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On this week in Great Massingham and King’s Lynn: November 26-December 2, 2005

We look back through the pages of the Lynn News…

A last-ditch police bid to stop 24-hour drinking in Lynn failed this week – just four hours before the law changed. Roger Duggan, landlord of the Crown and Mitre, won his battle after police appealed a decision by West Norfolk Council to allow a 24-hour licence for the pub in Ferry Street. He also successfully appealed against a condition that he had CCTV installed. The magistrates’ court appeal finally ended after an eight-hour hearing at 8pm, and the new licensing laws came into effect at midnight. The pub is now the only one in Lynn licensed round the clock, but Mr Duggan said nobody would be allowed in after 11pm.

Health bosses in West Norfolk have said there is enough flu vaccine for those classed as being at risk, but the “worried well” will lose out. A surge in last-minute demand for the vaccination has seen reports of GP surgeries running out of stock as ordering supplies for this winter was based on last winter’s quantities – long before talk of a flu epidemic. New stocks of vaccine are expected to arrive in the area in the New Year and traditionally flu outbreaks don’t start until January.

North Lynn’s Discovery Centre, a pioneering community service which looked set to close due to lack of funding, now appears to have been saved at the last minute. The centre provides a refuge for hundreds of young people and was due to close with the loss of nine jobs after massive cuts to the Government-funded Norfolk Children’s Service which saw its £120,000 budget slashed by a quarter. However, staff redundancy notices have now been replaced with new three-month contracts, after bids for emergency funding from West Norfolk Borough and Norfolk County Councils were successful.

A huge row has erupted over West Norfolk Council’s decision to spend £330,000 of taxpayers’ money on the Rose and Crown village pub at Great Massingham. Opposition leaders have accused the authority of getting spending priorities wrong, although residents who feared their village pub would be lost forever have congratulated the move. The council has bought the former pub in a bid to retain a community amenity after the previous owners said it was no longer viable and closed it four years ago. Now the authority looks set to be the landlord, as with no buyer lined up to take it over, the premises have gone on the open market.

The Lynn Stars held a memorial service at the Norfolk Arena to celebrate the life of popular speedway rider Ashley Jones who was killed in a crash in his native Australia less than a week before his 24th birthday. The service was attended by Ashley’s father Brian and was led by lay preacher Michael Mardon. Lynn co-promoter Jonathan Chapman said: “It was great to see that so many of Ashley’s fans, friends and fellow riders turned up and showed such compassion.”

The first £50 fine has been paid and a dozen fixed penalty notices issued in West Norfolk under new litter lout legislation. It is down to a hard-line approach by the borough council which has now greater powers to tackle people who drop litter and dump waste illegally. Anyone caught dumping a black bag full of rubbish faces a fine of a minimum £75 and up to £300.

A cash crisis in West Norfolk’s NHS services has forced the Primary Care Trust to impose a recruitment ban for the second time this year. Board members have agreed the freeze after being told the trust faces a £4million shortfall at the end of the financial year. Exemptions to the recruitment ban will be considered, however, where patient safety would be a risk as a direct result.

A foreign crab that burrows into riverbanks, causing widespread flooding, has invaded West Norfolk shores. The Chinese mitten crab, which has already been blamed for eroding the banks on the Thames, has been found in the River Great Ouse at Denver Sluice, and other sightings have been reported by shrimp fishermen across The Wash. The crab is thought to have first arrived in Britain in the ballast of ships returning from Asia.

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