Published: Friday, 28th January 2022
Borough council leader, Councillor Stuart Dark MBE, and deputy leader, Graham Middleton, all attended Hunstanton Town Council and addressed councillors and the public on Wednesday.
Cllr Dark explained to the meeting that he felt now was the right time to bring into public view positive discussions that had been going on behind the scenes to help achieve the priority collective aim of both councils, local businesses and residents alike - a really bright future for the town.
He explained that a new Hunstanton advisory ‘board’ is intended, drawing on lessons from Kings Lynn’s successful town board that will be rooted in the local community with its leadership and membership to include the town, borough and county councils, the earlier Coastal Communities Team, new Hunstanton Town Events Committee and businesses, community groups and residents who wish to come forward. The purpose of the board will be to help identify, prioritise and co-ordinate key activities and projects and act as a conduit for consultation, promotion, investment and public involvement.
Cllr Dark said of the plan for a ‘board’: “The way central government and other funding is now being allocated means that it is vital to have a clear town ‘vision’ and investment plan in place, which sets out plans, aspirations and component projects, supported by evidence and genuine community engagement. The stronger these ‘building blocks’ are the easier it is to do the right things and to tap into funding as it becomes available.
Last night the borough council leader, Councillor Stuart Dark MBE, and deputy leader, Graham Middleton, attended Hunstanton Town Council and addressed councillors and the public, having been invited to do so by Hunstanton’s mayor, Adrian Winnington.
“The model in King's Lynn under the banner of ‘Vision King's Lynn’ is working really well and it would be great to see a similar scheme tailored for Hunstanton. Early conversations with relevant partners and stakeholders, including the town council have been extremely encouraging.
“Although we as a borough council have been playing our part for many years in supporting Hunstanton’s economy and residents, this administration has a clear ambition to do more, as evidenced by our recent investment of £250K to fix the Princess Theatre roof, reduction of children’s leisure charges throughout last summer and our underwriting of 2021’s Hunstanton fireworks display. We see the new Hunstanton board as a helpful way of drawing us even closer to other stakeholders and residents to drive forward together
“I am aware that any new venture such as this is helped by tangible financial support as well as political words and goodwill which is why we are intending to put an additional £50K into supporting events, initiatives and project development in Hunstanton over and above our existing commitments through our board’s representative over the coming year, linking in with the ‘board’, Hunstanton Town Council and Hunstanton Town Events Committee.”
Graham Middleton, deputy leader and cabinet member for business, culture and heritage, as well as the borough council’s lead on helping develop the board, said: “I am really pleased to be leading on this exciting, positive development. I will now be working with Hunstanton Town Council, local stakeholders and officers from the borough to create the framework for the board and bring it into existence as soon as possible. Once up and running the board will rightly elect its own chair and determine its priorities. We will be advising on progress and seeking membership over the coming weeks.”
Mayor of Hunstanton, Adrian Winnington, said: “I welcome this initiative focusing on Hunstanton. The town council looks forward to working co-operatively with the borough council and other groups and individuals in sourcing funding for projects which will enable Hunstanton to develop and prosper, for the benefit of all.”
Andrew Jamieson, Norfolk county councillor for Hunstanton and its portfolio holder for finance, said: “We have a unique opportunity for the county and borough council to work together to support growth in the town, drive forward new business and leisure opportunities and address the challenges identified by local people that the town faces in the coming years as we recover from the pandemic.”
James Wild, MP for North West Norfolk, said: “Spreading opportunity and levelling up is a priority for this government and west Norfolk is already benefitting from the £25 million King’s Lynn Town Deal. I am ambitious for our area and I want to see Hunstanton benefitting from the Levelling Up Fund and other investment so I warmly welcome the establishment of this group to help support that effort.”