Town council to discuss creating 160-acre country park
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
A 160-acre country park could soon be the jewel in a Norfolk town’s crown, as the local council considers buying a pair of fields, which form “the last piece of the jigsaw” of required land.
At an extraordinary meeting of Dereham Town Council’s recreation meeting on Tuesday next week, members will discuss the merits of purchasing additional land east of the town’s celebrated “green lung”, the Neatherd Moor.
In 2008, the town council commissioned a green infrastructure study, one of the findings of which identified the benefits of creating linkages between Neatherd Moor and Etling Green, on the town’s eastern edge.
The two commons are both designated County Wildlife sites, and in the years since the study, the council has been gradually purchasing parcels of land to bring them together, forming a single country park.
Now, estate agency Savills are inviting tenders for a final crucial 22 hectares of land to bridge the commons.
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Mayor Stuart Green said the land would “further enhance the Neatherd area and make it an even bigger area for the residents of Dereham to enjoy.
“These opportunities don’t come up very often, so it’s our duty as a council to have a look at the options and see if we can future-proof more green open space for the town.”
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He added: “We have to think of future generations and having green space available for them too.”
According to meeting's drafted agenda notes, the cost of acquiring the land “will need to be considered by the finance and governance committee members and the tender bid will need to be kept confidential.”
“One option would be for the council to borrow the money to purchase the land - if this were the case then (depending on the bid) it would add around £3 a year to a band D council tax bill.”
The need for outdoor space in the town has become increasingly urgent, as its population grows year upon year.
In March, town clerk Tony Needham said: “Dereham has the biggest deficit in outdoor playing space of any parish in Breckland… over 31 hectares. That is 23% of the overall Breckland deficit.”
To gauge residents’ opinions on a country park, the town council has launched a short survey - visit: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3JSNK26