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Toilets, playgrounds and community facilities to reopen in Norfolk village as lockdown is eased

PUBLISHED: 14:41 30 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:10 30 June 2020

Acle parish councillors met on Monday to discuss the re-opening of various community facilities ahead of lockdown easing. Photo: Nick Butcher

Acle parish councillors met on Monday to discuss the re-opening of various community facilities ahead of lockdown easing. Photo: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2009

As a Norfolk village prepares for the reopening of its cherished community haunts, tributes were paid to the man who was instrumental in their founding.

Brian Grint sitting at the location of the Acle stocks in 2009. PHOTO: Nick ButcherBrian Grint sitting at the location of the Acle stocks in 2009. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

At a meeting of Acle Parish Council on Monday, proceedings began with a few words about Brian Grint - or ‘Mr Acle’, a local historian who has died aged 71.

After an eulogy was read by meeting chairman Angela Bishop and a minute’s silence observed, councillors paid their respects to a man who “embodied community service perfectly”.

This was a fitting prelude to the remainder of the meeting, as councillors discussed plans to re-open Acle’s recreation centre, social club and community facilities.

Pauline James, the parish clerk, said that public toilets and playgrounds would be opening this Saturday.

She said: “We’re having six foot-operated hand sanitising stations placed around the village, as well as ‘keep your distance’ signs spraypainted onto pavements.

“We’re also opening the public toilets and children’s play areas on Saturday.

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“Latches on the gates and metal rails will be disinfected, and signs will be put in place to remind people of social distancing precautions and the need to supervise children.”

She also added that the council was due to sign the lease for the abandoned Barclay’s building which closed in May last year - and requisition it for community use.

On the topic of Acle’s recreation centre and the resumption of social club gatherings, councillors approved spending for £5,395 worth of safety measures which would allow re-opening to go ahead.

These included buying a fogging machine, visors, expensive hand sanitiser and, controversially, single-use cups for the social club’s use.

Acle social club and war memorial recreational centre is often busy and is a cherished part of the community. Picture: Google MapsAcle social club and war memorial recreational centre is often busy and is a cherished part of the community. Picture: Google Maps

Councillor Barry Coveley, chairman of the club, said that spending hundreds of pounds on plastic single-use glasses was justified through a “duty of care” to staff, while Anna Wade contested that “no other pub or leisure facility” is taking that approach.

Nevertheless, budgets were approved on the proviso that the near-£600 fogging machine could be “rented out” to local businesses, while Mr Coveley was told to at least try and seek alternative options to the non-recyclable cups.

Also discussed was the possibility of introducing 10 market stalls to create an Acle ‘local market’ once normal life resumes, while it was agreed that financially struggling recreation centre clubs could approach the parish council for funding.


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