Neighbours become Diss green custodians

The future of a Diss gem is looking brighter after a community group became custodians of a popular town green.

A neighbourhood association officially took over the management of Fair Green this month after the green was sold to a generous anonymous resident in the summer.

Officials from the Fair Green Neighbourhood Association have now begun to plan for the future of the 600-year-old four-acre site, which includes proposals for a new children's play area.

The community group has also started fundraising to pay for their legal fees and insurance costs after signing a lease with the new owner after the green was sold by the Diss Parochial Charity in July following the expiry of a Diss Town Council's lease.

Rachel Baker, chairman of the neighbourhood association, said they would be putting in a funding application to the National Lottery next month to replace the area's ageing children's play equipment and were consulting residents on their plans for the green's access roads.

She added that the group would also be entering discussions with Diss Town Council in the New Year to persuade the council to continue an agreement to mow and maintain the green space.

'The community has been amazing. I have been blown away. Each committee member has been going door-to-door and explaining what we are doing and asking for a small donation to the costs and most people have given much more than we have asked for,' she said.

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The association is seeking people's support for the replacement of the children's play area equipment and is asking residents for their views on plans to install gates at the entrance of the 'residents' only' access roads bordering the green.

Mrs Baker added: 'It is very exciting and I am very proud of the community and it is exciting to get on with things and hit the ground running. The problem is that the play area is coming to the end of its life and we have known for some time that we have to find a way to find replacement play equipment.'

A Christmas hamper raised �575 and the Cock Inn is staging a charity quiz night every Tuesday to support the neighbourhood association.

The green has had a Royal Charter to host fairs and circuses since the 13th century.

For more information, visit the neighbourhood association's website at fairgreendiss.wordpress.co.uk.