Sheringham can look forward to exciting times ahead as a result of the work that has been done over the last 18 months by Sheringham Town Council, led by our Mayor, Cllr Madeleine Ashcroft.
The emphasis has been on engaging with the community and identifying the Town’s needs and prioritising them. Working in partnership has been central to the new approach; the town council is now working much more closely with town organisations such as:
- the Chamber of Trade,
- the Community Rail Partnership,
- the Carnival Association,
- Sheringham in Bloom,
- Our schools
- a number of youth organisations.
Members of community organisations have been co-opted onto Council committees and this has led to the development of the Town Centre Development Plan. Under this plan, a feasibility study is examining how the town centre can be made more pedestrian friendly. The Town Council and the Community believes the maintenance of our vibrant high street is a priority which will benefit the local economy for everyone’ benefit.
The Town Council has installed a new storage compound for the Carnival Association who are so essential in creating the fabulous range of events we enjoy throughout the year in Sheringham which draw in thousands of visitors to support our local economy.
Working as partners with the Museum we are working towards housing the Town’s Art Collection in the museum. This will give the community a greater opportunity to see the items they own and also give visitors to the town an insight into our social history so well represented in some of our pieces. This project also ensures these important pieces are stored in an appropriate environment to preserve them as well as enable essential conservation work to be completed.
The need for a Youth Strategy has also been identified as a priority through the community engagement surveys completed last year. Led by Sheringham Town Councillor Hazel Beazley, the youth organisations in town are now working together to meet the needs of our young people and families alike. A Youth Directory is to be shortly published and with the Youth Advisory Board, the Town Council is working with both the Primary and High Schools in setting up Youth Councils; to assist with this the Primary School Council have been to visit the Town Council office.
Encouraging the use of public transport and reducing social isolation have also been a focus of the Town Council; led by Cllr Withington this initiative is working closely with
- Greater Anglia,
- the Community Rail Partnership
- the North Norfolk Railway
- Sheringham Dementia Friendly Community
This coordination has led to the specification of a new station platform which will be constructed shortly. Money has been set aside by the Town Council to try and develop greater bus access into the town, connecting the outer regions of town with our important health, shopping and community facilities.
The Town Council has also been strongly lobbying the North Norfolk District Council on Sheringham’s behalf particularly with regard to much needed improvements to the prom; as a result, significant work has been completed by NNDC and much more promised.
Working in partnership with NNDC, Sheringham Museum and the Coastal Community Team, Sheringham is planned to be a place of significance on the soon to arrive and very exciting Deep History Project Discovery Trail.
Sheringham residents responded well to the council 2018 surveys, with over 500 responses. The Community Centre was identified by 92% of people as essential to the health and well-being of the community and that they wished it to be retained.
The Town Hall has been identified as not fit for purpose, citing in particular, parking, and Health and Safety issues for staff and councillors alike, coupled with limited practical access for members of the public at Town Council meetings.
As part of the new Business Plan currently under development, Sheringham Town Council has agreed to relocate the Town’s administrative offices to the Community Centre. This will have the benefit of providing fully accessible council offices, with parking and being located on a bus route; the Community Centre is in the southern end of the town where the majority of the town’s population live, an area represented by 11 Town Councillors as opposed to just 5 in the North Ward. An added benefit of the move will be that council staff managing the community centre will be on site to ensure a more efficient, proactive management of the Community Centre and its superb resources; this will significantly reduce costs to the Council and in turn to the rate payers of the town.
As a result of the policy of active community engagement, several councillors are busy with projects looking towards developing a greener Sheringham for example, the replacement of raised beds at the allotment site as well as the provision of more smaller allotment plots, together with improvements to accessibility and way-finding on the Town’s commons are all projects in hand. New bus shelters are planned and improvements to the CCTV at the Cromer Road play park will improve safety for our children.
Along with the development of a Local Neighbourhood Plan, exciting times are ahead.
If you would like to play a part in this and are prepared to help develop projects, or have particular skills or experience from which you feel the Town could benefit, then please do join us at the Community Centre on the 7th March at 7pm to find out more about the role of a Town Councillor. By standing for election to the Town Council on May 2nd or helping in other ways, you could become part of the further development of our vibrant town and its community, making sure that is as resilient and inclusive as is possible in the future.
Mayor Cllr Ashcroft has said “This year after many years of commitment to the town several councillors will be retiring. Combined with the exciting times ahead it is a great opportunity for people with the skills, time and commitment to make a difference to stand for election”
The Annual Town Meeting to be held on the 14th May at the Community Centre at 7pm will be a chance to find out more about the Town Plan, to meet the new 2019 Council and share your views. Cllr Withington said “Last year there were over 200 people in attendance at the Town Meeting, it would be a fantastic start to the new Council’s four-year term of office if as many people, or even more, came along to find out what is planned in more detail and to share their views on the future of our town.