Towns' romance on rocky ground

RICHARD BATSON t was a much-vaunted marriage at the altar of joint publicity for the two “rival” resorts of Cromer and Sheringham. However attempts to consummate the liaison with an early combined leaflet has hit a hiccup - with the only knot being tied being one made out of a tangle of red tape.

RICHARD BATSON

It was a much-vaunted marriage at the altar of joint publicity for two “rival” resorts.

But while Sheringham continues to voice its undying love for nearby Cromer, the daily routines of living together are already under a little strain.

The towns which have enjoyed a tongue-in-cheek rivalry for generations have kissed are made up through a combined working party to see if they can leap into bed together in a bid to woo tourists with their joint charms.

However attempts to consummate the liaison with an early combined leaflet has hit a hiccup - with the only knot being tied being one made out of a tangle of red tape.

Sheringham Town Council heard from working party member Anne Webster that Cromer wanted to press ahead with an A4 brochure, designed by former councillor John Morgan, which would cost £2,595 for the first 50,000 copies - to be split between the two towns at £1,297 each.

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But while the Cromer publicity committee could sanction spending under £2,000 without going out to public tender, the Sheringham working party had no such powers and the full council could only agree spending up to £1,000 without a tendering process.

A debate as long as a father-of-the-bride's speech ensued in the Sheringham council chamber.

Some members pointed out there was no rush for the joint leaflet as the town already had 7,500 guides of its own for next summer, while the Sheringham Plus regeneration group also had a stock.

And financial officers warned against suspending standing orders or raiding reserves to allow the spending.

Mayor Noel Gant, one of the joint committee delegates, asked: “Do we go back to Cromer and say we don't have the backing of the council? Have we gone ahead with too much enthusiasm?”

But he was assured the joint talks still had the full backing of the council. However the council voted to tell Cromer a joint leaflet was not possible for next year, and that further investigation should be undertaken to plan ahead for 2009.

Councillors felt more time should be spent planning for a leaflet which would cover Sheringham, Cromer and their surrounding areas.

Cromer mayor Phil Harris said that while it was “disappointing” news about the joint leaflet, there were plenty of other projects the two towns could work on together - including a website, and promotion of transport links and leisure walks between the resorts.

“If you add the attractions in and around our two towns together, there is so much to do - enough for a holiday rather than just a day out - which need more promotion than they are getting at the moment,” he added.

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