The overwhelming view is that the special character of the Park as a beautiful, peaceful green space in the heart of Cromer should be safeguarded, and that the lawns and flower beds of North Lodge Park are an important asset to the town. Nothing should happen that is not in keeping with this special character. Respondents often spoke passionately about their fond memories of the Park throughout their lives and how it provides an ‘oasis of calm’, particularly at times when the town is very busy during the summer months. In order to protect this special nature of the Park, the Friends are proposing a set of principles that will guide how the Park should be maintained and developed.
Respondents show very strong support for improved maintenance and improved facilities in the Park. There is a clear wish from the community for the café to be reopened as soon as possible – the café should be open by this summer (2015).
There is also strong support for more dedicated areas such as a play area for children. There are several areas in the Park where immediate improvements are required, such as the concrete area by the main entrance. The Friends recommend actions are taken to address these areas quickly. In addition, the movement and parking of vehicles in the Park needs to be urgently reviewed.
There is also support for more activities and events, and allowing private events which raise funds for the Park provided these are carefully controlled and don’t over-constrain other public uses of the Park. It is recommended that activities and events are facilitated by the Friends and others to bring the Park to life this year. Putting in the Park is definitely one activity missed by the community and it is recommended that the Friends explore ways to bring this back.
To establish North Lodge Park as a living community hub is an objective strongly proposed in the survey responses. One key recommendation, therefore, is that the Park is run as a Trust managed by members of the community. While this is set up, it is recommended that the working arrangements on the current Park management committee are reviewed to ensure an equitable partnership between the Town Council and the Friends. Another key recommendation is that the budget allocated needs to be sufficient to maintain and improve the Park and ensure no further deterioration.
The community understands the need to manage the Park within a long term plan. The recommendations arising out of the responses to this survey are given as a first step in this process and the Friends propose to take a proactive role in developing, and then consulting on, a 5-10 year plan for the Park. This will include exploring ways to develop a play area as well as investigating many of the other interesting ideas suggested in the survey.
Cromer Town Council has been asked to respond in writing to these recommendations and the Friends look forward to a positive response so we can all work together for the good of our Park.