Smart phone technology could be used to explore town’s rich past as part of a new heritage trail

The town council hopes a new trail will increase footfall in the town centre. Picture: Matthew Usher

The town council hopes a new trail will increase footfall in the town centre. Picture: Matthew Usher.

A town council in north Norfolk has applied for a grant that could help them to create an innovative new heritage trail.

Fakenham town mayor George Acheson. Picture: Ian Burt

Fakenham town mayor George Acheson. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

The ambitious proposal could see Fakenham Town Council utilising modern smart phone technology to provide visitors with historic information on some of the town’s most iconic sights.

Each historic site will be given a plaque which includes a QR code that smart phone users can scan to access information about that site and its history. If there is sufficient funding, the council hopes this could include video content.

Those that are yet to adopt smart phones will not be left out, as printed material will also be produced by the Fakenham and District Community Archive and the History Group.

As part of the proposal, there are plans for a landscaping scheme that will provide a more welcoming gateway to the town centre.

The majority of the funding for the project could come from an EU grant, which has been provisionally approved. If successful the grant will make up 60pc of the £37,440 price tag. The remaining 40pc could be fulfilled by North Norfolk District Council. Final approval is not expected to be obtained until planning permission has been given and the public has been consulted.

The town council used its Annual Assembly on Monday to propose the idea to residents, describing it as a scheme that could “increase the town’s tourist and visitor potential” which would in turn stimulate trade.

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Town mayor George Acheson said the scheme will result in a small increase in town council employees’ hours, potentially leading to a new part time job. He also expects the trail to secure and increase employment in the town, particularly in hospitality outlets.

The idea of using QR codes to give people a tour of a town’s history is innovative but not unique in Norfolk. In January last year Sheringham introduced an interactive heritage trail, which ran from Easter through to the end of October, and in April this year Holt unveiled a trail known as the Owl Trail.

Ian Furniss, chairman of the Holt Chamber of Trade, said the town is proud of the trail and it has been well received by local residents. However, he added that it is “too early” to determine how successful it has been among tourists.