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Town council takes action to end confusion

Aylsham Town Council Chairman LLOYD MILLS, writing on behalf of the council, explains an important decision taken regarding the town’s Shaping the Future document.

Consultation document…

Survey…

Covid responses…

Confusion?

At the beginning of this year Aylsham Town Council issued a document entitled Aylsham – Shaping the Future. The intention was for it to propose various ideas for the development of Aylsham and to encourage responses, ideas, and thoughts from residents and visitors to the town alike, via a survey.

Unfortunately, at the same time the Coronavirus lockdown restrictions were introduced by the Government.

In the summer all district councils in England were ordered by the government to help small businesses in town centres to recover and encourage customer footfall (The Reopening High Streets Safely Fund).

To this end the government gave these councils the funding to provide help in the form of making our towns safer and more pleasant places.

Broadland District Council tried to consult with shopkeepers and residents as well as the Town Council. They decided to install hand sanitisers, guidance notices, and most controversially, barriers on some of our roads. It is generally acknowledged now that the barriers were unsightly and unhelpful.

Traffic flow changes also provoked strong and differing opinions. However, it is worth saying that the initial plans would have led to the closure of Penfold Street, the Market Place, and Red Lion Street to traffic. The Town Council argued vehemently against this and a compromise was arrived at with full support of the Highways Department of Norfolk County Council. This is what you see now.

In 2019 the Town Council had already agreed with the Highways Department to install a pavement on Penfold Street, from the old Post Office yard round to Cawston Road, and to introduce a pinchpoint where incoming traffic would need to give way to outward bound traffic. This scheme will still go ahead.


These three disparate actions (document, survey, Covid-19 responses) became entangled with each other in many peoples’ minds. Some felt Shaping Aylsham’s Future was directing the reader to certain conclusions and the questions in the survey did the same. Some suspected the Covid-19 changes were being deliberately installed to trial permanent road changes.

And it seems that no matter how hard these ideas were denied and corrected by the Town Council they persisted.

Therefore, to try and clarify the situation the Town Council has called a halt to further publication of the document and is withdrawing the survey. They will review these items over the coming months and hope to reactivate them in a new guise when the country has dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the meantime the Town Council understands that Broadland District Council are planning to continue their attempts to invigorate the town centre. We have asked our district councillors what is happening but it appears this is being driven by officers, so the Town Council is contacting the District Council to ascertain exactly what they intend to do to our town. As soon as we know we will inform you.

Lloyd Mills, Aylsham Town Council Chairman

Woman fined £10,000 after covid protest in city centre

A woman involved in an illegal gathering in Norwich on Thursday has been given a £10,000 fixed penalty notice.

It follows a gathering on the Haymarket which started just after midday and involved more than 80 people protesting against the covid-19 prevention restrictions.

The 37-year-old, from the Norwich area, was arrested at the scene after refusing to provide her details to police. She was taken into custody at Wymondham and following enquiries later issued with the fixed penalty notice for contravening the ban on being involved in holding a gathering of more than 30 people.

In addition, a 25-year-old man from the Norwich area arrested at the scene on suspicion of common assault after allegedly coughing at a woman, has since been charged with the offence. He has been released on bail to appear at Norwich Magistrates’ Court on Monday, November 23.

Three other people at the gathering were reported for the offence of organising or facilitating a gathering of more than 30 people, in breach of the Health Protection Regulations.

Assistant Chief Constable Simon Megicks, who has been leading the local police response to coronavirus, said: “As a police force, we fully appreciate how difficult the past six months have been for the county and I am pleased that the vast of majority of people have played and continue to play their part, following the guidance and legislation helping to protect Norfolk and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“However, the infection rate is now rising rapidly across the country and while in Norfolk it is not increasing as significantly as other areas, we must carry on working together to keep everyone safe. Our focus will remain on our use of the 4Es – engaging, explaining, encouraging and then enforcing when required.

“The gathering yesterday was in breach of the Health Protection Regulations and we took action to disperse the group including making two arrests. We will all have a role to play in keeping our county safe going forward and we won’t hesitate to take action if needed.

“We police by consent and we need people and businesses to work with us on this. Our approach will remain the same: engaging with people first, explaining the guidance and law and encouraging people to do the right thing. However, we will not sit back and allow people to deliberately break the law. Where we are left with no choice but to enforce, we will do so to protect our communities.

“If members of the public are concerned that the law is being broken or they are experiencing anti-social behaviour, they can report this to us and we will consider the most appropriate response, targeting repeat and high-risk behaviour.  We all have a personal responsibility to reduce the spread of coronavirus and ensure that police enforcement is used only as a last resort.  Reports should be made through our online reporting wherever possible.”

Travellers move on to Aylsham site

Travellers have today (Friday) moved on to a piece of land at the former St Michael’s Hospital site in Aylsham.

Three caravans have been parked close to the entrance to St Michael’s Avenue and police visited the site earlier this afternoon.

A spokesperson for Norfolk Police said: “Police have been made aware of an unauthorised encampment on Cawston Road, in Aylsham today.

“Officers visited the site at approximately 2.30pm this afternoon and are currently working alongside the council to engage with the group, made up of three caravans.”

A spokesperson for Aylsham Town Council said it had contacted Norfolk County Council for guidance on what measures could be taken.

The town council spokesperson added the police had said the process to move the travellers on was under way.

The county council provides  a travellers’ sites and liaison officer, who is responsible for issues relating to travellers and local communities.

Christmas IS coming to the theatre

Norwich Theatre has announced a special season of festive shows for 2020, a Right Royal Christmas, which will see the Theatre Royal temporarily re-open to audiences during December.

The season will include three shows, Panto in a Pickle!, A Circus Carol and She Go Does It Under the Christmas Tree…with Friends, which will alternate.

After 19 years at the centre of Theatre Royal Christmases delighting family audiences, Norwich’s favourite pantomime Dame, Richard Gauntlett, will return once more and star in a brand new show for the whole family that captures lots of the traditional panto fun in a madcap adventure through six of your favourite stories, Panto in a Pickle.

Ricahrd Gauntlett is all set for Panto in a Pickle! Picture: Max Hilton.

Richard said: “The postponement of ‘Dick Whittington and his Cat’ this year was a huge disappointment for all involved and this opportunity to fill the ‘Panto-void’ with a new twist is an exciting and unexpected pleasure.  Be prepared for pantomime but not as we know it. And it does mean that I can do my Christmas shopping in Norwich!”

Following its sell-out success at Norwich Playhouse at Christmas 2019, Norwich Theatre’s critically acclaimed co-production with Lost in Translation Circus, A Circus Carol, will also be remounted specially for the Theatre Royal stage.

Lost in Translation Circus will be performing in A Christmas Carol. Picture: Max Hilton

Circus director Massimiliano Rossetti said: “The amazing opportunity to partner with Norwich Theatre to bring Interlude to life has been a great success. 

“The opportunity to perform in front of live audiences was a dream and I’m very honoured that we will have the opportunity to perform again – this time on the beautiful stage of the Theatre Royal with our co-production of ‘A Circus Carol’

“I’m very excited to be performing at Christmas, sharing smiles, amazement, joy and laughter with audiences during the festive season.”

Completing the season will be another new show from much-loved Norfolk comedian Karl Minns, with the return of one of his favourite Nimmo Twins comedy creations, She Go, alongside some other local characters.  She Go Does It Under the Christmas Tree…with Friends will be a festive look back at what a year 2020 has been here in our fair county of Norfolk.

Karl Minns favourite She Go will be looking back from under her Christmas tree. Picture: Max Hilton

Karl said: “Having performed at Interlude in the summer, I’m thrilled and privileged to have the chance to play in front of a Norfolk audience again. It’s even more exciting to be playing at the Theatre Royal.

“We’ve all missed being inside theatres and this is a huge honour and a big step forward in reclaiming our beloved spaces.  It’s been a tough year for everyone, so to end the year and go into Christmas with some joy and laughter is something I’m really looking forward to.”

Stephen Crocker, chief executive of Norwich Theatre, said: “Christmas is such a special and important time in the life of a theatre and I believe our audiences, for many of whom a festive trip to the theatre is a long-standing tradition, need a Christmas treat more than ever before this year.”

Whilst the full-scale re-opening of Theatre Royal, Playhouse and Stage Two will not be possible until social-distancing measures are further relaxed, this short season will be planned with current guidance in mind and both the shows and the covid-secure modifications to the Theatre Royal building have been made possible through grants and donations.

Tickets will go on sale from September 24.

Panto in a Pickle runs from December 16 to 24. Tickets are £10 to £13.50 or a family ticket is £50. 60 mins (no interval). Age 3+

A Circus Carol runs from December 16 to 23. Tickets are £10 to £17.50. Family ticket is £65. 70 mins (no interval). Age 10+

She Go Does It Under the Christmas Tree…with Friends runs from December 16 to 23 with tickets costing from £10 to £21.50. 80 minutes (no interval). Age 16+

Long-serving Gresham’s head dies at 98

Pupils and staff at Gresham’s School, rugby players and many others in Holt and further afield are mourning the passing of Logie Bruce-Lockhart, who has died at the age of 98.

LBL, as he was known, was headmaster of the school from 1955 to 1982. He died peacefully in hospital on September 7 after a short illness.

Current head Douglas Robb said: “It was my great pleasure to be welcomed by LBL to Gresham’s six years ago. Logie came to lunch at the aptly named Lockhart House just before my first term started and entertained everyone with great stories and good humour.

“I became the recipient of a large number of immaculate letters in tiny handwriting which seemed to have better insight into what was happening at school than I could gain from visiting the classrooms and houses! The warmth with which he held the school was obvious and I feel lucky to have met him.”

Mr Bruce-Lockhart, who had been a Scottish international rugby player, was the school’s longest serving headmaster of the modern era and really made his mark, with a real passion for young people.

Logie Bruce-Lockhart has died at the age of 98. Photo: Gresham’s School.

Brought up in a teaching family, he served with the Household Cavalry and was one of the first British soldiers to enter the Belsen concentration camp. Forthright, strong-willed, yet always kind and good-humoured, he was known for trusting and supporting his staff and pupils, often championing the individual and the unorthodox.

Mr Robb said he was a “soldier, sportsman, botanist, musician, linguist, author, but more than anything a schoolmaster, family man and friend”.

He loved the countryside, and enjoyed fishing, bird-watching and fungi-hunting.

He also loved classical music and watercolour painting and was probably best known outside the school as a raconteur.

Logie Bruce-Lockhart was well-known for his humour throughout his life. Photo: Gresham’s School.

His considerable sporting prowess won him five rugby caps for Scotland and he was the founding president of Holt Rugby Club, in 1961.

Current president Paul Williams said: “As headmaster of Gresham’s School, Logie enthusiastically supported the inauguration of our club in 1961, remaining steadfastly interested throughout the following 59 years. His smiling features, friendly advice, expert rugby knowledge and profoundly wise counsel were always a huge tonic for all at our club.

“Holt RFC has been immensely privileged to have had such a wonderful worldly character as our first president and long-term vice-president. He will be sorely missed.”

There will be a private funeral at St. Andrew’s, Holt, followed by interment in the churchyard, which is where Logie’s wife Jo and daughter Kirsty are buried.

Various celebrations of his life will be arranged later.

There will be more about one of Holt’s most popular and influential characters in the next edition of Just Holt.

Police appeal to help find missing Aylsham man

Police are appealing for help to trace a man who is missing from Aylsham.

Stephen Taylor, age 49, of Scott Walk in Aylsham was last seen at his home address at about 12 noon today (Sunday 6 September 2020).

Officers are concerned for Stephen’s welfare and would like to hear from anybody who may have seen him.

Stephen is described as white, 5ft 11 tall, medium build and has a bald/shaved head and goatee beard. He is believed to be wearing a black Slazenger t-shirt with a collar, navy blue jeans and black and white Nike trainers. He was wearing diamond studs in both ears and has tattooed arms and a large cross tattoo on the back of his head.

Anyone who may have seen Stephen or knows of his whereabouts should contact Norfolk Police immediately on 101 quoting incident number 311.

Stephen Taylor

Changes to road layout in Aylsham town centre

Rows of barriers in Aylsham town centre will be replaced by planters as part of a revamp of the road layout this week.

However, the one-way system in Red Lion Street will remain in place after changes in response to the Covid-19 pandemic were introduced in June.

Broadland District Council’s Economic Development Team said planters would take the place of barriers in Red Lion Street and the Market Place by Friday of this week.

“This will enhance the look and feel of the area and continue to provide space for social distancing,” a statement said.

There will be a further enforceable restriction placed on Oakfield Road to prevent it being used as a cut through, encouraging a diversion to be used.

The changes made in June were as a result of government guidance, which said that people should be able to move about freely and safely in high streets and shopping areas whilst maintaining social distancing.

The statement added: “Broadland District Council and Aylsham Town Council would like to thank you for your patience and cooperation over the past few months whilst the temporary changes have taken place.”

A special thanks to store staff

Budgens of Holt staff have thanked the community for their support following an online fundraiser, which was designed to support employees after a fire devastated the town’s only supermarket.
A large cheque for £7,222 was presented to staff after the crowdfunder closed following an outpouring of support.
The fundraiser was designed to show appreciation to staff for serving the town during the pandemic – and over many years before that – following the fire on June 20.
The post office was moved to the nearby Bakers and Larners shop, and home deliveries started again from its Aylsham store, but the fire left many locals without work or a supermarket.
After discussions with staff it was decided the proceeds would be shared evenly among the 70 employees as they awaited details on the store’s future.

Budgens staff pose with the cheque which will be shared among their colleagues.

Jono Read, who created the online fundraiser, said: “Budgens of Holt was a lifeline for many people in the town over the last 35 years, and in particular during the pandemic, and Holt is still feeling the consequences of losing it.
“The crowdfunder was an attempt to turn the sadness and shock on the night of the fire into something positive, and I’m delighted by the response, and how many came forward to offer support.
“My first job when I was a student was with Budgens and I still have friends and family working there, so I’m pleased we’ve been able to give something back at such a difficult time.”
Jane Gurney-Read, managing director for CT Baker Group, which owns the store, also offered her thanks.
She said: “The support from the local community since we lost Budgens of Holt in June has been quite simply incredible.
“I would like to thank Jono for setting up the crowdfunding for the Budgens of Holt team and every single person and business who donated to it.
“Your kindness, generosity and recognition of the team, who had given so much throughout the coronavirus pandemic and for the many years the store has been an integral part of Holt, has been hugely appreciated and will not be forgotten.”
Caroline Gray, who received a cheque as part of the crowdfunder, said: “I was quite overwhelmed and it was such a lovely gesture.”
Sylvia Hill added: “Thank you to everyone who donated to the fund for us, it was such a generous thing to do.”