Concerns park could be used for homes after sale

The Deer Park in Old Catton, which has been sold by the Buxton family, pictured inset with members of the parish council

The Deer Park in Old Catton, which has been sold by the Buxton family, pictured inset with members of the parish council - Credit: Denise Bradley/Peter Dent

A much-loved country park has been sold sparking fears it may be used for housing.

The Deer Park, which is located just off Spixworth Road in Old Catton, is home to a variety of wildlife including deer, foxes, owls and bats. 

It has been confirmed that the Buxton family has sold the Deer Park to a mystery business. 

But Harry Buxton, who oversaw the deal, doesn't believe it will be built on.

He said: "The Deer Park has been sold after I put it up for sale. 

"People seem to think there will be building over it but I would be very surprised. That is not what the land is for."

Explaining why the family decided to sell the park, Mr Buxton added: "It is a potential liability and my family have no further interest as they live all over the country."

Andrew Buxton, front, and Bradley Sapperton-Coe, right, chairman of the Old Catton Parish Council, a

Andrew Buxton, front, and Bradley Sabberton-Coe, right, chairman of the Old Catton Parish Council, at the renamed Buxton Lodge, Catton Park, with members of the parish council and Andrew's son, Harry, second right. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Andrew Buxton, one of the founding trustees of Catton Park who was born at Catton Hall, and parish council chairman Bradley Sabberton-Coe declined to comment on the future of the Deer Park. 

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Mr Sabberton-Coe said the parish council was holding confidential discussions on the matter. 

It comes after Andrew Buxton sold the nearby Catton Park to the parish council in March 2021. 

The renamed Buxton Lodge (formerly Hayman Lodge) at Catton Park. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The renamed Buxton Lodge (formerly Hayman Lodge) at Catton Park. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

There are currently no planning applications which have been submitted to Broadland District Council for the Deer Park. 

District councillor Ken Leggett believes it is unlikely the park will be turned into housing.

Kenneth Leggett, Broadland District Councillor has completed 50 Catton parkruns by walking them. Pic

Old Catton district councillor Ken Leggett - Credit: Brittany Woodman

He said: "The Deer Park and Buttercup Meadow are in a very respected conservation area in a very clearly defined area in the parish plan.

"I would not have thought there was much chance." 

The horses in Deer Park, Old Catton inspired Anna Sewell to write Black Beauty.

The horses in Deer Park, Old Catton inspired Anna Sewell to write Black Beauty. - Credit: Peter Dent

Fellow district councillor Richard Potter said: "There's no problem with the land being sold. That's the owner's prerogative but it's absolutely outrageous and unacceptable to consider that it could be used for housing.

Richard Potter, district councillor for Old Catton 

Richard Potter, district councillor for Old Catton - Credit: Richard Potter

"It's a beautiful green space that is greatly admired by the people of Old Catton and I will fight to protect it on their behalf."

A Facebook post in an Old Catton community page said: "We need to be ready to challenge any plans for development as Old Catton is supposed to be a village, not a suburb of Norwich and it needs its green spaces."

EDP Sunday/calender.Horses bathed in early morning sunshine as they awake from shelter under a tree

Horses in the Deer Park - Credit: Simon Finlay/Archant 2006

The parish council has been contacted.