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Norfolk house buyers pay out £95million in stamp duty

Agents are calling for an extension to the stamp duty holiday. Pic: PA

Agents are calling for an extension to the stamp duty holiday. Pic: PA

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Home buyers in Norfolk paid out a total of £95 million in stamp duty on £5.4 billion worth of property.

ew figures released by HM Revenue and Customs show how much the tax cost people buying a home in the county.

It comes as the property industry is calling for an extension to the current holiday on the tax.

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The figures show 20,600 transactions over the past year in Norfolk generated £95 million, £20 million of which was from the sale of commercial properties such as shops, offices and agricultural buildings. The highest areas were North Norfolk, which generated £20 million purely for residential, and King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, also raising £20 million, which included £5 million for non-residential properties.

South Norfolk and Broadland were the next highest, with £15 million paid in each on stamp duty, both with £5 million from non-residential properties. Breckland and Norwich followed, both generating £10m in tax, half of which in both areas came from non-residential properties. Great Yarmouth raised the lowest amount, with £5 million stamp duty generated, all from residential properties.

Across England, residential and non-residential properties worth £406 billion changed hands last year, contributing £12 billion in stamp duty.

Typically, every home buyer must pay stamp duty on all properties for sale for more than £125,000 or £300,000 for first time buyers.

But in July, the Treasury announced a temporary stamp duty holiday to encourage people to buy houses in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

This applies for all sales of £500,000 or under, expiring on March 31, 2021 and the government said it would save buyers an average of £4,500 each.

Jan Hytch, chairwoman of the Norwich & District Association of Estate Agents is calling on the government to change the stamp duty deadline to be at the point of exchange, not completion, to ease the pressure on getting sales through.


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Norfolk firm busy with requests for swimming ponds like David Beckham

A swimming pond. Pic: Richard Bloom/The Swimming Pond Company

A swimming pond. Pic: Richard Bloom/The Swimming Pond Company

© Richard Bloom

A Norfolk firm is being inundated with requests to turn garden ponds into swimming lakes.

Paul Mercer, managing director of the Swimming Pond Company, based in Bressingham. Pic: www.theswimingpondcompany.co.ukPaul Mercer, managing director of the Swimming Pond Company, based in Bressingham. Pic: www.theswimingpondcompany.co.uk

With more people at home in lockdown, people are looking to adapt their ponds for swimming.

David and Victoria Beckham are currently creating one at their home in the Cotswolds and Bake Off’s Prue Leith has a lake at her Oxfordshire home.

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A swimming pond. Pic: Richard Bloom/The Swimming Pond CompanyA swimming pond. Pic: Richard Bloom/The Swimming Pond Company

But you’ll need a celebrity-style salary because they cost around £75,000. And, at this time of year, they’re only for the hardy becausse the water is very cold.

Paul Mercer, managing director of the Swimming Pond Company, based in Bressingham, near Diss, said the idea has really caught on during Covid with ten swimming ponds planned for customers over the next 12 months.

A swimming pond. Pic: Richard Bloom/The Swimming Pond CompanyA swimming pond. Pic: Richard Bloom/The Swimming Pond Company

He said: “In the spring lockdown, we stopped construction but the phone just kept ringing, we’ve never had so many enquiries. People were at home, the weather was fantastic. Some people had a house in London and were staying at their home in the country.

“Swimming in a pond, in crystal clear water, is a real antidote to stress. One customer described it as ‘swimming in a Monet painting’, it is fantastic and so different from swimming in a pool or the sea. It’s like swimming through rain, the water is soft, there is no smell of chemicals like chlorine, no salt. The bottom isn’t muddy or silty and the water isn’t cloudy. You don’t have to have a shower afterwards because you feel clean.”

Mr Mercer developed the concept after going to university, aged 35, to do a landscape and garden design degree and travelling. “Some of my happiest times were swimming in rock pools in South Africa or in New Zealand, surrounded by trees, and a swimming pond is all about bringing that experience to your own home.”

You can have a pond that’s already in your garden adapted or built from scratch with the swimming part from 1.2ms to 2.4ms deep. Part of the pond will be for aquatic plants and the other for swimming, with an internal wall dividing the two, and the water needs to have a low nutrient content so no algae develops. The pond will therefore attract wildlife such as birds but you won’t end up swimming with toads or frogs. But ducks need to be discouraged, Mr Mercer said, as they’ll eat the plants and increase the nutrients.

A swimming pond. Pic: The Swimming Pond CompanyA swimming pond. Pic: The Swimming Pond Company

The water is so clear, it’s safe to even take in your mouth, said Mr Mercer, because of its filter system which also helps warm the water up to 28 degrees in the summer.

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David Beckham is building a swimming pond at his home. Pic: EDPDavid Beckham is building a swimming pond at his home. Pic: EDP
Bake Off's Prue Leith has a swimming lake. Pic: PABake Off’s Prue Leith has a swimming lake. Pic: PA

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Gritters out in Norfolk as temperatures drop below zero

Gritters will be taking to Norfolk's roads for the first time this season. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Gritters will be taking to Norfolk’s roads for the first time this season. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Norfolk County Council

Gritters will go out on Norfolk’s roads for the first run of the season today (Tuesday, November 3), with temperatures forecast to drop below freezing overnight.

The run tonight is set to include all parts of the county, except Norwich, where temperatures are forecast to stay above zero.

Each full gritting run in Norfolk sees 2,200 miles of road treated. Norfolk County Council says all A and B-class roads and some C-class roads are treated, with a focus on commuter and major bus routes and as far as is possible one route into all villages.

Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, said: “It’s a huge undertaking keeping a big rural county like Norfolk moving each winter but highway teams are well prepared for the first run later today.

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“We can all do our bit to help keep safe by always driving to conditions particularly over the coming months whether it’s wet, icy or snowy.

“I’d urge people to keep an eye on our social media channels over the winter not just for updates on when we’re gritting, but also information to help people in the county cope during the colder months. Look for our #NorfolkWinter hashtag on Twitter and Facebook.”

This year Norfolk’s 48 strong fleet of gritting trucks features seven brand-new vehicles which are on their inaugural grit run.

The winners of a competition for Norfolk schoolchildren to choose names for the seven new gritters are set to be announced next week.

Norfolk has about 16,000 tonnes of salt stocked in the county and this will be replenished as needed during the winter through a contract the council has with its supplier Compass Minerals.


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Man in who died in Shipdham forklift accident named as Zachariah Richardson

The Magpas air ambulance, which was called to help Zachariah Richardson Pic: Rob Holding.

The Magpas air ambulance, which was called to help Zachariah Richardson Pic: Rob Holding.

Rob Holding

A man in his teens who died in an industrial incident involving a forklift has been named as Zachariah Nathaniel Richardson.

At an inquest opening hearing at Norfolk Coroner’s Court on Monday morning, assistant coroner Christopher Long confirmed that Mr Richardson died at the age of 18 in Thorpe Row, Shipdham, near Dereham.

Mr Long said the causes of death listed were asphyxiation; a crush injury to the chest; and a farming incident involving a forklift.

Mr Long said Mr Richardson, who worked as a yardman at a farm, was left to tidy the yard of wooden pallets using a forklift truck on the afternoon of Saturday October 24.

He added that when farm manager Evan Jenkins returned, he discovered him pinned against the wall of a barn by the forklift, which was still running.

All three emergency services and a Magpas air ambulance were called to the scene and attempts at CPR were made, but all failed.

He was confirmed dead at 5.56pm.

Mr Long said that an inquest into the death had been adjourned until January 26, 2021 and that further reports would be obtained in preparation for it.

Mr Richardson’s father, Kevin, confirmed in a written statement that his son was born on March 17 2002 and raised in Hubbert’s Bridge, a village outside Boston, Lincolnshire.

In a statement, Norfolk Constabulary said: “Police were called to a premises in Thorpe Row, Shipdham, at 5.20pm on Saturday 24 October following reports of an industrial incident…

A HSE spokesperson confirmed that “HSE is aware of the incident and is making enquiries alongside Norfolk Police”.


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Operation Galileo against hare coursing in Norfolk

A officer uses a 4x4 truck to patrol remote farm tracks as part of Operation Galileo, a police crackdown on hare coursing Picture: Chris Bishop

A officer uses a 4×4 truck to patrol remote farm tracks as part of Operation Galileo, a police crackdown on hare coursing Picture: Chris Bishop

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Special chief inspector James Spinks heads for the hills when he’s looking for hare coursers.

A police drone is launched to search for hare coursers in the Fens Picture: Chris BishopA police drone is launched to search for hare coursers in the Fens Picture: Chris Bishop

For the high ground west of RAF Marham gives a grandstand view across miles and miles of countryside.

Illegal hunters appear to have gone to ground today, as we bounce along a maze of muddy farm tracks in an all terrain vehicle.

Instead we see a red kite flap nonchalantly by, while a distant hare’s ears poke up above the grass.

SCI Spinks, a ‘special’ for 20 years, admits he loves the role. He is one of a number of farm workers who juggle working on the land with giving the full-time police a hand with protecting rural communities.

Coursing gangs who flock to the Fens from other parts of the country are not only a threat to the hare and other wildlife.

Recent weeks have seen freshly-drilled fields churned up, destroying crops and livelihoods.

Officers from across the force have been out patrolling hotspots today, in what looked to be ideal conditions for coursing.

Recent rain has left the ground soft, cushioning dogs’ feet and making it easier for them to turn as they chase their quarry.

At a briefing before the team set out in marked and unmarked vehicles, rural crime manager Jon Chandler said: “This isn’t just about people who came out for a day trip to enjoy a bit of sport, it’s highly organised.”

PC Chandler added gangs had become indiscriminate about what they were killing, with deer being targeted in other counties by so-called bull lurchers, a powerful cross-breed capable of outrunning and killing them.

As we cruised through the black fens around Southery in an unmarked 4×4, prime coursing fields remained empty. Other units reported a similar lack of criminal activity.

“I’ve yet to work out why on some days, they turn up in their droves and other days just nothing,” said PC Chandler.

Some gangs have taken to operating at night to avoid rural patrols, lighting their quarry with powerful lamps.

Others may have seen their dogs impounded, with 32 seized already during the first few weeks of the coursing season in Norfolk.

Countryside campaigners want to see the courts given powers to impose higher penalties and reclaim kennelling costs from those convicted.


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Santa making home visits to towns and villages in Norfolk with grottos shut

Santa is making home visits to Norfolk towns and villages so children don't miss out this year with grottos shut Picture: David Robinson/The Banqueting Hire Service

Santa is making home visits to Norfolk towns and villages so children don’t miss out this year with grottos shut Picture: David Robinson/The Banqueting Hire Service

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Santa Claus is coming to towns and villages across Norfolk this Christmas and will be making home visits so children don’t miss out with grottos unable to open.

Santa will know your child's name, what they want for Christmas and their teacher's name Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/evgenyatamanenkoSanta will know your child’s name, what they want for Christmas and their teacher’s name Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/evgenyatamanenko

The Banqueting Hire Service has been running for the last ten years, supplying parties, weddings and other events across East Anglia and decorating venues.

But due to coronavirus, it lost over 90pc of the year’s turnover due to cancelled bookings and owner David Robinson, 41, from Newton Flotman, began thinking about how to adapt.

He has decided to use his event experience to run Santa home visits this Christmas, as he didn’t want his own children Cole, three, and Clark, seven, to miss out and thought many other parents would feel the same.

The Santa visits will start on November 28 and run throughout December with different towns and villages each day, which includes Wymondham, Stoke Holy Cross and Long Stratton.

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The man in red will arrive on a sleigh, which will be pulled by a Christmas truck, and will come to the door with his elves – each visit is for up to three children from the same household.

When booking, parents will need to give their child’s name, what they want for Christmas and their teacher’s name and all visits will be at the doorstep, with a two metre distance to adhere to social distancing.

Before Santa leaves, he will give children some environmentally-friendly reindeer food to sprinkle outside on Christmas Eve and a personalised magic key so he can get through the front door.

Mr Robinson said: “I came up with this Santa thing as we are family-run and I thought about my children missing out with a lot of grottos closing down.

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“You only get a certain amount of ‘I believe’ years and whereas we are all on pause with coronavirus, children will never get that time back and my boys love Christmas.

“The reaction has been really good so far and we sold 160 visits in under 24 hours.”

Visits cost £27.50 per household and you can book at banquetinghire.co.uk/santa

DATES ANNOUNCED SO FAR…

Long Stratton – November 28

Harleston – December 1

The Pulhams, Great Moulton & Aslacton – December 3

Poringland, Framingham Earl and Brooke – December 5 (SOLD OUT)

Trowse and Dussindale – December 8

Swainsthorpe, Dunston and Stoke Holy Cross – December 10

Newton Flotman, Tasbugh & Flordon – December 12

Mulbarton – December 13

Hempnall, Saxlingham, Shotesham and Topcroft – December 15

Wymondham – December 19

Join our new ‘Christmas in Norfolk’ Facebook group for all the latest festive updates.


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