Archives

Latest on possible Aylsham car-park charges

A probe into the use of free council car parks in Aylsham and Reepham is on the cards.

Members of Broadland District Council’s Economic Success Panel want to find out whether workers parking all day in the two market towns’ car parks are deterring shoppers who can’t find empty slots.

The panel is recommending to Broadland’s cabinet that there should be a “comprehensive review in consultation with town and parish councils” throughout the district to provide information for a car-parking management plan.

If space blocking was shown to be a problem, parking charges could be introduced, as they already are in neighbouring North Norfolk, and South Norfolk, Broadland’s sister local authority area.

The recommendation followed an hour-long discussion on Monday night (August 19) when the panel considered a detailed report, prepared by David Disney, operational economic development manager with South Norfolk Council.

It made particular reference to Aylsham’s Buttsland and Burgh Road, and Reepham’s Station Road car parks and concluded, among other findings, that introducing charges – with the first hour’s parking free – would solve space-blocking, increase footfall and place the costs of running and maintaining car parks on users, rather than on all taxpayers.

Mr Disney said footfall was the lifeblood of market towns and the national evidence was that if a driver couldn’t find a space in one car park they would try two others. If unsuccessful, they would leave and never return to that town.

Increased footfall had followed “quite distinctly” in South Norfolk towns, including Wymondham and Diss, after the introduction of a free hour’s parking and then charges.

But panel member councillor Peter Bulman said: “What I don’t see is any evidence of market research in Reepham and Aylsham – we’re only being given national information, or about South Norfolk Council. I would want to be persuaded with some hard evidence that this is not a solution looking for a problem.” 

Councillor David Harrison, who represents Aylsham, warned that the town’s Buttsland car park was leased by Broadland from its owner, the National Trust, which would “want its share” if the council began charging for its use.

He asked whether Broadland would consider handing over the running of its Aylsham car parks to Aylsham Town Council.

“It’s all about localism – this is what we’re supposed to be doing. Why not leave it to be decided as a local issue by the town?” he said.

Councillor Stuart Beadle, who represents Reepham, said Broadland had a number of car parks throughout its area (there are 12) but only Aylsham and Reepham had been singled out in the report for the possible imposition of charges. 

He said: “Reepham and Aylsham would be subsidising off-street parking throughout the district and that’s not fair.”

In a statement before the panel meeting, Aylsham Business and Enterprise Forum (ABEF) said it was concerned that whatever decision was eventually made should not adversely impact its members, either in terms of income or providing community events.

The statement went on: “Parking in Aylsham seems to be a growing problem. The main car parks, in Burgh Road, the Market Place and the Buttsland, are increasingly found to be full for much of the day, while on-road parking in some areas is creating problems for residents.  If parking fees are to be introduced, ABEF hopes that these factors will be taken into consideration.

“We hope that local traders, voluntary organisations and residents will have the opportunity to make their views known before any proposal is adopted.”

  • What do you think? Email: news@justregional.co.uk
David Harrison.
Photo credit ©Simon Finlay Photography.

Nursery closure heartbreak

Heartbroken Dawn Cordner is closing her Aylsham’s children’s nursery on Friday (August 16) because she says government-funded “free” places have made it unviable

Dawnie’s Little Stars, based in the Drill Hall for almost seven years, is the only business of its kind in Aylsham and parents will now have to look outside the town for similar care, according to Dawn, 42.

The closure will mean the loss of seven jobs, including Dawn’s.

She has been in the childcare business for 17 years, previously working for the former Aylsham Playgroup. When its committee disbanded, Dawn saved the service by launching her Little Stars nursery.

Dawn said she had taken the “very, very hard” decision to close because of the increasing gulf between the amount of money the business received from funded places and her ever-increasing running costs.

Parents of three and four year olds are entitled to “free” nursery places funded by the government and paid to nurseries, via the local authority, at the rate of £3.65 per hour,

Some two-year-old are also entitled to free, funded places,  with nurseries receiving £5.20 per hour to care for them.

But Dawn said the true cost of providing care was much higher and her business had been forced to plunder its meagre profits to make up the deficit and stay afloat.

She charged non-funded places at £7.50 per hour for three and four year olds, and £8 an hour for babies, reflecting the true cost of providing quality child care.

Now, with 75pc of the 30 children on roll qualifying for funded places, Dawn said she simply couldn’t afford to carry on.

“It’s exhausting trying to run a business when all the overheads are going up but the funding stays the same. I’m taking less and less and it just can’t go on,” she explained.

“The team works very hard and very long hours for the  minimum wage (£8.21 per hour). We love the children and the nursery’s reputation is second-to-none – but it doesn’t pay the bills. Dog walkers and cleaners earn more than us. We’re providing a champagne service for lemonade money.”

Parents had been sad but very understanding when they learned of the nursery’s closure.

“They wonder what the government is thinking of, allowing this situation to happen,” said Dawn.

“I am so sorry and so sad that I’ve had to do this. This has been my life and my passion but the worry has badly affected my health over the past two years and I had to take this heartbreaking decision. I’ve no idea what I will do next.”

Pictured: Dawn Cordner (centre) with Shining Stars room leader June Crook (left) and deputy manager Becky Rayner.

Aylsham’s Janet meets her lifesavers

Aylsham resident Janet Green is about to celebrate her 70th birthday, thanks to the lifesaving teamwork of four shoppers.

Janet, who went into cardiac arrest and collapsed outside the Break charity shop on April 1, would not be alive today if it wasn’t for a very lucky set of coincidences.

Fellow Market Place shoppers that afternoon included an off-duty community first responder, an off-duty hospital doctor, and two Aylsham High School members of staff who had recently been trained in first aid.

And a few yards away from the drama, hanging outside the town hall, was a lifesaving defibrillator machine. Janet’s chances of survival would have only been about  1:100 if no one had intervened before the summoned ambulance arrived.

But she was fit, smiling and able to climb the steps to the Aylsham High School stage at an emotional presentation ceremony today (July 24), the last day of term, when she thanked all those who had saved her life.

And she was looking forward to celebrating her milestone birthday on July 26 with husband Raymond, her two sons, and two grandchildren.

The school ceremony saw Andrew Barlow, community response manager with the East of England Ambulance Service, present certificates of appreciation to school science technicians Lauren Goodyear and Ben Ecclestone.

The pair had been buying hearts from the butcher’s for students to dissect when they saw Janet fall on her face and rushed to her aid.

“We’d been trained in first aid at the school about three weeks earlier,” said Ben, who recognised the signs of cardiac arrest.

They were joined by Dr Victoria Willimott, visiting Aylsham from her home in Bury, Lancashire, and Aylsham community first responder Andrew Hartshorne, who was off duty and had just had his hair cut.

The team, led by Andrew, worked together giving Janet CPR and applying the defibrillator. After a fourth shock with the machine, she began to breathe again.

Andrew Barlow said Andrew Hartshorne had done a “sterling job” in taking charge. He told the presentation that the “chain of survival” working to help Janet had been very strong, adding: “Without it, Mrs Green would not be here.”

Janet, who also badly injured her head, above her right eye, in the fall was fitted with a pacemaker and internal defibrillator at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

“I remember heading for Break with some things for them and the next thing I remember is three days later when I woke up in the N&N,” she said.
“Whatever you do or say is never enough to thank all those people, and the NHS. They were all fantastic.”

Now she is looking forward to the birth of her first great-grandchild, due in August. She added: “I’m so lucky. I wake up every morning and say ‘thank you’.”

Janet Green with, from left, Ben Ecclestone, Lauren Goodyear and Andrew Hartshorne.

Investment in Future Talent project to start in Aylsham

Broadland District Council is launching a project to deliver a new way of supporting local businesses and residents in rural areas, starting in Aylsham.

The Investment in Future Talent project aims to support up to eight businesses in Aylsham to offer periods of high quality, supported work experience to local people, thanks to a successful bid by Broadland District Council for LIFT (Local Investment in Future Talent) funding, awarded by the ESF (European Social Fund).

Businesses will have access to training in subjects such as management and recruitment practices to better support those who are currently out of work or wish to learn new skills and improve their job prospects. 

Residents who take up the challenge of a placement will be supported to improve their confidence and gain essential skills and experience that will help prepare them for the current world of work.

Who can benefit:

  • Small to medium businesses who want to improve their business skills
  • People who live in Aylsham who need help to get on the employment ladder. This can include:
    • People who know what field they would like to work in but need relevant experience to secure a job
    • People who have been out of work for some time
    • Anyone who needs an opportunity with a local employer to learn up to date skills and showcase what they are capable of doing.

Businesses that take part will benefit from training to consider growth opportunities and help them plan for their future development and sustainability. By providing access to the right opportunities locally, it is expected that the participants will find value in working and hopefully secure employment.

Julian Barnwell of Barnwell Print – who were the first company to join the project – said “Having been a major business in Aylsham and supporters of the local community for over a hundred years we are extremely proud to be giving local people the chance to get back into the workplace. This is a very exciting project to be involved with and we are looking forward to seeing the training and support that the participants will receive.”

Cllr Jo Copplestone, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development at Broadland District Council said: “We are delighted that the LIFT fund will enable us to further help businesses and residents in Aylsham to develop the right skills in order to support business and community needs. It is vital that we assist the rural economy to grow jobs and create opportunities for local people so that they are able to not only survive, but thrive in our ever evolving marketplace.”  For more information or to apply to take part in the project please contact Laura Smith, Economic Development Officer at Broadland District Council on 01603 430101 or laura.smith@broadland.gov.uk.

Julian Barnwell (Left) who has piloted the new Broadland District Council initiative.

Father’s 250-mile challenge for NICU which saved his son

A father of a six-year-old boy is taking on a formidable challenge to raise money for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where his son spent the first week of his life.

Henry Hume was born at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in March 2013 following what had been a routine pregnancy for mum, Justina and dad Tom as they waited for the birth of their first child.       

However, things quickly took an unexpected turn for the worse and baby Henry was rushed to NICU with persistent pulmonary hypertension which is a failure of the normal circulatory transition that occurs after birth.

Now, Tom, who is a vet and director at Westover Veterinary Centre, and his business partner Toby, an experienced triathlete, plan to run, cycle, swim and canoe about 250 miles starting on July 11 to raise money for NICU as a thank you to the staff on the unit for caring for Henry who is now a happy and healthy six year old.

Tom explained how joy quickly turned to fear following the birth of his son: “In layman’s terms, Henry’s lungs hadn’t inflated so his blood kept choosing the easy route, through the hole in the heart that all babies are born with, but in the process it was bypassing the lungs and circulating around his body without being re-oxygenated.

Being a vet I had some limited understanding of the numbers on the intensive care monitors. The figure that I will never forget is the level of his oxygen saturation. In animals, anything less than 98% is abnormal and below 90% we would be pretty worried. I am fairly sure the numbers are similar in human medicine and I was watching as Henry’s number fell and fell, eventually bottoming out at 45%.

The NICU team were incredible, there were five of them crowded around this tiny baby. He was too small to get intravenous access via his arms so they had to cannulate his umbilical vessels to establish IV access.

He was then anaesthetised and placed in a coma to allow them to mechanically ventilate and inflate his lungs. Henry was in the coma for a week, but slowly the support machines were withdrawn and he went from strength to strength.”

Tom added: “We will both be eternally grateful for the lifesaving care in the first six hours after his arrival and then ongoing during that week.

“Ever since that day I have wanted to raise money for NICU to show my appreciation for such an incredible service and also to try and help their resources and enable them to help others.”

Tom and Toby will take on some huge challenges after setting off on July 11:

Day 1 – set off from North Walsham, run seven miles to Aylsham before swimming eight miles of the River Bure to Coltishall where they will camp for the night.

Day 2 – canoe 35 miles from Coltishall to Yarmouth.

Day 3 – cycle of 130 miles to Hunstanton.

Day 4 – run 30 miles from Hunstanton to Stiffkey.

Day 5 – run 30 miles back to North Walsham.

Tom said: “The biggest challenge in training has been getting enough time to get the miles in. I have come to the conclusion that it will be ‘alright on the night’ and that my memories of Henry’s battle to survive will be all the motivation I need to keep my moving.”

In the past, money raised for NICU has helped to pay for incubators, kangaroo chairs for parents and babies, enabled us to enhance the environment and also provided specialist training for staff.” If you would like to sponsor Tom and Toby and support NICU, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/toby-and-tom-westover-vets

Henry and Tom Hume

A fab night of music at Theatre Royal

I never got to see the Beatles perform live, possibly due to the fact that I wasn’t born until 1966.

My discovery of the Fab Four came much later when, as a 12-year-old, I found a stack of LPs and a portable record player belonging to my stepmum, a huge fan who also never got to see them live.

So last night’s performance Let It Be at the Theatre Royal was a right treat for us both.

The show looked back at the musical history of the “mop tops” through the recreation of signature performances such as the Royal Variety Show and Shea Stadium, interspersed with newsreel and adverts from the time. How we chuckled as the newly-married bride lit up with the voiceover slogan “time for a Capstan”.

The four performers were faultless musicians, swapping from guitar to piano and back. The joke back in the day was that Ringo Starr wasn’t the best drummer in the world, he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles. You certainly couldn’t have said that about Ben Cullingworth as a believable Ringo. He was joined on stage by Richard Jordan as John (he passed the test with my stepmum, John was her favourite), John Brosnan as George and Emanuele Angeletti as Paul.

The first half was a tour through the Beatles’ back catalogue from early days to the Sgt Pepper years, the second half an imagined reunion for John’s 40th birthday taking in each band member’s solo material. This included a stunning version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps with the guitar solo masterfully played by ‘George’. George didn’t event play that on the original, it was Eric Clapton.

The audience ranged in age but had one thing in common, they knew the words to all the songs and were encouraged to sing along and get up, clap and dance.

A couple of crowd pleasers ended the concert – Let It Be and Hey Jude – before a standing ovation. A truly uplifting evening of music from one of the worlds best and biggest bands.

“Kill* for a ticket” – Patsy Webster (stepmum)

(*Don’t actually kill someone, obviously. The show runs until Saturday and tickets are still available. www.theatreroyal.co.uk)

Gay Webster

Pictures: Paul Coltas

Sam’s first Young Sportsman

Aylsham’s Sam Blair has been named Young Norfolk Sportsman of the Year, in the inaugural annual Young Norfolk Sports Academy Awards.

The trophy is presented to YNSA athletes who have showcased excellence in their sport, recognising performance but also commitment, dedication and passion.

This award caps an impressive season for the 16-year-old Norwich City goalkeeper, which saw him make his debut in the Youth FA Cup, play U16s and U18s football and travel several times with the U23 squad. He was rewarded with a two-year scholarship at the premier league club, which commences on July 1st on completion of his GCSEs.

Sam said “I’d like to thank the YNSA for this award. I have really enjoyed meeting and working alongside talented athletes from across Norfolk in so many different sports. It’s very helpful to learn from them and the experts the YNSA put in front of us, on topics ranging from fitness and training regimes, nutrition, recovery, coping with pressure and lots of other important topics that will prepare us for full-time sport. I’m very grateful to my coaches at Norwich City and my school for pushing me every day and making me a better athlete. I’m really excited about the next couple of years and will work hard to try and secure a professional contract.”

Sam, who at 16 already stands 6ft 2ins tall, follows in the bootsteps of an impressive list of Norfolk-born Norwich City academy shot stoppers – with Angus Gunn, Jed Steer, Aston Oxborough, Remi Matthews and Declan Rudd all plying their trade in the Championship and Premier League. Another City goalkeeper alumnus, former England international Rob Green, hung up his boots at the end of last season.

Sam Blair with his award
Sam in action for Norwich City youth  over the past few years.

Beer festival opens tonight!

It’s time to raise a glass to the 14th Aylsham Round Table Beer Festival.

The event which seems to go from strength to strength will open its doors at 6pm this Friday (17th May).

A total of 35 ales, 15 ciders and a selection of gin will be on offer this year and as always it will be held at County, also known as the Youth Club on Cawston Road.

Opening times are:
Friday 12th – 6pm – 11pm
Saturday 13th – 11am-11pm
Sunday 14th – 11am – 3pm.

Prices:
Bronze £10 includes 2 pints
Silver £15 includes 4 pints
Gold £20 includes 6 pints

There will be live music on the Friday and Saturday and food available,