‘Vibrant’ new look for former Sheringham seafront hotel

A first-floor restaurant with panoramic views over the promenade and the sea will be an integral part of a development planned for the site of the former Shannocks Hotel in Sheringham.
Wymondham-based architects Lucas Hickman Smith have designed plans for owners Huddies to transform the derelict hotel on the seafront into vibrant new building with the restaurant, shops and flats in keeping with the town’s heritage and the nearby buildings.
The ground-floor retail units, first-floor restaurant and residential apartments on the upper floors will all have sea views to take advantage of its position overlooking the beach.
Company director Andrew Roper said: “We believe the application proposes a vibrant, forward-looking new building, of high architectural quality and demonstrating a clear link to Sheringham’s heritage and its immediate context.
“We are keen for local life to be enhanced by the proposed development, and in particular that the wider community should have the opportunity to enjoy the expansive views over the promenade, the beach and the sea that are offered by the site’s location.”
An application for full planning permission has been submitted to North Norfolk District Council and comes at a time when the council was considering applying for a compulsory purchase order on the site for an alternative development, incorporating the site of the Former Shannocks Hotel and the adjacent Chequers Car Park, which is owned by NNDC.
Judy Oliver, for NNDC, said: “As per the last cabinet decision, we are maintaining pressure on the owners to move forward with development, by putting our own development proposals forward for planning approval, along with a voluntary offer to purchase the derelict hotel from them.”
However, Huddies has urged it to rethink its proposals in light of its application.
“The acquiring authority pays all of the costs of the CPO and the public inquiry, and is usually ordered to pay a successful objector’s legal and professional costs,” said Mr Roper, adding it would “not be in the interests of local ratepayers”.
John Western, a director at Lucas Hickman Smith architects said the company had looked at re-developing the current building but that it was in too poor a state. He said: “The fabric and structure are in a bad state and there are issues with salt saturation.”Mr Roper said: “Retention and renovation of existing buildings is not always an option and the professional and expert opinion received by the company is that this cannot be justified, and would detrimentally impact upon the viability of the scheme. NNDC’s alternative scheme, which was displayed at a consultation event in December, suggests that they have received similar advice from their own property advisors.
“In addition, the existing building’s solid wall construction precludes most forms of thermal insulation and, together with a permeable external skin, has meant that the building has been unable to resist salt spray in its exposed location, leading to significant damp problems.
“The company’s objective of achieving a high level of thermal and environmental performance from the building can only be achieved through demolition and redevelopment.”
If the plans are approved, which the site’s owner expects will take approximately three months, it is hoped work could start before the end of the year, though the developers, who bought the site in late 2010, said that works would steer clear of the summer season.
Mr Roper said: “We are keen to ensure that we minimise disruption to local businesses during the tourist season, and this approach was supported by NNDC when we submitted our project execution plan to them in September of last year.”
He added: “The site is significant in the context of Sheringham and North Norfolk, and the company is fully committed to providing this positive, contemporary addition to the town, which it fully expects will benefit the local community, providing employment in the ground and first-floor commercial spaces, improving the commercial viability of the high street, attracting visitors to the town and presenting a bright, optimistic and forward-looking vision for the seafront and the town.”
The council earlier this month said it could stop the compulsory purchase order at any time if the current site owners were seen to be taking action to tidy up the area.

Kieran gets a warm welcome at Cromer

Heart transplant patient Kieran Sandwell got a warm welcome in Cromer and Happisburgh as he stopped off during his 5,000-mile trek around Britain to help raise £100,000 for the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) life saving research.

Kieran, 45, from Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, is currently walking the Norfolk Coast Path in his challenge Trail of Two Hearts to mark the end of his long battle with heart disease after having a heart transplant eight years ago.

After setting off on February 1 from the British Heart Foundation office in London, Kieran’s journey has seen him walking the coast of Norfolk, with members of the public supporting him on his journey to help him raise his target. This included a fundraising quiz organised by Ginny Wilson-North, from MargGins Walking and Glamping, at the home of Tessa and Terry Beane in Happisburgh on Saturday night when £100 was raised and being greeted by Walkers are Welcome members and the deputy mayor in Cromer yesterday.

He said: “The inspiration came to me around 25 years ago, but then I would never have been able to complete such an endurance challenge. It’s only thanks to my donor, the BHF, the Brompton and Papworth Hospital and NHS Blood & Transplant that I am able to make my dream a reality.

“My second heart has enabled me to do so much and I’m urging the public to help me support the BHF’s ground-breaking research by making a donation.”

Kieran’s battle with heart disease began when he was just three years old, when he had to have open heart surgery to correct a condition called transposition of the great arteries (TGA) where the main arteries in the heart are ‘plumbed’ back to front.

Then when Kieran was 13 he suffered a heart attack and during his early twenties he also suffered two mini strokes and began having abnormal heart rhythms. By the time he reached 35, he was in heart failure and he was put on the transplant list for a new heart.

In July 2009, Kieran received his new heart and donated his old heart for BHF-funded research into congenital heart disease which has contributed to important findings and helped others living with conditions like his.

Dawne Hart, BHF Fundraising Manager for Norfolk, said:  “We never cease to be amazed by the incredible way our fundraisers raise money for our research, but Kieran’s coastline challenge is one of the biggest we’ve ever seen. We are so incredibly grateful for his determination and dedication to supporting our work and we’ll be supporting him every step of the way.”

To support Kieran on his journey and find out how you can get involved or to sponsor him visit

Also follow his journey and get in touch at

Will elected as first student president

A 14-year-old student from North Walsham has followed Donald Trump to be inaugurated President after a close-fought election campaign – and he will now represent the town’s high school students for the next year.

Year 9 student Will Symonds became the first student president of North Walsham High School this week in an election which saw every student at the school cast a vote.  Following his inauguration, he has appointed a vice-president – Megan Robson – and a cabinet, which will work with the school’s senior leadership team.

Cabinet portfolios include teaching and learning; behaviour, welfare and safety; outcomes; special educational needs and disability (SEND), curriculum and business.  President Symonds has also appointed a special anti-bullying task force.

He styled himself ‘The Asian Guy’ during his election campaign, and in hustings speeches in front of his fellow students he tried to inject an element of fun into the process to engage with his electorate.

NWHS head teacher Neil Powell commented: “I am delighted at the extent to which students really engaged with the process of electing a student president, the first time we have held such an election.  I look forward to working with Will and his team to continue the whole school improvement with a strong student voice.”


Most borrowed library books for 2016

Norfolk libraries’ most borrowed books for 2015-2016 have today been revealed, with a mix of adults and children’s favourites topping the chart.

The most borrowed book, being issued 1,854 times in the county across the year, was Susan Lewis’s novel Too Close To Home.

For the third year running, children’s favourite Liz Pichon’s The Brilliant World of Tom Gates has made the top 10, this year reaching number 5. The data was compiled by Public Lending Right (PLR).

The 10 most borrowed books were loaned out in the county more than 16,000 times. In total, Norfolk County Council’s libraries issued more than five million items in 2015-16. While the vast majority of these items were books, e-books, e-audio books, e-magazines, DVDs, CDs and console games are included within that total.

Norfolk’s has 47 library buildings and 8 mobile libraries. Norfolk’s Millennium Library loaned more items than any other public library in the UK, lending 984,445 books and other items in 2015/16.

It is free to join Norfolk libraries and borrow books. Books can also be returned to any county library, not just the one they were borrowed from.

The top 10 library books borrowed in Norfolk were:

1: Too Close to Home by Susan Lewis

2: Without a Trace by Lesley Pearse

3: Wish You Were Here by Catherine Alliott

4: Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

5: The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon

6: Tom Gates is Absolutely Fantastic (at some things) by Liz Pichon

7: Personal by Lee Child

8: Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney

9: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney

10: Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Café by Milly Johnson

Nationally, the Top 10 Most Borrowed Titles in 2015/16 were:

1. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
2. Personal –  Lee Child
3. Make Me – Lee Child
4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Jeff Kinney
5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul – Jeff Kinney
6. Alert – James Patterson
7. Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee
8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever – Jeff Kinney
9. Awful Auntie – David Walliams (illus Tony Ross)
10. Truth or Die – James Patterson


Council takes steps to keep tax down in North Norfolk

Potential development at sites in Holt and Cromer will be part of a wider strategy announced by North Norfolk District Council to keep the district’s element of council tax frozen.
Budget proposals to maintain a zero council tax rise for the seventh year in a row at £138.87 for a Band D property will be considered by the council’s cabinet when it meets on Monday (February 6). Any decision will then be referred to full council.
On the agenda cabinet members will consider two key budget reports – the 2017/18 Budget Report and the Strategic Property Development Partner and Work Programme.
These two papers set out how the council could operate with no council tax increase in 2017/18 at a time when other authorities are planning to increase their charge.
The strategy looks to take a more commercial approach to council-owned assets and considers developing four key sites in the district.
These include a residential development at Grove Lane in Holt and a commercial development at Cadogan Road in Cromer.
The Holt site is a former council depot, more recently leased to Norfolk County Council for office use, a two-storey office building, two workshop or storage buildings and a yard area. The property has been vacant for two years.
The site would require significant investment to be re-let for business use and would have a greater value through accommodating a residential development, subject to planning approval, the council said.
Two proposals have been examined, one for five houses to be sold and the other for eight houses to be rented.
The Cromer site is a central car and coach park facility with public toilet block, set back from the seafront.
The site has been identified to accommodate a development, subject to planning approval, by a national hotel chain, while allowing some continued public parking. There has been interest by two hotel operators in recent years – Premier Inn and Travelodge. Both operators are understood to be seeking to develop an 80 room hotel in the town.
Any development of the car park to accommodate a hotel would require alternative coach parking and it has been suggested alternative facilities could be provided on the surfaced area of the nearby Runton Road car park.
Tom FitzPatrick, leader of North Norfolk District Council said: “North Norfolk is a well-run, financially sound authority that delivers excellent services: by continually working to ensure that we are innovative, efficient and effective across all our operations, we are able to bring forward budget proposals that would freeze our council tax rate for the seventh year in a row.”
The council is in a strong financial position for 2017/18 and 2018/19 but Government funding to the council is reducing and there is a forecast deficit of £700,000 in 2019/20 and £1.3m in 2020/21. This figure already includes the council raising income or identifying savings totalling £3 million pounds.

Plan, eat and you really do save


Many of us would not consider ourselves to be wasteful. There are few people above chopping off the sprouting parts of potatoes that have been left at the back of a cupboard and does anyone really have an issue with eating a banana that has gone slightly brown?

It seems that not everyone has as loose standards as me because it has been reported that in Norfolk, food waste makes up approximately one third of the contents of our bins. The average family could save £700 a year, simply by throwing away less food.

Plan Eat Save is Norfolk County Council’s campaign to help Norfolk residents reduce their food waste and save money. Part of the campaign has been to encourage people to sign up to the Food Waste Challenge, which I myself did back in September at a Plan Eat Save cooking demo outside the Forum in Norwich.

The cooking demo was hosted by one of Norfolk’s best-loved chefs and YouTubers, Ian Haste from Haste’s Kitchen. Ian is the campaign’s official ambassador and a huge advocate of stripping cooking back to the basics and getting everyone involved in creating simple but delicious meals.

Speaking at the demo, Ian said: “Fifteen million tonnes of food is thrown away in the UK every year and a huge majority of that comes from our homes. I’ve teamed up with Plan Eat Save because I want to share tips and recipe’s to help people stretch their food further and longer, and save them money. I’ll be working with Plan Eat Save to show people what to do with leftovers that will appeal to the whole family.”

Just over three months after signing up to the Food Waste Challenge with the Plan Eat Save team at the cooking demo, I reviewed my weekly online food bill and discovered that in total compared to previous months, I had saved just under £150. This was including Christmas, which we all know is a more extravagant time of year (those mince pies and quality street aren’t going to eat themselves…).

By simply using the challenge’s weekly meal planner and taking note of the weekly top tip’s on Plan Eat Save’s Instagram, I had not only saved money, I had also become more organised with meal planning and wasted less food.

To find out more and sign up to the Food Waste Challenge, visit:

To check out Ian’s YouTube channel:

Boosting youngsters’ confidence is childs’ play

A fun children’s drama delves into the reason words disappear off the tip of your tongue.

And for the trio staging The Sentence Snatchers, their visit to the Sheringham Little Theatre is a “homecoming ” to the county where they met.

Director Gwen Hanauer and cast members Jonathan Cobb and Sophie McKenzie formed Flat Pack Productions in 2013 while studying  English and drama at the UEA.

The play follows a determined young girl called Frank who has a terrible fear of speaking. But when a mysterious figure offers her a deal to take those nerves away, everything changes.

Trapped in a “contract” where even the clauses have claws and the Syn-Tax is far too expensive, she must go on a big adventure, across lexical fields and letter seas, to defeat her fear and take back her voice from the sneaky Sentence Snatchers.

The imagination exploding family fun performance for six to 12 year olds but which can also be enjoyed by adults, is jam packed with puppets, music and magical storytelling.

The show was nominated for the International Youth Arts Festival’s Best Family Show award in Brighton, where it premiered last year, and is in now on tour in Norfolk and Suffolk, supported by Creative Arts East.

It comes to Sheringham Little Theatre on February 11. Tickets for the 2.30pm performance are £6 through the box office 01263 822347 or website

Video:  See a rehearsal and development showreel at–N_lwrKg

Action from the Sentence Snatchers.
Picture: Flat Pack Productions



Gresham’s pupil selected to join national rifle team

Gresham’s Sixth Form pupil, Toby Little has enjoyed a cracking start to 2017 after being selected as a member of the Great Britain Cadet Rifle Team, The Athelings.

The Athelings (meaning young noble) is a team of 18 cadets selected from the best cadet forces from across the country.  Toby has secured his place on the team for a month-long tour to Canada in August.

Toby has enjoyed an exceptional 12 months in the small-bore range.  He has recently been a member of the Gresham’s team which defended the British School Leagues for the eighth consecutive term.  He was involved with the Gresham’s team that won the British Schools Team of VIII competition and is also into the Final, with his team mates, in the National Team Handicap Competition, which they hope to defend for the third consecutive year. Toby is also the current British Under 16 Small-Bore Champion.

A delighted Toby, who was selected from more than 1,000 competitors at the National Rifle Association’s Imperial Meeting, said: “I am really pleased with my selection and I am really happy to have made my family proud. I am looking forward to meeting the team and spending the time in Canada.”

Gresham’s master of shooting Freddie Grounds said: “This is a wonderful achievement for Toby and it is a deserving reward for the dedication and the many hours of training he has put in since he first joined the Rifle Club in 2013.  In the last year or so, Toby has really started to show his true ability and he has never really looked back since his outstanding performance at the 2016 NRA Imperial Meeting.

“Toby continues to improve all the time and is certainly one of the top shots in the country for his age group and his name is now up there with the very best shots that Gresham’s has produced over the years.”

Toby follows in the footsteps of an impressive number of former pupils who have been selected to the join prestigious team.  Gresham’s has seen 18 pupils represent the Athelings during the course of the last 10 years, an amazing achievement in itself.

Toby Little Athelings selection Jan 2017