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Shoes boost mayor’s hospital charity

A mayor’s charity is taking a giant stride forward thanks to the donation of brand new shoes.
North Walsham mayor Barry Hester has already raised £2,850 for his civic charity, the town’s hospital League of Friends, which provides “extras” for patients, visitors and staff.
The latest boost to the funds comes from the gift of a dozens of pairs of shoes from local businesswoman Ann Bullimore, following the closure of her shop in the precinct.
A range of children’s women’s and men’s shoes will be sold for the charity on Sunday, February 24, at the White Swan pub between 11am and 2pm.
Barry said: “We are grateful for the donation – which will enable people to get bargain shoes and us to boost the Friends’ funds.”
He is hoping to top £3,000 through the shoe sale, annual civic dinner in April and a planned comedy night in June.
Picture: Richard Batson

Deputy mayor Mary Seward with some of the shoes which will be for sale.
PICTURE: RICHARD BATSON

Council statement on North Walsham Wetherspoon’s plan

Following recent questions and speculation about the status of the proposed plan for a JD Wetherspoon to be developed in North Walsham, North Norfolk District Council has issued a statement, which sets out the current position.

JD Wetherspoon approached the district council in 2014 requesting an unencumbered freehold sale on the New Road site, meaning all occupants would need to move out.

This would then allow the company to develop a pub/restaurant on the site, which the district council believed would strengthen the town centre through generating additional footfall and visitors.

These moves were successfully facilitated by the district council and, by September 2016, the building was empty of occupants and subsequently secured. A contract for JD Wetherspoon to pursue the purchase of the site was agreed in 2016.

A right of way/footpath challenge was raised in 2017 and resolved, meaning this challenge is no longer a legal impediment to the sale of the site pending development.

The council believes there are no legal impediments whatsoever to progressing with the sale of the site, or any other impediments for JD Wetherspoon to submit or discuss with planners detailed plans of their proposals – which has not been the case to date.

The council has done everything in its power to make the site available to JD Wetherspoon in good order and in a timely fashion and wants to ensure a certain, economically viable future for the site to the benefit of North Walsham.

The council is currently waiting for JD Wetherspoon to confirm its intentions for the property.

Eric Seward, deputy leader of North Norfolk District Council and ward member for North Walsham (North), said: “This is a run-down prime town centre site. It is more than four years since JD Wetherspoon first expressed an interest in coming to North Walsham. The district council has done its best to accommodate JD Wetherspoon. However, in the last few weeks there have been conflicting messages from the company over whether they wish to open new pubs in Norfolk.

“The company chairman says no new pubs will be opened in Norfolk, but other company representatives give an opposite message. This saga has to come to an end. Are JD Wetherspoon going to open a new pub in North Walsham or are they no longer interested?”

Norfolk drink/drug driving results shock

Nearly 190 people were arrested during the Christmas drink and drug driving campaign in Norfolk, with more people testing positive for drugs than alcohol.

Norfolk police have just released the results of the month-long campaign, launched on 1 December 2018, which targeted drivers getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol and drugs. A total of 189 drivers were arrested.

A break down of the results shows that 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.

During the 2017 campaign, 947 tests were carried out with 81 drivers providing positive readings. Of the 172 drug tests conducted 56 drivers failed. In addition, six people were arrested for failing to provide a specimen while 12 people were arrested for being unfit to drive through drink or drugs.

This year again saw specific time slots at Norwich Magistrates’ Courts being reserved to deal with those caught drink or drug driving. This effectively meant that offenders could lose their licence within 24 hours of being breathalysed whilst facing additional fines.

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, Head of the Roads Armed Policing Team (RAPT), 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, although it does appear to be a minority of motorists.

“A notable difference during this campaign is that there have been more drivers tested positive for drugs than alcohol. While this is a concern, drug driving is something we actively target all year round. It’s also a reflection of our increased ability to carry out roadside tests for cannabis and cocaine.

“Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol impairs your judgement, making your reactions slower and therefore increasing the chances of being involved in a collision.”

 

A roadside drug-test device.

 

 

Chance to take part in school’s mentoring scheme

Business people and employers are being urged to volunteer to take part in a hugely successful mentoring scheme aimed at helping high school students gain the confidence and employability skills they will need in later life.

North Walsham High School will launch the sixth year of its mentoring scheme in February. Mentors take on between five and 10 Year 9 student mentees, and meet regularly with them over a two-and-a-half year period, to offer support and advice on qualifications, skills needed to progress towards their ambitions, and to help motivate and inspire them.

Students who have taken part in the scheme have spoken about how the experience helped build their confidence and self-esteem, as well as guiding them in their choices for the future.  Mentors have also reported that taking part has been a rewarding experience, helping their own personal development, as well as ensuring that tomorrow’s workforce has the skills needed to be useful employees.

“Our mentoring programme is designed to provide role models for our students,” said Kate Lawn, who is co-ordinating the initiative. “We want them to be inspired, motivated, confident, and full of self-belief. We need to develop their ‘soft skills’ to improve their long-term employment prospects. Employers have highlighted that employability skills are lacking in young people, so our aim is to build on these to enable them to progress in the world of work.”

Employers and business people who are interested in taking part are being invited to a business breakfast at the school to find out more.  The event takes place on January 22, 7am-8.30am.  Those interested in attending can reserve a place by contacting Kate Monday to Wednesday on 01692 402581 or by email on lawnk@nwhs.uk. The 2019 scheme will be launched at a “speed networking” event at the school on February 13.  Mentors receive training, and are required to complete a DBS check.

One current mentor at NWHS is Gail Adams, owner of Holiday let company, Pack Holidays.  She says that being a mentor gives her a lot of inspiration for the future: “It is well worth your time spending a little while with young, developing and curious minds.  The students I mentor are a fabulous set of young adults who are mature, kind, intelligent and engaging.”

£860,000 artificial pitch plans approved for North Walsham

Plans for an artificial grass sports pitch in North Walsham were approved at a meeting of North Norfolk District Council’s cabinet.

The facility, which would be available primarily for football, but with other sports depending on wider demand, will cost an estimated £860,000. It will be developed as a joint project between the council, the Football Foundation and North Walsham High School.

The pitch will be available for both school and public use. The facility will be floodlit and fully enclosed, and provide improved parking and changing facilities on the school site.

Under the proposals, the school will provide the land with North Norfolk District Council paying 40% of the capital cost, and the Football Foundation paying the remaining 60%.

A feasibility study commissioned by the council identified an initial cost estimate of £810,000 for the pitch plus applications for funding, design and planning; plus another £50,000 to add a “shock pad” system so the facility can cater for other sports such as rugby.

The latter £50,000 cost was not eligible for Football Foundation funding, meaning NNDCs contribution would be £374,000 and the Football Foundation contribution £486,000.

North Norfolk District Council will submit a funding application for an April 2019 deadline, with a decision being made by the FA in July 2019 and completion before the end of 2019.

The council will largely recoup its capital costs via user income. The income will also provide a fund for future renewal of the pitch surface which has an estimated lifetime of around 10 years.

A council spokesman said: “We have been working with the Football Association (FA) for some time on this proposal and the need for the artificial grass pitch was clearly made. There is good demand from clubs locally and a particular emphasis on girls’ and women’s football.

“There is also a growing emphasis on walking football for older people.”

Extra funding for North Norfolk market towns

Funding for a wide range of projects designed to improve the economic vitality of North Norfolk’s four inland market towns has been approved.

A meeting of North Norfolk District Council’s Cabinet agreed to a set of recommendations today which had been put forward by the Market Towns Initiative working group.

Each town was able to bid for £100,000 to spend on projects enabling them to take part in the development of their economic future. The money comes from a total pot of £400,000.

Around £130,000 remains in the Market Towns Initiative fund and a second round of applications will be opened to access this money, with the closing date for these applications being February 12.

The amount any one town can receive in total will remain at a maximum of £100,000 – so if a town received £50,000 in the first round, it would be able to bid for up to £50,000 in the second round.

Sarah Butikofer, leader of North Norfolk District Council and chairman of the MTI working group, said: “I was delighted by the range of projects that were put forward and very pleased that cabinet ratified the recommendations of the working group this morning. All of our communities deserve our support.”

The nine successful applicants included:

The Holt Society – £7,210 to design and print a pamphlet and five notice boards to provide information on the Holt Owl Trail to residents and visitors.

Love Holt – £26,000 to implement a major marketing campaign for the town designed to increase visitors and trade.

Holt Town Council – £17,514 for projects including an accessible Yellow Brick Route, and a Holt park-and-ride scheme.

Regenerate North Walsham and North Walsham Town Council – £99,575 to implement three major improvement projects split between improving St Nicholas Court, the town centre and attracting more visitors to the town.

St Nicholas Court in North Walsham

Body of missing North Walsham man found

Police confirmed the body of a man was found in North Walsham this morning (Friday 23 November 2018).

It’s after officers were called by a member of the public reporting a body of man had been discovered in a field off Happisburgh Road.

While formal identification is yet to take place, it is believed to be that of 46-year-old Julian Gaunt who was reported missing from the area on Monday (19 November). His next of kin have been informed.

The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but detectives do not believe there are any suspicious circumstances.

Free Christmas parking dates in North Norfolk

Every town in North Norfolk has chosen two days of free parking over the festive period.

North Norfolk District Council has decided once again to waive the parking charges before Christmas. This year the free parking period will run on various dates between November 24 and December 23.

The decision supported North Norfolk’s businesses and traders by encouraging people to buy their Christmas gifts and supplies in their local towns. At a crucial time of year for the retail community, it was also a gesture of goodwill for the festive season in response to requests from businesses, said a spokesman.

Posters will be put up in all relevant car parks giving the information for the individual towns. On the days themselves, payment machines will be covered to make sure people understand they do not need to pay.

The free weekend car parking sessions will be:

•             North Walsham – November 24 and December 1

•             Cromer – December 1 and 8

•             Fakenham – December 15 and 22

•             Stalham – December 2 and 8

•             Wells – November 24 and December 8

•             Holt – December 16 and 23

•             Sheringham – December 1 and 8