It has been a long-held dream in some quarters to create a bus link across the valley from the western end of Chancellors Drive at UEA to the Norwich Research Park. The realisation of such a route has been brought a step closer, by its possible inclusion in a County Council bid for money from a “Transforming Cities” government fund. It is seen as a way of improving public transport by shortening journey times.
The EDP of 12 November reports on a recent Norfolk Bus Forum meeting, at which Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat Norwich city councillor for Eaton, voiced concern about the link:
“It’s a very special place, the Yare Valley, and we try very hard to protect it. I think, for the very small amount of journey time you’d save by going across the Yare Valley, I cannot see the saving would be worth the destruction.”
You may have been wondering what has happened to the consultations on a new Greater Norwich Local Plan. Many of us put much effort in to responding to the earlier consultation on sites proposed for development. We were seriously concerned about the impact some of the proposed sites would have on wildlife and informal recreation in the Yare Valley. The completion and publication of a draft plan for submission to the next stage of public consultation was scheduled for September to October 2019.
It now seems that there are outstanding issues still to be resolved by the partner authorities: Norwich, Broadland, and South Norfolk district councils. The date now expected for the draft plan public consultation stage is now January – March 2020. You can find more information on the new Greater Norwich Plan here.
The “Strawberry Field” is between Bluebell Road and the river, near to the McCarthy and Stone housing development (previously the Bartram Mowers site).
After recent closures for works, the Riverside Walk below the Strawberry Fields is now open with a much-improved surface, and the restoration and extension of a section of the boardwalk to improve the links to the Strawberry Field.
Early in November, volunteers of Norwich Fringe Countryside Management Project will be installing interpretation boards and way marker signs for the new Strawberry Fields Open Space. Interested in volunteering to work in the Project? Details Fringe Project activities are on their website.
There is a continuing management programme for improving the meadow-land of the strawberry field.
The Yare Valley Society and the parishes of Colney and Cringleford have written to the South Norfolk Planning Department expressing concern over perceived deficiencies in the paperwork and possibly the processes relating to to Application 2019/1753: Discharge of Conditions for 2018/1830 – New Sports Facility at UEA, Colney Lane.
There is a joint concern that the documents relating to the application are less to be expected in a planning application.
As well as the existence of inaccuracies and confusing references, it would seem there is a case to answer as to whether substantive changes (e.g. tarmac instead of gravel, introduction of, and confusion over lighting) to the original application can be introduced at the stage of ”Discharge of Conditions”.
It is pointed out that if documentation relating to an application cannot be relied upon for accuracy or for following proper process, it cannot be subject to proper scrutiny by interested parties, and decisions made on the application are in danger of being unsound.
Now is your chance to influence the detail of the planning application UEA will be submitting for their Sky House.Do not miss the Public Consultation on Thursday 6th June from 4.00 to 7.00 pm in the Foyer Area on the ground floor of the Enterprise Centre (car parking is available in the Main Campus car park).
The Sky House, has been announced as a new multi-storey academic building to serve as an innovative centre for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. It will be located at the intersection of University Drive and Chancellors Drive and be designed as a new gateway and destination building for UEA. Find out more here.
The YVS will be examining the proposals closely to assess the impact on the Yare Valley. Please let YVS know of any of your concerns – but it is also important you respond personally to the UEA consultation.
A YVS member has reported the return of Giant Hogweed to the Valley. As last year, it was spotted near the Cringleford/Eaton Flyover. The Sap can cause severe skin burns and can pose a serious risk to people unaware of its harmful nature. See the news for May 2018 for more information and pictures.
The Norwich Fringe Project is aware of the presence of Giant Hogweed in the Valley, and has passed information on to the department in Norwich City Council that deals with the invasive species and dangerous plants. Treatment should follow, but in the meantime take care.
The Annual General Meeting of the Society will take place on Wednesday 8th May 2019 at 7.30 pm at Cringleford Playing Field Pavilion. The AGM is normally completed in the first half hour. We can then enjoy a talk “Wildlife in Common” by Caroline Spink of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust will then give a talk “Wildlife in Common”. Caroline will give us a valuable insight into the Trust’s work on commons. The NWT has long been committed to the welfare of wildlife in the Valley, reinforced recently by its recent purchase of wetlands adjacent to Harford Bridge. One of the green assets of the Yare Valley is a common: Eaton Common.
A new Planning Application (Reference 2019/0521) has been submitted to South Norfolk District Council for the expansion of the UEA Sports Field Car Park adjacent to Colney Lane. Permissions have already been obtained for the expansion of the car park. These relate to the UEA Rugby Club development; but there are some significant differences between the latest application, and the previous permissions.
The search page for the application is here , insert the reference 2019/0521.
The Yare Valley Society has a number of concerns about the new application:
1. The impermeable surface proposed for the extra parking spaces will result in increased water run-off
2. Proposals for new lighting, and the impact of resulting light pollution on wildlife
3. The grossly inadequate arrangements for cyclists attempting to negotiate the proposed entrance to the car park. This is on the Norwich Pink Pedalway – a key commuting route to the Hospital and Research Park.
Developers have withdrawn their planning application for phase 2 of their development at Bartram Mowers on Bluebell Road. Planners at City Hall had serious reservations about the application, and it seems that the developers have decided to withdraw the plans rather than attempt radical change.
The YVS view is that any plans for the Bartram Mowers development need to be sensitive to the needs of the Yare Valley as a green infrastructure corridor. The plans were seen to be unsatisfactory on a number of grounds, but of particular importance to the Valley is that Phase 2 is supposed to deliver a significant area of open space. Planners describe this open space as “the opportunity to become a valuable piece of local green infrastructure for the wider community, as well as serving the development itself”. Unfortunately, the developer’s plans failed to explain what enhancements would be made to the open space or how it would function.
There can be little doubt that the developers will be returning with a new set of plans. Hopefully these will pay more attention to the role the delivery of open space has to play in the enhancement of the Yare Valley for wildlife and recreation.