The Green and esplanade gardens are supposed to be undergoing a programme of ‘restoration’ to celebrate the vision of Henry le Strange, the founder of Hunstanton.
Now that work is underway, it looks as if ‘transformation’ would be a better word to describe what is happening, but it will be interesting to see just how successful the so-called ‘Heritage Gardens’ project has been when work is completed.
The town retains some important aspects of its original character, which is why the Civic Society asked for a road sign on Redgate Hill welcoming visitors to a ‘Victorian Seaside Town’.
This clearly finds favour with our MP, because when he visited the refurbished ‘Wash & Tope’ pub on March 11, last year, Sir Henry told the Lynn News: “Hunstanton has so much to offer and in my opinion it could become the best British Victorian resort.”
When it came to the unique ‘Twinning’ of our town last May, the Civic Society foresaw no problem with adding these words to the existing sign: “Twinned with the USAF 67th Special Operations Squadron”.
A replica sign was donated by King’s Lynn Signs and a price agreed for an addition to the sign on Redgate Hill, and a new sign on the A149 north of Lighthouse Lane, which would have incorporated all the words, including ‘Victorian Seaside Town’. West Norfolk Council even agreed to pay for both signs.
Unfortunately, when the local Highways Authority was asked to approve the road signs, the scheme hit a large pothole!
There were too many words and the signs would have to be made by the county council’s approved supplier.
The price would be more than three times our quote, and ‘Victorian Seaside Town’ would be lost.
Needless to say, comparisons were made with signs elsewhere in the county that had a similar number of words and crests.
This included welcome signs in Norwich and King’s Lynn, but the problem is yet to be resolved.
Quite recently, Norfolk celebrated its American connections, and the National WWII Museum in New Orleans is currently promoting Norfolk as a destination for Americans interested in finding out what life was like for US airmen during the ‘Friendly Invasion’ 75 years ago.
Such visitors would surely be interested in a ‘special relationship’ forged out of heroism and a shared tragedy more than 64 years ago.
Common sense prevailed when it came to the location of a memorial in the esplanade gardens to 31 victims of the 1953 Floods.
Perhaps it will do so again in the case of the proposed road signs…