New seaside centre for town's services

RICHARD BATSON Work has started on an eco-friendly, cone-topped information centre at Cromer. The £700,000 building with a seaside flavour should be open by the end of June in time for next year's summer season.

RICHARD BATSON

Work has started on an eco-friendly, cone-topped information centre at Cromer.

The £700,000 building with a seaside flavour should be open by the end of June in time for next year's summer season.

But officials are stressing the centre is for local people as well as holidaymakers.

It will house tourist information, but also a cybercafé, meeting or exhibition area, promote local parish pump events and provide some council services such as parking and bus passes.

“It is a flagship scheme with an iconic design that is intended to be a bit seasidey,” said North Norfolk District Council's resources cabinet member Peter Moore.

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“It is for local people as well as visitors - a facility for the whole of north Norfolk which just happens to be at Cromer, which is the principle resort and administrative headquarters of the district.”

The council was now looking at which services could be better provided at the town centre complex rather than its Holt Road headquarters.

Two roof-top cones, which have been compared to Madonna's conical stage bra, will draw people to the building's walk-through area, which divides a new set of toilets and the information area.

The flint-panelled complex, which has a third cone about the main office, will provide 24-hour disabled toilet access to Radar key holders, and provide charging facilities for mobility buggies.

Solar power and underground heat pumps, drawing energy from 50m down into the chalk below, will provide 60pc of heating needs for the building designed by Sheringham architects Stead Mutton.

Sale of the existing Louden Road toilets, which have permission for conversion to a shop and flats, will generate much of the £550,000 council contribution. A further £150,000 has come from a European regeneration pot.

Thirty car parking spaces will be lost during construction between now and June 28 next year, and 10 in the longer term.

The work of local artists will be showcased on the site hoardings as part of a national Big Draw scheme. Anyone wanting to get involved should contact district council arts officer Brenda Seymour on 01263 516053 or visit www.northnorfolk.org./arts

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