Cromer moves closer to taking reins of its historic North Lodge Park

Rhodri Oliver (North Norfolk District Council) and Cromer Mayor David Pritchard in North Lodge Park

Rhodri Oliver (North Norfolk District Council) and Cromer Mayor David Pritchard in North Lodge Park where it is hoped a transfer from district to town will help its future. Picture: RICHARD BATSON - Credit: Archant

A new dawn is on the horizon for the future of an historic clifftop park at Cromer.

After years of stalled plans and stalemates over what to do with North Lodge Park, there are moves to hand it over to the town – with local people having a say on its look and facilities.

Previous plans for change – ranging from car parking to an outdoor gym – have failed to get off the ground, because of a lack of agreement between North Norfolk District Council which owns it, Cromer Town Council whose office is in the middle of it and local residents living around it. But a move to put the park in town council control could help shape the recreation area – which dates back to the 1930s – for the future.

The district council's cabinet this week has backed a transfer on a 99-year lease to the town, with a grant of £150,000 to help towards initial running costs.

Mayor David Pritchard said: 'This is one of the biggest projects we have taken on at the town council and we want to get it right – and will be talking to the public about how to move the park forward – possibly through a public meeting.'

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The park facilities currently include bowling, putting, flower beds, a rose garden and two shelters.

Mr Pritchard said it was 'buzzing' in the summer time and was enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

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But he stressed that the town council had a limited budget and, even with the 'dowry' from the district council, the area needed to be financially viable.

Townsfolk had said in a past questionnaire they would like to see it stay as it is, but the mayor said: 'The town council doesn't have the budget for that.'

He added: 'We want to show we are listening to all suggestions and ideas, but must make sure that the cost is not prohibitive.'

District council cabinet member for assets, Rhodri Oliver, said they were keen to 'encourage localism where there are clear benefits for the local community – which we certainly believe is the case in this exciting initiative.'

The transfer to the town would provide the opportunity for long-term benefits for the park and its users – with decisions about how the park was maintained 'in the hands of local people.'

What do you think should be in North Lodge Park? Write to or Letters, 31 Church Street, Cromer, NR27 9ES.

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