Poll: Is Cromer deprived or vibrant?
- Credit: Archant
Cromer has been tagged the most deprived rural area in Norfolk in a new report.
But civic leaders have defended the town, saying it is 'vibrant' and a great place to live and visit.
However Jon Clemo, chief executive of the Norfolk Rural Community Council (NRCC) which is behind some of the revealing figures, said the report was an accurate picture of the town which faced challenges.
He said: 'Cromer does have a lot of community assets like the carnival. There are positive things going on in Cromer and things the community can be proud of.'
The Norfolk Strategic Needs Report 2013, researched and published by the Norfolk Community Foundation, also revealed Cromer was in the bottom 20pc most deprived areas across the country.
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Statistics from the NRCC date back to 2010 when figures from different areas including housing, health and education were brought together. Communities of around 300 people and 1,500 people were looked at.
Mr Clemo added: 'Very often you get pockets of deprivation hidden within otherwise affluent areas, which are often missed by the statistics.'
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The main issues facing Cromer were low-wage jobs, lack of affordable housing, challenges around aspirations to learn skills, fuel poverty, access to services and advice and fewer people achieving GCSEs compared to the national average.
Mr Clemo added there was no simple solution to the complex problem, which sometimes needed long-term investment.
Cromer mayor David Pritchard, who moved to the town from South Wales, said: 'I'm sure there are levels of deprivation here but in comparison to South Wales it is bordering on non-existent. Cromer is a wonderful area. People from all over the country from all different walks of life and different age groups come here.'
He thought one big problem was a lack of a sixth form college.
The report said that north Norfolk, alongside Great Yarmouth, had the biggest drop-out rate among students aged between 16 and 18.
Tom FitzPatrick, North Norfolk District Council leader, said being in a rural area was 'challenging'.
He added: 'Parts of Cromer are vibrant and it is about trying to get the vibrancy across the town. You can go anywhere and around the corner there are pockets of deprivation.'
The council's main aim was to boost the local economy and encourage house building.
Keith Skipper, writer, broadcaster and champion of Cromer, said there were 'deep pockets of real poverty' in the town which were often overlooked.
The most worrying aspect of the town was a failure to appreciate fully the needs of its young people.
Mr Skipper added: 'Cromer remains a good place for those able to work, rest and play against the uplifting backdrop of pier, sand and sea.'