Victory for campaigners who battled to stop homes bid on Norwich pub’s former bowling green
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
A fight to stop a former bowling green being built on has ended with a victory for people power.
And campaigners who fought to stop homes on land at the back of a Norwich pub are now hoping they will be given the chance to turn it into a community garden.
Applicants Hines, Moore and Piggin had sought permission to redevelop land at the back of the Heath House pub in Gertrude Road, Norwich.
The application for four homes had been recommended for approval by Norwich City Council officers.
The applicant had agreed to contribute £15,000 to the council to compensate for the green's loss, with the money due to be used to upgrade the pitch and putt course at Mousehold Heath.
But, last September, members of City Hall's planning committee went against the advice from officers and voted seven to four to turn down the scheme, on the grounds of the loss of open space. The applicant appealed.
However, the planning inspector has dismissed that appeal, to the delight of the Keep It Green campaign group, which wants to turn the space into community gardens.
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Tony Moore, from the group, said: 'We were totally surprised that the appeal was dismissed because, to be honest, we'd given up.
'The planning officer, when the councillors refused it, said at the time it would go to appeal and the developers would win, but that hasn't happened.'
The group applied for the city council to designate the green as an asset of community value, which would give them first refusal on buying it - if they can come up with the money.
Mr Moore said: 'It will be a case of us applying for grants and trying to raise the money. Our hope is that we could turn it into a community garden. Not everyone wants a big allotment plot, but we'd have small plots of land there and a communal shed of tools for people who want to grow there.
'We've got a couple of people who are landscape designers who would help us and we'd look to have sessions where children could learn how to grow things.'
Mr Moore thanked Labour councillor Julie Brociek-Coulton, Green councillors and the Norwich Society for support.
Anyone interested in helping the group with fundraising should email firstname.lastname@example.org