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.”

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:

Could you mentor a high school student?

A call has gone out for business people and employers to support a hugely-successful mentoring scheme at North Walsham High School.

With several new mentors signed up last year, the school careers department is pushing forward with plans to get the scheme back to centre stage.

The mentoring was first launched several years ago to help high school students gain confidence and skills they will need once they enter the world of work.

Work-based learning officer Kate Lawn said: “The programme is based on the simple basis that young people will succeed if they are supported by those who are already successful. It’s also a fantastic way to raise aspirations of our young people, giving them role models who will inspire them and help them develop their ‘soft’ skills to boost prospects.”

Business people are being asked to go along to a business breakfast on Wednesday, February 12, from 7am to 8.30am, to meet current mentors, share ideas and meet students. They can then attend a speed networking launch on the morning of Tuesday, March 31.

Kate said: “We want all of our students to benefit from mentoring. Research shows that it has huge benefits for students and employers, who have highlighted that employability skills are lacking in young people. Our aim is to build these to enable students to progress in the world of work.”

The scheme is aimed at current Year 9 students, who will choose a mentor they will keep until they leave school.

The speed networking will be their chance to hear from potential mentors before they choose someone they have interacted with well. Over the course of Years 10 and 11, the students meet their mentors regularly.

Mentors are asked to commit to an average of one meeting per half term – if each meeting lasts an hour, that would be 10 hours over two years. There is training available, as well as a pack of activities. All mentors will need a DBS check.

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.

Kate added: “We want our students to be inspired, motivated, confident, and full of self-belief. We believe that all of our students benefit from mentoring, and it should be an entitlement for all.”

For more information or to sign up contact Kate, on 01692 402581 or email

Appeal after fail-to-stop collision in North Walsham

Police are appealing for witnesses following a fail-to-stop collision in North Walsham on Friday (15 November 2019).

The incident happened at about 8am on Bacton Road, close to the junction with Crow Road and Hamlet Close when a pedestrian and car were involved in a collision.

The pedestrian, a student, suffered an injury to his arm which required hospital treatment.

Officers are keen to trace the driver of a car, believed to be a white taxi, possibly a Toyota, who didn’t stop at the scene Anyone who witnessed the incident, has information or dashcam footage, should contact PC Matt Pritty at North Walsham Police Station on 101.

£15,000 for community projects

Community projects could benefit from up to a £5k investment as the Victory Housing Trust Community Fund opens for its latest round of funding.

The fund, which is offering £15k in total, is inviting bids for activities and initiatives which are making a difference in Victory’s area of operation, which is mainly in North Norfolk.
The funding can be used to meet different needs, such as for capital projects, venue hire, equipment, start-up expenses, and training across themes including health and wellbeing, community cohesion and tackling disadvantage. A key criteria is that all applications should involve or have the potential to involve residents of Victory Housing Trust.
The fund was launched in 2008 to make a difference to people’s lives and since then Victory has awarded more than £500,000 through 174 grants. In the most recent round of funding, in April 2019, £20,500 was awarded to six projects. This included £2,500 to Lighthouse Charity Trust to set up a Men’s Shed in Sheringham.
The deadline for applications is September 27 and all the bids will be assessed by a panel made up of Victory residents, supported by the Norfolk Community Foundation which administers the fund on Victory’s behalf.
Lisa Collen, interim managing director of Victory Housing Trust explained: “We are looking forward to offering this investment to some great causes in our area an,d if you have a community project which fits our criteria, please do make an application.”
Applications for grants can be made by any organisation or group established for charitable purposes, provided there is a formal structure which allows for monitoring of activity and feedback – official charitable status is not necessary.
Anyone wishing to find out more and apply can do so via the Norfolk Community Foundation website:

Soapbox Derby fun

There were thrills, some spills and a lot of fun at the Cromer Soapbox Derby this year.

With 30 karts and 35 drivers from as far afield as the Midlands, the event has been hailed a great success by carnival chairman Tony Shipp.

“We had the biggest number of karts, it was great weather – the heavy rain held off until after the event – and it was a great afternoon,” he said.

The route took in the A149 and Beach Road and there were some fast times recorded.

The winner of the adult class was Oliver Richardson, who completed the course in 26 seconds. The winner of the 16-18-year-old class, Christoper Daykin, clocked a winning time of 27 seconds, and in the 10-15-year-old class, Alfie Childs and Emily Flowerdew tied for the prize with a time of 35 seconds.

North Walsham applies for £1 million to revive town centre

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), working in close partnership with North Walsham Town Council, Regenerate North Walsham CIC and other community partners, have recently put in a bid for North Walsham to the Heritage Action Zone funding scheme.

The grant fund, administered by Historic England, would allow North Walsham to restore the town centre’s historic character with a particular focus on Market Place and its adjoining roads. The plans have been created through a strong local partnership and will complement the planned improvements to St Nicholas Court precinct, which was recently awarded £100,000 through the NNDC Market Town Initiative. It is hoped that Historic England funding would support town centre regeneration by improving accessibility, highlighting the town’s heritage and encouraging cultural activities.

A decision on the bid is anticipated in the autumn. If successful, a programme design phase would follow, entailing further community engagement and consultation preceding the formal start of the project in April 2021.

Cllr Virginia Gay, member for North Walsham Market cross and NNDC Portfolio Holder for Culture & Wellbeing, said: “Our hope is that North Walsham will benefit both economically and culturally, welcoming local residents, the surrounding communities and visitors alike. It was very inspiring to see so many people come together in support of our application.”

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.

Gay Webster

Pictures: Paul Coltas