Last Wednesday evening Andrew England gave a fascinating illustrated talk to more than sixty members of Hunstanton & District Civic Society.
His subject – ‘Heacham in the Great War’ – kept his audience enthralled, because every picture really did tell a story, starting with Andrew’s grandfather, Harry England who was killed in action when Andrew’s father was just fourteen months old.
Only later did it transpire that the picture everyone believed to be that of Harry was actually a photograph of his brother.
This fact emerged because of the uniform he was wearing when the picture was taken.
More significantly, Andrew managed to locate his grandfather’s grave in France and then took his father to see it for himself.
The stories related to pictures of other young men provided both humour and pathos in equal measure, which will be revived in my memory every time I walk or drive past the war memorial outside Heacham parish church.
On the subject of walking and driving, neither gets any easier for the residents of Heacham, especially those of us living on Hunstanton Road.
With this in mind it will be interesting to see if Hopkins Homes will be prepared to fork out for overtime if work on the roundabout is speeded up by weekend working, as advocated by Daniel Parton, deputy chairman of Heacham Parish Council, who described some journeys to Hunstanton as horrendous.
This leads me to wonder how much it will improve when traffic lights are installed on the A149 next week. Even when these are removed and the roundabout is fully operational, vehicles travelling from Heacham along Hunstanton Road will have to give way to Hopkins Homes traffic at a new T-junction before they reach the roundabout.
The yellow sign near the foot of Redgate Hill says this work is being carried out to provide junction improvements. No, it is to give priority to traffic generated by 166 new homes.
In his letter to the Lynn News, Dick Melton makes another valid point by drawing attention to parking problems, which will be exacerbated if drivers decide to do their shopping in Hunstanton, rather than at Lidl, if and when planning permission is obtained for a new store on the Stainsby’s garage site.
Another contradiction in terms has to be McCarthy & Stone’s ‘Hamon Court’, in St Edmund’s Terrace, named after Henry le Strange’s son, Hamon, who made sure during his lifetime that Hunstanton evolved in line with his father’s vision for the new town of St Edmund’s.
Apart from the use of carrstone, this apartment block does nothing to enhance the character or appearance of the Conservation Area, and prompts cries of “what a waste of money” from residents looking back at the use of public funds to ‘enhance’ the Westgate Spinney. The only consolation is that things were much worse during the Great War…