BSL area view-1.jpg

Date published: 14th March 2024

Black Swan Loke has opened following transformational works to turn a derelict and un-used yard into a community garden, providing a safe and level access from the public car park to the market place

North Norfolk District Council purchased the site in March 2021 as part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ), in partnership with Historic England, with a view to turning it into an attractive communal walkthrough.

The 12-week programme of works, delivered by the Council’s contractors Malcolm Abbs Ltd., turned the area from and overgrown vacant yard area into to a new open space with gardens and a walkthrough. The plot was previously the woodworking yard of a furniture maker.

Over 77% of materials used have been recycled; wood paneling along the walls is made from decommissioned timbers from the Cromer Pier decking and the glass detailing is light casing reclaimed from the Council’s demolished public toilets.

Before and after aerial shots of Black Swan Loke in North Walsham

Before and after aerial images of Black Swan Loke in North Walsham

 Black Swan Loke - featuring the mosaic, tree planters and newly paved area.

Black Swan Loke Community Garden

Wall cladding in Black Swan Loke and flowery arrangement

Decommissioned decking from Cromer Pier repurposed into wall cladding

Garden seating area at Black Swan Loke

Glass effect on benching repurposed from public toilet lights


 Cllr. Paul Heinrich, portfolio holder for Sustainable Growth said:

“For years this has been a derelict area for as long as I can remember -  I grew up in the town, so a very long time. When I first saw it, after we demolished the walls, I looked at it and thought ‘what can we do with it?’ But [NNDC] officers have come up with a wonderful scheme, that’s totally transformed the space.

It's now usable and it provides a lovely walkthrough from the car park – another great asset for the town.”

Tony Calladine, East of England Regional Director for Historic England said:

Last time I was here, looking at this space, it was nothing like this - it wasn't a place anyone would want to walk through, but what a transformation. It's a place you really want to come to.

It will help people who come into town and spend money, one of the things it's doing here is showing that the historic environment is a catalyst for regeneration.

North Walsham has done it wonderfully with a great partnership with the local authority and working together and with the community. I think we've made a big difference in North Walsham and I hope it continues.”

Joe Ballard, at the Black Swan Pub & Theatre said:

“It’s a fantastic resource for North Walsham, we’ve seen so many developments over the last four years - this wouldn’t be possible without the momentum in North Walsham.

We’ve proudly got [the Black Swan] pub, and we’ve now got this on our doorstep for the community to use, we’ll support any one looking to use it – it belongs to the people of North Walsham and they can take ownership of this space. Let’s get North Walsham using it, and all ideas are welcome.”

Joe Ballard of the Black Swan Pub & Theatre

Joe Ballard, talking outside the Black Swan Pub & Theatre

As part of the Heritage Action Zone’s Cultural Programme, over 120 North Walsham residents contributed their ideas towards a mural in cultural workshops, providing their favourite elements of the town and its history.

A mosaic was subsequently designed and assembled by artist Gary Drostle, featuring these elements, and is displayed in Black Swan Loke for residents and visitors to see.

The mosaic was commissioned by North Walsham Town Council following grants from NNDC’s Arts and Culture Fund and the Historic England funded North Walsham Cultural Programme.

Mosaic installed at Black Swan Loke

Mosaic installed at Black Swan Loke, designed using contributions from North Walsham residents 

Flowers were supplied by North Walsham Garden Centre and roses featured in Chelsea Flower Show were kindly donated by Philip Harkness – the garden will be maintained by community group North Walsham in Bloom.

The North Norfolk High Street Heritage Action Zone has been delivered by North Norfolk District Council in partnership with Historic England.

Last updated: 14th March 2024