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Question Time meeting on town future

PUBLISHED: 08:37 16 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:47 07 July 2010

Townspeople with questions about Fakenham's future have been handed a chance to demand answers directly from a panel of key decision-makers

This year's annual town assembly will feature a Question Time format where the public can put their concerns to an array of senior business figures and community leaders.

Townspeople with questions about Fakenham's future have been handed a chance to demand answers directly from a panel of key decision-makers

This year's annual town assembly will feature a Question Time format where the public can put their concerns to an array of senior business figures and community leaders.

It means anyone wondering what is to become of the town's empty Woolworths store or how a planned anti-social drinking crackdown will work can quiz representatives from the organisations involved.

The invited panellists include police officers, major employers, a representative from retail property developer Wildmoor and North Norfolk District Council's economic development manager, Robin Smith.

The meeting, to be held next Tuesday at 7pm, will follow a Recession Roadshow organised by the Fakenham Area Partnership (FAP) and the town council.

The afternoon roadshow aims to provide information and guidance to individuals struggling with financial problems in the current economic climate.

But town councillor and FAP co-ordinator Janet Holdom said the evening town meeting was a perfect opportunity to question the people who could address wider concerns for the town.

She said: “We have assembled a panel of experts who know the background of what is going on in the town.

“We know there is anxiety about the town's prospects and a lot of information about those concerns might be available at the meeting.

“We would urge everyone to come along and address those questions to the people who have the answers.”

The idea follows a public forum held last month, inspired by the Kick Start Fakenham initiative, which provided a melting pot of ideas to improve the town's fortunes.

“The public meeting established a lot of concerns for the future prospects of Fakenham,” said Mrs Holdom. “It seemed to me and my colleagues on the town council that there were people who had information which could address those concerns. We have invited those people to come along and answer the questions which we hope will be put by the people of Fakenham.”

Before the town meeting, the Recession Roadshow will feature a host of agencies and businesses including solicitors, accountants, citizens' advice, pensions and benefits advisers, job centre officers.

Mrs Holdom said: “What we envisage is that people who get into debt could go there for advice or they could learn about the credit union we hope to set up.

“There will be representatives to help anyone with money troubles, housing problems or the benefits attached to it.”

The event will also include offers from the town's Sports and Fitness Centre. “We hope the event will be helpful on a serious problem-solving level, but also with a more light-hearted touch to give a bit of stress-busting as well,” said Mrs Holdom.

The Recession Roadshow will run from 2pm to 6pm on Tuesday April 21, followed by the Annual Town Meeting, which begins at 7pm. Both events will be held at the conference centre of Fakenham College on Highfield Road.

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