John Maiden discusses the refurbishment of Hunstanton Bus Station in his Turnstone column
Alexandra Road in Hunstanton fits the description of a dead end in more ways than one. In addition to being a dead end, the road ends at the city cemetery!
In recent years, people living along the road and those visiting the cemetery have come up with the possibility of building a residential area on the open space west of the road – often referred to as the sheep field.
This land was originally purchased for future expansion of the cemetery. A grazing license was later obtained, but in all the years I lived within a mile of the cemetery, the only grazing I experienced was by wildlife.
This is one reason why I suggest from time to time that the field become an urban forest.
When I offered my support to Alexandra Road residents who did not want to use their unpaved road to reach a new residential area, one resident told me that my support would be like praying to St. Jude, the patron saint of desperate causes.
Needless to say, this made me wonder whether such a comparison would appear on Turnstone’s tombstone after I made my last trip on the Alexandra Way…
Fortunately, it looks as though my own prayers to St Jude may have helped – just a little – in giving new life to the bus station in Hunstanton, with Norfolk County Council investing £2 million in a refurbishment.
This represents a complete change in direction from the original plan, which was to demolish the bus station and use the land to build blocks of apartments. I remember how horrified I was 60 years ago when Hunstanton Urban District Council demolished Westgate Gardens out of existence to make way for the bus station and car garage.
The loss of so many wonderful trees in my town, at the time I was in my final year of a three-year teacher training course, must have stayed with me until I found myself teaching English at Hunstanton Secondary Modern School.
It was 1970, which happened to be the Year of European Conservation, and my students were busy writing letters to the Forestry Commission, asking for some trees to soften the brutalist appearance of the building in which they were learning to ask the right questions of anyone making decisions about their future.
When 100 young trees arrived, groundsman Mr Hunter set up a nursery for them until they were ready to be planted around the stadium in 1973 – when the slogan was “Plant a tree in 73 and grow more in 74!”
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