Villagers launch bid to buy Heacham Park, where Pocahontas stayed when she visited Norfolk

Heacham Park, pictured from the air by Mike Page. Heacham Park, pictured from the air by Mike Page.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
8:34 AM

Campaigners want to use money set aside in a youth and community trust fund towards the cost of buying the park, which is on sale for £550,000.

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They say £385,000 was originally intended for youth facilities but never used. They fear if the land is not bought by the village, it will be developed for housing.

Retired builder Jimmy Groom, 68, of Poplar Avenue, said: “I’m a Heacham man born and bred and I’ve watched my village go under bricks and mortar.

“The developers have come in, they’ve got their money and gone. The only bit of Heacham we’ve got left is the park.

“The park is up for sale and we’ve formed a committee to try and buy the park for everybody, for eternity. We can’t lose this chance to save the last bit of Heacham.”

Mr Groom said a 10-strong steering group had been formed to oversee a new trust fund to buy the park. Members will be meeting the parish council to ask it to back their campaign.

Parish council chairman Peter Colvin said: “There is a group of people in the village that that want to save the park – it’s the last link between Heacham Hall and Pocahontas.

“If people do buy it there will be ongoing maintenance costs and for the public to use it health and safety will need to be involved.

“A resident did organise a meeting where around 60 people attended so the more people that do go into buy it obviously the costs would be cheaper.

“There isn’t any developers interested in it yet but the vendor would receive a percentage of any revenue for any future development.”

Parish clerk Phillipa Sewell said: “There was a newsletter sent out saying the park is for sale, which people want to buy to prevent future development.

“I understand it is private property and in joint ownership. The parish council is looking at this and there is a steering group that has been set up.

“But there are considerable costs in managing the park, including the fish pond. If residents feel strongly we will do what we can for their interests.”

The 48-acre park was originally the grounds of Heacham Hall, which burned down in the 1940s.

It was 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 park includes a three-acre carp fishing lake called Pocahontas Lake. Mr Groom said the trust fund would be called the Pocahontas Trust.

4 comments

  • If you want to know what happened to the money held in trust but the Youth and Community Fund you will have to ask the trustees, I was not and am not involved with that. Heacham has a large playing field, a playground which includes a skate ramp and there is of course the beach. What other facilities would you like to see for the children and younger people of the village to use? I am sure the Parish council is open to sensible suggestions You should also know that Disney did not invent Pocahontas, her and John Rolfe were real people. It is still not a big draw for tourists but it is part of Heacham's heritage. If purchased the Park would be open to young and old.

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    Daniel Parton

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • My best of luck with it Daniel, but what happened to the need for youth facillities?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • It's quite simple really, if enough households within Heacham want The Park to be bought and maintained by the Parish Council and they are happy to have their council tax increased to pay for it then it can be done. The £385,000 previously raised for a community centre is managed by a committee that is entirely separate from the Parish Council. If the village wants to access that money they need to apply to the trustees of that money. It could be a wonderful asset for the village and a great community space for us all to enjoy.

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    Daniel Parton

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • A council failed to spent money on young people and children and now wants to buy land in order to stop other people with children moving into the village. You could not make this up. Maybe voters should ask that this money will be appropriated and spent by a team that has the interest of children and young people at heart, rather than a fictionary person that might attract some tourists there. Hang on, why attract tourists with this Pocahontas ruse, when you do not like people moving into the village?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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