Public asked to consider huge remodel of Norfolk town council at annual meeting

Sheringham Community Centre. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Sheringham Community Centre. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A colossal overhaul could be coming to a north Norfolk town council, dependent on the wishes of its neighbourhood.

Sheringham Community Centre's main hall. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Sheringham Community Centre's main hall. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Sheringham Town Council will hold its annual town meeting next week, at which the adoption of a Local Neighbourhood Plan (LNP) will be discussed.

A neighbourhood plan will outline the direction of the community for the next five years, allowing residents to voice whether they would prefer to see more shops, homes, or amenities in their area, thus affecting planning policy.

However in outlining a business plan as part of the neighbourhood plan, the majority of the assets and services provided by the town council will be reviewed as to whether or not they remain a priority for the community.

This could potentially result in the closure or selling the Community Centre and Town Hall, as well as bringing some service contracts in house.

In a letter read out by councillor Peter Cox, it was established that should the council proceed with the LNP, the tenants of each building will be notified of its closure in June.

He wrote: 'The purpose of the review is not to seek, nor prevent the closure of the Community Centre. The closure, reduction or removal of any building or service should not be ruled out as it will restrict the review, unless it is a legal duty to provide the service.

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'The main objectives are to seek efficiencies and reduce cost. Whatever the result, it should be because it is best for the community.'

The town council had earlier this year called a special meeting to address the £45,000 a year deficit.

However deputy Mayor Madeline Ashcroft raised at the meeting: 'All costs are a budgeted precept, which can kept low if we plan ahead. Staffing costs are budgeted for next year.'

In unison with councillor Elizabeth Withington, she added: 'The Council needs to have a clear understanding of the dreams, priorities and concerns of the community. The vehicle that will allow us to do all of that is a LNP.

'The community has to be a part of that process and engage in the discussions and be part of the the decision-making process, of the LNP cannot come to fruition.'

At the annual meeting, beginning at 7pm on April 16, residents are invited to air whether or not they want to progress with an LNP.

The meeting will be held at the Sheringham Community Centre in Holway Road.