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‘We are Roydon!’ Villagers celebrate success after hard-fought battle to protect boundary

PUBLISHED: 15:23 20 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:08 20 February 2018

More than 20 residents attended the South Norfolk District Council meeting to champion their community campaign to 'leave Roydon whole'. Photo: We Are Roydon

More than 20 residents attended the South Norfolk District Council meeting to champion their community campaign to 'leave Roydon whole'. Photo: We Are Roydon

Archant

Elated residents are celebrating after a six-month battle to protect their boundary lines ended in victory.

Community campaigners Mark Emsden and Peter Knights celebrate after a hard-fought battle to retain the Roydon parish boundaries. Photo: We Are RoydonCommunity campaigners Mark Emsden and Peter Knights celebrate after a hard-fought battle to retain the Roydon parish boundaries. Photo: We Are Roydon

Residents from all corners of the community in Roydon, near Diss, filled the public gallery at South Norfolk District Council’s meeting as the authority ruled to maintain the existing perimeter.

Campaigner Kirsty Laifa said: “We are delighted - it has been six months of pure hell.

“It is fantastic news and we are glad people are sensible.”

South Norfolk Council has been carrying out a community governance review since last year to consider changing the existing parish boundaries.

Community campaign organisers (from left) Mark Emsden, Nikki Jayne Atkins, Peter Knights and Kirsty Laifa, after South Norfolk Council agreed to keep Roydon's parish boundaries as they are. Photo: We Are RoydonCommunity campaign organisers (from left) Mark Emsden, Nikki Jayne Atkins, Peter Knights and Kirsty Laifa, after South Norfolk Council agreed to keep Roydon's parish boundaries as they are. Photo: We Are Roydon

The proposed changes in the small village of Roydon would have seen around 43pc of the town swallowed up into nearby Diss.

Resident Mark Emsden organised his neighbours into a group which fought the proposals over the past six months and showed their solidarity at the council meeting by carrying posters and wearing bright yellow “We Are Roydon” t-shirts.

Members of the council voted to retain the existing boundary between Roydon and Diss, which was met with cheers and celebrations from the public gallery.

Mr Emsden said: “It has been a long, hard six months but the village has really pulled together to fight against the proposal, sending hundreds of letters of objection and writing reports about our village history.

“We are over the moon, really chuffed and absolutely elated.

“So many people said we were wasting our time but this just shows what happens when the community comes together.”

While the original aim of the group has been to maintain their parish boundaries, they have also successfully raised £1,500 for a village defibrillator and plan to keep fighting for their community.

Fellow campaigner Peter Knights said: “Without the dogged determination of the group to keep their community whole, this could have been a very different story.

“Here’s to the heroes of Roydon and their success. I’m proud to have helped in this fight.”

The residents have organised a community disco to toast their success at Roydon Village Hall on Saturday, March 3 to fundraise fo the community.

Tickets are available from Roydon Service Station or Mr Emsden on 01379 640499.

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