Draft Local Plan-Part 2 Site Allocations

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Draft Local Plan-Part 2 Site Allocations

GNLP0341

Representation ID: 22112

Received: 16/03/2020

Respondent: Norfolk Geodiversity Partnership

Representation:

Parish Fields (aka The Lawn / ‘Land between Shelfanger Road & Mount Street’ GNLP0341) has been proposed as a ‘reasonable [i.e. arguable] alternative’ in the draft GNLP. You said you would like to see evidence why the Parish Fields Friends (PFF) group considers that Parish Fields should not be considered for development.

Over the years there have been several aborted plans to build on the site. Each time South Norfolk District Council argued that it was unsuitable because it is Important Local Open Space contributing much to the environmental quality of the town. Once more, there are development plans afoot, in the present instance involving a trade-off between permitting a development of bungalows and garages on one half of the site and providing land for an urban park of some kind on the other half. Furthermore, the GNLP has now altered its previous position (2018) that judged the site to be ‘unsuitable’ for development.

Please see the attached historical summary, and there follows a list of arguments why PFF considers this site should still be considered unsuitable for development.

It is:
• Listed in the South Norfolk Local Plan as ‘Important Local Open Space’ in the town, along with Diss Mere, Diss Park, old gardens in Mount Street, Rectory Meadow and Fair Green; these open spaces are integral to the town's character and attractiveness.
• Listed in the Norfolk Historic Environment Record as NHER.33463 as ‘The only example of a detached landscape park within a town in Norfolk’, and this status is endorsed by a Norfolk Gardens Trust survey report, 1997 (funded by English Heritage) and the landscape historian Professor Tom Williamson.
• Submitted as a candidate site for listing by Historic England as a rare example of a detached landscape park in a market town setting (case pending).
• A candidate for ‘Local Green Space’ designation in the forthcoming Diss & District Neighbourhood Plan.
• A significant wildlife reservoir and network linked to local gardens, for instance a bat survey undertaken in July 2019 showed that no less than eight species used the site for feeding.
• A notable Green Infrastructure asset which is part of the 'green corridor' linking Diss with its rural hinterland.
• An example of the UK biodiversity priority habitat 'Wood-Pasture and Parkland'.
• Noted by Poet Laureate John Betjeman in his film about Diss (1964) as integral to the character of the market town and its rural links, being ‘a little bit of country coming right into town’, as he put it.
PFF has run a petition (both paper and online) which has gathered more than 2,600 signatures, of which a great many are from Diss & District. It entreated Diss TC and South Norfolk DC to do everything in their power to stop development on this site. The Town Council has recently voted that <The Town Council will not support the development of this site and the resultant loss of any of this historic important open space>. Both local government and townspeople have come together to voice their intense concern for the future of Parish Fields. This must surely count for something in the planning system.
As the attached aerial photograph shows, Parish Fields is integral to the environmental quality of Diss. PFF believe that, given the right circumstances, the site has the possibility of becoming a valuable urban green-space for the 21st century, becoming a cherished asset in this part of Diss, particularly in view of the hundreds of houses planned for the northern side of town. Please see attached vision document.

We believe that the site is a precious environmental asset that should be protected from being sacrificed to provide land for 35 expensive houses, at most. We hope you will do whatever it is in your power to make clear to the GNLP steering group that developing Parish Fields would unacceptable in planning terms, and that it would be an ‘unreasonable alternative’ given all the arguments adduced in favour of protecting it.

Full text:

Parish Fields (aka The Lawn / ‘Land between Shelfanger Road & Mount Street’ GNLP0341) has been proposed as a ‘reasonable [i.e. arguable] alternative’ in the draft GNLP. You said you would like to see evidence why the Parish Fields Friends (PFF) group considers that Parish Fields should not be considered for development.

Over the years there have been several aborted plans to build on the site. Each time South Norfolk District Council argued that it was unsuitable because it is Important Local Open Space contributing much to the environmental quality of the town. Once more, there are development plans afoot, in the present instance involving a trade-off between permitting a development of bungalows and garages on one half of the site and providing land for an urban park of some kind on the other half. Furthermore, the GNLP has now altered its previous position (2018) that judged the site to be ‘unsuitable’ for development.

Please see the attached historical summary, and there follows a list of arguments why PFF considers this site should still be considered unsuitable for development.

It is:
• Listed in the South Norfolk Local Plan as ‘Important Local Open Space’ in the town, along with Diss Mere, Diss Park, old gardens in Mount Street, Rectory Meadow and Fair Green; these open spaces are integral to the town's character and attractiveness.
• Listed in the Norfolk Historic Environment Record as NHER.33463 as ‘The only example of a detached landscape park within a town in Norfolk’, and this status is endorsed by a Norfolk Gardens Trust survey report, 1997 (funded by English Heritage) and the landscape historian Professor Tom Williamson.
• Submitted as a candidate site for listing by Historic England as a rare example of a detached landscape park in a market town setting (case pending).
• A candidate for ‘Local Green Space’ designation in the forthcoming Diss & District Neighbourhood Plan.
• A significant wildlife reservoir and network linked to local gardens, for instance a bat survey undertaken in July 2019 showed that no less than eight species used the site for feeding.
• A notable Green Infrastructure asset which is part of the 'green corridor' linking Diss with its rural hinterland.
• An example of the UK biodiversity priority habitat 'Wood-Pasture and Parkland'.
• Noted by Poet Laureate John Betjeman in his film about Diss (1964) as integral to the character of the market town and its rural links, being ‘a little bit of country coming right into town’, as he put it.
PFF has run a petition (both paper and online) which has gathered more than 2,600 signatures, of which a great many are from Diss & District. It entreated Diss TC and South Norfolk DC to do everything in their power to stop development on this site. The Town Council has recently voted that <The Town Council will not support the development of this site and the resultant loss of any of this historic important open space>. Both local government and townspeople have come together to voice their intense concern for the future of Parish Fields. This must surely count for something in the planning system.
As the attached aerial photograph shows, Parish Fields is integral to the environmental quality of Diss. PFF believe that, given the right circumstances, the site has the possibility of becoming a valuable urban green-space for the 21st century, becoming a cherished asset in this part of Diss, particularly in view of the hundreds of houses planned for the northern side of town. Please see attached vision document.

We believe that the site is a precious environmental asset that should be protected from being sacrificed to provide land for 35 expensive houses, at most. We hope you will do whatever it is in your power to make clear to the GNLP steering group that developing Parish Fields would unacceptable in planning terms, and that it would be an ‘unreasonable alternative’ given all the arguments adduced in favour of protecting it.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Members of the Parish Fields Friends steering group would be happy to meet GNLP committee members to give them a short presentation, or to arrange an on-site meeting in Diss.

Attachments:

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