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The past and future of Hunstanton

In his weekly Turnstone column, John Maiden says the future of his hometown lies in a better understanding of its past...

After turning up a week early for a meeting of the Hunstanton Society's History Group, I was very glad to be present when the History Group did meet last Thursday at the Heritage Centre.

The former NatWest Bank provides the perfect setting, with so many memories on display, in which to keep alive the belief that the future of my hometown lies in a better understanding of its past. This idea was reflected in the discovery of a bronze age settlement on Redgate Hill during the construction of the road that was subsequently named Oasis Way.

Demolition of the Blue Lagoon in 1967
Demolition of the Blue Lagoon in 1967

A friend of mine from Old Hunstanton, known to his contemporaries as 'Snake' Gilding, must have been one of the first people to realise just how old the fragments of pottery etc really were. There followed a professional dig by experts from Cambridge University, which prompted me to suggest another place for a dig would be the site of the Blue Lagoon swimming pool.

The open-air lido might then have enjoyed a new lease of life as part of the proposed Oasis leisure complex. Perhaps it is not too late for something along these lines to be included in West Norfolk Council's latest list of priorities as they affect Hunstanton.

In last week's Lynn News political article by Kris Johnston, Council Leader Terry Parish was quoted as saying: "We want to put West Norfolk on the map as a destination, create as many opportunities as we can for people and businesses to thrive, and make sure that everyone is able to enjoy the benefits that these opportunities will bring.”

Bill Cunliffe - Presentation on October 18
Bill Cunliffe - Presentation on October 18

He then identified four main priorities which are set out in the corporate plan. These can be summarised as follows: promoting growth and prosperity; protecting the environment; the efficient and effective delivery of council services; supporting communities.

The plan also sets out the principles on which the council will operate, including “transparency and collaboration”, how the priorities will be delivered and how progress will be monitored. In my humble opinion, based on a lifetime of political activity, including five years as a Hunstanton town councillor, this sentence might well make all the difference between success and failure.

This might have been a good point to conclude today's Turnstone but I would like to mention the next presentation at the Heritage Centre, which will be given by Bill Cunliffe, a member of the Hunstanton Society committee.

Prior to moving to Norfolk, Bill had enjoyed a very interesting career, which saw him climb from a police constable with the Met to a Scotland Yard Detective Inspector. The talk begins at 7.30 pm on Wednesday, October 18. Admission £4, members £1 (includes light refreshments).

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