Community farm aiming to get residents growing their own food

Longwater Community Farm manager and owner Shona Howes. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Longwater Community Farm manager and owner Shona Howes. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A community farm is hoping to get children, charity users and Norwich residents growing their own food.

The Longwater Community Farm. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Longwater Community Farm. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Shona Howes, the landowner of Longwater Community Farm, off Longwater Lane in Costessey, has applied to South Norfolk Council for change of use to include agricultural and education use.

She wants to help people grow fruit and vegetables as well as keep animals on the farm.

If approved, the a 1.78-hectare plot will include a compost toilet and polytunnel.

An existing barn for animals will be repaired and parking for eight cars, 10 bikes and two disabled vehicles will be part of the project.

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In a statement on the South Norfolk Council website, Ms Howes, grand-daughter of the previous landowner, said: 'We are developing relationships with schools, charities and the Norwich and Costessey communities, in order to develop ideas about how this farm can affect positive change to the community through delivering tailored sessions in growing and healthy living.'

She hoped the sessions would 'enhance healthy living, physical and mental wellbeing'.

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Ms Howes added: 'I am using a portion of the land to grow food, which is being sold through a local veg box scheme.

'Without the planning permission the veg box scheme will not continue and the land will return to its previous state of disuse of the last decade.'

Longwater Community Farm was previously a smallholding pig farm until the early 2000s.

If plans are approved, up to 40 people would be able to use the site at any one time Monday to Saturday.

They would access the farm down a shared private track, called the Loke.

Sonja Gaffer, from Waldemar Avenue in Hellesdon, who keeps horses in a field next to the Loke, has objected over concerns about more people using the track.

She was also worried about the potential of pollution in the River Tud from the proposed toilet.

A pair of long-term Old Costessey residents voiced their support for the plans.

They said: 'We are excited and believe they will be of great benefit to those who live locally and further afield.'

Costessey Town Council backs the idea.

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