Poll: Reaction to decision to scrap CCTV in North Norfolk

A CCTV camera.

A CCTV camera. - Credit: PA

Town leaders have expressed their shock and disappointment at North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) decision to scrap CCTV.

NNDC's cabinet voted unanimously yesterday to close the service by March 31 next year, saving about £200,000 annually.

Cromer, Fakenham, North Walsham, Sheringham and Wells, where cameras are installed, now have six weeks to decide whether they want to run the service collectively or individually, in which case NNDC will give them the equipment for nothing.

Rhodri Oliver, NNDC deputy leader, said the council needed to find a little over £1m of revenue savings by 2016-2017, there was no firm proof that CCTV reduced crime and front-line services had to be protected.

But Eric Seward, a North Walsham town and a district councillor, said all the affected town councils had wanted CCTV kept. They recognised savings had to be made and North Walsham, a regular contributor to the costs, wanted to see more consistent contributions from the other towns.

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'That has been ignored,' said Mr Seward. 'The whole responsibility is being placed on town councils which are also financially challenged. It's difficult to see how they can meet the costs.'

Adrian Vertigan, Mayor of Fakenham, said that at a public meeting on the issue last week one businessman said he had not had a single window broken since cameras were installed.

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'It's a shock that they've taken this decision and I think it's short-sighted,' said Mr Vertigan. Fakenham Town Council would discuss the matter at its meeting tonight.

Cromer town and district councillor Hilary Cox said Cromer had been willing to contribute to keep the service.

'I think the majority of townspeople don't want it turned off. It's an asset and a preventative,' she added.

Mrs Cox suggested cameras could be used to generate money across the towns. For example, one at the bottom of Norwich Road, Cromer, could catch drivers flouting the No Entry sign on Overstrand Road, with fines going back into the CCTV pot.

Wells Town Council chairman Allen Frary said he was disappointed but not surprised at the decision, which members would discuss.

Doug Smith, Mayor of Sheringham, said CCTV had helped clear up nearly 40 crimes in the resort in the previous 12 months.

'We will certainly look into this offer very thoroughly but my initial thoughts are that it will probably prove far too expensive for the towns to support,' he added.

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