We have become used to the Yare Valley providing an attractive and varied green space for informal recreation during the Covid19 lockdowns, but at Christmas it assumed another important role. It became a vast floodwater storage area holding back many cubic metres of water and in doing so greatly reduced the likelihood flooding of homes situated downstream.
The vegetation on the slopes of the valley also had its part to play in slowing down the rate at which the heavy rain entered the river.
As the effects of climate change and residential development continue to make flooding events ever more frequent, the need to protect and enhance the green space of the Yare Valley becomes ever more urgent.
A big thank you to all who responded to the Yare Valley Society call to respond to the Government’s White Paper “Planning for the Future” Consultation. It was not an easy undertaking. The consultation ended on 29 October.
Another thank you if your added your name to the CPRE (Council for the Preservation of Rural England) petition against some of the key proposals.
The YVS committee saw the government’s proposals as a major attack on local democracy and a threat to the ability of the YVS and its members to safeguard the green space of the Yare Valley in the future.
We are not alone.
On 8th December the CPRE with other campaigners headed to Westminster, to hand in 310,265 signatures calling for the government to stop its “disastrous plans” to change our planning laws.
Of these 46 MPs publicly voicing their unhappiness with the suggested changes, a huge 33 were from the Conservative Party – including former Prime Minister Theresa May. The issues that they were raising were just as we’ve been saying for many months: that the plans would lead to building on green spaces near to where people live (the very local green spaces that have been so important to so many of us during the pandemic year); that fewer homes that people could actually afford to live in would be built; and that the chances for people to get involved in shaping the future of where they live would be eroded.
And it’s not just the government’s own MPs who have problems with the plans. Organisations from across the environmental, housing and planning sectors have come together to say a big NO to the existing proposals. We were one of more than 30 groups who sent a letter to the Prime Minister warning of the disastrous impacts on nature and people if he dismantled the planning system.”
YVS will be looking for a positive response from the government to address the concerns raised. If it fails to do so YVS will be asking members to take action again.
Cringleford Bridge has been a popular place for some young people to take a jump into the river. This is not a practice to encourage, and a recent underwater exploration has revealed some of the hidden dangers.
A team of scuba divers, limited in their activities by the lockdown, ventured into the depths of the river Yare below the bridge and over a few hours successfully retrieved eight shopping trolleys, three bicycles, a single bed frame, two road traffic cones and an assortment of metal and scaffolding poles. The team reported that their haul was only a quarter of the rubbish in the river, and that the river bed was strewn with rubbish.
Some of the objects were at a depth of only two metres and so could present a serious hazard to anyone entering the water unwarily.
A big thank you to the diving team for bringing this hazard to the attention of the public, and for their work on improving the river environment. Pictures and more about their work can be found here.
The Council for the Protection of Rural England is calling on all of us to take action on the Government plans “Planning for the Future”
“The government has devised some new plans that could pose a huge risk to the countryside and the communities living and working within it.
Ministers want to take decision-making powers away from communities and local councils, handing it over to housing developers and central powers in Westminster.
Under these new proposals, our ability to shape the future of where we live – a right communities have had for 70 years – could be lost with the stroke of a pen.”
The Government plans are a serious threat to our ability to protect the Yare Valley from development in the future. The Yare Valley Society Committee urges you to sign the CPRE Petition to be found here.
This is only a tiny step to expressing opposition to the Government’s proposals. Please respond to the current consultation on the proposals. See Consultations for details.
Hoping to take a quick walk round the University Broad? It will take longer than you think. The section of boardwalk at the south east end of the Broad has been closed. A diversion has been signed which, from the University side of the Broad takes you along the lower edge of the donkey fields as far as the recently opened Strawberry Field Meadow. The return is along by the river.
To give you a better idea of the extra distance we have marked with a star the point at which you reach the Strawberry Field Meadow. Children will enjoy seeing the donkeys.
The two sculptures, by LEIKO IKEMURA and PHILLIP KING respectively, are proposed in planning applications 20/00933/F and 20/00934/L. To get the overall picture the best document when starting any search is the “Heritage Impact Assessment”
The sculptures can be expected to add interest, fun and novelty to the Yare Valley Walk and the Yare Valley Society committee have no plans to object to the applications. If you would like to make a comment you should contact Norwich Planning Department using the references above before 1st September 2020.
The following news item appeared today (8/8/2020) on the Norwich Rugby Club website:
“RELOCATION PLAN IS OFF
This message from Bob Annable:
At the AGM I advised that the University of East Anglia had expressed an intention to withdraw from the Colney Lane development and the Club’s relocation project. I can now tell you that the University has formally confirmed its intention to withdraw by issuing us with an appropriate notice to that effect. A press release has been issued today. Since being made aware of this likelihood, the Development Committee has been considering the alternative options that are open to us and continues to do so. Once we have assessed these options the intention is to share them with the Membership for formal feedback and views.
There is also a need to manage any financial liability this decision leaves us with. We will be starting discussions with the University next week but can tell you the relationship remains amicable and collaborative and that we have the University ‘s assurance to work with us in finding an acceptable proposal that does not leave the club in an any more challenging financial position than we currently face as a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic. We therefore see this very much as ‘business as usual’ at Beeston Hyrne, for the foreseeable future and once the current constraints imposed on us by Covid 19 are behind us.”
Further background details are available in the Eastern Daily Press for today (8/8/2020) on page 12, and on-line here
The Yare Valley Society comments: The proposed relocation of the Rugby Club and the building of a new Club House and parking area was a serious intrusion into the Yare Valley Green Infrastructure Corridor, seemingly contradicting its protected status. Some parking space for the Rugby Club, by Colney Lane, has already been constructed, covering green space with asphalt. As the Yare Valley Society warned at the time, the nature of the planning approval permitted a car park to be constructed for a facility that may not exist. What a mess!
The Yare Valley Society will be reviewing the changed situation and what it might mean for the Yare Valley green space in the future.
McCarthy and Stone have put forward revised plans. They include 32 bungalows, 18 apartments, a resident’s pavilion, and an area of Public Open Space, along with new pedestrian links from Bluebell Road to the Yare Valley Walk.
You can view the plans and submit your own comments at https://planning.norwich.gov.uk, under reference 19/00911/F. Comment should be submitted by Thursday 6th August.
In terms of general layout and how it might impact on the Yare Valley, a starting point is the document Revised Landscaping details dated July 16 2020. A Management Plan states: “To the south western edge of the scheme, areas of woodland copse with standard trees set in wildflower meadow are proposed as part of the Open Space proposals which lie to the west of the development. These form part of a transitional landscape between the proposed built development and the valley of the River Yare. Informal groups of parkland trees within the open space allow a vista along the main vehicular route of the development and out across the open space to the river valley beyond. A metal estate rail is to form the boundary between the residential development and the open space beyond, with an edge of bulbs within grass.”
As with the earlier plans for this site the Yare Valley Society committee will submit its comment. The committee consider “A metal estate rail” with “an edge of bulbs within grass” to be totally inadequate to minimise the impact of the built development on the adjoining public space and the valley, and it is concerned about the failure to link the space with the existing footpath on the south east edge of the development.
A copy of the Yare Valley Society comments on this application are now available here.