Have a say on new Sheringham leisure complex

North Norfolk District Council is inviting members of the public to an event to learn more about its plans to build a multi-million pound, state-of-the-art leisure facility in Sheringham.

The council’s cabinet agreed £10.7m of funding for the new leisure and fitness centre to replace the existing facility, Splash, in December 2017.

As part of the design process, the council is keen to share early proposals of the facility with the local community. The event will take place on Thursday, March 22, from 1-8pm at Splash in Sheringham. Members of the public will have the opportunity to learn more about the proposed facilities, view artist impressions of the current proposals and comment on the design concept, site layout and the overall impact of the proposed project.

Splash at Sheringham was opened in May 1988. A condition survey conducted in 2017 highlighted an urgent need to invest in a new facility to ensure access to leisure services is secured for the future.

North Norfolk District Council has appointed Saunders Boston Architects and a full design team to develop the new facility who will be on hand at the public event. Together with staff from North Norfolk District Council they will be answer questions in an informal environment and prior to the submission of a planning application for the proposed development.

Council leader John Lee said: “The provision of a multi-million pound, state-of-the-art leisure facility supports North Norfolk District Council’s commitment to improving the health and well-being of its residents and we are looking forward to getting the development under way. Before we do, it is important that we consult with those who will benefit from the facility to ensure we get it right.”

Becky Palmer, cabinet member for leisure services said: “This event is an opportunity for local people to come and have their say on an exciting new development that will ensure the provision of leisure facilities is secured for the future.”

The Splash leisure pool and fitness centre.
Picture: Chris Taylor Photo

Bumpy landing at Sheringham

In a first for Norfolk’s Coast Path, a helicopter was drafted in today to airlift heavy materials up Beeston Bump in Sheringham.

The work is to enable vital improvements to be made to the path, which will make access to Norfolk’s highest point easier and repair the scarring that has occurred on the well known landscape feature.
Norfolk County Council’s Norfolk Trails team has started preliminary work to repair the badly-rutted route which walkers currently have to navigate.

The new improved path will follow the same route as now but will help to prevent further wear and tear along the stretch of the National Trail.
The work, which has largely been funded by Natural England, is being carried out by Norfolk County Council’s Norfolk Trails team. The helicopter was called in as it is the best way to lift the heavy aggregate needed with minimum impact on the SSSI feature.

Coltishall/Sheringham smashes on ungritted roads

Car smashes in Sheringham and Coltishall in icy conditions this morning (Friday January 26) were among dozens of collisions after Norfolk County Council failed to grit roads.

Two people were taken to hospital after the two crashes which were among 37 reported to Norfolk police this morning.

The council says its forecasting service did not predict there would be a freeze but says the gritters will be out tonight across Norfolk, from 7pm, with more sub-zero temperatures predicted.

This morning’s road chaos followed a light-hearted tweet yesterday from Norfolk County Council which said: “The sun has got its hat on, the weather’s mild and bright, the sun has got its hat on, there’s no gritting tonight.”

But in fact temperatures took a steep plunge overnight. Among smashes was a three-vehicle accident at 7.15am on the A149 Weybourne Road, Sheringham, involving a Ford Transit van, and Vauxhall Astra and Toyota IQ cars which blocked the road until just before 11am.

A woman was treated for back pain by an East of England Ambulance Service Trust crew and taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for further treatment.

Earlier, just before 7am, emergency services were called to the B1354 Wroxham Road, Coltishall, where a red Renault Megane had left the road.

A man in his 20s was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich by ambulance suffering hip and head pain. His condition is not believed to be life-threatening.

A county council spokesman said: “We buy a weather forecast service from a specialist provider which we use to inform our decision on whether to grit, and also where and when.

“While it’s usually very accurate, the forecast for last night suggested road temperatures would not dip below freezing, so on this occasion we unfortunately didn’t have the information needed to send the gritters out. We’re sorry if some people experienced difficult journeys this morning.”

Earlier this afternoon the council tweeted: “Freezing temperatures forecast across the board tonight so the gritters will be going out on all county gritting routes – that’s more than a third of the county’s roads – at 7pm”.


Norman Lamb to attend screening of award-winning documentary in Sheringham

MP for North Norfolk, Norman Lamb will be attending a special screening of the feature documentary film Unrest at  Sheringham Little Theatre this evening.

The film, made by Harvard PhD Jennifer Brea, tracks her own story and that of her partner Omar, as they are both struck down with a severe virus.  Whilst Omar rapidly recovers, Jennifer ends up bed bound with mysterious symptoms which are initially misdiagnosed as being psychosomatic, then eventually diagnosed as being due to ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

The award-winning, Oscar short-listed film tracks this young, fiercely intelligent couple’s love story as the pair grapple with Jennifer’s chronic illness diagnosis and their attempts to both find answers to how she can regain her health, whilst also changing the culture surrounding this most stigmatised of diseases.  Follow Jennifer and Omar’s journey in this documentary about their lives together and those of many other severely affected ME/CFS patients who Jennifer connects with online from her bed.

This screening has been organised in conjunction with the Sheringham ME/CFS Support Group, who are the only ME/CFS Support Group based specifically in North Norfolk (although other groups do cover the whole county).  The condition is thought to affect as many as 6,000 patients in Norfolk alone and as many as 250,000 patients across the UK.  The screening will be attended by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, who will give a brief talk to the audience after the film.

It starts at 6.15pm.  Call the box office on 01263 822347.

Lions and Tigers aboard RNLI Sheringham Lifeboat

British Lions, England and Leicester Tigers brothers Tom and Ben Youngs have been made honorary members of RNLI Sheringham’s Lifeboat Crew.

Branch chairman Phil Hawes explains: ‘Tom and Ben grew up in North Norfolk and spent their summers on the beach at Sheringham. They’ve grown into exceptional men who through their sport display brilliantly all the qualities we look for in our lifeboat crew – dedicated, hard-working team players who daily strive to be the very best in a physically and mentally tough environment. However it is not only their skills and achievements that impress, it is their humility, honesty and integrity; the way they carry themselves, deal with life’s challenges and treat others. Tom and Ben are tremendous role models and we want to recognise that.”

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Sheringham RNLI. Phil said: “We are an incredibly proud community and have been celebrating our heritage and those who have gone before us. Never before has anyone been offered honorary membership of the Sheringham Lifeboat Crew. We are delighted both Tom and Ben have accepted.”

The RNLI exists to save lives from drowning. Not only are the Sheringham crew, and station on alert every day of the year to launch the lifeboat but in the last year, through visits, the organisation has educated more than 1,000 young people on how to stay safe by the sea and in the water.

The autumn is a busy time for the Youngs boys. Tom is captain of Leicester Tigers leading them in the RFU Premiership and European competitions and Ben, in addition to these, is in the England squad for the autumn internationals.

Travel agents launch fifth annual gift appeal in aid of Break charity

Hays Travel, in Aylsham and Sheringham, has launched its fifth annual Santa’s Sleigh appeal to spread cheer and change the lives of vulnerable children and young people this Christmas.

The team is asking people to pop into either branch and donate new, unwrapped items such as toys, gift sets, toiletries, household goods, stationery items or books in aid of the children and families that Norfolk-based charity Break supports throughout East Anglia.

Break supports young people in care, children with disabilities and families who need support, helping them through difficult times and securing a brighter future.

Branch manager of Hays Travel Aylsham (former CAS Travel) and initiator of the appeal Jo Dobbie said: “I like to be involved with the local community and there is nothing better than supporting a local charity especially in the festive season. I absolutely love Break’s ethos and this is a great opportunity for us to show support.

“I initially started Santa’s Sleigh at the Aylsham branch, and then got Sheringham on board with it too. It created bigger awareness for ourselves and for the appeal and we’re pleased to say they will be joining us again this year.”

Danielle Gravestock, senior fundraising officer for Break, said: “We can’t thank Hays Travel enough for the support they give us each year by organising their Santa’s Sleigh appeal.  We are very grateful to all their staff for organising the appeal and everyone who is contributing goods to support it. These gifts really do make a difference to the children and young people we support.”

Santa’s Sleigh started on Saturday and will run for four consecutive weeks until December 9.

Pictured are branch manager Jo Dobbie, Sam Antoniades-Cork, Mark Heffer and Karen Ashford.


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.


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