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Fears for upkeep of Diss beauty spot

PUBLISHED: 17:00 15 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:16 12 July 2010

Fears have been raised about the future upkeep of one of the “jewels” of Diss after town leaders launched a review of its management of Fair Green.

The town green has been a popular place for families, picnickers, walkers, runners and games players for centuries.

Fears have been raised about the future upkeep of one of the “jewels” of Diss after town leaders launched a review of its management of Fair Green.

The town green has been a popular place for families, picnickers, walkers, runners and games players for centuries.

But campaigners claim that the historic four-acre site, which hosts funfairs and circus events, could become “Shabby Green” if Diss Town Council ends its maintenance of the area.

Civic leaders have taken the opportunity to consult local taxpayers on the future management of Fair Green ahead of the end of a 21- year lease next year.

The town council says that it costs between £3,000 and £7,000 a year to fill potholes, maintain the play equipment, cut the recreation area grass, strim the ditches and care for the wildflower areas.

But officials from the Fair Green Neighbourhood Association say that if the council was to stop the maintenance of the area, it would be a big loss to the whole town.

Rachel Baker, chairman of the neighbourhood association, said the Diss Parochial Charities, which owns Fair Green, did not have the resources or the finances to maintain the green and it cost about 50p a year per Diss resident in their council tax precept, which was “extremely good value”. She added that the town council received some income from the twice annual funfair and circus.

She added: “Fair Green, one of the jewels of Diss, is set to become Shabby Green if Diss Town Council decides not to renew its lease to maintain it in an effort to save money.”

“This year, I have seen many non-residents enjoying the peace and open space of the green. Dog walkers, hot air balloonists, birthday parties, cricket matches, rounders games, pub goers, angles way walkers, artists, fair goers, circus goers, annual after-the-exams youngsters have all been happy to use the space,” she said.

Deborah Sarson, town clerk, said councillors would discuss the renewal of the Fair Green lease, which expires in May, following the end of the public consultation.

“We need feedback and need to know whether the people of Diss support the maintenance of Fair Green coming out of their rates. The perception is that it is for the benefit or Fair Green residents, but it is for the whole population,” she said.

A Royal Charter for an annual fair in Diss was first obtained by Lord of the Manor Robert Fitzwalter in 1185, which moved to Cock Street Green in the mid 1400s. Cock Street Green was renamed Fair Green in 1863.

The public consultation is set to end on October 31.


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