Breeding birds give family ordered to dig up dream garden a reprieve
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Wildlife has given a Norfolk family a little more breathing space before they have to finish digging up their dream garden to turn it back to agricultural land.
The Tucker family from Ormesby St Michael spent thousands of pounds on converting an open field close to Trinity Broad into an outdoor area for their five children and others to enjoy.
Since buying the property in 2013 the family extended a pond, fenced the property, grassed the land, built a paved walk way around the outside and planted 350 apple trees.
Although they made a retrospective planning application to convert the land from agriculture to wildlife garden, it - and a subsequent appeal - was rejected.
The Broads Authority said the development failed to protect and enhance the Broads.
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The family was then given six months to fully convert around 6,000 square metres back into an agricultural field.
This included ripping up the perimeter path, which was installed to allow wheelchair access for a family member, removing the apple trees and completing additional work around the pond.
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During a Broads Authority planning meeting yesterday, head of planning Cally Smith said officers had visited the property to see how work was progressing.
She said although there had been 'non compliance' with regards to some of the issues that were supposed to be completed by the beginning of February, work had started.
'Officers have been out there on at least two, possibly three occasions in the last month and they (the family) have made some progress under pressure in dealing with some of these things,' said Ms Smith.
She said planning officers had extended the deadline for required work around the pond to the end of September.
Ms Smith said the reason the authority was 'content' to give the family an extension was to minimise disruption to wildlife.
'If they were to continue with (the work) now there's a risk of them disturbing reptiles, breeding birds and that sort of thing,' she told committee members.
'We will keep an eye on the site and will visit again in a couple of weeks time and again in July to check compliance with the requirements of the enforcement notice.'