Council will fight for town to retain under-threat Registration Office

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Wensum, by Jim Harding, October 20, 2015

There were no county or district councillors in attendance, no police presence to deliver their customary report and just one member of the public listening in. Despite which the gathering was a lively one with some bits and pieces I’d like to share with you.

Emma Smith has rejoined the councillor ranks, having taken time out to complete her degree. She was congratulated on achieving a 2:1. The Fakenham Charities Trust which exists to make donations to needy causes or individuals in the town and Hempton currently has a healthy bank balance. But at its AGM it was revealed that applications to it are a bit of a rarity and in terms of funding at the moment the charity ‘can’t give it away’.

I recall our family being helped through challenging times so if you live locally and can make a case for financial backup – perhaps for educational or other worthwhile reasons – do contact the town clerk at Fakenham Connect to learn more. You may well qualify.

The long-running saga to provide much-needed swimming facilities here continues without genuine hope of early satisfaction. With both Junior and Academy pools now closed it’s a discouraging picture. Juniors have to be ferried all the way to Bircham Newton for lessons. Older pupils miss out unless they make their own arrangements outside school hours. The Swimming Pool Action group nevertheless keeps pushing the district council towards the feasibility of a new-build pool or investment to revive the Academy facility. Hearing this gives me the sad thought that whilst living within ten miles of the sea our community is failing to provide the majority of its youngsters with the invaluable skill of being able to swim.

There’s a possibility that the town’s Registration Office could be closed, obliging local residents to travel some considerable distance to register births and deaths and, of course, to get married. The loss of such an important amenity would be a severe blow and on your behalf the council will be doing all it can to retain the service.

The poor state of our roundabouts has been a hot topic these past months. Neglected and overgrown they have hardly provided a picturesque welcome to visitors with complaints also coming in about road safety. Could one solution be to recruit local volunteers prepared to act as a working party? Certainly members of Fakenham Area Conservation Team would have the equipment and expertise. Your council is in favour of this idea which would have to be approved by county who would also need to provide a training course.

And to end this brief round-up on an upbeat note, the revived CCTV system is proving to be of immense value. Town clerk Linda Jennings said the police have made very good use of it and the pictures produced are of high quality, sufficient to enable a number of convictions to be made. All in all, Fakenham should be pleased that its council decided to retain and pay for the system along with North Walsham and Sheringham when the district council decided to ‘economise’ by withdrawing the service a couple of years ago.

The most recent showing by our Film Society proved to be something of a coup at our cinema. Draw on Sweet Night was premiered in Norwich a couple of months back in the presence of its director Tony Britten. On learning that his film was to be screened in Fakenham, Mr Britten joined members of the society after the performance for a question and answer session. This was certainly an eye-opener. The setting for this Elizabethan drama based around the life of madrigal composer John Wilbye was Hengrave Hall in Suffolk. Filming took place in the impressive Tudor mansion Kentwell Hall,in Long Melford, also in Suffolk. I found it hard to believe that the whole piece took no more than three weeks to complete. And as for the budget, this was tiny with actors and artists performing throughout ‘on the cheap’. I may be no lover of madrigals and this film may not be a money spinner but in its own way it was a gem which it was delightful to enjoy.