The Artful Codger, December 19, 2014: Bring on 2015

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It’s nearly Christmas, the jolliest time of the year, and I’m darned well not going to let the setbacks that West Norfolk has suffered in the last 12 months get me down now.

The ever-worsening traffic problems and steadily mounting housing crisis are not just local problems – they are present all over our small, over-crowded island. And they should not blind us to the many positive factors that make life in our corner of Norfolk worthwhile – and which drew many of us to settle here in the first place.

The unspoilt coast and countryside to the north and east of Lynn are there right on our doorstep to be enjoyed by us all at any time of the year that we wish.

On clear, crisp January days you can really appreciate the natural beauty and sounds, wandering along miles of wonderful empty beaches where the only other people are mere silent specks in the distance. If you know of anything more relaxing, then please let me know.

The road network in North Norfolk may have changed very little since I was a lad in the 1950s, but in many ways this actually adds to its charm. This is an area where one goes to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the modern rat race.

The slow pace of life in Norfolk may have attracted mocking comments from the likes of Jeremy Clarkson, but that is surely all to the good, if it then discourages boy racers of all ages from wanting to come and tear around our country lanes. There are plenty of us who are happy to do without that sort of thing, thank you.

The Christmas season looks like it has also provided some much-needed festive jollity for the traders in Lynn town centre.

When I ventured into the town centre on Saturday, the “full” signs were being displayed all over the electronic parking information boards on the approach roads – and even the multi-storey car park was chock-a-block.

With one more Saturday to go before Christmas, and the school break now under way, traders will be hoping the momentum carries forward in the days ahead.

At last the Saturday Market Place is open to through traffic and normality is gradually beginning to return, which will no doubt come as a huge relief to the traders in that part of Lynn. While they undoubtedly suffered considerably during the refurbishment work, they will be looking to reap the benefits of this sprucing up in the year ahead.

First impressions of the new paving look encouraging, and once the sunny days of next summer arrive, the area should start living up to its potential. The new look may even be the catalyst to persuade developers to take a fresh look at some of the empty shops in the area.

You only have to see the positive vibes generated by the refurbishment of nearby Hillington Square which demonstrate how a seemingly run-down area can be completely turned round to the benefit of both residents and the wider community.

So enjoy Christmas and look ahead to a great new year. Bring it on!