Improvements made to Swaffham’s Shambles

PUBLISHED: 06:00 20 March 2014

The Shambles in Swaffham has been resurfaced - Town Clerk Richard Bishop. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The Shambles in Swaffham has been resurfaced - Town Clerk Richard Bishop. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

A network of Swaffham footpaths known as The Shambles is no longer living up to its name after a five-figure sum was invested in the area.

Long-awaited resurfacing work of the seven footpaths in the town centre was completed on Friday.

The work cost £27,000 - of which £18,000 came from the development of the town’s new Tesco store, with the rest funded by Norfolk County Council.

Now Swaffham Town Council wants nearby businesses and members of the public to give their views as to how the area should be best maintained and managed for the future.

Town clerk Richard Bishop said: “The Shambles has always been a contentious issue and ever since I’ve been the town clerk here it’s lived up to its name – now The Shambles is no longer the shambles.

“The work we have done in terms of resurfacing the area has made it much better for everyone but improving the surface is just part of it.”

Over the last two weeks, work has been undertaken to improve the drainage of surface water from the site, raise metal work and re-lay the road surface.

Mr Bishop said the next task was to consult - firstly with those who work nearby and then the wider community of Swaffham, to see how the area should be managed in terms of parking and clearing rubbish. He said the town council was consulting businesses in the area until the end of March and would then hold a public consultation in April.

He said the town council would also rubber stamp its responsibility for the area as the ownership of the site has always been a “grey area”.

“We will take responsibility for it in the future but we need to make sure it does not get into a bad state again,” said Mr Bishop.

“We need to put a management programme in place to make sure there are regular litter-picks, parking is arranged better and bins are arranged better. That’s why we want opinions from the public – to see how that can be achieved.”

The work at The Shambles is part of a wider scheme to improve areas of Swaffham. As recently reported, money from the new Tesco store is also being used to improve the Buttercross and the vicinity. The town council is set to receive £225,000 as part of the supermarket’s planning agreement.

Chris Parsons, from Swaffham Business Forum, said: “We are all very pleased to see The Shambles tidied up – it suited its name beforehand.”

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