Cromer’s new mayor signals return to tradition as she wears chain of office

Cromer's new mayor signalled a return to tradition tonight (Monday) as she wore the chain of office and announced her intention to preside over meetings from the mayoral chair.

Gwen Smith was unanimously elected at the town council's annual meeting, with David Pritchard voted in - also unanimously - as her deputy for the year.

Her predecessor Greg Hayman sparked some controversy when he chose to not wear the chain for meetings, and wore a number of different designs for official functions throughout 2011-12.

He also opted to chair the meetings from the table at the same level as the councillors.

But Mrs Smith donned the chain and said: 'I'm sitting at the table tonight because it's too much of a hassle to move. But I shall be sitting in the mayor's chair from now on.'

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At the meeting the town council unanimously agreed to welcome North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) proposal to involve the community in the future running of North Lodge Park, and to support 'further exploration' of its suggestion of handing the park over to a town trust.

The move came after NNDC's previous plan to revamp the park, including closing the bowls and putting greens, building new public toilets, developing a children's play area and an all-age gym and refurbishing two shelters ran into strong public and town council opposition.

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Amid fears raised by member of the public Robert Read that a previous plan to turn part of the area into a public car park could still be on the statute book, NNDC deputy leader John Lee promised to look into 'rescinding' it and said: 'This administration has no intention whatsoever of ever putting a car park in North Lodge Park.

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