Sheringham awards scheme backed after confusion is cleared up

Awards for Sheringham's unsung community volunteers will go ahead - just a month after the idea was put on hold because councillors thought it would 'belittle' another scheme.

Last month, town mayor Doug Smith's plan was shelved when members heard the Upcher Community Partnership already ran another project to honour the town's heroes.

But at last night's council meeting, Mr Smith said the previous information had been wrong.

He said: 'When I brought this up last month, various members thought the Upcher Community Partnership did this, but it was actually Sheringham Plus.

'Sheringham Plus ended three years ago and the last community awards were presented three years ago. The Upcher Community Partnership does not do awards.'

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Peter Cox said: 'Bearing in mind we were discussing it with inaccurate information, we couldn't come to the right conclusion. But now we know that there is no organisation giving community awards, the right organisation to do that is this council.

'I think the council should take up the initiative here and make it an annual event at the annual town meeting, where nominated people can be given awards for their contribution to the community.'

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John Bush raised concerns about the cost, but was told by the mayor that it would be 'in the hundreds of pounds' each year.

And Steve Booth said it might be better to run the awards every two or three years to ensure there were enough people to be nominated.

The council agreed to the idea in principal, and put it forward to the general purposes and development committee to explore.

? A councillor's bid to get the rules changed so that allotment holders could be on the allotments committee was rejected by members.

Allotment holder Malcolm Birtwell questioned the legality of the council's 'unwritten law' that those with allotments could not speak or vote on issues relating to the Weybourne Road facility, which is soon set to grow to 140 plots.

He said the decision was 'for the council to decide, not for the council to dictate'.

Mr Cox said there was a 'written law' that excluded people with a prejudicial interest from taking part in debates affecting their interests.

He said: 'It's clearly stated in our standing orders. There is no way that it can be got round. All those with an allotment have a prejudicial interest.'

Town mayor Mr Smith invited members to vote on whether Mr Birtwell should be on the committee, but he only received a proposer, Steve Talbot.

When Mr Talbot tried to question the legality of the rule, Mr Smith told him: 'The proper legal process has been followed. I am chairing the meeting, not you.'

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