“It won’t happen overnight but we can do it” - scores of people attend meeting to regenerate North Walsham

Rob Scammell from Cafe Kitale who is leading a campaign to revive North Walsham's trading fortunes.

Rob Scammell from Cafe Kitale who is leading a campaign to revive North Walsham's trading fortunes. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Campaigners rallying support to regenerate North Walsham have been encouraged by the scores of people who attended a public meeting to kick-start the move.

Market Place, North Walsham.

Market Place, North Walsham. - Credit: Colin Finch

Ideas included a farmers' market, free parking and promoting the town as an attractive, historic and vibrant place to visit.

The Tuesday night meeting was called by local businessman Rob Scammell who was pleased to see more than 50 people crowd into his business, Café Kitale in St Nicholas Court precinct. 'The idea is to make North Walsham a better place to live, work and play and for the youth,' said Mr Scammell, 51. 'It won't happen overnight but we can do it.'

Work already in place to improve the town was highlighted and fresh ideas put forward. A committee was elected to co-ordinate the effort.

The chairman of North Walsham Chamber for Business, Nick Lee, told the meeting: 'Renewal is taking place. Hopefully with a big group and a big push it will just move everything forward quicker and stop some of the frustrations we all feel.'

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Ideas included a new town map, highlighting history such as the link with Horatio Nelson, who was educated at the Paston school, and the 1381 Peasants' Revolt. People also called for improvements to town's appearance and a new future for St Nicholas Precinct, currently owned by the Crown Estate.

Norfolk county councillor Eric Seward said: 'I think it is a disgrace. North Norfolk District Council should buy it and turn it into a proper public amenity which is an attractive place for businesses.'

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Free Saturday afternoon parking to encourage shoppers to stay longer and better uses for the town's park were also suggested, along with ideas for music in the town clock.

More summer activities including activity days and a procession next year are already being organised.

A committee was elected with Bradfield fund manager Tim O'Shea as chairman.

He said: 'We have this fantastic town full of hard-working people. People say 'it's North Walsham, it will never happen.' But we can change that attitude and we can make things happen.'

Rebecca Matthews, Griffon Area Partnership manager and secretary of the Town Team, told the meeting that funding for temporary stalls at the market cross had been applied for, to provide space for independent food retailers and crafts shops.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Scammell said: 'It was a successful meeting. It is easy to focus on the negative things and not the future but we didn't have any of that.

'Businesses and the community both came along with a positive attitude.'

The committee was asked to hold a meeting within two weeks and another public meeting will be held in Café Kitale at 7pm on October 14.

What do you think? Write to Letters, North Norfolk News, 31 Church Street, Cromer, NR27 9ES or email nnn.letters@archant.co.uk

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