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Multi-million pound investment in sport for North Norfolk

A £12.6 million investment in state-of-the-art sporting facilities in North Norfolk will go before councillors next week.

The multi-million pound investment would see a £10 million new leisure centre with a swimming pool at the Splash site in Sheringham and a £2.6 million indoor tennis centre with gym at a new North Norfolk Community Sports Hub in Cromer, with satellite tennis facilities across the district at Fakenham, Wells and North Walsham.

The proposals will be considered at the council’s overview and scrutiny meeting next Wednesday. The reports will then go to Cabinet on December 4. If the proposals are supported they will go to full council on December 19 for the funding to be agreed.

Tom FitzPatrick, leader of North Norfolk District Council, said: “We know that keeping fit and active is important for residents. These ambitious plans would see a £12.6 million investment in sport and active leisure; that’s a wise investment for the Council as well as good news for the community who will benefit from better sports facilities.”

The North Norfolk Community Sports Hub would be created in partnership with Cromer Academy and part-grant funded by the Lawn Tennis association (LTA) and should be built by mid-2019 if councillors approve the proposals.

The new facility will include:

  • Three indoor tennis courts
  • Changing rooms
  • Toilets
  • Reception area
  • New bar/lounge and viewing gallery
  • 20 station-gym with an area for free weights and fitness
  • Studio space for fitness classes

In addition, a grant from the Lawn Tennis Association will provide for improved tennis facilities across the district, to drive up participation.

Building costs are estimated to be £2.6m for a ‘framed fabric’ indoor tennis facility or nearly £4 million for a traditional built facility.

Nick Amis, chairman of Cromer Lawn Tennis and Squash Association, said: “It has always been my aim to increase the sporting facilities at our club and we have been fortunate to have received support for very many years from NNDC in various forms. This project will enable us to increase our already well established coaching programme for 140+ juniors. We will be able to accommodate all ages and abilities in the new facility, bringing in other local clubs to use the new indoor courts and keeping fitness levels up, which is a key part of the NNDC plan for healthy living.”

Cromer Academy principal Dr Geoff Baker said: “These are fantastic and creative proposals that will make a lasting difference both to our pupils and the wider community.

“Sport is already a really important part of life at Cromer Academy and this investment will give our young people even more opportunities to take part both as individual players and in teams, and develop key social and leadership skills.”

The feasibility study for the replacement of the Splash Leisure and Fitness Centre in Sheringham considered three options: refurbishment of the existing site; a new build and a new build plus a health spa facility.  The new build option was by far the best value and will be taken forward if the proposal is approved by councillors.

It is recommending that a new leisure centre with a swimming pool is built on the site, partly funded by the sale of land for a hotel development.

The new build option, without the health spa, would see:

  • A £10 million investment in a new leisure and fitness centre
  • A 25m six lane pool
  • A learner pool
  • A splash pad/ fun water
  • A 50 station gym health and fitness suite
  • One large dividable studio
  • A spin studio
  • Two treatment rooms
  • A café

The study estimates that the new leisure centre will take around two years to complete and be open to the public from October 2020. Splash will continue to be open as usual to customers and members while future investment plans are considered by the authority.

PICTURE: CHRIS TAYLOR PHOTO

REVIEW: Farndale at Sheringham

The first night of the Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society (CSODS) production of We Found Love and an Exquisite Set of Porcelain Figurines Aboard the SS Farndale avenue showed off the company’s great talent.

To deliberately act badly requires a great skill which the members of CSODS managed to pull off well, although there was now and again times where the acting seemed to lose direction.

The play, by David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jn, is one of a series of comedy-farce plays featuring the exploits of a group of members of an amateur dramatic society and their ventures into the world of the thirties musical comedy.

The three ladies of the Farnsdale Townswomens Guild Dramatic Society, played by CSODS members Chrissie Robertson, Nona Gray, Kerry Davis and also including the very funny Nick Bird, attempt to bring the elegance, glamour and enchantment of a thirties musical to the stage.

This is a riot of a performance – collapsing scenery, a man cast as a woman, a woman cast as a man, romantic interludes between unlikely couples, a sea captain with a full beard wearing a skirt and heels, a very questionable underwater sequence and shipwreck on a tropical island. The ladies of the Farndale Avenue Dramatic Society certainly carry on regardless and rise above the terrible acting and dubious scenery to bring the thirties back to the stage.

Once again a good performance by CSODS at Sheringham Little Theatre.

Kevin and Sandra Stone

Cromer weekend trouble – police publish review

Norfolk police chiefs have admitted that not enough officers were sent to deal with trouble in Cromer during the final weekend of August’s carnival because the situation had been “misread”.

Norfolk Constabulary has issued recommendations as a result of its response to the disorder, which included the rape of a woman.

The police response led to an angry verbal backlash from many in the Cromer community who felt the police had badly let them down.

The police report, issued today, Wednesday October 25, says:

A number of recommendations have been made following a review into Norfolk Police’s response to disorder in Cromer during the final weekend of August’s carnival.

The review found a number of learning points for the constabulary around how the force could have responded differently to reports of crime and disorder involving a group of travellers who had arrived on Friday August 18.

The force did not recognise the impact the travellers’ presence and behaviour was having on the community.

As a result, insufficient additional resources were deployed and consequently the officers on scene were unable to take positive action. Had the constabulary been in a position to understand the collective impact of the group’s behaviour on the community and understood the tension it was causing, it would have recognised the need to identify a specific response and apply appropriate command structures, officers and tactics.

The force misread the significance of events and provided an ill-judged statement on social media referring to the disorder as ‘low level’.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: “As I have said before, we got this wrong and I feel terribly sorry that the people of Cromer feel let down by our response.

“Moving forward, it is important that as an organisation we take any learning opportunities, put measures in place and make sure this doesn’t happen again.

“I have met with local councillors, business leaders and victims affected by the events of that August weekend, to explain the learning identified. We will continue to work with them to build and regain the communities’ confidence.”

The specific recommendations of the review fall under four main areas:

  • The flow of information and intelligence within the Constabulary
  • Leadership decisions
  • Media response
  • Protocols for dealing with unauthorised encampments

 

Flow of information and intelligence within Constabulary

Certain members of the Constabulary were informed of the fact that the group of travellers had left Lowestoft and were heading to Norfolk and some were aware of the disruption that the group had caused in Lowestoft.

While there was no information to suggest that they were heading to Cromer, the information and actions were not recorded on official systems in a way that would have enabled the information to reach the appropriate level and be shared more widely across the Constabulary.

The specific recommendations relate to the recording and sharing of information and intelligence internally.

Specific leadership/command decisions

It is important to note that an independent review into the decisions of individual commanders is still ongoing. The review is being undertaken by Cumbria Constabulary.

Nevertheless, it is clear that the problems in information flow through the Constabulary led commanders to make initial decisions without knowing the problems caused by the group in Lowestoft.

This meant that the Constabulary responded to events as part of normal business across a busy weekend. This also led to the decision to deal with the travellers through Norfolk’s unauthorised encampment protocol, with the council taking the lead rather than the Constabulary invoking its specific powers.

These decisions combined meant that the travellers were not moved on quickly enough and the Constabulary did not have the resources available to deal appropriately with the events that occurred in Cromer on that weekend, placing officers on the ground in an impossible position.

Any specific recommendations regarding leadership actions and decisions will be implemented once the independent review by Cumbria has been completed.

Media response

The problems with information flow across the Constabulary meant that, combined with the failure to recognise the community tensions in Cromer as expressed on social media, media advisors made initial decisions without knowing the full facts.

This led to the Constabulary assessing events in isolation, underestimating the impact and stating incorrectly that the anti-social behaviour and incidents were ‘low level’.

Specific recommendations relate to how the Constabulary scans social media, whether it can provide further media staffing across weekend periods and the development of a communications plan in relation to unauthorised encampments.

Protocols for dealing with unauthorised encampments

The review identified a change in the nature of certain travelling groups, with these groups now being seen more frequently in Norfolk.

Specific recommendations relate to further analysis of these groups and the need to work with partners to review Norfolk’s protocols for unauthorised encampments. The Constabulary’s operational plans and guidance for leaders/staff must also be revised and updated.

Additional information

  • The emphasis of the review has been on organisational learning. Across all four areas, recommendations will incorporate further training for staff, management advice to individual officers and changes to internal processes.
  • An Assistant Chief Constable will be in charge of an action plan to deliver the recommendations. The Chief Constable will oversee the plan and progress will be monitored by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
  • The action plan will also look at developing an overarching strategy for the Constabulary to any future incidents across the county.
  • The Constabulary will work closely with Cromer Carnival Committee and review its planning for the Feast of the Assumption at Walsingham to ensure that appropriate resources are in place to prevent a reoccurrence of the problems seen at Cromer next year.
  • The Constabulary will also develop a key list of community contacts within Cromer and Walsingham to call upon for support in the planning and response to any similar issues in the future.
  • We continue to investigate crimes reported over the weekend and have ongoing enquiries with other forces to identify a number of suspects. Two have been resolved via community resolution (agreement between parties involved) and it is has been established that two crimes (vehicle crime and theft) are not related to the incidents of disorder.
  • Detectives are continuing to investigate the rape of a woman in Cadogan Road on 18 August – two of the three men arrested in connection with the incident remain on police bail until 23 November. A third man has been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

Traders meeting to discuss future of seaside towns

Sheringham and Cromer chambers of trade are meeting this month to discuss the future prosperity of the local economy.

The two groups have got together the personalities who shape the future of the two towns to hear what they have to say and give businesses the opportunity to express concerns and hopes.

The meeting is being seen as a “one-off opportunity to have your say to those that matter” and will be held on Tuesday, September 26, 6-8pm, at Sheringham Golf Club.

A top table of invited guest has been assembled of North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, Nigel Best, who is the growth hub manager for New Anglia, Rob Young, head of economic and community development at North Norfolk District Council, and town mayors David Gooch and John Frosdick. The meeting will be chaired by the leader of the district council, Tom FitzPatrick.

The panellists will give a brief presentation of their views on the outlook for the areas from their perspective to be followed by a question and answer session from the audience

Anyone wishing to attend is being asked to confirm by September 24 to Economic.growth@north-norfolk.gov.uk or telephone 01263 516009. Any topics you specifically would like to be discussed must be submitted by September 19.

PICTURE: CHRIS TAYLOR PHOTO

Join the Cromer fire crew

Story by Innes Enslin

Ever fancied helping your community and fighting fire? Cromer Fire Station has the open day for you.

The event, being run by Chris Hele, a crew manager at Cromer Fire Station and his colleagues, will showcase the skills a retained firefighter needs. Drills and information about the crew will be demonstrated and explained by the team at the open day on Canada Road, Cromer on September 15, 7-9pm.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has 42 stations, 39 of which have a retained commitment. The crew at Cromer insists this will be the first of many open days. Chris said: “We are looking to do another open day next year for people to look at our equipment, do some drills and fire safety.”

A firefighter on the Retained Duty System (RDS) provides an on-call, part-time service, responding to fire and emergency calls using the same appliances and equipment as full-time firefighters.  The difference is that retained firefighters are on call in their homes or workplaces rather than at a fire station.

To become a retained firefighter you have to live or work within five minutes’ travelling distance of the fire station during hours of declared availability. The role offers flexible working hours and could suit people with childcare responsibilities.

Chris said: “We are hoping to get a selection of people who will go on to apply, pass the recruitment exams and go on to be firefighters at Cromer.” Applications are welcome from both sexes, though appliants must be at least 18 years old.

Some of the big benefits of joining the fire service as a retained firefighter include the chance to be part of a highly-respected team, get free training, uniform and equipment. As well that, they earn an additional wage and can join the pension scheme.

If you interested to apply to become a retained firefighter get in touch with the crew via email at humanresources@fire.norfolk.gov.uk.

PICTURES: DAVE (HUBBA) ROBERTS

Inspired collection by local photographer goes on show in Cromer

North Norfolk District Council’s public art gallery is showing work by local photographer Paul Macro.

The Inspired by Norfolk exhibition highlights the sights of the Norfolk coast with its dark winter skies, rough seas and fiery sunsets.

“The sights, sounds and smells of the Norfolk coast are woven into my soul and my happy childhood is a bright tapestry of memories,” Paul said. “I’m a Norfolk man, born and brought up in Norwich, and seaside holidays at Burnham Overy Staithe played an important part in my childhood.

“Several times a year, at all times of the year, my family spent holidays and weekends in our caravan, where the beauty of Norfolk’s unspoiled beaches and wide skies provided the backdrop to our other world, where there was peace and contentment and sibling harmony.

“My passion for Norfolk’s dark winter skies and rough seas, fiery sunsets and tough, wind-slapped greenery was born from an early exposure to these beauties – before I knew they were beautiful.”

Paul is proud that his work has helped local charities, and he has received orders for his charity calendars from every continent. The RNLI, Nelson’s Journey, Break and Red Balloon are amongst the charities that have benefited from his support.

“My life has been shaped by the landscape and the people of Norfolk and this is my way of giving a little bit back,” he said.

Maggie Prior, cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “This is another fantastic display, and it’s lovely to see our exhibition space being used for such wonderful work. Paul brilliantly combines his natural skill and the wonderful Norfolk landscapes in his work.”

The exhibition runs until September 13 at the NNDC offices gallery in Holt Road, Cromer. The 1st Floor Gallery is open to the public 8.30am-5pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays; at 10am-5pm on Wednesdays; and at 8.30am-4.30pm on Fridays.

Any inquiries about the pictures, which are for sale, should be made to Paul through his website at www.paulmacrolandscapes.com, via info@paulmacro.com or by calling 07727 644092.

Fly tipper prosecuted with help of landowner

A fly tipper was caught and prosecuted for two offences thanks to the combined efforts of a landowner and North Norfolk District Council.

The North Norfolk man was one of two individuals who drove to an area close to Northrepps Cottage, near Cromer, in July  last year.

They fly tipped a wardrobe and threw the wooden panels around the woodland. A CCTV camera installed by landowner Simon Gurney was triggered by the vehicle movement.

In August, one of the men returned to the same area after receiving a letter from the council asking him to come in for an interview under caution and covered the area with toilet roll.

Mr Gurney, who since 2007 has been managing a landscape restoration scheme in the area where the fly tipping happened, reinstating the Humphry Repton landscape of 1790, had put in the cameras due to a history of fly tipping on his land.

Annie Claussen-Reynolds, cabinet member for waste and environmental services, said: “Fly tipping on private land is a big issue and is a selfish act which can damage the environment. The council is determined to tackle the problem and is hoping to work more closely with landowners on projects in hot spot fly tipping areas.

“We would encourage landowners to contact us if they have fly tipping issues on their land and we can work with them to find a solution.”

Mr Gurney said: “Many landowners are suffering at the hands of fly tippers. “As well as being unsightly, this crime can cost landowners lots of money in clear up costs. If fly tipped waste isn’t cleared up, landowners can be prosecuted under illegal storage of waste legislation – which is obviously massively unfair.

“By working with the local authority in this case we managed to get a positive result which shows fly tipping will not be tolerated in North Norfolk.”

The man who was prosecuted pleaded guilty to both offences when he appeared before magistrates in Norwich on August 16. He was fined £120 for each offence, plus a victim surcharge of £30 and prosecution costs of £200 – a total of £470.

Police and Crime Commissioner tackles road safety in North Norfolk

Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green has welcomed the introduction of a scheme to tackle speeding drivers on rural roads in North Norfolk.

Members of the Special Constabulary are joining forces with Community Speed Watch (CSW) volunteers to carry out high visibility enforcement checks in the Cromer area.

The team of 14 will focus their efforts on areas where speeding has been raised as a local concern and those not currently covered by CSW.

PCC Lorne Green, who went to meet the newly formed team during a crackdown in Felbrigg last week (Thursday 20 July), said: “At our Police Accountability Forum in Cromer earlier this year a number of people raised their concerns about cars speeding through their villages.

“I hope the introduction of a scheme in the Cromer area will help to reassure residents we are listening and taking direct action.

“This is community spirit and partnership working at its best with members of Speed Watch working alongside the Special Constabulary Speeding Team to protect their local community from unsafe driving.”

The scheme is one of a number of community policing projects being supported through the PCC’s Early Intervention Fund. The fund is open to policing teams across the county to help them work with communities to tackle local crime, disorder and community safety issues.

PC Pete Davison, Norfolk Constabulary’s Engagement Officer for the North Norfolk area, said: “We work closely with our partners all-year round to target speeding drivers and schemes like this help us to enforce the law whilst also raising awareness of the dangers.

“Speeding is serious whatever the road, but through rural villages the dangers can be intensified. Pedestrians and other hazards are often closer and therefore your reaction time can be reduced. Speed limits are in place for a reason so I would urge motorists to stick to them.”

The scheme is the third of its kind to be funded by the PCC with other initiatives already launched in the South Norfolk and Great Yarmouth areas.

Specials and Volunteers Manager Sue Goode, added: “This is a great example of how our committed volunteers get to experience the world of policing while helping to support local communities and organisations such as Community Speed Watch.

“It’s pleasing to see the specials getting involved with local communities and help to address issues of concern.”

Lorne Green pictured with members of Cromer’s Special Constabulary Speeding Team/Community Speed Watch.