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Greevegate Hunstanton visitors from Clenchwarton discuss photograph of railway station at Heritage Centre - Turnstone column

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Shortly after 4pm on Sunday, July 24, while walking up Greevegate from The Green, I noticed a couple discussing a photograph of the railway station in a window at the Heritage Centre.

“You probably don’t remember a time when you could come to Hunstanton by train?” I ventured.

They both said they did remember and had just been trying to work out where the station had been situated prior to its closure and subsequent demolition.

Hunstanton High Street July 2022. Photo: David Foster
Hunstanton High Street July 2022. Photo: David Foster

In the course of our friendly chat I asked them where they had travelled from and whether the journey by road had been free from delays.

They replied Clenchwarton, and that the traffic had been running smoothly, in spite of the pleasantly warm weather. An added bonus had been the fact that they had been able to find a free parking space only a short walk from the seafront and the town centre.

We agreed that this must be the result of inflation in general and the steep rise in the price of fuel in particular.

When they told me how quiet the High Street had been, even in the middle of the day, I decided it was time to introduce myself. Sandra and David Foster then showed me a photo they had taken of the High Street at 2pm and agreed to send it to my email address for publication.

Before typing this column I was having another look at this photo, which unfortunately illustrates the lack of respect shown to my home town by both borough and county councils. Any reader, with a really good memory, might recall that in last week’s column it was suggested that the ‘blueprint’ for restoration of the Esplanade Gardens should be used when it comes to improving the character and appearance of the rest of the town.

What better place to start than page 32 of the 2009 Character Statement for our Conservation Area. Here we can read what needs to be done, and I quote: “Where existing shopfronts do not make a positive contribution to the street scene, or actually detract from it, a substantial visual improvement will be required when proposals for replacements are made. A simple ‘like for like’ replacement will not be acceptable. A shopfront in sympathy with its host building and the character of the conservation area will be required and enforcement action will be taken, where necessary, to ensure this.”

According to the “Hunstanton Conservation Area Character Statement”, full copies of this “Shopfront Guide” can be downloaded from the borough council’s website, www.west-norfolk.gov.uk or from the Conservation Section in Development Services.

The Hunstanton Models shopfront (in the left foreground) provides a good example for others to follow, but not much has happened during 13 years since the documents were first published by the borough council.

John Maiden

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