By MICHAEL POLLITT
, Agricultural editor
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Three special awards were made to leading Norfolk community projects and innovative and energy-efficient buildings in Norwich last night.
• The Little Ouse Headwaters Project
A community based project established by local residents to help protect and restore the unique landscape and wildlife at the headwaters of the Little Ouse River.
• The Norfolk Moths Website
A new website to record and study Norfolk moths.
• Wild About Hethersett,
An Almanac Of Biodiversity
A village biodiversity project in which local residents were encouraged to observe, record and publish information about the wildlife in their parish.
• Henry le Strange Community Orchard (Hunstanton)
The creation of a community orchard from an under-used piece of land.
• Boughton Fen Wildlife Walk
The regeneration of Boughton Fen, a 44 acre SSSI in rural west Norfolk and the creation of a circular wildlife walk.
• The Dersingham Bog Undergrounding Scheme
A project to remove the electricity power lines which stretched across one of the largest remaining areas of lowland heath left in Britain.
• The White Cottage, Fleggburgh
A two-storey cob and bale extension to a 400-year-old cottage, using traditional building techniques and local materials.
• Novus House, Hoe
A modern, sustainable home with a striking barrel-vaulted roof.
• Park Physiotherapy at Leys Farm
New purpose-built premises for a local physiotherapy practice, providing employment in a rural area and designed in sympathy with the Norfolk vernacular.
• Grove Barn, Upton
A new family home built from reclaimed materials where possible and incorporating a range of renewable technologies.
• Hall Farm Barn, Bergh Apton
The restoration and conversion of a Grade II-listed 17C threshing barn.
• The conversion of the Wash House at Walnut Farm
The sympathetic restoration and conversion of a Victorian washhouse.
• Moor Hall Farm, Briston
A project to save a group of dilapidated farm buildings and give them a new economic justification.
• Low House Barn, Hales Green
The reconversion of a previously converted barn, to make better use of the open spaces and character of an historic building.
• Kelling Heath Holiday Park – Trails and Acorn Events
A programme of trails and activities for residents of and visitors to north Norfolk, to widen understanding and appreciation of the local environment.
The annual Norfolk CPRE Awards were presented at the Assembly House before an invited audience as the winners of 15 projects were officially recognised.
For the first time, two new annual awards were made. The Boldero Award, in memory of the late Charles Boldero, recognised his efforts, with his wife Joy to widen access and improve understanding of the Norfolk countryside. They contributed regular walks to the EDP for a quarter of a century, having started writing the first of almost 1,500 articles in 1986.
A second annual award, named after the late Roger Askham, who was the co-ordinator of the successful and popular green buildings in Norfolk open days. He wanted people to reduce energy consumption as part of better building design. This award was made to a modest, energy-efficient refurbishment or new building, which has used local or recycled materials or employed local craftsmen and in which the owner has played a significant, hands-on role.
An award certificate was presented by his widow, Marie, to the White House, Fleggburgh, near Great Yarmouth, which is a two-storey cob and bale extension to a 400-year-old cottage used traditional building techniques and local materials.
The judges of the Boldero Award were so impressed by the two finalists that they were not able to choose an overall winner, so it was presented to the team which created the Boughton Fen wildlife walk, near Downham Market, and to the volunteers of the Little Ouse headwaters project on the Norfolk and Suffolk border, near Thetford.
The judges were so impressed by the efforts of Boughton, which has a population of about 200. Last winter, a dedicated group of up to 20 volunteers worked often in harsh weather to complete the new walk around the fen, which covers almost two miles. It has become a hugely popular feature for villagers, who can now get access to a special piece of the countryside, noted the judging panel.
James Parry, who is the chairman of CPRE Norfolk, who welcomed the prize winners and guests, said the award scheme was founded in 1979 to recognise significant achievements in buildings and landscape. “It is one of the longest running awards schemes in the county and over 300 projects have been awarded to date,” he added.
“The awards are an opportunity to showcase the best examples of the projects we would like to see across the county. What is great about this year’s winners is that there are some quite unusual projects including our first for an on-line project. I’m delighted the Norfolk Moths’ website has been copied by other counties. Another example of where Norfolk leads, others follow,” said Mr Parry.
The organisers welcome applications from all sections of the community and for projects of all types, big and small but normally outside the city boundary. Mr Parry said that landscape management, conservation schemes, and projects which encourage access to and understanding of the countryside were particularly welcome. Other projects including restoration and conversion projects of redundant as well as innovative buildings on brownfield land were also welcome, he said.
The CPRE Norfolk Awards scheme was not a competition and projects were not compared when judged. The judging panel of expert volunteers was chaired by Martin Walton, who is a trustee of CPRE Norfolk.