First Town Meeting

Kick Start Fakenham was an idea by local resident Rachel Seretny. She called a town meeting in Spring 2009, which was held at the Junior School and was well attended.

Here are the original minutes of that meeting, first published on our Facebook group…

Rachel Seretny

The town meeting provided an ideal opportunity for people to air their views and suggestions for a way to kick start our lovely town. With a fantastic attendance we were able to gauge a variety of projects to get kick started. An overview of the meeting is as follows:

Litter and recycling
The lack of bins and build up of rubbish acts as an unwelcoming environment. New rubbish and recycling bins are needed around more of the town. A clean team could help to combat the problem.

Empty shop fronts could be smartened up with artistic view tarpaulins covering the fronts (much like London do). Schools could be given the opportunity to design and create the artwork for this. Schools could also be asked to create work to display in the windows to brighten them up in a tasteful manner. Owners of shops should be asked to smarten up the appearance of their shops. Manual labour could be volunteered to help.
It was suggested the learning centre would make a great arts centre/info point.
A loyalty card scheme was suggested to encourage people to shop locally and support the small businesses.
It was questioned if the town or NNDC had any input into the new shops we have opening with regards to the disappointment of another charity shop coming. In response it was stated that they do not have a say in the shops and the reason for so many charity shops is because they aren’t required to pay business rates.

Business rates
It was argued that shop rent rates are making it nearly impossible for small business to survive in the current climate. A NN district councillor responded by saying the government set the rates. A representative of our local MP suggests we combine efforts to lobby MP to put pressure on the Government. They are currently trying to encourage owners to reduce their rates.

It was made apparent that shops go unnoticed in town. More needs to be done to promote to local people the services that Fakenham has to offer.

Encourage people into the town
The race course welcomes a number of holiday makers and annual events but it has been noticed that many of the people don’t venture into the town. This has been blamed on the poor access to and from the race course. It has been suggested that a new walk way/ cycle route and bridge are made to combat this problem.

Make it a child friendly family town
Suggests are to involve schools in making welcoming murals, baby changing facilities, an information point to be featured in the town centre, community football pitch and for the local schools to get involved as much as they can and want to all aspects of these projects. The desire for the town to bring back it’s town carnival gained a sound of excitement and agreement.

Arts and Music Festival
This suggestion was highly favoured as it is intended to be a unique and diverse festival. It is hoped that it can become an annual event and cater for a variety of tastes and styles.
The upcoming contemporary arts festival, being held at the church, is intending to showcase some fantastic talents and wishes to be linked with more arts based projects.
It is also hoped that an arts trail is to be set up, where people could showcase their talents around the town for children to come and enjoy.
The Chamber of trades hope to put on a music show in 2010 to replace the annual tribute act events at the race course which are sadly no longer running.

Community centre
People questioned the ownership and usage. There was a show a concern about it’s lack of community based events. This matter was responded to by a NN district councillor who was able to pass on information about the issues of ownership etc and who to contact to find out further details.
It is hoped that monthly youth music events could be put on to encourage more use as a ‘community’ centre.

Church events and work of Adrian Bell
Rev. Bell detailed the numerous children/family events planned for this year which are featured on the church website. He advices to get motivated and do things. This received a round of applause.

It was suggested that a new smart and modern website is created to pull in everything to one place as a central key to information about the town. Steve hall (Fakenham web) agrees and wants lots of input from us about what we want-he has volunteered his time and a domain to make this happen.

Town centre use
People would like to see the market place being used more with perhaps a small permanent market. More marketing of the market and farmers market is needed to promote it’s positivity in the town.
It was suggested an indoor market/ arcade of shops would be a suitable use of the Woolworths shop.
It was suggested that the town centre be made into a pedestrian zone. Speed ramps were also requested through areas of the town to slow down drivers who they feel are a hazard to the pedestrians.

Welcome to Fakenham
It is hoped the profile of the town could be promoted to tourists visiting the area. More coach parks could encourage visits.
Road signs need to be put in place to show people we are here!! It was been noted that people blink and miss us. We need to make ourselves known!

Support the youth
A grant has been awarded to build a new youth building to accommodate all areas of youth projects and other organisations. However, land is needed!
People feel the youth of Fakenham are being pushed out and instead need a safe and free place to keep them happy. It was suggested they could help with all the projects to make them feel wanted and worth while.

The gas museum is contemplating a change of name to Fakenham museum. It is a very unique and rare museum that should be supported and promoted as a focal point of the town.

Town meeting 15 years ago
It was brought to our attention that a similar town meeting was held 15 years ago and the creation of the Fakenham Sun was a result of it. This gave a good sense of purpose to the meeting.

Council, partnership and trades
Representatives urged people to join and requested younger people on the council. This was responded to by people suggesting a community group of their own would be more beneficial to the situation at this time. Both the partnership and chamber of trades offered their full support and were happy to remain outside of the community group that we hope to set up.
It was stated that councillors do their bit but are unable to all join around a table and discuss the problems with Fakenham.
NNDC David Callaby wishes to bring this matter up at the next council meeting.
Janet Holdom (FAP) responded to the problem of the community being unaware of the partnership by stating their current objectives and requesting people get involved.

The need to pull together
It was decided that a committee needed to be formed to bring together a variety of people to get ideas put into action. People were able to sign up their support and the information suggests the strongest support is for an Arts and Music festival along with the revival of the Towns carnival.
The positive points about being in an ideal central location, having a beautiful river and fantastic amenities are all areas to use as a promotional tool.


Thank you to all that attended, organised and contributed to the success of the meeting.