District praised for rising to coronavirus challenges

North Norfolk District Council's annual general meeting was held at the chapel at Gresham's School in Holt.

North Norfolk District Council's annual general meeting was held at the chapel at Gresham's School in Holt. Inset: Council leader Sarah Bütikofer. - Credit: NNDC

North Norfolk communities have been praised for "rising to the challenge" of coronavirus over the past year at the district council's annual general meeting. 

In an address at Gresham's School's chapel in Holt,  North Norfolk District Council leader Sarah Bütikofer reflected on the tumultuous period of the pandemic.

Mrs Bütikofer said: "When elected, none of us knew that we would be facing a global pandemic, and how we would have to stand up for, and fight for our communities in unprecedented ways.

"We know how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the country. What sometimes gets forgotten is the community spirit, the dedication to helping and serving each other and the pure kindness that we also benefit from in this part of the world."

Liberal Democrat council leader Sarah Bütikofer. Picture: North Norfolk District Council

North Norfolk District Council leader Sarah Bütikofer. - Credit: North Norfolk District Council

Mrs Bütikofer, who lost her mother to coronavirus, added: "None of us have been unaffected by Covid-19. We all know family, friends, neighbours and constituents that have been impacted by the disease".

Also at the May 26  meeting, Independent group councillor Jeremy Punchard was appointed chairman after a unanimous vote, replacing Clive Stockton.

The council's cabinet for the next 12 months was also confirmed, the only change being Wendy Fredericks taking over from Greg Hayman as portfolio holder for housing and benefits, who has now quit the council's Lib Dem group citing "lack of direction".

Mrs Bütikofer also gave an overview of the council's response to the pandemic, which included setting up co-ordination centres from which almost 500 food parcels and more than 5,000 prescriptions were delivered.

She said the council's other achievements of the past year had included: Buying a number of homes for homeless and other people in desperate need to live in rather than bed and breakfast accommodation; installing electric vehicle charging points; planting 20,000 trees with plans for a further 40,000 more as part of the council's 110,000 Trees project. 

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She said: "We promised to deliver housing, to support business, to work hard to protect our natural environment and to put our residents first.  We have delivered and we plan to go on delivering for the people of North Norfolk who are and always will be our number one priority.”