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soapbox.

Soapbox
If something's on your mind, let the world hear about it! Whatever the topic, get your queries and opinions online -
click to have your say.


Thank you John (see below). I think most people in Norfolk and the minority who actually care anything about The Broads would be quite supprised to learn that the Broads Authority is actually a Quango. You remember - the last Conservative government set them up. According to other people these are comittees set up to "govern"? our resources, but are not actually accountable to anybody, only the person who set it up in the first place, the public have NO say what so ever!!!! That is why you have the ridiculous situation in which you can ask a question IN WRITING a week before and eventully get a PREPARED responce with no oppurtunity to question their position!!!!! What a world???

PAUL HOLDSWORTH, WAKEFIELD

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Recently I have taken a interest into the workings of the Broads Authority. I was particuarly interested in the work of the various committees, all of which are held in public. I find it very hard to believe that there is no provision at the meetings for a member of the public to ask a question from the floor of the meeting. You can write in seven days prior to a meeting with your question and you will get a prepared answer. Is it any wonder that there is very little public support at the meetings? I for one would have to make a round trip of 250 miles just to come and listen to a prepared answer - remembering also that some of the meetings commence at 9.30am which would mean me leaving home before 6am. There must be a lot more people who would attend these meetings if more consideration were give to members of the public.

JOHN KENDALL, LEICESTERSHIRE (04/03/2002)

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Rod McBride's comments (see below) about the new telephone number for the Police HQ are off the mark. Wymondham is a different exchange area to Norwich, so why not have a new number? What does it matter if it begins 01603 or 01953. The usual procedure is to divert the existing line to the new line, so you can dial either and get through. After a period of time, there would then be a message on the old line telling you the number has changed - so it's not like they are leaving people in the lurch. Anyway, what is this "simple and low cost procedure" that can shift exchange lines from one area to another - news to me. An 0845 number isn't too clever either, if somebody from Norwich memorised that number, they may well dial it whilst on holiday in Scotland - or wherever - not very useful?? Move with the times, learn a new number, it's not that difficult.

GRAHAM WHITE, NORWICH

Whoever decided to change the telephone number for Norfolk Police, to coincide with their move to new headquarters at Wymondham? Firstly, why was it necessary in the first place? The current number has been in use for several years and is well publicised. It is a simple and low cost procedure to have an existing number permanently diverted. Secondly, if it really was necessary why wasn't a local area code (e.g. 0845) adopted. Or why not retain the Norwich code. After all, Norwich is the administrative capital of Norfolk and most people would think of using that for countywide authorities. A Wymondham code is irrelevant to most people outside the locality. I understand the new number is already causing problems to a resident in Norwich, who happens to have the same number as the new police headquarters. He is being plagued with calls to the Police because callers are not using the Wymondham code. I sympathise with him because I used to have a number just one digit different to a taxi firm, and I used to get calls night and day. I hope the new headquarters at least give a better response to phone calls. I recently called to report a non emergency and waited 12 minutes on my mobile to be connected to the right department. No wonder the 999 service gets unnecessary calls!

ROD MCBRIDE, STRUMPSHAW 13/02/2002

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New hospital's beds crisis
See the hospital message board for more comments

Having had to visit outpatients last week I am appalled at the conditions. The consultants' room was a disgrace, small and with an examination couch crowded up against a walll without the benefit of natural light. The staff were consistently running back and forth calling out names over a crowded waiting room, they must lose their voices by the end of a shift. The heat was unbearable, the directions muddled. All my sympathy goes to those who have to work there. A change of management would help.

Incidentally I thought the following might amuse - it is completely true. In 1935, August 10th, I was a patient in the King Edward 7th Ward at the N & N, had a septic elbow which needed an op (no antibiotics in those days). When I was recovered, my mother asked them to examine my tonsils as I was subject to bouts of tonsillitis. 

The verdict was they must be removed, we will send for her in a few weeks. I still have my tonsils.  Is this a record waiting time ?

M SKERMER, SHERINGHAM 14/01/02

We have a brand new hospital open in Norwich and it is in the news that we have a bed shortage already??? What a feat of incompetence!

HELEN, DEREHAM 7/1/2002

I agree with Helen. The question that should be asked is who decided to move a hospital at this time of year?

PHIL, TAVERHAM 9/1/2002

Every winter that I can remember, we have had a 'bed crisis' in Norwich. Surely the timing of the opening of the new hospital was extremely badly planned, I would even go as far as to say bordering on lunacy, particularly as there are far fewer beds in the new hospital. Surely it would have been better to wait until the summer.

L WARWICK, NORWICH

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Proposals for a new nightclub in Norwich
click here for the news story

I personally think Norwich, and the Prince of Wales area, doesn't need another nightclub to open in such a congested part of the city. And I hope that the council keeps opposing the request for another one in the old ABC cinema building. It is about time of directing our thoughts to the people who live and reside in and around that area. All those young people milling about in great numbers, and causing problems, with traffic congestion and the noise aspect too. There are only going to be more tragedies, regarding young people who are drunk and not taking enough care when they emerge from the clubs into the real world out there. The S.O.S Bus is coping with many young people who are feeling very worse for wear, and it is a good thing that some are able to be helped to sober up and get help to make their way home in safety. So please keep the nightclubs to a minimum. And think of the residents living in that area.

CAROLYN DAVIES, NORWICH

Yes, another nightclub is the last thing Norwich needs ! As a resident of Pottergate I am astounded at the noise tolerated from the local nightclubs, at 3am most night of the week, they are still playing the loudest music possible. THUMP THUMP THUMP...instead of sleeping this is what I have to listen too. The police are not interested, and the council, well, needless to say they are motivated, not by 'quiet enjoyment' of their residents, but the money these places provide.

S BLAKE, NORWICH posted 7/1/02

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Six-term school year:

The Government are proposing alterations to the school terms. They are proposing six terms during the year, shorter summer holiday and the abolition of the Easter Break. I can think of two very good reasons for not going down this path:
1. Easter is a religious festival just the same as Christmas. What will happen is that children will be absent from school at Easter so that they can be with their family,whether they go away on holiday or not.
2. Who is going to look after all of these children every time there is a holiday? Will the parents be asking for more holidays in order to look after the children? It is only a matter of 18 months since the last alterations to the school terms. What do other people think of these proposals?

JOHN KENDALL, LEICESTERSHIRE

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Information about Norfolk
Hey there. I never lived in Norfolk, but it was always my childhood holiday and dream to live there. I currently live in Phuket in Thailand and am applying to the University of East Anglia. If anyone can give me any info that they feel I should know about this place please feel free to email me... I miss Norfolk terribly and can't wait to get there!

LOUISE SELF, PHUKET, THAILAND

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A47 Acle Straight dualling
There has been a lot of discussion lately re the Dualling of the A47 Acle Straight. As an outsider who uses the A47 quite a lot, could someone please enlighten me as to what proposals are in hand for improving the approach road into Great Yarmouth over Vauxhall Bridge? I just cannot see where speeding up the traffic and increasing the flow of traffic is going to be any benefit at all. Whenever I visit Great Yarmouth I always take the Caister road at Acle and travel down through Martham. That road could certainly do with improving. A stretch of the A47 was dualled in Rutland and that stretch of road now is one of the most dangerous in Leicestershire.

JOHN KENDALL, LEICESTER

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Off-street parking charges for disabled
This time last year North Norfolk District Council tried to bring in parking charges for disabled people on their Off Street Car Parks. This was to cover all Orange/Blue Badge Holders who did not receive Vehicle Licence Exemption. Disabled people in North Norfolk campaigned and won them over. Unfortunately it now looks as though North Norfolk District Council has decided to try again this year - although this time it will cover all Orange/Blue Badge Holders. Broadland do not charge motorists to park, whether they be disabled or ablebodied. Other areas have a three hour period where the disabled can park free of charge. We (the disabled in North Norfolk) feel that North Norfolk District Council are picking on the disabled because they feel that they are an easy target. Like myself, there are loads of disabled people (wheelchair users) who live in the villages in North Norfolk. They are unable to get a bus to the nearest town, because the buses are not wheelchair accessible. The cannot afford to use taxis because most, if not all, are living on benefits. The car is the only other choice. Whether it's an old banger, or a Motability Contract Hire car, it still has to have petrol put into it and most disabled are limited to a set amount each week/month. If they are expected to pay 40p per hour to park, the money they have to spend on petrol will be reduced. I feel that most disabled people will abandon the car parks in favour of parking on double yellow lines for the three hours permitted - excluding other restrictions that is. What do other people feel about this proposal. By the way, in Essex it only costs 20p to park for three hours and in Suffolk 30p for two hours, from what I can gather from
a letter in the press the other week.

ANN R ARGENT, ERPINGHAM

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Silent 'e'
I am a true 'Norfolk bloater' having been born on Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth. My comments relate to pronounciation by commentators particularly of the name of the Suffolk town of Lowestoft. I was brought up to leave the 'e' silent, as with the the Yarmouth neighbouring town of Gorleston, so pronouncing it 'Lowstoft'. This is confirmed in the latest dictionary and to be fair I have heard ony one commentator pronounce it as such. All others say Lowe- s- toft. I could be taken to task in this observation. Regards,

J.WINTERBURN

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City spoiled
I was born and bred in Norwich and left in 1950 as my husband was moved to Luton, then to Nottingham, then to Yorkshire and then to Warwickshire. I was always longing to get back here and eventually in 1987 retired to Sheringham. I am so pleased with everything except the City of Norwich - I think the planners have spoiled it. Why didn't they take a look at York and see how the character of the place has been kept yet traffic flows freely? My husband didn't enjoy his retirment for long, but I'm still enjoying life here. I do hope the planners never spoil Sheringham.
Disappearing pears
Where have Robin Pears gone? I remember these small, juicy pears, but have not seen any for sale for so many years. I had to live in several parts of england before returning 'home' in retirement, but still cannot find those sweet, pears, about two bites to one pear. Also - I am sorry to hear people not using the pronunciation of place names. We always said 'Hunstan' and Webbun. I still try to use these words but think I am looked on as eccentric! Perhaps I am.

MARJORIE SKERMER, SHERINGHAM

 

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City redevelopment
I find it interesting that two of the views against developing the former Caleys site come from the USA. Having lived in the Washington DC area for some 20 years I have seen development destroy surrounding parkland and increase traffic flow to intolerable levels. Norwich planners would do well to leave their enclave and see what damage over-development has done to other communities. I visit Norwich every four years to see my family but alas the city's charm is being crowded out by narrow minded planners. They need to market the city as a tourist attraction and focus on the city's heritage. Wouldn't that create jobs?

PAUL TURNER, VIENNA, VIRGINIA, USA

The redevelopment of the old Caleys (then Mackintosh and Caleys and now Nestle) site is inapproriate for this part of Norwich. The traffic which a multi-level shops and parking facility will generate will make an already congested area of the city worse. Much better to locate such a development to the outskirts of the city and leave this site for residential only. An historic display would also be appropriate since Caleys was an important economic and social fixture of Norwich's past. Part of the old city walls also were adjacent to this site and a display incorporating this aspect of the city would be of value. I do not believe enough thought has been given to the impact this scheme will have. I remember when most of the east side of St Stephens was demolished to make way for the Norwich Union development to the detriment to this wonderful street where some fine buildings were lost. The loss of the wonderful Victoria Station which could have become a centre for public use or incorporated in the adjacent shopping scheme is another example of the loss of our treasures. Think again, Norwich needs charm not more buildings which serve to provide nothing special except more congestion. The entire Chapplefield Gardens and Chantry Road area, with the Assembly House, could be developed with a much more imaginate use allowing for an exiting, liveable enclave in keeping with Norwich's vision as an historic, charming and pleasant city. "A Fine City", not just another shopping centre.

KENNETH JESSETT, HOUTSON, TEXAS, USA

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Life-savers
Again and again we hear of drowning tragedies on the Broads. Many are accidents that need not have happened. I get so cross when boatyards go the trouble to supply lifejackets to every person on the boats and then they often don't wear them. They may be a little uncomfortable and do not have a designer label - they are issued with the sole purpose of saving life. I say that the wearing of lifejackets should be made compulsory just as seatbelts are in cars. Boats are not toys as a lot of people treat them - they are powerful objects which need handling with care and respect. It is all to easy to moor up at a nice pub, go for a drink and then jump back on the boat, forgetting what the effects of alcohol has on you, cast off, forget the lifejackets and, bang, a accident occurs. Many could be prevented with a little thought.

JOHN K, LEICESTER

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Bus Station
First time on web - like what I see, but wanted to comment on recent visit to Norwich. Although it is a fine city with plenty to do, what a mess and disgrace the bus station is! Any plans for an up-date, instead of building more and more shops?

MARION, SWAFFHAM GRANDMA

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The School Year
So the Commission for the Reorganisation of the School Year has finally come up with a scheme for a six-term year. Chaired by a former MP who, it would appear was in need of a job, I have to ask the question: 'How much were he and his commission paid in fees, salad lunches, out of pocket rail fares, car travel and overnight hotel accommodation to come up with a proposal which any worn-out teacher could have thought up standing on his or her head? Now we will have eight-week terms and 4.5 week terms, and all that will be needed now if the proposals are accepted without alteration will be a new commission set up no doubt under another retired MP to work out how the National Curriculum can be reorganised to fit in with the new school year. Is any one interested in serving on this committee? If so, then get writing to the new minister for work Nick Brown saying what connection you have had with spreading or eradicating foot-and-mouth. I am quite sure you are all suitably qualified. Seriously though, is it any wonder that teachers do not want to teach anymore? I feel much better now!

GLYN WALDEN, DISS

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Postcodes
I wonder if the residents in Norfolk experience the same problems as me with regards to their postcode. I live in the county of Leics. and unfortunate enough to have the same postcode as one of the most deprived areas in the City of Leicester. Trying to insure your car, home etc. you are paying way over the norm. That is if you can find someone willing to insure you. Also the value of your property is affected and the crime rate that is published is the same for that post code. It might help the Post Office to sort the mail but it certainly brings problems to people who have invested in their property for the future.

JOHN K, LEICS

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