Mammoth blow: North Norfolk District Council reveals it ‘remains committed’ to Deep History Coast vision after funding bid rejected

A computer generated image of what the new discovery points could look like. Picture: Luke Sterne/SM

A computer generated image of what the new discovery points could look like. Picture: Luke Sterne/SMG Architects - Credit: Submitted

A funding bid to the Coastal Communities Fund for an ambitious 'Deep History Coast' project to showcase North Norfolk's unique coastal archaeological and historical features and boost the local economy has not been successful.

However, despite this 'disappointing setback', North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) this insisted it remains committed to delivering key elements of the project and to continuing to promote the Deep History Coast vision alongside its partners.

The £2m project proposal was submitted by the local authority, backed by partners including Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Museums Service, for funding from the Coastal Communities Fund. The fund is highly competitive with bids in 2017 totalling twice the funding pot available.

Rob Young, Head of Economic and Community Development at North Norfolk District Council, said: 'Of course this is deeply disappointing but we know the project idea is good, the application was strong, and the partners behind the proposals remain committed to the concept.'

But he added: 'This is not the end of the road for the project; our coastline has an amazing story to tell and we will continue to explore ways of using that to improve facilities and attract investment to the area.'

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North Norfolk is considered one of the best areas in the country to study Ice Age geology. The most dramatic finds unearthed to date have been the almost complete skeleton of a Steppe Mammoth discovered at West Runton in 1990 and 850,000 year-old footprints of a wandering family group of ancient humans exposed by the pounding waves at Happisburgh in 2013.

The vision bring developed by North Norfolk District Council centred on a new discovery trail between Weybourne and Cart Gap, included the creation of a new geology hub at Cromer Museum, which is currently closed over the winter; and improved toilet facilities at West Runton and Cart Gap, with new buildings which will also house an exhibition space; as well as story boards, sculptures and interactive displays.

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It was hoped the new trail would bring more tourism to the area generating an extra £35m for the local economy in its first two years.

The council revealed it intends to continue working with local partners to establish which elements of the project to take forward and to ensure the idea of the Deep History Coast is taken forward.

Dr Robin Hanley, Head of Operations & Learning at Norfolk Museums Service, said: 'We are very disappointed with the outcome of this bid, but remain determined to continue to explore opportunities to tell the fantastic story of the Deep History Coast working with our Norfolk County Council colleagues from the Trails and Arts teams and our partners at NNDC.'

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