May 22 2013 Latest news:
Dominic Bareham, senior reporter
Sunday, September 9, 2012
A consultation on the future of public recreation land in the centre of a Norfolk town attracted hundreds of people at the weekend.
Wymondham Town Council’s Kings Head Meadow working group organised the consultation at the town’s Central Hall on Saturday to determine what the town’s residents want to happen to the meadow, which was at the centre of a long-running row between the town council and the Wymondham Asks Why (WAW) residents action group over plans to sell the land to Asda for a new supermarket, which were subsequently dropped.
And in August, a proposal by town councillor Colin Foulger for a feasibility study to look into building new town council offices on the meadow was also dropped following a heated public meeting.
The ballot style consultation presented visitors with a number of options to choose from including the council applying for Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee protected status, which was a benchmark given to green spaces to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee which would preserve them as recreation areas and prevent development from taking place.
Mum-of-two Tracy Kenny, of Ashleigh Gardens, Wymondham wanted to keep the meadow in its current use as a recreation space and home to Wymondham Town FC and supported the idea of applying for protection for the site.
She added there were not enough recreational places in the town and said schools that did not have playing fields could use the meadow.
She said the centre of Wymondham was the wrong place for a supermarket development, especially when there were other sites available within the town, such as near Wymondham station, Spooner Row roundabout and near Wymondham Medical Centre.
“Wymondham is a town with a certain character and the meadow, which ties in with the character, is one of the things that we need to keep and it does link closely with what we residents think of Wymondham,” she added.
Wendy Thrower, of Harts Farm in Wymondham, also wanted to keep the meadow as recreation land and said the site was part of the history and story of the town, having at one time been a popular place for courting couples.
She added: “The meadow was the place where everyone used to meet.”
However, mother and daughter Edith Pleasance and Tina Blackwell, of Orchard Way, Wymondham said they wanted the meadow to be developed as sheltered housing for the elderly, arguing there was insufficient accommodation of this nature in the town.
Ms Pleasance believed some developers would be prepared to pay for the football team to move to nearby Ketts Park so the accommodation could be built and said the move could help reduce the number of people on the council’s housing register because she was currently living in a three bedroom house, which no longer suited her needs.
She pointed out nearby Attleborough had five sheltered housing complexes compared to Wymondham’s one, adding: “I think there is a severe lack of sheltered housing in Wymondham.”
John Pennell, from Norfolk Playing Fields Association, was also present and said he would like the meadow to be retained as a recreation space and that he was prepared to support the bid for Queen Elizabeth status.
Councillor John Turner, who was present along with fellow working group members Alison Taylor and Dianne Fernee, said the group was pleased with the turnout from the public and said the next step was for the results to be discussed at the next meeting of the council’s leisure and environment committee, which is responsible for playing fields.