9 things that have changed in Dereham since lockdown one
- Credit: Abigail Nicholson
For those who may not have visited Dereham in over a year due to coronavirus lockdowns, you may spot a couple of differences on your return.
From openings to closures and new outdoor areas and housing developments, there's been plenty going on while the world was in lockdown. Here are just a handful of the changes:
1. London Road has completely reopened after crash
One of the busiest roads into Dereham town centre, London Road, was closed to traffic completely for three months after a red Citroen hit the corner of a two-storey house on August 10.
The road reopened to traffic entering the High Street in the middle of November and has since returned to normal.
The closure of the road led to cars and vans mounting the curb outside the front door of Bekki Fairley's home, leading to worries for her child's safety.
2. New health food shop
Grape Tree Health Foods announced it would be opening its fourth Norfolk store on Dereham high street in December 2020.
The business, which sells a range of natural whole foods and superfoods, already has stores in Norwich, Diss and Kings Lynn.
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The shop will took over the former Bon Marche store on Wrights Walk which closed earlier that year.
3. New barbers
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Jane Berry, who lives in Beetley, opened her Dereham shop, Church Street Barbers, for the first time on Christmas Eve but was forced to lock up early as the government announced another national lockdown.
The 52-year-old, who already rents a chair in a Norwich barber's, was left "devastated" and "frustrated" when she had to wait for a further three and a half months to open her doors again.
She opened along with other non-essential retail businesses on April 12.
4. New Turkish takeaway
Taste of Istanbul Mediterranean and Turkish Restaurant opened its storefront on Dereham High Street in January 2021.
Since starting the business in the middle of the pandemic, the restaurant has gone from strength to strength with many people raving about it on social media.
5. Closure of Prezzo
The Italian chain confirmed in February 2021 that it would be closing 22 of its stores, including Dereham.
The site is currently showing 'for sale' signs.
6. New outdoor seating
Many businesses in Dereham have had to fight government rules in order to reopen to the public.
Many Pubs and cafes have upgraded their outdoor seating areas to offer an open space for people to enjoy.
Some of the businesses include The Cherry Tree Pub and Norski Noo's Gallery.
Sadly, the Galleries outdoor seating area was vandalised just two days after reopening.
7. New test centre in Cherry Tree car park
A mobile Covid testing site has been introduced in Dereham by the Department of Health and Social Care, which will offer around 400 appointments two days a week.
The site, which is located at the back of the 446-space Cherry Tree car park just off Theatre Street officially opened at the end of March, Breckland Council has confirmed.
For the fourth five days of the week the back section of the cherry tree car park will be fenced off.
8. Housing development well under way
If you're heading up to The Partea Hut Tearoom for some coffee and cake outside, you may notice that Orbit Homes' Mill View development is well underway.
The development is full of two, three, four- and five-bedroom houses.
9. New Mayor
Stuart Green, who was elected at Dereham Town Council’s annual meeting in 2020, described the news as “good” and added that he was “really happy”.
A resident of the town for more than 17 years, he said: “You’ve got to be passionate about the town and people you represent in order to do this role.
“Politics and government is something I’ve always been interested in, but I didn’t expect to be the mayor quite so soon.
“I’m really proud to be representing the younger generation, as well as Dereham itself. I know many of the good things about our town, and also what needs to be improved.”