyle. We desperately hope that our Marina stays open and virtually unchanged for many years to come.

G Buxton

Salhouse Road

Rackheath

WE are writing to thank our MP, Tony Wright, for standing up for us and all those in this area under threat from coastal erosion and flooding in the debate held in Westminster on Tuesday.

The case for defending the Norfolk coastline was eloquently presented by Tony and his parliamentary colleagues from the rest of Norfolk. It is a pity that the Minister, Phil Woolas, did not respond more sympathetically but he can now be in no doubt about the widespread strength of feeling gathering pace.

We as a group will continue to fight for more resources to be made available to resolve this problem for the benefit all who are involved and future generations.

JIM BRATTON,

Scratby Coastal Erosion Group

THANK you for advertising the Martham Scarecrow weekend. I had a very enjoyable day there on Bank Holiday Monday in super weather and a pleasant bus ride. The village had made such an effort with stalls etc on The Green and scarecrows everywhere.

Both St Mary's Church and the Methodist Church provided excellent refreshments and a resting place. Also of interest were the exhibitions in the Methodist Church of photographs past and present and handicrafts at St Mary's with demonstrations too.

Such a lot of hard work by everyone but it was certainly a worthwhile and enjoyable occasion.

BERYL BAKER,

Fredrick Road,

Gorleston

THE elderly and other people are fed up with 13 or 15 pages of gobbledygook going back years from rent and tax offices which nobody can understand and keep coming through our letterboxes. All people want to know is how much rent and community tax they have to pay in one or two letters in plain English that can be understood.

In phoning the Town Hall about this we are always told it's the computers who send it. Don't they know that computers only give out what is put into them, we ain't all stupid!

It seems that the council needs to wake up these departments. Also think of the waste of paper and postage.

My brother in law has had several of these letters recently, mounting up to a total of 32 pages!

C CUTTING,

Magdalen Estate,

Gorleston

I CONSIDER that the recent planning decisions in Ormesby St Margaret and Winterton had simply highlighted how little notice is taken of local opinion by those who make decisions and who do not live in the area and do not have the same local community interest.

In the case of the Royal Oak at Ormesby St Margaret, there were many adverse comments which were highlighted by the chairman of the planning committee who said he did not want to see “rabbit hutches” in the centre of the village.

The district and parish councils and local people did not object to the development it was the over-development of the site and pressure on services which caused concern.

However, all the meetings and protests were to no avail as the profit motive overides all.

PETER TENNANT,

Yarmouth Road,

Ormesby St Margaret

THIS week (May 5-11) is not only Local Newspaper Week it is also the week that Girlguiding Norfolk's youngest members, the Rainbows, celebrate their 21st birthday.

Rainbows have about 80,000 girl members aged from five to seven, and in their birthday week Girlguiding Norfolk is inviting more adults to volunteer with Rainbow units. Adults - men and women - interested in volunteering their time and skills on a more flexible basis are invited to take the 12 Hour Challenge, where volunteers offer their skills for just 12 hours a year.

May we, through your columns, invite your readers to consider volunteering with a local Rainbow unit? More details of the 12 Hour Challenge are on the Girlguiding website at www.girlguiding.org.uk or readers can call 0800 169 590 1 to register interest.

LOUISE JONES

County PR Advisor

TWO years ago, with my husband, I managed to go to every Status Quo concert on the UK winter tour, a total of 31 concerts in six weeks. I met so many people that had stories to tell about their experiences of seeing Status Quo. As a result I am compiling a book of people's memories for a book entitled “Goin' Quoin' Past and Present.”

I am interested in hearing from anyone who has seen Status Quo from the 1960's right up to the present day. As the band have been performing for more that 40 years now this would be an ideal opportunity to record all those memories.

All the proceeds from the book are going to The Shona Smile Foundation (www.shonassmile.org).

I would be very grateful for any contribution readers could send me either at West Lodge, Balmoral Way, Rownhams, Southampton SO16 8LU or email to yvonnehanvey@aol.com.

YVONNE HANVEY


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