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Spring into Action

From My Perspective

Tony Holden Published: 01 April 2024

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As a gardener I look forward to spring. It's a time of rebirth, a fresh start with new challenges to be faced and obstacles to be overcome. I know there’s a lot of work to be done, but I’m confident that all of the effort will be worth it.

That’s exactly how I feel about all of the work that has gone into regenerating our town. We started by creating the job of Town Coordinator. It took months of work and seemingly endless meetings to get the town council to agree to a budget for the role, and even longer to appoint someone to carry out the work, but all of the effort paid off, and the current councillors are so pleased with the result that they have not only renewed the contract, but are hopefully going to increase the amount of time dedicated to promoting the town and boosting tourism.

The next step was to get South Norfolk and Wymondham town councils to allocate funds for an overhaul of the town centre, and in March after a fair bit of procrastination and indecision the town council agreed to allocate money to the project, that could pave the way to around £1 million being spent to improve our town centre.

I know that inevitably it will be a good while before we see any diggers making a start on the work. Of course, I expect there to be public consultations, meetings with businesses and other stakeholders, all of these things take time but are absolutely crucial if we are to make the best of this once in a lifetime opportunity. However, the longer our councillors spend dithering the less we will be able to do, so I would urge them to take the lead and press on as soon as possible.

Although there has never been any doubt in my mind, I know that there has been a fair bit of discussion around whether the funds are available, and if so, if this is the best use for them. I’m sure I’m not the only one who sees the irony in the fact that at the same meeting that councillors who at first insisted that there are not enough funds available finally gave in to public opinion and agreed to help the town, then appear to have agreed to employ a full-time deputy clerk. While I’m not in a position to comment on the workload of council staff, I can’t help wondering, given financial constraints whether part-time help would have been enough.

All in all, although I’m frustrated by all of the delays, I’m delighted to see all of the work that has gone into the town centre regeneration project bearing fruit, it’s now up to our elected representatives at county, district and town councils to come together and give us results that we can be proud of. I hope they won’t let us down.

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