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Work starts on demolition of Zoots nightclub: Memories from March 2014 and 1994

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In our regular On This Week column, we look back through the pages of the Lynn News from March 24 – 30, 2014, as well as a picture from March 1994…
Nearly 80 years of history has come to an end with work starting on the demolition of a Lynn landmark which had become an eyesore. Zoots was a popular nightclub in its heyday, but has stood empty since 2010. Freebridge Community Housing has been given the go-ahead to put up 25 homes on the site in John Kennedy Road and demolition equipment has moved on to the site to tear down the run-down building. It was built in the 1930s as the home of the Pilot Cinema, until refurbishment in the 1990s when it was transformed into Zoots Nightclub which remained open until 2008. Since then, portions of the front of the building have been used as a pizza delivery outlet, but the whole of the building has now been vacant for the last four years.A one per cent pay rise is proposed for West Norfolk Council’s 655 employees, in addition to a minimum pay increase to £7 per hour. Nationally, trade unions have called for local authorities to raise wages to meet the Living Wage, which sits at £7.65 per hour. For three of the last five years council workers’ salaries were frozen and in the other two years there was a one per cent increase. A report to West Norfolk’s Cabinet states: “A pay freeze has been discounted due to the need to maintain staff morale and to offer salary levels that are competitive within local, regional and national labour markets.”

Lynnsport Joggers staged a charity relay marathon in March 1994, to help those less fortunate than themselves. Twenty athletes took turns to run quarter-mile legs and they completed the marathon distance of 26 miles and 385 yards in just over two-and-a-half hours. The age range for the runners was from 10 to 60 and they raised almost £500 between them, money which was split between the North Lynn Adult Training Centre and motor neurone sufferer John Ebbs, of Ten Mile Bank

Staff and patients at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital have again been assured that the hospital will not be closing, despite news that experts are being brought in to help with the trust’s finances. Mark Turner, regional director of the health regulator Monitor, said the hospital trust was experiencing serious financial problems – and the trust itself is forecasting a £13million deficit in the current financial year. The QEH was placed in special measures by Monitor last October, amid concerns that it was providing poor quality care and weak leadership.Crowds gathered as discount chain store Poundland opened its new shop in Lynn’s Pierpoint Retail Park on the Hardwick estate. The chain, which also has a store in the town’s Vancouver Quarter, has created 25 new jobs at the larger site, which is the former Comet electrical store. Poundland said: “We offer amazing value on top branded products to more than 5 million customers every week and the £1 price hasn’t changed since we opened our first store 24 years ago.” Thousands of parents have been told to keep their children away from school because of a planned strike by teachers. The Fairstead and Reffley primary schools in Lynn will be completely closed for a day and around half of West Norfolk’s secondary schools will be partially shut with students in some year groups being told not to attend. Members of the National Union of Teachers are staging a 24-hour walkout as part of their long-running dispute with the government over pay, pensions and working conditions.The valiant efforts of RSPCA workers in helping nurse orphaned seal pups back to health following last year’s tidal surge has featured on the BBC’s Countryfile programme. East Winch Wildlife Centre was one of the main features as presenter Ellie Harrison learned how the seal pups were faring four months on from the devastating tides. In the days after the tidal surge, wildlife centre manager Alison Charles and her team were caring for more than 100 seals washed up on the Norfolk coast. Today there are still 64 seals at the site, but the Countryfile cameras were able to follow the release of one female seal, named Pancake, at Sutton Bridge in February.A 1987 Volvo 340, with only 132 miles on the clock, which is about to go under the hammer at Anglia Car Auctions in Lynn next month, has driven up as storm of interest. It was first bought from a dealer in Essex by an elderly man and was on the road for a matter of weeks before he gave up driving after a minor scrape with a bollard at his local garden centre. The car was then kept in a garage for more than a quarter-of-a-century and was only discovered – in pristine condition – following the man’s death.Plans have been submitted to build a £6.5million university campus in Lynn. The College of West Anglia will be applying for grants to put up a “flagship building” in a bid to encourage more people into higher education and meet the skills shortage in the area. The campus could take up to 500 students and would include 14 digitally enabled classrooms and a 120-seat multi-media lecture theatre.

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