Plan to give Cromer more say in future of its North Lodge Park

A town trust is being suggested as a way of giving local people more say in shaping the future of Cromer's North Lodge Park.

The idea, floated by North Norfolk District Council, comes after its plans for a �197,000 revamp of the historic pleasure area, which included scrapping putting and bowling, fell foul of local opinion.

Council cabinet member Trevor Ivory said that after a two-day public consultation the authority was having a change of heart and felt a community trust - made up of members of the public as well as town and district councillors and with a non-council chairman- was a possible way forward.

Such a trust would be able to get extra matched funding, to enhance the �197,000 set aside by NNDC, to allow delivery of a potentially bigger scheme.

The district was writing to the town council in time for it to discuss the idea at its Monday night meeting - and was hoping for an 'indication' if not a decision in time for the full district council meeting next week.

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Mr Ivory said: 'It is quite clear the town has very strong views about the park, and I completely understand that.

'The park is an important part of Cromer, one of its historic assets and part of the tourism offer.'

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He was concerned that future plans had the support of the community, and that there was a way of getting local people involved in the running of the park.

Although there did not yet appear to be consensus over what the park facilities should be, he was confident a trust could provide a community-led solution in line with the government's commitment to 'localism'.

Asked if the district had got it wrong by not involving the community earlier, if it was seeking localism, Mr Ivory said: 'We were looking for improvements, and �197,000 is a significant sum. Not many councils have put that much aside for a park. But clearly there is a level of passion, so let's get the town leading the debate.'

The move comes after the district agreed to look again at the plans following public concern and town council pressure to retain bowling and putting, creating a new children's play area and removing an outdoor gym idea from the plans.

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