"Overwhelming" support for Local Neighbourhood Plan at Sheringham's annual town meeting
PUBLISHED: 11:38 17 April 2018 | UPDATED: 22:52 17 April 2018
It was a case of standing room only at Sheringham's annual town meeting, which saw more than 150 people turn out to put their views forward on issues including the future of the town hall and community centre.
After presentations on plans for the North Norfolk Railway by the attraction’s general manager Andrew Munden and a plastics-aware initiative being run by Sheringham WI, residents, traders and representatives from local organisations had a chance to hear about a proposed Local Neighbourhood Plan (LNP).
Those attending the meeting were invited to vote on the government-funded initiative, which aims to transfer decision-making from a national to a local level and give people a say in development and growth in their communities.
“We had an overwhelmingly positive response,” said town councillor Liz Withington. “There was only one person who voted ‘no’ to the plan against a sea of green yes votes.”
Deputy mayor Madeleine Ashcroft said the council had been pleased with the turnout at the meeting, which, in previous years, has attracted less than a dozen people.
“I think a lot of Sheringham residents are concerned, especially about the community centre,” she said. “But it is already budgeted for the next year so there is no question about it being closed down at the moment.”
The Holway Road facility, which has been running at an annual deficit of £45,000, would be looked at as part of a LNP, Mrs Ashcroft added.
“The plan is about reviewing all our assets and seeing how we can best utilise them and, while the community centre is a big concern for people, it is being used more and more and, speaking as a resident and council tax payer, I am very much for keeping it,” she said.
Mrs Withington, who helped organise the meeting, added: “The whole process is about community engagement and a new approach and the feeling we got from local people was very postitive; I think the meeting helped alleviate any fears they had.”
Town mayor Mark Hill presented long service awards to Mac McGinn, who has been a town councillor for 45 years and council maintenance technician Russell Cox, who has looked after the grounds at Sheringham cemetery, allotments, community centre and commons since 1993.