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2 June 2012, 09:28 | Updated: 2 June 2012, 12:20
Norfolk and Suffolk County Council's have given permission for hundreds of streets to close for parties over the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday.
Suffolk County Council has approved 80 road closure applications, with many more expected to occur on no through roads, cul de sacs and village greens. Earlier this year the county council announced that it would not make any charges for those holding a Diamond Jubilee street party this summer. It confirmed that there would be no costs for permission to close roads or being supplied with road closure and diversions signs. This was part of the council's efforts to help Suffolk join in the national celebrations.
Councillor Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for roads and transport, said; "This is a huge national celebration and it is right that Suffolk county council has played its part in making it as easy as possible for people to organise street parties and other activities to commemorate this historic event."
Previously, responsibility for approving street parties rested with district and borough councils, as well as the county council. In February of this year, the county council announced that it was the only council responsible for all street party applications, making the process smoother for organisers of events taking place on Suffolk highways.
Councillor McGregor continued; "These celebrations are a traditional part of community life and a good way to meet neighbours and make new friends. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all those across county who have taken the time to arrange what promises to be a wonderful event."
Norfolk County Council has approved 92 road closures for Jubilee celebrations over the four-day weekend, with communities across the county holding street parties.
Many events organised across Norfolk for the Jubilee received between £75 and £300 of funding from the County Council's 'Norfolk's Year of Celebrations 2012 Fund', set up to ensure communities across the county could come together to celebrate during a special year for the UK. Two hundred and twenty (220) community groups received funding to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, with events including street and tea parties, fun days, fêtes, concerts and picnics set to take place as a result. Events and activities marking the Olympics, Paralympics and the Olympic torch's visit to Norfolk on 4 and 5 July will also be supported through the 2012 fund.
Norfolk County Council is organising other commemorative activities over the Jubilee weekend. People visiting Norwich city centre between 9 and 11pm from Friday (1 June) to Tuesday (5 June) will be able to see the iconic Norwich Castle bathed in patriotic red, white and blue illuminations. Planting of red, blue and silver flowers in the shape of the crown on a roundabout on the outskirts of the city has also just been completed in time for the Jubilee celebrations.
Ian Mackie, Deputy Leader of Norfolk County Council and overseeing the council's Jubilee activities, said: "I am so pleased that communities across Norfolk are coming together, large or small, to celebrate this wonderful reason to celebrate and that we have been able to support them in this. The number of Jubilee events being held demonstrates not only our county's close affection for the Queen but also the strong sense of community spirit in Norfolk - something which we have been very keen to enhance, especially in the current economic climate.
The Diamond Jubilee is a very special event for our country and one that is unlikely to be repeated in any of our lifetimes. Because of the enthusiasm and efforts of people in all parts of our county, everyone in Norfolk will have the opportunity to get involved and feel part of the occasion, and hopefully part of their community. I am looking forward to a fantastic weekend of celebrations that will be a fitting start to an exceptional summer of inspiration and enjoyment."
Norfolk's libraries and museums will also hold special events and activities over the weekend in honour of the Diamond Jubilee. Many libraries will be decorated with bunting and have special commemorative displays while the Millennium Library at The Forum in Norwich will hold a free 'Diamond Jubilee Big Lunch' for children and families on Sunday between 2.15 and 4pm. The afternoon will start with a storytime and flag, hat and bunting making, followed by an afternoon indoor 'street party' with celebratory food and soft drinks. All Norfolk County Council libraries will be closed on Monday and Tuesday for the public holidays.
On Sunday Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse near Dereham will hold a History Fair designed to celebrate the decade in which HM The Queen ascended to the throne, the 1950s. Visitors will be able to find out what Norfolk was like during the fifties, including hearing the stories of some of the people who lived on the site at that time when the original workhouse building was used as a residential home for older people. As well as re-enactments, archive film footage and classic vehicles from the era to enjoy, children will be able to experience what being in a 1950s school lesson was like and adults will be able to get a makeover with fifties fashion available to try on and make-up masterclasses. Normal admission prices to the site apply.
Babies born in Norfolk during the four days of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations will be presented with a limited edition specially commissioned commemorative goblet in celebration of The Queen's 60-year reign. Commissioned by the County Council and produced by Norfolk potters 'Made in Cley', parents of babies born between Saturday, 2 and Tuesday, 5 June will be presented with the boxed commemorative goblet when they attend one of Norfolk's nine registration offices to register their new arrival. Registration offices across Norfolk will reopen on 6 June following the public holidays.
To coincide with the Jubilee, the library service is celebrating children's books over the last 60 years and asking people to vote for their favourites from a selection of 24 chosen by library staff. People can vote online by clicking on the link from the libraries page of the County Council website at www.norfolk.gov.uk/libraries, and visitors to the Royal Norfolk Show at the end of June will be able to vote in person in the County Council tent.
The Royal Norfolk exhibition will also continue to be displayed in the Long Gallery at the Archive Centre in Norwich until Saturday, 23 June. The free exhibition focuses on the Sandringham estate from the 17th century until it was bought by the Prince of Wales in 1862, and on royal links in the county since that date. The Archive Centre will open on Saturday, 2 June until midday and will then be closed until 9am on Wednesday, 6 June following the public holidays.