North Norfolk District
Cromer, the administrative centre of North Norfolk and the second-largest settlement
Cromer, the administrative centre of North Norfolk and the second-largest settlement
Shown within Norfolk
Shown within Norfolk
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionEast of England
Administrative countyNorfolk
Formed1 April 1974
Admin. HQCromer
 • TypeNorth Norfolk District Council
 • MPs:Duncan Baker (C)
Jerome Mayhew (C)
 • Total373 sq mi (966 km2)
 • Rank28th
 • Total103,257
 • RankRanked 231st
 • Density280/sq mi (110/km2)
Time zoneUTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (British Summer Time)
ONS code33UF (ONS)
E07000147 (GSS)
Ethnicity99.2% White

North Norfolk is a local government district in Norfolk, England. Its council is based in Cromer, and the largest town is North Walsham. The district also includes the towns of Fakenham, Holt, Sheringham, Stalham and Wells-next-the-Sea, along with numerous villages and surrounding rural areas.

The borough lies on the north coast of Norfolk, facing the North Sea, with much of its coastline lying within the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Some south-eastern parts of the district lie within The Broads. The neighbouring districts are Great Yarmouth, Breckland, Broadland and King's Lynn and West Norfolk.


The district was created on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, covering seven former districts which were all abolished at the same time:[1]

A committee of the outgoing councils drew up a list of possible names for the new district to be considered by the Local Government Boundary Commission. Suggested names included North Norfolk, Seafields, Pastonacres, Norfolk Coastal and Cromer.[2] The commission chose the name Pastonacres, which had been coined by a member of Smallburgh Rural District Council in recognition of the extensive landholdings in the area of the Paston family in medieval times.[3] The name was not a popular choice locally, and at the very first meeting of the shadow Pastonacres District Council elected in 1973 it was resolved to change the name to North Norfolk, which was agreed by the government in September 1973, before the new district formally came into being in 1974.[4][5]


North Norfolk District Council
Sarah Bütikofer,
Liberal Democrat
since 17 May 2023[6]
Tim Adams,
Liberal Democrat
since 9 February 2022
Steve Blatch
since 2020[7]
Seats40 councillors
Political groups
Administration (25)
  Liberal Democrats (25)
Other parties (15)
  Conservative (12)
  Independent (3)
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
6 May 2027
Meeting place
Council Offices, Holt Road, Cromer, NR27 9EN
Fakenham, best known for Fakenham Racecourse and is the third-largest settlement

North Norfolk District Council provides district-level services. County-level services are provided by Norfolk County Council. The whole district is also covered by civil parishes, which form a third tier of local government.[8][9]

In the parts of the district within The Broads, town planning is the responsibility of the Broads Authority. The district council appoints one of its councillors to sit on that authority.[10]

Holt, the fourth-largest town in the district

Political control

The council has been under Liberal Democrat majority control since 2019.

The first election to the council was held in 1973, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until the new arrangements took effect on 1 April 1974. Political control of the council since 1974 has been as follows:[11][12]

Party in control Years
Independent 1974–1991
No overall control 1991–2003
Liberal Democrats 2003–2011
Conservative 2011–2017
No overall control 2017–2019
Liberal Democrats 2019–present


The leaders of the council since 2004 have been:[13]

Councillor Party From To
John Sweeney Liberal Democrats 2004
Simon Partridge Liberal Democrats 2004 2008
Virginia Gay[14] Liberal Democrats 2008 May 2011
Helen Eales[15] Conservative May 2011 30 May 2012
Keith Johnson[16] Conservative 30 May 2012 2 Dec 2012
Tom FitzPatrick[17] Conservative 19 Dec 2012 21 Feb 2018
John Lee[18] Conservative 21 Feb 2018 21 Nov 2018
Sarah Bütikofer[19] Liberal Democrats 21 Nov 2018 9 Feb 2022
Tim Adams Liberal Democrats 9 Feb 2022


Following the 2023 election the composition of the council was:[20]

Party Councillors
Liberal Democrats 25
Conservative 12
Independent 3
Total 40

The next election is due in 2027.


See also: North Norfolk District Council elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2019 the council has comprised 40 councillors representing 32 wards, with each ward electing one or two councillors. Elections are held every four years.[21]


The council is based at the Council Offices on Holt Road in Cromer. The building was purpose-built for the council and opened in 1990.[22]


North Walsham, the largest settlement in the district

At the time of the 2001 census, the district had an area of 994 square kilometres (384 sq mi), with a population of 98,382 in 43,502 households.[23]


North Norfolk population pyramid

The 2021 census results found that the local authority area had one of the highest proportions of population over 65 in the England and Wales, at 33.5%.[24]

Wells-next-the-Sea, one of the many coastal towns in the county

Towns and parishes

See also: List of civil parishes in Norfolk

The district is entirely covered by 121 civil parishes. The parish councils for Cromer, Fakenham, Holt, North Walsham, Sheringham, Stalham and Wells-next-the-Sea have declared their parishes to be towns, allowing them to take the style "town council".[25]


Almost £389,000 was given to the council's "joint head of paid services", Nick Baker, in the form of an "exit package", reported Private Eye in October 2020. This was £89,000 more than the council had spent purchasing dwellings to support homeless people in 2019/20, the Eastern Daily Press reported. The council's opposition leader, Christopher Cushing, was quoted describing the payment to Baker as "extraordinary". The Press also reported the total cost of so-called "golden goodbyes" for senior council staff had risen to £1.8 million.[26][27]

Cultural references

The 2013 movie Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa was filmed in the area.

The World of Darkness parody web series, Hunter: The Parenting, is set in the area.


  1. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan District (Definition) Order 1972",, The National Archives, SI 1972/2039, retrieved 17 November 2023
  2. ^ "Schemes for new council". Lynn News and Advertiser. 2 February 1973. p. 15. Retrieved 10 December 2023.
  3. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973",, The National Archives, SI 1973/551, retrieved 31 May 2023
  4. ^ "Council seeks name change". Lynn News and Advertiser. 26 June 1973. p. 13. Retrieved 10 December 2023.
  5. ^ "Historical information from 1973 onwards". Boundary-Line support. Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 17 February 2023.
  6. ^ "Council minutes, 17 May 2023" (PDF). North Norfolk District Council. Retrieved 10 December 2023.
  7. ^ Anderson, Stuart (16 April 2020). "Leadership shake-up sees familiar face take top job after report found 'serious concerns'". North Norfolk News. Retrieved 10 December 2023.
  8. ^ "Local Government Act 1972",, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70, retrieved 31 May 2023
  9. ^ "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 21 September 2023.
  10. ^ "Who we are". Broads Authority. Retrieved 6 December 2023.
  11. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  12. ^ "North Norfolk". BBC News Online. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
  13. ^ "Council minutes". North Norfolk District Council. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  14. ^ Batson, Richard (25 February 2011). "North Norfolk council defends £1m consultancy bills". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  15. ^ "Keith Johnson elected as the new leader of North Norfolk District Council after Helen Eales steps down". Eastern Daily Press. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  16. ^ "Norfolk council leader abused wife and planned her murder, inquest hears". The Guardian. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  17. ^ Batson, Richard (20 December 2012). "New leader chosen at North Norfolk District Council after shotgun death of predecessor". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  18. ^ Anderson, Stuart (21 February 2018). "'Grow up and get on with it' - new leader's message as he takes over council reins". North Norfolk News. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  19. ^ Hannant, David (21 November 2018). "Political tide turns in North Norfolk as vote of no confidence is carried against leadership". North Norfolk News. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  20. ^ "Local elections 2023: live council results for England". The Guardian.
  21. ^ "The North Norfolk (Electoral Changes) Order 2017",, The National Archives, SI 2017/1085, retrieved 10 December 2023
  22. ^ The Buildings of England, Norfolk 1, Norwich and North-east, By Nikolaus Pevsner and Bill Wilson ISBN 0-300-09607-0
  23. ^ Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council (2001). Census population and household counts for unparished urban areas and all parishes Archived 11 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2 December 2005.
  24. ^ "Age - Census Maps, ONS". Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  25. ^ "Parish council contact details". North Norfolk District Council. Retrieved 10 December 2023.
  26. ^ Private Eye, Issue 1532, p.21
  27. ^ "Eastern Daily Press".

52°56′N 1°18′E / 52.933°N 1.300°E / 52.933; 1.300