NLP: the saga continues

poppies in north lodge parkWhere next for the Park?

Cromer Town Council extraordinary Park meeting report

Some key decisions were made by Cromer Town Council on Wednesday night. We are issuing this brief interim newsletter to make you aware of what is, and isn’t, happening to your Park.

Last autumn, over 6 months ago, Cromer Town Council facilitated the creation of a community group to work with them on North Lodge Park.  We all thought that, at last, there were to be some positive actions in the saga of the Park.

Unfortunately our hopes for progress this year were wrong, and they were completely dashed on Wednesday night.

At an extraordinary meeting of Cromer Town Council the council discussed how to proceed with the project to transfer ownership of the Park from the district.

The Friends used the opportunity to speak from the public gallery, to ask members of the council some serious questions about the project, the same questions we have been asking in the North Lodge Park committee meetings for some time.  The debate in the meeting failed to answer our questions.  (We are getting our notes together and will publish our questions soon so you know the details of what we asked.).

Our concerns have centred around the extent to which we feel the Council is prepared for the transfer; we have been told repeatedly that the council couldn’t spend much time and effort on preparation as the transfer might not go ahead.

Our view has always been that without proper preparation it would be impossible to be ready when the transfer occurs. Proper preparation is also essential to ensure that all implications are fully identified and considered before the decision is taken.

These very different views have caused tension and on Wednesday night we were accused of being confrontational and aggressive. One member questioned how much we had been Friends to the Council, missing the point that we are Friends of the Park and everything we have said and done has been in its best interest. We have been firm, maybe too firm at times, in the meetings but only as a result of trying to get satisfactory answers to our questions and also in trying to establish a more equal working relationship.

The council proceeded to vote on two points.

  1. Cromer Town Council voted to dissolve their North Lodge Park committee, their mechanism for working with the community regarding the Park.  Their rationale was that the committee was causing a distraction from the transfer project, and it is not needed until transfer has been completed..
  2. Cromer Town Council voted to continue with the transfer project, without putting any time limits on completion, committing more public money on legal costs with no proposal on how to draw the issues to a close.

Apparently the District Council (NNDC) gave Cromer Town Council a deadline of the end of May to resolve any outstanding issues – we don’t know what the implications of not meeting this deadline are.

We are very disappointed with the conclusion, and angry with how the decision was reached without any consideration of the community view, and no debate around the important issues we raised.

We leave you to draw your own conclusions while we re-group to determine how the Friends of North Lodge Park continue.  Our focus has always been to put the Park first, and we will continue to do that in these very difficult circumstances.

We hope to speak to NNDC in the coming days to understand their position on working with the Friends

Many thanks to you all for your support, and apologies for not being able to personally reply to your emails offering support and practical help – we really appreciate the positive way you have responded to us – it is your support that gives us the energy to continue.

Barry Meadows
(very disgruntled) Secretary, Friends of North Lodge Park

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