Volunteer cleans eyesore shop in middle of North Walsham Market Place as leaders prepare to help town revival

Volunteer spring cleaner Barbara Harrison is a sparkling example of the community spirit which town chiefs hope will help revive North Walsham's flagging fortunes.

Mrs Harrison, 68, of Bradfield Road, North Walsham, has offered to scrub the windows of a central Market Place shop which has remained an eyesore since it closed in 2007.

And delighted North Walsham Town Councillors have taken up her suggestion that local schools should be invited to submit artwork for display in the former fishmonger's.

The empty shop is among several long-term blight sites in and around the town.

'I'm quite fond of North Walsham. We've got some different and quirky little shops but unfortunately, in prime position in the middle was this neglected, building which has been bothering me,' said Mrs Harrison.

'The owner has kindly agreed to let it be used for children's paintings until he can sell it. It needed a bit of a clean first and I thought, 'if something needs doing, do it yourself.''

Mrs Harrison's gesture coincides with today's North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) cabinet meeting where members are set to authorise a hat-trick of measures to help the town:

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? a study aimed at discovering whether there is a demand for shops and suitable space for them;

? working with a property specialist to advise on realistic options for sites;

? an architect's report suggesting ways of visually improving the town's failing 1970s St Nicholas Court shopping precinct.

Trevor Ivory, NNDC portfolio holder for Localism and the Big Society, said North Walsham had suffered from years of under-investment. The measures would help restore it as a self-confident, vibrant and historic market town.

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