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Turnstone Column: Hunstanton writer John Maiden discusses The Green and old swimming pool’s fountain





In his weekly Turnstone column, Hunstanton writer John Maiden discusses The Green and an old swimming pool fountain…

Readers with good memories might remember the photo in last week's Turnstone.

It showed a large paved area linking Hunstanton's non-pier with a raised flowerbed, in which the base of a nineteenth century drinking fountain has been the centre piece for the past twenty years.

The fountain at the old Blue Lagoon open air swimming pool in Hunstanton
The fountain at the old Blue Lagoon open air swimming pool in Hunstanton

The paving is a much more recent addition and is yet another example of the cavalier approach of West Norfolk Council to a legally binding covenant imposed in 1955 by Bernard le Strange, when ownership of The Green passed from the le Strange Estate to Hunstanton Urban District Council (HUDC).

Under the terms of this Covenant, the borough council, as successor to HUDC, is still obliged to maintain the whole of The Green as an ornamental grass green only.

This is not for the benefit of the imposers, but for the benefit of the inhabitants and visitors of Hunstanton.

The fountain at the old Blue Lagoon open air swimming pool in Hunstanton
The fountain at the old Blue Lagoon open air swimming pool in Hunstanton

Compared with the borough council's unlawful decision in 2003 to dispose of a large area of public open space, forming part of The Green to permit the erection of a non-pier, replacing grass with concrete might appear trivial - but this is certainly not the case.

The main excuse for introducing paving to this particular section of The Green relates to the fact that the layers of top soil and sub soil were insufficient when it came to re-turfing what had been a 'building site' during construction of the non-pier in 2003.

It was a miracle that the redundant drinking fountain survived for as long as it did, only to be deliberately vandalised as shown in photographs of the destruction taken at the time.

What happened next was covered in the Lynn News under the headline: "Jubilee cash flow for fountain?"

Unfortunately, the late, and sadly missed, Chris Bamfield - the man responsible for Hunstanton's dark green and gold street furniture - had been poorly briefed on the history of the drinking fountain.

He told the Lynn News that the fountain on The Green had started life at the open air swimming pool, when in fact it was still dispensing drinking water right up to the time of my youth.

It was nothing like the wonderful cascade at the Blue Lagoon open air swimming pool.

This must have been crudely vandalised by HUDC in October 1967, when the entire pool was demolished for no good reason, thereby consigning thousands of happy seaside memories to the dustbin of history.

The Civic Society expressed an interest in seeing the fountain restored, but recognized that having a tasteful relic from the nineteenth century, overshadowed by a monstrous twenty-first century carbuncle, might lead the borough council to conclude that such glaring inconsistencies are not out of place even within Hunstanton's historic Conservation Area...



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