Fresh bid to revamp Norfolk’s market towns

Senior Conservatives have backed plans to send consultants into Acle and Reepham to investigate how residents would like the market towns to be regenerated.

A recent study exploring ways to open more shops and bring more visitors into Aylsham impressed Broadland District Council officials, prompting calls for the work to be replicated elsewhere in the region.

Reepham and Acle were last week sounded out as the next two potential locations, along with Norwich's urban fringe villages and towns.

And Broadland's Tory cabinet yesterday insisted they should commit to helping Acle and Reepham rather than wait.

Chris Hill, the authority's head of business support, told members: 'If the work of Aylsham could be replicated we want to be looking at doing it at least in Acle and Reepham but also other parts of the district that would benefit.'

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Mr Hill said this could take place during the next two years.

Jo Cottingham, who helped suggest the review in her Aylsham constituency, replied: 'I would like to see it be quite specific to commit to them now rather than reviewing them further down the line.'

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This was agreed by the cabinet.

The Aylsham report, produced by Urban Delivery, cost the district council �9,500. This was an 87-page document and suggested ideas including brown road signs and a bus route linked to popular tourist attractions to encourage more visitors into the town. The aim is for the council to work with residents and organisations, such as Aylsham Town Council and the National Trust, to turn the proposals into reality.

Ross Ingham, of Urban Delivery, told councillors yesterday his team put in the 'shoe leather work' by meeting the people of Aylsham to discover what they wanted. He said this produced a report which was a 'catalyst for ideas'.

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