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Readers' letters 1 December 18

PUBLISHED: 18:07 17 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:58 03 July 2010

SINCE August 2009 I have been on a mission to get answers from Great Yarmouth Borough councillors, Great Yarmouth Port Authority, and Norfolk County Council on exactly what has been gifted to the new owners of our Inner Harbour and the new Outer Harbour.

SINCE August 2009 I have been on a mission to get answers from Great Yarmouth Borough councillors, Great Yarmouth Port Authority, and Norfolk County Council on exactly what has been gifted to the new owners of our Inner Harbour and the new Outer Harbour. Slowly I am getting there.

What is a puzzle is the few letters that appear in The Mercury also querying what is happening to our rates. Not everyone can be happy about paying out £100,000 a year for the upkeep of Haven Bridge, or the extra £1.454m that International Port Holdings (IPH) received for them not to back out of the contract to build the Outer Harbour presumable after contracts were signed (see NCC Cabinet minutes 4-6-2007)

There is also the probability that we rate payers will also have to shell out for the upkeep of Gorleston South Pier as IPH state they are not doing it. So what are we looking at, £2m in the first year? And all the following years with Haven Bridge, Town Hall Quay, Darby's Hard, South Pier Car Park, Baker's Street Quay Brush Quay. Being kind to those who spend our rates, a conservative figure of £700,000 may cover those costs.

But even I, who since August has been delving into the Outer Harbour was shocked, when, attending a meeting of professional people this week, to discover that cost to ratepayers does not end there.

Half a mile of quay on Gorleston's West Bank is now the ratepayer's responsibility, and when it needs piling, as part of it now does, £50,000 a metre is being spoken of. It will not take a mathematician to work out that several £m is soon spent.

Haven Bridge, our councillors are discussing its closure to private cars and all trucks. There are two good reasons for this:

By forcing private vehicles and trucks to use the new yet to be built southern river crossing, this will induce investors to pay for the bridge knowing that they will get their cash back two-fold from you from the tolls.

Closing Haven Bridge, NCC have taken charge of it from the GYPA, (who now have no way to raise funds to pay for its upkeep). Apart from what I have mentioned above, which is considerable, if the bridge needs replacing because of structure failure or collision we are looking at well over £100m. So by using it just for pedestrian, cyclist and public transport it will increase its life considerable.

But don't let's forget as it will still have daily lifts for river traffic, we are now looking at another £250,000 per annum to staff it, presumably supplied by GYPC who now have all of our old port's staff. And we will be billed.

Another small point that might please you: £1.125m has already been spent on developing the Third River Crossing and this does not include the costs incurred between 2003 and 2006 to build the Great Yarmouth traffic model which was to support work on wider transport strategy.

The Outer Harbour has been billed as the saviour of the wealth and jobs in this borough. Our children's children will be paying for decades to come.

JOHN L COOPER

Burnt Lane

Gorleston

I HAVE been visiting your town for last few years to visit friends and purposely attend the Christmas Fayre. I won't be coming any more! What a let down, a pathetic, postage stamp, plastic, skating rink, where were all the marquees that have filled the Market Place in previous years? Where was all the entertainment promised? Where were the Elves and the Minstrels that have made us laugh before? I eventually found the interesting stalls from Norway hidden in the corner of the church, what a shambles! I certainly won't be passing Bury St Edmunds Fayre Fair again to Great Yarmouth that's for sure.

Mrs C BOLLINS

Woodhead Drive

Cambridge

I FEEL I must write to you about the Christmas Fayre. The Market Place used to be filled from end to end with heated marquees, where have all the lovely stalls that filled them gone? The Fayre used to be the best and biggest around here but now it's useless. Where were the craftsmen from Norway? I heard that the choir was very good but where were the crafters?

Mr JACKSON

Lawn Avenue

Great Yarmouth

AFTER reading about our council leader's opposition to unitary status, I would like to back him up. Moving towards unitary status would be costly, erode local democracy and any benefits it may have, if any, are vastly outweighed by the cost and problems it would cause. It is vastly unfair that a non local source like the Boundary Committee can be allowed to publicly state and try to make weight on arguments over what should happen in Great Yarmouth. The right thing to do is protect our local council authority making decisions for the town and for the people of Great Yarmouth.

It is a shame that the local Labour party are so keen to concede defeat and give up our local rights to an authority that only cares about trying to save a few pennies and not about the needs of local people.

MATTHEW SMITH

Hawthorn Road

Gorleston

THE inconspicuous announcement-at the very bottom of Page 2 of the December 11Mercury that “the New Port gates will be arriving and then the road which currently runs alongside the new harbour will be closed to the public”, must sound like the final clang of the prison doors to us already battered readers.

R L FARMER

Marine Parade

Gorleston

AS reported by your paper it has shown how Edward Worlledge Junior School has been placed low in the league tables in relation to their SATs. However, in my opinion this school is doing great things that may be going unnoticed. When my son started at this school, he had an Individual Education Plan as he had some difficulties in certain areas, but due to the teachers and support staff he now no longer needs this and is performing well. He enjoys a multitude of extra curricular activities at no extra cost (even ingredients for cookery club are provided). As a parent, I am over the moon that my son goes to school each day with a smile on his face because he wants to be there, that means more than a “league table”. My thanks to all the staff at this great school.

TINA HANLEY

Lichfield Road

Great Yarmouth

I READ the article last week about the lack of places to play in and around Great Yarmouth. I have some friends who are in a Glam Rock 70s covers band called The Glamtastics who play regularly at The California Tavern. It has some of the best bands appearing every Friday and Saturday nights throughout the year, so how Canine Feline can say they find it difficult to find a good venue to play baffles me.

TONY JACKSON

email

“CHARMING Charming boutique hotel in chic shopping area”, “sumptuous luxury 4*”, “elegant hotel in Knightsbridge”, “stylish and luxurious hotel 5*”.

You may think these are quotes from an up market travel brochure or a hotels glossy publicity leaflet. Instead, these quotes come from the expense claims of our MP. We all understand that our MP's have to stay away from home whilst attending Parliament. However, is there any need for being so extravagant when the rest of us have tightened our belts during the recession?

Of course, Mr. Wright could have used the profit he took when he gave up his parliamentary flat to pay for these hotel bills. Alas, he chose to land us with the bill instead. Something I will be reminding him when he comes looking for my vote next year.

BRIAN JEWELL

Winmer Avenue

Winterton on Sea

THE latest release of MPs expenses makes fascinating reading. I urge your readers to take a look and see how our money is being spent. You will learn that Tony Wright MP has been enjoying fine dining whilst away in London. In March and July 2008 he claimed £700 for food whilst being away from Great Yarmouth for just six nights. Considering he has access to a large variety of subsidised canteens and restaurants in the House of Commons, why did he feel the need to claim over £4000 for food during a 15 month period?

LEWIS ROBERTS

Gorleston

THIS is a polite request to remind householders and businesses of the difficulties they cause to visually impaired people when they block pavements with wheelie bins. It is no fun colliding with such obstructions, especially the large industrial bins often placed outside shops and other businesses. Therefore, would the owners of these bins please take them in once they have been emptied.

Rrecently a visually impaired man walked into a bin on Stonecutters Way. Luckily he was not hurt, but he could easily have been.

N WILLIAMSON

S MEADE (Member of the GY VIP User Group)

Parkland Drive

Bradwell

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