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Protest over Diss fence

PUBLISHED: 11:33 04 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:52 12 July 2010

Residents opposing plans to fence round a centuries-old meadow have amassed almost seven hundred signatures on a protest petition.

The Rectory Meadow Action Group claims that Diss Town Council will turn the site into an eyesore if it puts up new fencing around the boundary in a bid to combat vandalism and dog fouling at the site.

Residents opposing plans to fence round a centuries-old meadow have amassed almost seven hundred signatures on a protest petition.

The Rectory Meadow Action Group claims that Diss Town Council will turn the site into an eyesore if it puts up new fencing around the boundary in a bid to combat vandalism and dog fouling at the site.

Currently home to Diss Cricket Club, the meadow has been used as an informal recreation area for generations. It also served as a school playing field and a venue for gymkhanas and other public events over the years, including a party to celebrate the Queen's coronation.

The council has agreed to put up fencing at the request of the cricketers who lease the site and would provide the funding. It would reduce access to one main entrance off Skelton Road, and two other side gates which would be locked at nights.

Action group spokesman, Evan Heasley, said: “We are not against the town council or the cricket club, we are just against the fence. We collected 120 signatures in two hours on Saturday and now have 675 names.”

Andrew Thurston, who chairs the council's amenities and services committee, said they are currently looking at other options such as a proposal by the cricket club to install CCTV cameras.

“We are supporting the cricket club because at the moment no-one has come up with a viable alternative to the fence. If it is going to be built, it is not going to be a picket fence that will look awful or a Colditz arrangement. It will be a really-nice looking fence which would cost between £40,000 to £50,000.

“The cricket club wants to do a lot for Diss, and to provide facilities to county standard. How can you encourage cricket teams to play at Diss when you have to spend two hours clearing up broken bottles and dog mess? We know there's a problem, there's no denying it.”

Mr Thurston said the committee would discuss the issues at Rectory Meadow at its meeting last night - held as the Mercury went to press.

He added: “We want to try and encourage residents rather than being anti the fence to be a bit more proactive in trying to solve the problems.”

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