Save meadows, sensory garden and play park at Welney from the bull dozers, urges community groups

PUBLISHED: 12:15 05 April 2016 | UPDATED: 12:15 05 April 2016

The Welney Recreation Ground Users Group working on the recreation area known as Sandgate Corner,  The Morton family at work, Picture: Steve Williams.

The Welney Recreation Ground Users Group working on the recreation area known as Sandgate Corner, The Morton family at work, Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

An environmental group is supporting a plea by villagers to save their £60,000 sensory garden, play park and meadows after hearing West Norfolk Borough Council wants to bulldoze it to make way for homes.

Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership (OWLP) said it fully supports Welney RUG, a community group which has transformed an area, known locally as Sandgate Corner, from an overgrown wasteland into open space for the community.

A spokesman for OWLP said: “We hope the council reconsiders their application and the wonderful meadow and orchard is left to thrive and bring joy to the residents of Welney and beyond.

“With funding provided through our Community Heritage Fund they have planted over 60 rare trees of local Norfolk and Cambridgeshire apple, pear and plum varieties.

“They are a dedicated, hardworking and inspiring community group.”

The Welney Recreation Ground Users Group working on the recreation area known as Sandgate Corner, Chairman Paul Fox. Picture: Steve Williams. The Welney Recreation Ground Users Group working on the recreation area known as Sandgate Corner, Chairman Paul Fox. Picture: Steve Williams.

The council has submitted an outline planning application to build 16 homes on the land it owns at Chestnut Avenue in Welney.

It means the project could be bulldozed to make way for the development.

Paul Fox, the group’s chairman, said: “We have put so much effort into this project and will continue to fight the borough council against these plans.”

When finished, the space will include a children’s play area, a picnic spot, sensory area for wheelchair users and wildlife meadow.

The Welney Recreation Ground Users Group working on the recreation area known as Sandgate Corner,  Picture: Steve Williams. The Welney Recreation Ground Users Group working on the recreation area known as Sandgate Corner, Picture: Steve Williams.

West Norfolk Council has currently licensed the whole site to the group on a year-by-year basis; an agreement is also in place for the group to occupy the land for five years.

But a council spokesman explained it is exploring the development potential of a number of sites it owns.

He said: “The site in Welney is included in this, as it has been identified for a number of years as a site that may have development potential.”

RUG is a community action group that works to improve access to green spaces for people in Welney.

The group was formed in Autumn 2014 and established as a small charitable organization in March 2015.

On April 1 2015 RUG took over the lease for Sandgate Corner with the aim of creating an all year round facility for differently abled people.

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