Norwich Rugby Club Development on UEA Playing fields Rethink

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.

Plans resubmitted for Bartram Mowers Site

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.

Whitlingham Broad, Marston Marsh and Eaton Common on B-line

Agriculture and urban expansion have put pressure on some of the most valuable habitats for pollinators in our region. Many of the remaining wildflower-rich habitats are small and increasingly isolated within the landscape. A new B-Lines project by the Invertebrate Conservation Trust, Buglife, and funded by Defra, aims “to create an interconnected web of potential and existing wildflower habitats across the UK, aiming to help restore populations of insects”.

On the B-line.                  Photo: Lynda Clarkson

Norwich is at a B-lines crossroads. One of the B-lines follows the Yare Valley from Whitlingham Broad through Lakenham wetlands, Marston Marsh and Eaton Common, before turning south towards Diss. The B-lines will help link the saltmarsh and coastal habitats to the region’s inland wetlands, heathlands, flower-rich grasslands and brownfield sites. The B-lines will benefit a whole host of species, including important pollinators.

If you live, work, own land or go to school on a B-Line, Buglife gives guidance on how you can help with the project. Buglife quotes Richard Attenborough:

‘If we and the rest of the back-boned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if the invertebrates were to disappear, the world’s ecosystems would collapse.’ 

Covid19 Enjoy the flowers in the Yare Valley

A striking array of flowers in parts of the Valley at this time, some obvious:

Field of Ragged Robin

some more hidden away:

Purple Orchid with Yellow Rattle

June Gentle, who sent in these photos writes:

“The Yare Valley has been of paramount importance to many people during this time of isolation and restrictions of movement.
I have met many people walking the valley to whom it has been a place of calm and peace, and have enjoyed the unfolding of nature in this lovely Spring weather.
We have watched the gold of dandelions give way to yellow buttercups and the deep blue of bluebells. Later the scent of the May trees and flashes of butterflies, dragonflies and damsels .
I met one couple carrying the YVS Walks Guide, telling me that they had just completed them all; and others who have been grateful to find such a landscape available to them in these difficult times.
We have come to realise, even more, how important the natural world is to us all, and how vital it is to safeguard it for the future.”

Keep hunting.

 

Covid19 Enjoy the open spaces in the Yare Valley

Tomorrow (Monday 1 June) sees some relaxing of the lock-down with the attendant dangers. Strict observance of social distancing continues to be of utmost importance. It is wonderful to see great use being made of the Yare Valley Green Corridor, and the benefit it has been to so many; but parts of the riverside walk are becoming crowded, and in places, social distancing can be difficult.

Wide Paths on Marston Marsh make distancing easy

Many of us are avoiding the narrower paths, and turning instead to the wide open spaces of Marston Marsh, Eaton Common, Earlham Park and the Bowthorpe Marshes. Marston Marsh looks particularly lovely at this time, with an air of remoteness. There is plenty to see.

Flowers on Marston Marsh

Eaton Common is missed by many. A circular walk allowing plenty of distancing space in most places. The walk includes a tranquil stretch of the river with passing places.

Circular walk on Eaton Common

Welcome to Strawberry Field

A colourful and attractive information panel has appeared at the Bluebell Road gated entrance to the Strawberry Field. It shows how the paths in the field link with the newly resurfaced Yare Valley Walk beside the river, as well as providing other guidance.

Dog owners are asked to soften the impact of their dogs on the wildlife habitats, e.g. of water voles. A dog swim point is marked, and dog owners should restrict their dog’s swimming to this area only, and in all other places to keep dogs out of the river and ditches.

An addition that could be usefully made to display map would be to show the new (unsurfaced) path that runs along at the foot of the Cringleford fly-over embankment and links the south corner of the new McCarthy and Stone Daisy Hill Court development with the river walk. The approximate line of the path has been added in the photograph below as a thick dark red dotted line. More opportunities for circular walks!

Welcome to Strawberry Field

Greater Norwich Draft Local Plan delayed

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.

Giant Hogweed returns to the Valley

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.

New Planning Application for UEA/Rugby Club Car Park

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.

The Yare Valley Society has made formal objection to the proposals.

Please have a look at the proposals and send in your own comments.