Beacon for Diss - 10 key facts
9 December 2020
Beacon discussions first started at the end of 2019 when planning for VE Day 75 celebrations
Like many beacons across the country and locally in Shelfanger, Wortham and Bressingham, they were installed to commemorate national occasions such as the first and second World War anniversaries
When COVID-19 hit and the celebrations were no longer possible, the idea of a beacon was revisited
Its aim is to recognise all that 2020 has brought us (good and bad) and for the beacon to act as a positive symbol of light and hope for the future and remembrance
The timing of the installation has been carefully considered to coincide with the start of the New Year, but the beacon is intended to be used for future key national commemorations
The cost of the beacon installed on the Park is £1,442. This equates to 52p per year per Band D householder. As a comparison, the annual Christmas light installation costs £5.79 per Band D householder. Funds have been allocated from those earmarked to support events which are not taking place and cannot be used for anything other than events.
A report was presented to the Council in September explaining the proposed project and costs. The agendas of all our meetings are promoted on Facebook and we encourage members of the public to attend our meetings
Your suggestions regarding seating and a tree planting scheme are gratefully received and will be considered during Phase 2 of the project, which will include maps, information boards and hopefully more community group involvement
The working group is made up of volunteers from the Town Council and the community who are giving their time freely to try and do something positive for the town
Norfolk County Council is responsible for highways maintenance and South Norfolk Council is responsible for financial business support, business rates, street cleaning, support to homelessness and other residents experiencing hardship.
To read more background to the Beacon project, please read on.
In response to the article released last week on the beacon, Diss Town Council has considered the comments received and thought it would be useful to provide more background to this project as well as information on anticipated costs.
Beacons are already in situ in many towns and villages across the country and there is one in Wortham, Shelfanger and Bressingham locally. They were installed to commemorate national occasions such as the anniversaries of the end of the world wars and the Queen’s Jubilee.
As a Town Council, we have received requests from members of our community to have a beacon so that we, as a town, can come together to commemorate national events like we do every year by way of the remembrance event. The lighting of a beacon on the anniversary date seemed a fitting tribute.
Discussions around this theme started at the end of last year when the Council, together with members of the community, started planning for VE Day 75 celebrations, which unfortunately were thwarted by COVID-19. It was soon after the global pandemic hit, that the Council felt it should continue working with the community to acknowledge the impact of COVID-19 on town life, on those who have lost loved ones whilst also marking the courage of our essential workers, the kindness shown and the aspects of the lockdown that has allowed us all to spend more time with families enjoying the outdoors.
This is when the former VE Day working group together with additional interested residents got together to brainstorm some ideas we believed would benefit and contribute to the image and wellbeing of the town as well as mark the end of a challenging period. Plans to hold a big event were hindered by the virus’ continued prevalence and so the beacon was revisited in relation to all that 2020 has brought us and was intended to be a positive symbol of light, hope and remembrance for a healthier future as well as being used for other key national commemorations.
A report was presented to the Council in September explaining the proposed project and costs and the meeting was promoted on Facebook and was open to all members of the public as are all our meetings. We were grateful to Archant for their publicity of the project at the end of October alongside our own digital communications.
The cost of installing the beacon is £1,442 inclusive of planning consent. This equates to 52p per year per Band D householder of the Diss element of Council Tax (approximately 10% of total bill). To add some perspective, the annual Christmas light installation costs £5.79 per Band D householder. Funds were allocated from those earmarked to support events that we knew wouldn’t be happening due to COVID and cannot be used for anything other than events.
The beacon is being supplied by a local business and installed into a sleeve so it can be removed if required although it was hoped it would be a permanent feature of the Park. Its positioning has been carefully chosen not to interfere with the open space of the Park whilst including the backdrop of the Mere and St Mary’s church.
Phase 2 of the project includes the immediate surrounding area of the beacon which will include maps, information boards, hopefully more community group involvement with the suggestions of seating and a tree planting scheme for reflection to be considered. The creation of Lockdown Loops, a 1km fully inclusive and 2km walking route starting and ending at the beacon is also part of Phase 2. Being developed to promote the importance of keeping active and living a healthier lifestyle whilst providing a fitting legacy of this challenging time for future generations, the walks will be launched in the Spring.
The Council would like to thank members of the working group who have given up their time to try and do something positive for Diss and would like to assure the community that the project has been carefully considered, publicised and costed to ensure best value.
Read the original press release here.
The following graphic explains some of the responsibilities of the Town Council alongside those of the District and County Councils. To do things, Councils require powers and in essence, it is those powers that dictate what we as a Town Council can do.
South Norfolk Council is responsible for financial business support, business rates, street cleaning, support to homelessness and other residents experiencing hardship.
South Norfolk’s Help Hub - if you know someone who needs support, please contact 01508 533933 or text ADVICE followed by your message to 07860 017323
To get homelessness advice, call 01508 533751 or Freephone 0808 168 2222
Receive business support
For highways enquiries, contact Norfolk County Council on 0344 800 8020 or report a problem here.
Diss Town Council invested over £135k of developer contributions and Community Infrastructure Levy funds this time last year on upgrading play equipment both in the Park at the Skateboard Park.
Over 550 trees are managed by the Town Council across all the sites it owns.
The Town Council financially supports activities for young people through the Diss Youth Group and Diss Youth & Community Centre, support to the Corn Hall which provides free activities to children & older people and through outdoor facilities.
Get in touch with Diss Town Council by emailing us, or phoning 01379 643848 (9.30am to 3pm, Mon to Fri). You can also find us on Facebook: @DissTC, Twitter: @DissTownCouncil and Instagram: disstowncouncil.