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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

Hotel may help pay for new Sheringham Splash

North Norfolk District Council has today, October 25, announced that a multi-million pound investment in council leisure facilities at Sheringham could be on its way, partly paid for by a new hotel.

Part of the land around Splash will be made available this week for a hotel development on the site.

The potential sale of the site would help to pay for an improved leisure centre at Splash, which is now almost 30 years old.

Marketing part of the three acre site will be carried out by commercial property experts, Pygott and Crone, on behalf of the site owners, North Norfolk District Council, with a range of options available for the exact positioning of the hotel on the site. Any funds from a hotel will be directly used to part fund the new leisure centre.

A feasibility study on the future leisure centre – either a refurbishment or a new build – is due to go to North Norfolk District Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the 8th November.

The study was commissioned over the summer, following the Council’s Cabinet decision in June setting out the Council’s proposed options for new sports facilities.

Splash will continue to be open as usual to customers and members while future investment plans are considered by the authority.

Councillor Tom FitzPatrick, leader of North Norfolk District Council said: “This is an imaginative proposal and one that would see the local authority invest in future sporting facilities and build the area’s reputation as a centre of sporting excellence.

Councillor Judy Oliver, cabinet member for asset commercialisation and a Sheringham (South) ward member said: “This is at an early stage and it shows the potential of the scheme to generate improved facilities for local people while safeguarding facilities for our ever increasing number of visitors. We are committed to keeping all the current leisure facilities – the leisure centre and skate park – on the site.”

Councillor Maggie Prior, cabinet member for health and wellbeing added: “Keeping fit and active is vital and we know that funding new sporting centres is often beyond the resources of local authorities. By taking this approach we will be able to see whether the new sporting centre could be partly paid for by a hotel in Sheringham. It’s a clear opportunity to improve facilities for all.”

Councillor Brian Hannah, member for Sheringham North, said: “I’m very pleased to support the continuation of sports facilities on this site, sport and fitness is of huge importance to all ages in this community.”

Key facts:

  • 168,000 customers visited Splash last year (2016)
  • Splash was opened in May 1988 by HRH Diana, Princess of Wales
  • It currently offers a gym with 28 stations, 2 dance studios, 1 badminton court plus a leisure pool

The council’s 2015 Indoor Leisure Facilities Strategy recommended that the Sheringham facility was protected – either by a new facility or modernisation.

The proposal has been drawn up to guarantee the ongoing provision of the Sheringham Skate Park and Sheringham Sporting Association’s football and cricket facilities on the current and adjacent sites.

Following consideration of the report by Overview and Scrutiny, it is likely that the council’s cabinet will consider a full business case for the proposal at its meeting on the  December 4 2017 and if necessary, any Ccouncil budget decision will then go to the  December 19 Full Council meeting.

In addition, the council is about to test the market for a new leisure and pool operator to take on the Council’s Leisure Contract which is due for renewal on  March 31 2019.

The current contract covers Fakenham Sports and Fitness, Splash Leisure and Fitness in Sheringham and Victory Swim and Fitness Centre in North Walsham and the procurement process will run at the same time as any improvements to the Sheringham site.

Leisure facts:

  • All three leisure centres are highly successful with 462,000 visits in 2016/17
  • People for Places runs the current Council’s Leisure Contract

Hares trail heads for North Norfolk

North Norfolk will play host to two of the Moongazer Hares planned for a countywide trail next year in aid of the charity Break.

The decision to support the charity was made at a meeting of North Norfolk District Council’s cabinet.

Break is 50 in 2018. Following the successful GoGoGorillas in 2013 and GoGoDragons in 2015, the charity has devised a new sculpture trail for 2018.

In addition to a Norwich trail of Hare sculptures called GoGoHares, Break is for the first time establishing a countywide Moongazer Trail. Sponsors are being sought for the event, which will start on June 24 and run until September 8.

NNDC has agreed to sponsor two hares and set aside £15,000 to cover the project.

It is believed the most suitable locations for the NNDC Moongazer Hares are likely to be Holt Country Park and Bacton Woods.

Nigel Dixon, NNDC cabinet member for economic development and tourism, said: “The advantages are multiple – generating funds for a charity which has long and historic links with North Norfolk, attracting large numbers of visitors to the locations where the hares are sited and benefiting local businesses.”

Maggie Prior, cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “This is an incredibly exciting project for the whole county from a cultural point of view, appealing to families and people of all ages. “We would love to see a hotspot of several hares created in North Norfolk, with ‘our’ two being just part of a greater number in the district.”

There will be an app for each trail and a map available to download. There will be a reward for completing the entire trail – each plinth will have a 4-digit code to collect. All of the city trail hares will have their ears pointing upwards, whereas all of the county trail hares will be looking up to the sky – or gazing up at the moon – with their ears flat against their backs.

Small businesses encouraged to bid for concession pitches in North Norfolk

Start-up businesses and small traders are being given the chance to secure their own pitches across North Norfolk.

It follows a decision by North Norfolk District Council to increase the number of concession pitches across the area. It will increase consumer choice, benefit taxpayers and open up more opportunities for local businesses.

Judy Oliver, portfolio holder for asset commercialisation, said: “Our concession locations have always been popular and many businesses have come back year after year because of the opportunities the sites provide.

“Following a review of our portfolio, we have now identified some further possible sites for concessions. This will provide opportunities for more local businesses and a wider choice of facilities for locals and visitors, as well as providing further revenue for the council and the district.”

The sites are in places such as busy car parks and seaside promenades and the concessions typically include hot food and ice-cream vans, but NNDC is hoping to expand the offerings and will consider any business that wants to bid for a pitch.

North Norfolk District Council leader Tom FitzPatrick said: “Taking on a concession pitch can be a great way for start-up businesses to test the market and hone their skills before looking for bigger premises. The rents are more affordable than on fixed premises and running costs are lower.”

Two supporters of the concessions scheme are Nathan and Adele Boon (pictured), who signed a three-year deal last season on a pitch in Overstrand for their business, The Bucket List, which sells buckets of chips with homemade toppings.

Adele said: “It had been an idea we had wanted to pursue for a while but we needed the location to be just right. The concession at Overstrand gave us a very well-kept position overlooking the beautiful North Norfolk coast. Having the site has given us a fantastic concept and created the ability to grow our business fast.

“We promote the area and use it at the forefront of advertising through social media, and it has certainly worked. We couldn’t be happier with our pitch.”

North Norfolk’s concession businesses have traditionally operated between April and December but NNDC is looking to bring the 2018 start date forward to March, so that businesses can make the most of Easter.

To apply for a concession pitch, visit www.north-norfolk.gov.uk/concessions. Applications must be submitted by early January.

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

SAVED: Future of Itteringham shop is secure

Itteringham village shop has been saved from closure by North Norfolk District Council.

The future of the the community shop had been uncertain because its current owners had served notice on the Itteringham Community Association (ICA) to terminate the lease. The notice expires on October 8.

But at today’s NNDC Cabinet meeting, a proposal to buy the shop and the adjoining Fair Meadow House was approved.

The purchase for an undisclosed amount means the shop will stay in its current location and will be leased to the ICA.

The decision has be greeted with delight by those associated with the shop who were at the meeting to hear the decision. Around a dozen volunteers and staff are involved in its running.

Back at the shop, staff member Alice Ridgeway said: “It’s wonderful news that NNDC has agreed to buy the shop. It’s is so much more than just a shop, it’s a lifeline for many people.”

She thanked the council and all the supporters who had been behind the campaign to keep it open, saying: “It’s really lovely that so many people care about the shop and its future.”

Tom FitzPatrick, leader of North Norfolk District Council, said: “This is an important community asset and it is fantastic that its future has been secured. There was a huge desire locally and further afield to see this shop saved. We are delighted to have helped achieve this for Itteringham and for the remarkable and dedicated community group which runs the shop.”

Judy Oliver, NNDC cabinet member for corporate assets and commercialisation, said: “As well as supporting the local community in Itteringham, this is also a sensible move from a commercial point of view. It will generate income for the council above that achievable from a cash investment, and to be supporting the local community at the same time makes it a win-win.”

The ICA has successfully run the shop for 25 years and there is potential to expand the shop and café, subject to any necessary planning consent, into the currently unused gallery space.

Fair Meadow House is a well maintained and attractive five-bedroom period property with letting and holiday letting potential.

 

North Norfolk District Council to consider buying Itteringham shop

A village shop dating from 1637 which faces closure could be saved by an offer to buy it by North Norfolk District Council.

The future of the Itteringham Community Shop has been uncertain because its current owners have served notice on the Itteringham Community Association to terminate the lease and the notice expires on October 8.

NNDC will consider buying the shop and adjoining Fair Meadow House at a Cabinet meeting on September 5.

The purchase would maintain the shop in its current location, while representing a prudent investment for the Council in line with its Asset Commercialistion Strategy.

Leader of North Norfolk District Council, Tom FitzPatrick, said: “The shop is an important community asset and we see an opportunity to help secure its future hand in hand with the dedicated community group which runs it very successfully.

“There is a huge desire both locally and by visitors to Itteringham to see this shop saved and we appreciate how deeply concerned people are for its future.”

Judy Oliver, North Norfolk District Council cabinet member for corporate assets and commercialisation, said: “We believe the purchase is a financially viable step which will generate income for the council above that achievable from a cash investment. This makes sense both from the point of view of supporting one of our communities and from a business perspective.”

A spokesman for the Itteringham Community Association said: “The association is incredibly grateful to North Norfolk District Council and their officers for their interest and support. With their backing, we are very hopeful that we will be able to Save Our Shop.”

The ICA has successfully run the shop for 25 years and there is potential to expand the shop and café, subject to any necessary planning consents, into the currently unused gallery space.

Fair Meadow House is a well maintained and attractive five bedroomed period property with letting and holiday letting potential.

The proposal is to purchase Fair Meadow House and the shop, to lease the shop and gallery to the ICA and to let Fair Meadow House as a holiday let, managed by the ICA.

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.