I have invited architect Terry Povey of the Friends of the Tiffey to write a guest blog in which he argues against those who want to develop it. I am not an admirer of nimbyism as a whole but this is a beautiful valley with long-treasured views actoss it, and there other places an expanding town might use for development. Please note the link to the appeal and do follow up. The link is at the bottom of this page.
Noel Coward did a terrible disservice to Norfolk with his calumny “…..very flat, Norfolk”. Yes, there are areas of marsh and fenland but in the heart of the county are enchanting river valleys, of which the Tiffey Valley is one. It lies immediately to the west of the ancient market town of Wymondham and in recent years local people have managed to negotiate “permissive footpaths” (known as the Tiffey Trail) through the valley, alongside the river. A “heritage” train line also threads through the valley, with steam trains chuffing through the countryside in the summertime when the meadows are dotted with sheep, and the whole valley celebrates its ancient role as the agrarian setting for the magnificent Wymondham Abbey. The biodiversity of the valley is also very special; there are three County Wildlife Sites just to the west of the town and a rare Great Egret was seen there last year. All Guardian readers, which amounts to a lot of people in Britain, are aware that the Tiffey Trail is one of George’s favourite places.
This precious place has now become the target for developers; they wish to build a housing estate in the valley on the grounds that this would be “sustainable development”. The Government has greatly helped housing developers by declaring that if a local council cannot demonstrate a 5 year supply of land upon which houses can immediately be built, then the relevant planning policies preventing development within the countryside can be ignored, and whatever the scheme is it will be “sustainable development”. In this case the housing estate would undermine the valley’s biodiversity, increase the risk of flooding and destroy a significant part of the precious rural landscape of the valley and its wonderful setting for the Abbey. English Heritage have objected to the proposal and South Norfolk Council unanimously voted to refuse planning permission, but we have just witnessed a Public Inquiry at which the top planning QC in Britain represented the Appellants, who are owned by the third biggest hedge fund in the world. The appeal has now landed on the desk of the Secretary of State for his decision.
Hundreds of people in Wymondham, and elsewhere, have objected to this proposal. Not one single person has written to the Council supporting the scheme. These people are not “nimbys”. They represent the authentic voice of concerned citizens who have a deep love of Wymondham and its ancient heritage. They seek reassurance from the Secretary of State that the planning system, and their involvement in it, can ensure that the precious and irreplaceable environment of the Tiffey Valley can be safeguarded for both present and future generations.
For The Friends of the Tiffey
I append to this the circular asking for signatures of the e-petititionDear All
Subject: Request to sign a petition against building on the Tiffey Valley in Wymondham
Would you mind signing the petition below to object to the proposal to build 70 houses in the Tiffey Valley in Wymondham please. Please circulate this email to any other people that you know of that may be interested.The decision will be made shortly. The local MP George Freeman has written to say that the Planning Inspector is likely to find in favour of building 70 houses on a technicality. George Freeman has asked Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to make the final decision. It is very important that the politicians understand the breadth of unhappiness with this proposal.To sign the petition please go to : http://epetitions.direct.gov.
uk/petitions/62873The field in the foreground is the field on which the housing is proposed: