This summer North Walsham has looked very drab. There are only a few hanging baskets in the Town Centre. For years now the Chamber of Trade and Commerce has organised a joint effort between all the shopkeepers to have at least one hanging basket on every shop. This year, no one was interested. Apart from the few who have made a personal effort and the baskets that the local council have put up on the Market Cross, there is very little colour in the Town. Its such a small thing, but it makes so much difference.
However, the absence of hanging baskets is only a symptom of the apathy which seems to have crept over the Town. There was not enough interest in the annual Trade Fair to make it worth holding. The carnival has been cancelled. The Shopping Times nearly was.
What has happened to North Walsham? We don't blame the people who have spent so much time and effort running the Carnival in previous years and who have now dropped out. Everyone needs a rest, and why should the same people be expected to do such an exhausting and largely thankless job year after year? Its not as if the population of North Walsham was small. Somewhere out there there must be some people prepared to take over the reins and whip up a little enthusiasm.
Think about it. Lets make next year a more colourful year for the Town.
To all residents, schools and businesses in North Walsham; Would you like to see the town entered in The Britain in Bloom competition for 1995?
If we did everybody would be keen to help. I am sure the Town Council would be willing to co-operate. Any comments or offers of help, setting up a committee etc., to Audrey Woods, Deputy Town Mayor. (0692) 403265.
The Mayor Writes...
I took over from Nigel Horner-Glister, last years mayor, on the 31st May at the Annual meeting of the Town Council. Mrs Audrey Woods, whom many of you will know from her NSPCC work, is my deputy. I am very fortunate to have such a wide range of experience amongst the Town, District and County Councillors and would also like to thank Ron Nash the Town Clerk and his staff for all their help.
My first informal duty was on Thursday to attend the Inner Wheels 46th Charter where Mrs Strange was president. A most enjoyable evening with a talk by Mr Eaton, the administrator of Blickling Hall.
I attended the Civic Service at the Salvation Army Hall, where we were all welcomed by Major Gwen Bowers. The Revd. Martin Smith spoke and Mrs Ling from the Methodist church read one Bible passage and I another. Father Eugene Harkness gave the address. My congratulations to him on his promotion and my thanks to all who made it such a wonderful service.
On the following Saturday I opened the Manor Road First School Fayre and Donkey Derby and on the 9th the Halvergate Nursing Home.
The mayor is always asked what his theme is for the year, and mine is cooperation. I should like to see more of the business people and townspeople working together for the benefit of the town.
James Le Grice
FRIENDS OF FRIESENRIED
Ellen Grover has been elected Chairman of the Association and under her guidance, the Committee has arranged for a party to visit Friesenried between the 19th and 27th October. There will be overnight stops at Mainz and Liege and the Association is particularly pleased that there will be a dozen young persons under 18 in the party.
Our friends in Friesenried will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of the formation of their Committee on the 6th June and arrangements are now being made for a radio link on that day so that the Town Mayor and our Chairman can exchange greetings with the Burgermeister and the Chairman of the Friesenried Association.
In weather certainly more suited to the inhabitants of the pond than the town, hundreds of people gathered to see the official opening by Mr Bob Bagshaw.
Chairman Roy Hayes told us how the members of the Bluebell Pond Society had spent three years fundraising, supported by all local organisations and that the pond had already won five awards.
Bob Bagshaw, of Radio Norfolk fame, told how as a child living locally, he would go to the pond with his brother to watch the wildlife there, and how indeed it was one of the things that set him on his career. He was delighted to re-open the pond.
The North Walsham Lions presented a seat.
District Councillor, Joan Gray, presented a sundial and Mr Gosling of the North Walsham Amenity Society presented the North Walsham Amenity Prize.
The mayor, James Le Grice spoke on behalf of the Town Council. Everyone stressed the sustained communal effort that had been needed to keep the project going, and how good it was in these days to see that, as Joan Gray put it, people had time for our town.
Afterwards there were entertainments and stalls in the Melbourne where the High School Band and the Angel Baton Twirlers performed for everyone.
LOCAL PLANS FOR SWIMMING POOL
The North Walsham Swimming Pool Fund Association has been raising funds since 1984. These now stand at over 60,000. However, the Association feels that it has taken the campaign as far as it can and that if public interest is to be maintained and real progress to be made, the baton has to be passed to their elected representatives in the Town and District Councils.
This year, since no pool was specifically allocated for North Walsham in North Norfolk District Council's Pre-Deposit Draft Local Plan, the Association enlisted the assistance of Peter Moore, a local Chartered Town Planner, to make a formal report they could submit to the Council as comment on the Plan.
In its Draft Plan North Norfolk District Council has indicated its willingness to assist in the building of one swimming pool in the District, and has included funds in its current Budget for this purpose. However, they have not indicated where it will be built.
The Association has requested that the District Council reconsider its proposed policies and include the need to provide for at least 2 additional swimming pools in the District, to be located in the 2 growth towns, which are North Walsham and Fakenham.
They have also been asked that the North Walsham inset map be amended to identify a site for a swimming pool. This would be an indication of official support for the principle of the provision of a swimming pool in North Walsham, the public would have renewed awareness of the project, the site could be safeguarded and it would enable detailed design work to begin.
We all know that living between the Broads and the sea it is most important that our children learn to swim, and that young and old alike can benefit from the exercise of swimming. Let us hope that the District Council will take notice of our comments and amend their plan accordingly and put a swimming pool for North Walsham on the map.
LONDON MOZART PLAYERS COME TO PASTON MUSIC SCHOOL
The Paston Saturday Music School end of term concert this year coincided with a visit by members of the London Mozart Players, sponsored by North Norfolk District Council and Eastern Orchestral Arts.
Composer Paul Barker showed the whole school how to improvise on a basic rhythm, then they split up into groups to work out variations. Flute player, Ileana Ruheman, violinist David Angel and trombone player Ian Fasham assisted the groups which came back together to work out an improved piece containing the variations the pupils had devised.
At the afternoon concert the improvised piece was played, without benefit of a single note written down, together with the usual group performances and stunning solos from the London Mozart Players.
It is so rarely that we have opportunity in North Walsham to hear musicians of this calibre that we can certainly appreciate them to the full. Having them playing in the Paston Orchestra alongside the pupils gave everyone confidence and ensured that the performances were even better than usual.
Conductor Adrian Connell, (Head of Music at Broadland High School) has brought the Paston Orchestra and Wind Band on well in the few years he has been there, getting them to tackle music which has really stretched them, and taught them that they can do it if they try. Mr Connell is well known locally as a Musical Director, his last success being the Broadway version of Pirates of Penzance on Cromer pier. This summer he will be at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe directing 'Pendragon' a specially written musical for children, for producer Ned Sherin.
We were sorry to say goodbye to Peter Brown who has taught for many years at the school. He has several excellent recorder players to his credit and his duet with one of them at the concert showed that the same squeaky recorder played in infant schools by sticky fingered children can become a joyful and exciting instrument in much practised hands.
Congratulations to Laundrycraft, who, despite the absence of the North Walsham Carnival, and in the teeth of a gale, showed that there was some life left in North Walsham by winning second prize in their class at the Cromer carnival with their Bedlam in Bedrock Flintstones float.
THE FUTURE STRUCTURE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN NORFOLK
You have until September 28th to let the Local Government Commission for England know how you want your County run. A leaflet should have come to every house in the District with an attached form to be sent to a free post address with your preference. The choices are to keep the old two tier county/district system which has been running in one form or another since the late eighteen hundreds; to amalgamate in our case Broadland and North Norfolk district councils, which date back to 1974, to make one big unity district which will be responsible for running everything the county used to run, education, libraries, police, fire service, care in the community as well as their existing responsibilities. The government commission prefers this idea, which will cost between 14 - 16 million pounds to set up, but should save up to 3 million pounds a year. This will probably take over 5 years to cover the set up cost, which will go on our rates, along with the cost of all the expensive printing North Norfolk District Council have been producing to convince you to vote for this option. Add to this the documents the County has been producing to convince you of the other point of view plus the cost to central government for the leaflets they have produced and you realise that it has already cost you personally quite a bit. Is this a sensible long term project? Do you think that the new unitary council for North Norfolk & Broadland will deliver you a better service or do you feel that the County, by and large, has been running quite well for the past 100 years and ask yourself If its not broken, why mend it?
Its up to you, let the commission know how you feel. Of course they cant promise to take notice of your views, its not a referendum, but you will have done all you can.
If you have not received your leaflet, write to:
Local Government Commission for England,
101 New London Road,
Chelmsford CM99 lAY
and they will send you one.
Paying for repairs after repossession
Losing your home because you can no longer afford to pay your mortgage is a nightmare situation that many homeowners dread, but few people realise that not only can you find yourself homeless and in debt when your house is repossessed, but you can also face a bill for the costs of repairs and maintenance on the house until it is sold. As the law stands, building societies can pass on these costs to you even though you have moved out.
If you feel that you have been charged too much, you can complain to the Building Societies Ombudsman. Until the house is re-sold, you will also be responsible for paying the buildings insurance premiums: this may involve renegotiating the policy for the time the house is left empty.
Tax and pay in lieu of notice
People dismissed from their jobs with pay in lieu of notice often face confusion and conflicting advice over whether the money they receive is taxable. The Inland Revenue generally maintains that it is, but there are strong arguments that pay in lieu of notice should not be taxable because it is compensation for breach of contract, not wages. It is now clear, thanks to a decision made by the House of Lords and the advice of tax experts, that money paid in this way should not be taxed if you are dismissed without agreement and your contract has no provision for payment in lieu of notice. This area of tax law is still complex and you are likely to need expert advice on your rights and liability if you find yourself in this situation.
European Rules on VDUs
Regular users of computers and word processors at work are now entitled to eyesight tests paid for by their employers. Health and Safety rules which came into force last year also mean that employers must pay for any lenses which are prescribed as a result of the test. A European directive specifies minimum standards for VDU equipment and office furniture, and says that VDU users must have breaks away from the screen. Anyone about to start using a VDU regularly at work should have a sight test at their employers expense beforehand. The test should be done by a registered ophthalmic optician or a registered medical practitioner, who will then send the results to your employer. You should also be sent a copy. If you need glasses to use a VDU safely, your employer should foot the bill, but you will be expected to meet the extra cost if you want more expensive frames or if you prefer contact lenses. The regulations are intended to protect employees from the hazards of lengthy exposure to display screens, but your employer cannot force you to have an eye test if you dont want one.
If you need help on these or any other problems, contact North Walsham Citizens Advice Bureau in the Portakabin by the Council Offices in New Road. Opening hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 10.00am to 3.00pm, telephone 402570. No appointment is necessary unless you wish to see one of the Debt Counsellors.