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Free parking and possible market move for North Walsham

Drivers will be able to park for free in two North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) car parks during roadworks chaos in North Walsham which could also see the weekly Thursday market moved elsewhere temporarily.

The council has agreed to waive charges for the first two hours in its Bank Loke and Vicarage Street car parks, beginning on Thursday, January 30.

NNDC’s gesture follows discussions with concerned business owners, the town’s chamber of trade and local councillors.

And NNDC is also talking to the town council about whether it wants to move the weekly market while the works are under way.

Roadworks have led to the closure of the crucial Mundesley Road, Cromer Road and Aylsham Road junction in the town centre, with diversions in place. The one-way traffic flow along Market Place has also been reversed.

Eric Seward, deputy leader of NNDC and a councillor for North Walsham, said: “It was important for the council to quickly provide support to shops and businesses in the town centre during this difficult period. The provision of two-hour free parking in the town’s major car parks should encourage people to continue to come to the town centre and use its shops and facilities.”

Long-stay parking will continue to be available at all the pay-and-display car parks across North Walsham.

An NNDC spokesman warned: “Due to timescales attached to grant funding which NNDC has accessed for electric vehicle charge points, there will unavoidably be some works at Vicarage Street car park carried out by the district council during March, which is not possible to reschedule.”

Aylsham shop to close

Shocked shop staff have been told that Aylsham’s McColl’s store is to close.
Employees learned on Saturday that the Norwich Road shop would shut in a few weeks’ time.

A McColl’s spokesperson told Just Aylsham: “Having explored all options, regretfully we have taken the difficult decision to cease trading at the McColl’s store.

“The store’s last day of trading will be 27 March 2020. We are saddened to no longer be operating the store and our priority has been to support all affected colleagues.”

McColl’s staff member Sharon Batchelor has appealed on Facebook for someone to step in and save the store.

She posted: “As you can imagine, we are all completely gutted,” adding: “You only have to be a silent owner. We are capable of running the shop for you. Definitely open for ideas and offers.”

News of the closure has been greeted with dismay on Facebook with comments including: “What a shame. I’ve found the staff are always so lovely,” “What a shock to the community and the staff involved. Such pleasant people no matter how busy they are,” “The collect+ parcel drop-off was also very handy too,” and “Pity the poor paper boys and girls.”

Mass tree planting in North Walsham

More than 1,000 trees have been planted on the edge of North Walsham as part of North Norfolk District Council’s (NNDC) ambition to plant a tree for every resident in the district.

The Felbeck Trust,a charity which helps to restore and improve the Norfolk countryside for the benefit of wildlife, local communities and visitors, organised the volunteering event at Sadler’s Wood.

More than 30 volunteers – from the Trust, the local community and Easton and Otley College – planted 1,200 trees in the wood under the direction of NNDC’s countryside rangers team.

The deciduous species chosen were locally-sourced and grown and included hazel, beech and oak. They will help to improve biodiversity and be better for the local wildlife, replacing the majority of conifers planted there up to a century ago.

The planting was the first large-scale response to NNDC’s appeal to the community to help it plant 110,000 trees over the next four years – one for every person in North Norfolk.

Councillor Nigel Lloyd, environment portfolio holder at NNDC, thanked those who had taken part.

“These are in addition to a further 10,000 trees being planted this planting season at our country parks,” he added.
“We are looking forward to working with other local community groups, schools, businesses and individuals to run more events across North Norfolk in the coming months. Whether it is one tree planted, or another 1,200, each one counts towards our ambitious goal and we welcome all support and ideas.”

NNDC is partnering with the Woodland Trust as its main supplier of trees as it bids to become a carbon-neutral council by 2030.

For more information and details of how to get involved, visit: www.north-norfolk.gov.uk/trees

Local artist turns tree damaged by storm into work of art

An oak tree planted by the 1st Drayton Scout Group nearly 30 years ago, was severely affected by high winds.  The tree by the pond on Suter Drive in Drayton split during a gale in August.

To ensure the area was safe for residents, Broadland & South Norfolk Council’s Amenity and Landscape Team were forced to remove all of the tree’s remaining limbs, leaving a very sizeable stump.

Due to the stump’s prominent location, the team were keen to make good use of it. They decided to bring in local wood sculptor Martin Pigg to turn the stump into a seat for residents to use, with a carved green-man face for decoration.

For the grand unveiling of the carving the 1st Drayton Scouts Group were invited along to plant a replacement tree. Also in attendance was Derek Sizeland and David Herring, who ran the Scout Group when the tree was planted in the 1990s.

The new tree, a Norway Maple ‘Pacific Sunset’ will add an ornamental twist to the natural landscape with its vibrant red and orange autumn colours. If you think a tree has become dangerous – and it’s on council-owned land – please let us know by emailing conservation@broadland.gov.uk.

Appeal following serious collision in Horstead

Police are appealing for information following a serious collision at Horstead yesterday (Sunday 19 January 2020).

A white Peugeot Partner was involved in a collision with a grey VW Golf on the B1150 Norwich Road at approximately 1.30pm.

The driver or the Peugeot, a man in his 60s, was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital with serious leg injuries, whilst the driver of the Golf, a woman in her 50s, was also taken to hospital with serious arm, leg and chest injuries. Anyone who may have witnessed the collision, the manner of driving of either vehicle prior to the incident, or has dashcam footage, should contact PC Andrew McDonnell at Acle Roads Policing on 101 quoting incident number 178 of Sunday 19 January.

Shock rise in Aylsham foodbank use

Latest statistics show a steep rise in the numbers of Aylsham people – including children – being fed by the Cromer and District Foodbank.

Between January and August last year the foodbank’s two Aylsham centres both recorded sharp increases compared to the same period in 2018.

Aylsham Parish Church distributed food to 34 children during the 2019 period, compared to 14 in 2018 – a 140pc increase. At Aylsham Recreation Ground pavilion the rise was 35pc, with 82 children fed.

The total number of people fed at the pavilion rose by 67pc, to 240, and at the church by 105pc, to 90.

A foodbank spokesman said: “Increased demand has been met by increased donations, but our concern for 2020 is that we continue to receive donations that meet an ever-increasing demand.

The main reasons for the rises continued to be benefit problems – with people having to wait about five weeks to their Universal Credit payments – and low incomes, with short term, or zero hours contracts, causing hardship.

“The challenges for us in the new year are to maintain the service of meeting the needs of people in crisis through food parcels and signposting to get the professional support,” the spokesman added.  “Plus, we would like to develop further services.  For this to happen we need to have food and finances continue to be donated by the people of North Norfolk. 

For further information email info@cromerdistrict.foodbank.org.uk or call 07826 376343. There are foodbank collection points in Aylsham Tesco and in the parish church.

Disappointing drink and drug driving results

More than 700 people were tested in Norfolk during the Christmas drink and drug driving campaign with 214 drivers failing.

The month-long campaign, launched on 1 December 2019, targeted drivers getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Additional patrols and roadside checks were carried out with Norfolk having a 29% fail rate.

In Norfolk 613 breath tests were carried out with 95 drivers providing positive readings (74 men/21 woman). Of the 100 drug tests conducted, 82 drivers failed (78 men/four woman). In addition, 15 people failed to provide a specimen and 22 people were arrested for being unfit to drive through drink and drugs.

During last year’s campaign in Norfolk 1,140 breath tests were carried out with 72 people providing positive readings, while 97 people failed drug tests out the 180 conducted. In addition, nine people were arrested for failing to provide a specimen while 11 people were arrested for being unfit to drive through drink or drugs.

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, Head of the Roads and Armed Policing Team said: “It’s disappointing to see that people are still prepared to take the risk and get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“These people not only risk their own lives but the lives of others. We have first hand experience of having to deliver the devastating news to the families of those involved in fatal collisions that their loved ones have died. We would not wish this on anyone which is why we work hard throughout the year to tackle these crimes.

“Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol impairs your judgement, making your reactions slower and therefore increases the chances of being involved in a collision. The results from this year’s campaign show that we will target those who pose a danger to themselves and others on our roads and that they will be dealt with.”

Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green, said: “I attach great importance as Norfolk’s PCC to keeping our roads safe by working closely with Norfolk Police and partner agencies.

“A momentary lapse in concentration can lead to disastrous consequences and it is hugely disappointing that, despite the warnings, so many drivers are still intent on flouting the law.

“We all have a part to play in keeping our roads safe. Dangerous driving kills – whether through excessive speed, being drunk or on drugs, or not giving the road your full attention. Such carelessness is simply unacceptable and just not worth the risk. “The life saved may even be your own.”

New moves to end hotel saga

North Norfolk District Council aims to bring the Shannocks Hotel, in Sheringham, back into redevelopment to secure a positive future for the seafront property.

North Norfolk District Council has made a Compulsory Purchase Order in respect of the property.

Interested parties will be served with relevant notices, and a period for objections will now be open for submission to the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government.

Objections to the CPO can be submitted to the secretary of state until February 19.

A copy of the order and of the accompanying map may be seen at all reasonable hours at Eastlaw, Council Offices, Holt Road, Cromer, Norfolk, NR27 9EN.

The former Shannocks Hotel