Woodland and wildflowers top pick in South Walsham consultation

Peter Crook and Malcolm Steward discuss the proposal to turn a six acre field in South Walsham into

Peter Crook and Malcolm Steward discuss the proposal to turn a six acre field in South Walsham into community amenity land. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

A proposal to turn a six acre field in South Walsham into community amenity land has been welcomed.

Peter Crook and Malcolm Steward discuss the proposal to turn a six acre field in South Walsham into

Peter Crook and Malcolm Steward discuss the proposal to turn a six acre field in South Walsham into community amenity land. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

The scheme, along with new footpaths in the village, is part of an East Broadland Green Infrastructure Project Plan which seeks to address the need for green infrastructure in support of the existing and future housing growth in the east Broadland area.

Ahead of any final decision South Walsham parish council held a village wide consultation on possible uses for the land before Christmas and the results were revealed at their January 4 meeting.

Parts of the site will be laid as woodland and the most popular additions to this were a wildflower meadow, circular walks, a community orchard. and a wildlife pond. Allotments were less popular and a trim track also attracted little support, as did livestock grazing areas.

The site of the development would be a field in School Road, opposite the village's primary school and pre-school. Car parking and school bus manoeuvring in this area create a bottle neck at the beginning and end of the school day. The acquisition of the field would enable additional school parking and off-road parking for buses and 93pc of those consulted thought this would be a real benefit to the village.

Other suggestions for the field included fenced-off dog exercising areas, bee hives in the orchards and seating and disabled friendly surfaces in certain areas. The field is bordered on one side by an ancient footpath called the Bier Way and this would be upgraded and a hedge planted along the full length under the scheme.

A new off-road footpath linking the Pilson Green end of the village to the school has already been approved and work starts on this in March. Other possible foot path routes and footpath links have been identified under the plan.

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Various possible names for the site were put forward during the consultation and there were 89 individual offers of voluntary support.

Council vice chairman and project lead Malcolm Steward welcomed the proposal and the enthusiastic response from the village.

He said: 'If the project proceeds as hoped the land does not become available till October this year so we are now in a position to start planning in the knowledge that we have the community support.'