Diss woodland wins council backing
A NEW community woodland for Diss has been branded “worthwhile” and has won the backing of the town council. The 5.46-acre site at Factory Lane comprises three fields bounded by hedgerows and ditches that are used for grazing.
A NEW community woodland for Diss has been branded “worthwhile” and has won the backing of the town council.
The 5.46-acre site at Factory Lane comprises three fields bounded by hedgerows and ditches that are used for grazing. There is also a pond.
Under the proposals, by the Diss Community Woodland Project, local people - particularly children - will be involved in the creation and eventual management of a wildlife amenity, learning traditional skills wherever possible.
The site will be open to the public and the woodland will be planted using a variety of native trees over a period of several years. The aim is to provide a wildlife habitat and increase biodiversity within the site which will become a public asset and a long term buffer against further residential development.
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Timber and wood products from thinning and felling will be harvested and none of the existing trees will be removed.
The project has submitted a planning application to South Norfolk Council and the authority has been inviting local comments.
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Diss Town Council is recommending approval, describing the initiative as “a worthwhile project which has the support of the council.”
However, councillors have stressed the need for enough car parking, including for the disabled, and access for buses for bringing schoolchildren to the site. They are also calling for walkways at the site to be fully accessible.
Neighbours have also been consulted and South Norfolk has so far received six letters in response.
None have objected in principle, one resident describing the scheme as “a superb use of land” that will benefit everyone and the countryside.
But concerns have been raised about the proposed location of the car park and the potential misuse of the site by “boy racers” and other “undesirables” late at night.
Paul Moore and Roberta Reeve said in their letter to district planners that they fully supported the change of use but the car parking area would adjoin the boundary of their home, effectively removing the small amount of privacy they enjoy. They also suggested a lockable front gate should be installed to prevent people driving onto the site at night.
Other residents voiced concerns about the location of the proposed car park entrance, and wanted reassurance that no late night functions would be held at the woodland.
Richard Pither, Diss Community Woodland Project secretary, has told South Norfolk that experience from other community woods suggest that normal recreational use will be very light - perhaps 6-18 people per day varying with the seasons. Working parties may take place once of twice and month, and numbers are unlikely to exceed a dozen. Annual planting days during the initial years are also planned which may involve up to 60 children plus adult supervisors from local schools, as well as nature study visits for up to 30 pupils plus staff.