filling the boating lake

Art in the Park

You may never look at your garden forks and spades in quite the same way

The year that was, and what’s to come

agm 2017The change of orientation in the community hall for the AGM may have flummoxed the technology, but it didn’t dampen your spirits and support for the work all the volunteers are doing to bring life to the Park. We’ve put the presentation on our website so you can see a summary of what was discussed, Apart from congratulating ourselves for surviving another year, there are a couple of important points to note.

  1. It was agreed that we would re-introduce the annual subscription for the Friends at £5 per household. The subscription is a response to the many of you who ask to join the Friends, and will raise money to be invested in the Park. If you want to join, you can do so on our website, or pop into the cafe.
  2. We have been informed by NNDC that, because of heritage concerns, the old bowling green isn’t the most appropriate place for the play park! We are putting this into context with the withdrawal of the car park proposals and taking the opportunity to reassess our strategy for the Park. Watch this space!

filling the boating lakeWe are really grateful to NNDC for their works on the boating lake which now looks like new, and are looking forward to other repairs planned for a couple of shelters and the bridge. We are hoping these new investments and life for the Park, without the car park elephant in the room, will see NNDC working with the community and that we can look forward to a really positive time ahead.

Art in the Park.

wildfoul ii by Bob CatchpoleOn April 4th we unveiled Wildfoul II in the Rose Garden, a sculpture by local artist Bob Catchpole very kindly donated to the Friends.

Cllr John Lee, chair of the district council, did the honours on the day. “It’s amazing what the volunteers have achieved in the gardens”, he said, “Installing this sculpture on the empty plinth is a real achievement and I’m proud to be part of the project supporting the Friends.”

We hope you’ll take time to come and see the sculpture, and the work the volunteers have been doing in the Rose Gardens. The gardens aren’t finished (is gardening ever finished?) and the volunteers will continue their hard work. I know you will all join me in thanking all the volunteers for the hours and hours they put into making the gardens look good for us all to enjoy.

Some dates for your diary

  • During the Easter school holidays we’re running a children’s treasure hunt round the Park. Come into the cafe to pick up a quiz sheet and then let your (grand)children lead you round the Park to complete it.
  • Alongside the Cromer 60s day on April 23rd, we’ll be having 60s music at the cafe from 11.30.
  • As part of the Folk on the Pier festival we will be hosting a couple of festival fringe events. In the afternoons of May 6th and 7th there will be music in the Park,
  • alice and flamingoOn May 14th we’re welcoming Bodham Croquet Club to the Park for a ‘taster day’. I apologise to those of you not familiar with Alice in Wonderland who misunderstood the flamingo reference in my last missive and thought we would be working with Amazona Zoo to bring flamingos to the Park. I can assure you no animals (or birds) will be harmed during the croquet taster day!

We’ve just signed a new licence for the cafe and are looking forward to welcoming a new coffee machine very soon so all our volunteer baristas can serve you even better coffee!



Barry Meadows
Flamingo Trainer (still)

wildfoul ii by Bob Catchpole

Art in the Park

Sculpture complements Rose Garden restoration

The plinth in North Lodge Park gets a new occupant

For Wildfoul ii by Bob Catchpoleover 18 months volunteers from the Friends of North Lodge Park have been restoring the Rose Garden in the Park, working around the empty plinth which once supported a sun dial. When local sculptor Bob Catchpole heard the Friends were looking for a sculpture for the empty plinth he donated one. “I have worked with old garden tools for many years, giving them a new role and purpose,” Bob said. “So when I heard about the work of the volunteers in the Park I thought that my use of recycled tools to produce art really fitted with their aspirations and wanted to contribute to the restoration.”
“Thanks to Bob’s work you may never look at your garden forks and spades in quite the same way again. But that’s the whole point,” said Barry Meadows from the Friends of North Lodge Park. “We’re really interested in bringing works of art to the Park and Bob’s really generous offer gives us a flying start. If we get a positive response from the public we’ll look for more ways to bring more art to the Park.”


Cllr John Lee and Bob Catchpole

Cllr John Lee and Bob Catchpole

“It’s amazing what the volunteers have achieved in the gardens”, said Councillor John Lee, Chairman of the District Council who unveiled the sculpture on the 4th April. “Installing this sculpture on the empty plinth is a real achievement and I’m proud to be part of the project supporting the Friends.”
For many years, Bob has been using agricultural and garden tools in his sculptural works, something which is a surreal and wonderful sight at the same time. After attending both Norwich School and Norwich Art School, he studied Fine Art at Newcastle University before going on to a post-graduate degree at the world-renowned Slade School of Fine Art in London. He has spent a large part of his professional life teaching sculpture, latterly being head of sculpture at Eton College, Windsor for almost 30 years. He established his first studio in North Walsham, Norfolk in 1985 and has lived there ever since.

Was the event worthwhile?

Skating week review

Thanks to almost 2000 of you who enjoyed the skating week in North Lodge Park in February, and to over 100 of you who responded to give us feedback,

Was the event worthwhile?


Was the event worthwhile?




Over 91% of respondents thought the event was worthwhile

Was the event good value for money?

Was the event good value for money?

No respondents thought the event was too expensive.

Would you pay £15 for a real ice rink?

Would you pay £15 for a real ice rink?

50% of respondents would pay £15 for real ice, most with the caveat that hour long sessions would be needed.

What did you particularly enjoy?

A few of the many comments from you

“Being able to afford to do a lovely activity close by”
“Fun atmosphere. Didn’t need to be an expert. Other family members could watch. Enjoyed tea and cake in the cafe afterwards”
“There was a real buzz of happiness about the place, and in our book that’s success!”
“That my children got to try out ice skating for the first time in a very friendly safe environment and had loads of fun!”
“Seeing the park the focus of Cromer activity”
“It being outside by the sea. Music playing. Everyone being friendly. A different activity to do.”
“The happy atmosphere of all who attended both the participants and the people watching. It captured my boys imagination and his joy at being able to shuffle along with his mum was priceless.”
“Hearing the kids happy and outside and doing something.”
“Fun for young families to try skating, and a great atmosphere within the park.”
“Having fun & lots of laughs.”
“Family time without having to travel to far”
“I loved the fact that the whole event brought people and in particular families out doing an event together and having outdoor fun. it had a real sense of community spirit”
“It was fun for all the family”
“I was there on the rainy day and everyone carried on oblivious to the weather”
“The sound of laughter and people’s smiling faces as they came off the ice.”
“That at last the park was being used for family fun!”
“Family fun.”

Easter Treasure hunt in North Lodge Park

Easter Treasure hunt in North Lodge Park

Easter Treasure hunt in North Lodge ParkThrough the Easter School holidays families can explore North Lodge Park in rhyme

Saturday 1st April to Easter Sunday 16th April inclusive

This Easter, families can explore North Lodge Park with the help of a special Treasure Hunt. Carefully prepared by a trainee Bard, the rhyming couplets will encourage children to look around them and find the answers to the simple clues around the Park. On completion of the Treasure Hunt, the use of the magic word in the cafe will release an Easter Egg for successful children. Come and see what wonders there are in North Lodge Park.

The treasure hunt (and Easter Eggs!) will be available during cafe hours (10am-4pm Tuesday to Sunday)

Nominal Entry cost: 50p each


2017 Annual Public Meeting

Date for your diary

Don’t forget our annual public meeting is on Wednesday 22nd March at 7.30 in the Community hall on Garden Street. Come and meet other supporters of North Lodge Park and discuss the Park and what you want to see over the coming year.

As a registered charity we’re entering a new phase in the life of the Friends. As well as needing volunteers for the day to day running of the group (and helping in the cafe and gardens) we’re looking for trustees who are specialists in their field – such as fundraisers, planners, and administrators – to help us take the charity forward. If you are interested and would like to give time and expertise to the charity please let us know.

skating review

Skating week review

skating reviewThe weather was kind to us, and even the one wet morning didn’t dampen the spirits.

The Park was buzzing all week with happy families.  A huge thank-you must go out to all of you who helped: the volunteers who helped with the organisation and in the cafe, and to the (almost) 2000 of you who came to see whether you could be the next Torvill or Dean.

Thanks to over 100 of you who completed the survey; you can see the results in the news.

Synthetic Ice Rink in Cromer

Get your skates on .. synthetic Ice Rink in Cromer

Synthetic Ice Rink in CromerAre you a budding Torvill or Dean? Get your skates on and come down to North Lodge Park in Cromer. For one week only skate your way into Spring!  February half-term 2017 brings you a chance to try ice skating in Cromer. If you like skating but hate getting wet, or you want the chance to try out ice skating, come along and try this synthetic ice rink.

The rink will be in North Lodge Park from
Tuesday 14th until Saturday 18th February 
open from 10am to 5pm every day (8pm Friday)

There will be 45 minute sessions (£5 per person per session) which will give skaters a full 30 minutes on the rink.  Skates will be provided.

Pre-booking tickets is recommended but tickets will be available on the day

book rink session in cromer

book rink session in cromer

book rink session in cromer

book rink session in cromer

book rink session in cromer

synthetic ice rink - north lodge park cromerThe rink is suitable for people of all ages and is wheelchair friendly.

Children who are not confident on the ice can use ice skating penguin aids.

Make sure you take advantage of this skatetastic facility
and a chance to practise your pirouettes!

Please note there is NO PARKING in North Lodge Park, but there is lots of parking in the Town.  The Park is a short walk from car parking, the railway station, and served by the following buses:

  • Service 5 stops directly outside North Lodge Park and runs from North Walsham via Mundesley to Cromer from the east and from Holt and Sheringham in the west.
  • The X44/X40 service from Norwich/Aylsham and the 6 from Yarmouth/Stalham stop on Norwich Road

Full details from

Thanks to NNDC for their help and support getting this project together.

a new beginning for North Lodge Park

A new beginning?

The end of the beginning

a new beginning for North Lodge ParkAt this morning’s NNDC Development Committee (Thursday 15th December) the planning application for developing part of North Lodge Park to provide a car park and new toilet facilities was refused, by 8 votes to 2, because it contravened several of the council’s core policies.

The decision was rather a surprise for us, but not unwelcome, and we must thank those councillors who spoke out against the proposals, and proved that a strong, evidence based argument is worth putting effort into.

We are pleased that councillors listened to arguments from the community, and think that a small celebration is allowed. It’s only a small celebration, because if the council had engaged with the community before submitting the application we could today be celebrating a bright future for the Park.

So the hard work starts now, to build bridges to avoid this new unexpected twist causing a lull in the future developments for the Park. We believe that if the park is invested in people will be attracted to it with the positive knock-on effect to the economy of the Town

Our ideas for a community trust are well advanced, and we hope to discuss these with NNDC early in the new year. If we can, and we believe we can, create a working proposal we’ll be able to have a proper celebration. We’ll then need your help to make the plans happen. The Park will not run itself and we’ll need many more of you to step up to the tasks.

But this evening it is time to relax, have a small celebratory drink, and lubricate the vocal chords for….

Carols in the Park

There is more reason to sing out at this weekend’s carol singing in the Park (2pm on Saturday) – hope to see many of you there.

Carols in the Park

Parks give life to communities, they create safer neighbourhoods, they provide green spaces in towns and cities, help children learn and promote public health.
What do people think about their local parks?
It’s not just us who are concerned about the future of Parks, and how to make them sustainable while local authorities have their budgets squeezed. In July the House of Commons Community and Local Government Committee launched an inquiry into public parks to examine the impact of reduced local authority budgets on these open spaces and consider quoteconcerns that their existence is under threat.
Over 13,000 people from across the country responded to their survey, supported by over 400 people and groups submitting written evidence. Clive Betts MP, chair of the committee commented: “The responses and comments we received have shown very clearly just how much people care about their parks”. You can see the results of the survey online. The committee has held its last session and will be reporting next year.

There is lots of research about the future of parks in the community, some of it referred to by the inquiry. I’d certainly recommend reading the CABE report Community-led spaces, A guide for local authorities and community groups which you can find on our website. There are no easy answers, but with some forward positive thinking from the stakeholders, and some hard-work from communities there are workable solutions.

Community Trust
In our 2 surveys we asked for views on the future of North Lodge Park, and whether a Community Trust would be an appropriate option. We received good support for the suggestion from you, and in the background we have been looking into options for this, which are coming together.

In early November we had a meeting with the district council and received a positive indication that, providing we could find a workable financial plan and a governance regime that gave a trust managing body sustainability, they would give a proposal for a community trust due consideration.
As one of our submissions to the car park determination process we submitted a paper on The Value of North Lodge Park as a Whole which discusses the wider economic value of North Lodge Park. This is an example of how we have tried, without success, to engage in a dialogue with the district council, to discuss the future of the Park and how the proposed car park development could be made more appropriate for the Park.

Unfortunately the district council has been unable/unwilling to discuss any aspect of the proposal with us for fear of compromising the planning process; there has been little acknowledgement at NNDC that any of the points we have made have any merit to them. We are really disappointed (and very frustrated) by this way of working which has left no space for any dialogue to improve the proposals.

Our MP Norman Lamb has offered to chair a meeting with the community and NNDC to review the process. Meanwhile, we have to raise our concerns as far as we can within the planning process.The problem is that, without any dialogue nor recognition that the proposals could be improved, we had to object to the proposal.

carparkspaceThe image is taken from the submitted plans and, yes, if all the bays are filled the only way out of your car will be through the roof. The result of small spaces, and other design faults, will be confusion and less cars parked as they juggle for enough space. Every-time we look at the proposals more issues appear – it would be funny if it wasn’t such a serious issue.

It remains our belief that there is a real risk that the proposed designs will lead to the creation of a car park that is inappropriate, dangerous to users, particularly children, and unsuitable for the disabled. We summarised our concerns to the development committee this week, we have also submitted concerns to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to ask them to review whether the application has followed due process.

The planning officer, Mr Watson, in his report for the Development Committee (who meet next Thursday, 15th December, to review the application) has produced 19 pages on the application, missing some key points, and recommending 14 significant conditions (including revised plans and details, confirming the submitted plans aren’t appropriate!) including many of the issues that we have raised that should have been covered by the original application. The conditions show what a poor proposal this is, and will result in such substantial changes the development committee will actually be discussing a proposal that will need to be superseded! Somehow he concludes (probably with his fingers crossed): It is clear that the issues associated with this application are very finely balanced.

thumbsUnfortunately he further concludes that the potential economic benefits to the east end of Cromer (which he admits there is no evidence for), the potential economic benefits arising from the increase in footfall through the Park (which are not defined) and the increased potential for social interactions with increased footfall in the Park sway the argument and he recommends the application is approved. We will be attending the Development Committee and hope to be given the chance to speak to challenge his conclusion.
Christmas in the Café
To give our café volunteers time with their families over the festive period the café will be closed from the end of Thursday 22nd December until Tuesday 3rd January.- with the exception of Boxing Day (10-1 to support the swimmers) and New Year’s Day (midday – 6 to support people coming for the fireworks).

This Saturday (17th) afternoon, from 2pm, come along and join us singing carols in the Park. Last year it really brought Christmas cheer to the Park with all your lovely voices.
As we announced at the AGM, way back in March, we thought it prudent for the Friends to become a registered charity, and you will recall that we updated our constitution at the time to facilitate the change. Over the last few months we have been working with The Guild in Norwich, and can report that we are now a registered charity (Registered Charity Number 1169907). Apart from now having to report to the Charity Commission, and ensure a clear focus on our objectives, there isn’t much we need to change as we have been managing the association ‘as though it were a charity’ from the outset.

Hope to see many of you either before the festivities really start, or during the break. On behalf of the committee, may I take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year. 2017 here we come!


Barry Meadows
Humbug manufacturer