Backing for bid to buy Heacham Park

PUBLISHED: 21:07 24 April 2014 | UPDATED: 21:07 24 April 2014

Heacham Park, pictured from the air by Mike Page.

Heacham Park, pictured from the air by Mike Page.

Councillors pledged to back a bid to buy Heacham Park, at the village’s annual parish meeting tonight.

A steering group has been set up to try to acquire the 48-acre site off Hunstanton Road, which is on the market for £550,000.

Member Jimmy Groom told the meeting at the Old Friends Hall: “We want you, the parish council, with your legal and financial expertise to help us achieve this goal.

“The objective is to buy this park and the lake for the people of Heacham. This is the last piece of Heacham that’s left. We must take this opportunity.”

Council chairman Peter Colvin said the council would discuss the issue at its next meeting.

“Now that you have formally requested we look into this, we will do so,” he said. “We will offer you as much advice as we can muster.”

Asked from the floor if the council supported the bid, Mr Colvin added: “There isn’t a person sitting around this table who doesn’t think this park should be acquired for the people of Heacham.”

Campaigners say a £385,000 trust fund earmarked for youth facilities, which was never used, could be put towards the cost of buying the park. Trustees of the fund have yet to comment.

The park was originally the grounds of Heacham Hall, once home to John Rolfe, who in 1614 married the American indian Princess Pocahontas.

Rolfe brought his wife to see his ancestral home in Norfolk in 1616, but they settled in Essex, where she died in 1617. The hall burned down in the 1940s.

Tonight’s meeting, which was attended by 60 villagers, also heard the parish council had put in an offer to buy the Old Dairy, off Pound Lane.

Mr Colvin said the site would be suitable for new council offices, a new library and parking near the village centre.

Mr Colvin said much of the council’s energy had been devoted to fighting plans for a major development off School Road.

“We put together a strong case against this development and the borough council’s planning committee has rejected these proposals twice,” he added. “The village has sent out a strong message that it wants to remain a village.”

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