As has already been reported in the local press, a recent Development Committee approved the revised plans for a ALDI store on the Thaxters site in Holt and recognised the closure of the Bodham Post Office and store by allowing it to be incorporated into the surrounding dwelling. The plans to relocate the Cromer market were dropped.
Following the well-publicised problems with the Co-operative Bank, NNDC and other local authorities in Norfolk are in the process of changing their allegiance to Barclays.
Following changes in legislation which now permits anyone attending a council meeting open to the public to record the proceedings and report on them, it was agreed that the council will make recordings of all such meetings.
At the November meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny committee, presentations were made by the two Citizens Advice Bureaux serving North Norfolk. There was concern expressed, both by council members and former volunteers at the North Walsham office, regarding the staffing and performance of the North Walsham and Fakenham offices. Those offices are run by "Norfolk CAB". In addition, North Norfolk is served by the Holt office and its outreach services at Sheringham and Briston, all operated by "Mid Norfolk CAB". There were no concerns expressed regarding that bureau.
Over three days from December 9th, NNDC was the subject of a Corporate Peer Challenge. This was at the invitation of NNDC. A team of 5 senior personnel from local authorities outside Norfolk and a manager from the Local Government Association interviewed a variety of people and organisations and sat in on meetings. They will report back in February with an assessment of NNDC's achievements and identify areas where improvements could be made. The initial feedback was quite positive.
The council's scales of fees and charges for 2015/16 have been increased by an average of 2½ %, but car parking charges remain unchanged as do charges for markets, beach huts and taxi licences. The Housing Incentive scheme, whereby the requirements for affordable housing and sustainability standards were relaxed in order to encourage more house-building, has been extended for a further year to 31/12/15.
The January Cabinet recommended, in principle, the transfer to the North Norfolk Railway of the Sheringham Tourist Information Centre and attached public toilets, together with a capital contribution towards the costs of reconstruction. A Service Level Agreement would be negotiated regarding the operation of the TIC for 5 years and the toilets for 10 years. In addition to the renewal of the facilities, it is expected that the TIC will be operative throughout the year and that NNDC will make significant revenue savings over the period. The plan hinges on NN Railway obtaining £450,000 funding from the Coastal Communities Fund (part of the Big Lottery Fund) to be decided in February.
A wide range of new powers have come into force regarding measures to prevent anti-social behaviour, including the protection of public spaces and prevention of nuisance and annoyance. It is recommended that the Head of Environmental Services is authorised to designate persons who can issue a Community Protection Notice, including a fixed penalty notice.
The council will also be considering ways to mark the centenary of the start of WW1. A wrought iron poppy sculpture has been donated to the council and is to be installed on land in front of the council offices. Other events being considered are a photo exhibition of the only female official WW1 photographer, Olive Edis from Sheringham, and a WW1 Pill Box Trail.
I have no news regarding the possible affordable housing on Market Lane, but I am meeting the NNDC officers in early February. Environmental Health officers have looked at Bard Hill Barns and do not consider them dangerous at present but will keep them under review. The Enforcement Officer is to consider if an order can be made to tidy up the rear of the site. Consideration of the S 106 waiver is still awaited and I will chase up when I am back in Norfolk in February.
I arranged for the Chief Exec of NNDC and our MP, Norman Lamb, to write to NCC Highways in support of a new car park on the eastern side of Beach Road, as suggested by John Sizer of the National Trust. At time of writing I have been unable to get any update of progress but will advise if there is any news before I go away at the weekend.
David Young 7.1.15