Fakenham 2022 - What to expect for housing, retail, tourism and hospitality
- Credit: Archant/Cara Green/David Pulling/AW PR
If the last two years have taught us anything, it's that we never know what is around the corner.
The pandemic has had unforeseen consequences on a number of key sectors, including the housing market as more people look to move out of the city and into our region. As well as hospitality, tourism and retail.
Fakenham is now looking to bounce back from these setbacks. We asked leaders and experts in different sectors in the town about what they expect to see over the next 12 months.
Nick Bird, of Bailey Bird and Warren, believes it is too early in the year to tell what will pan out on the housing market this year.
The estate agent is hoping for more of the same this year, with high demand for homes, but said they are preparing for every situation.
“It is too early in the year to say what will unfold, things have started very busy, but there are a number of variables,” he said.
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“Interest rates might creep up, so who knows.
“We will have a better feeling come spring, as the first few weeks of the year are always busy, but then it starts to wind down a bit before picking up again in Easter when we will have a better idea.
“People are still moving out of the city and into the area. If we have the stock then it will sell, because right now, it is a sellers’ market.
“We are really preparing for every eventuality because it is too early in the year to have a clear idea on what the market will be like in the next 12 months.”
The Sculthorpe Aviator opened its doors on March 8, 2020. Two weeks later they were forced to close up as the pandemic took hold.
Despite these uncertain two years, the co-owner, Cara Green, believes vaccines are key to helping pubs look more like they did before the pandemic.
"I think as more and more people put their faith in the vaccinations, the more we can go back to our previous normal," she said.
“I'm hoping moving forward will be the making of the Aviator.
"We have quite a few bookings already. We still have some Christmas parties booked in. Plus, we are also in discussions for possible Summer BBQs and live music.
“We really are hoping for a fantastic 2022."
Siobhan Peyton, co-owner of Sculthorpe Mill, near Fakenham, who runs the hotel alongside her sister, Caitriona, opened up last year.
Ms Peyton said that bookings for the year ahead are looking strong, as she expects another popular year for staycations in the region.
“I have to say that the hotel bookings are really really good, we’re fairly new to the market, but looking at it, they are really strong,” she said.
“Most weekends are booked up over the foreseeable future.
“Loads of people are planning big parties and celebrations. People seem to be fairly confident they can plan again, and that is exciting.
“It sounds like travel restrictions will probably be removed in the next month or two - but people are still comfortable with staycations. They have come to enjoy them more and that will remain - what I’m seeing is, people are planning for staycations.”
With many businesses having to change the way they operate over the past two years to react to the lockdowns placed upon them, more and more local businesses are operating online as they react to the changing shopping habits of their customers.
Tracey Beane, the owner of House of Beane, a collection of local retailers making handmade gifts and home accessories, hopes to see more people shopping local in 2022.
“I would like to think shopping local will be the preferred way to shop for many rather than going to the city where there are a lot more people,” she said.
“I think shopping habits will be a complete mixture of in-person, online and click and collect, there still a lot of people that are wary of mixing with others and therefore still prefer to shop online or click and collect.
“Then, on the other hand, I've had several customers say they like being able to pop to a local shop knowing it won't be too crowded and that they like to actually view products before buying.
“I feel very positive about my shop as we enter 2022, local people are more than ever shopping local. I think 2022 is going to be an exciting year for House of Beane.”