Seven North Norfolk Christmas events saved by cost compromise

The complete list of 21 Christmas and New Year events that have been saved from possible cancellation by a County Hall cost compromise has been revealed - including seven in North Norfolk.

A number of events were at risk because organisers faced a hefty �450 bill for a legal road closure order for community events including the switch-on of Christmas lights.

Many town and parish councils had been told they would have to pay the sum to formally block streets during the popular festive events.

In the past, the road closures had been policed informally, but officers have now been advised they do not have the power to do that. Instead, the blocks must be organised through official notices handled by Norfolk County Council.

After an outcry from communities organising their showpiece events, the council came up with a cash-saving alternative, inviting communities to put in one shared road-closure application. They will now have to pay �55 each, instead of the full �450.

Graham Plant, the council's cabinet member for travel and transport, said: 'The �450 standard charge for a legal road closure order came as a real shock to community groups organising community street events for this Christmas.

'Many of them would have found it extremely difficult to cover the cost, and a number of events, some that have been going for year after year, would have been cancelled.

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'That's the last thing we wanted to see happen, so we devised a way of cutting the cost by drawing as many events as possible together into a single application. In this way we have been able to keep the cost down to �55 each for the communities taking part.'

The task of contacting event organisers and coordinating the multiple road closure application fell to Russ Blackshields, street works project coordinator based at King's Lynn, who said: 'The final charge does not reflect all the work involved – �55 is simply the legal and advertis-ing costs divided between those events listed in the closure order.'

Christmas lights benefiting from the deal are Aylsham, Cromer, Holt, North Walsham, Sheringham, Reepham, Fakenham, Dereham, Diss, Harleston, Hunstanton, Gorleston, Thorpe St Andrew and Wells. Also helped are Snettisham and Watton Christmas markets, Wymondham Dickensian Christmas fair, Attleborough Christmas carnival, Stalham Christmas street fair, Mundesley festive market and carol concert and Ludham New Year's Eve fireworks.