Heacham Parish Council backs bid to buy park

Heacham Park is for sale - villagers want to buy. ANL-140424-154637001
Heacham Park is for sale - villagers want to buy. ANL-140424-154637001
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An ambitious bid to buy an historic parkland and save it from the hands of developers has received the backing of councillors.

Heacham Park is on the market for £550,000, and villagers have launched a campaign to buy it so it can be preserved for future generations.

A steering group has been set up to try to acquire the 48-acre site off Hunstanton Road, and at a meeting on Thursday night it won the support of the parish council.

Speaking at the council’s annual meeting at the Old Friends Hall, member Jimmy Groom asked the authority for its financial and legal expertise to help the group achieve its goal.

He said: “The objective is to buy this park and the lake for the people of Heacham. This is the last piece of Heacham that’s left. We must take this opportunity.”

Speaking after the meeting, parish council chairman Peter Colvin said the council fully supported the bid.

He told the Lynn News: “The meeting went very well. There wasn’t as much finger pointing and demanding as many of us feared there would be, it was civilised and respectful.

“The steering group made its case very well and asked if we would support them and we said ‘yes, of course we will’.

“They didn’t ask us to purchase the park outright, they just asked us to support them in what they’re trying to do.”

The council has now invited the steering group to its next committee meeting this Thursday to discuss the way forward.

Mr Colvin said: “We will set down what they want and what we can offer going forward.”

Campaigners say a £385,000 trust fund earmarked for youth and community facilities several years ago, but never used, could be put towards the cost of buying the park. Trustees of the fund have yet to comment.

They are also hoping to capitalise on the park’s connections with native American Princess Pocahontas to try to raise more money.

The park was originally the grounds of Heacham Hall, once home to John Rolfe, who married Pocahontas in 1614.

Rolfe brought his wife to see his ancestral home in Norfolk in 1616, but they settled in Essex, where she died in 1617. The hall burned down in the 1940s.