Council considers plan for garden to commemorate key workers

Streetview image of the green space at Old Becclesgate

The green space at Old Becclesgate which could soon become the site of a garden memorialising the efforts of key workers in Dereham during the pandemic. - Credit: Google

Plans for the planting of a copse of trees to memorialise the sacrifices made by key workers in a Norfolk town during the pandemic took a step forward at a council meeting on Tuesday evening. 

At their July full council meeting, Dereham town councillors returned to an idea put forward by Labour councillor Amy-Jane Brooks in June, to establish a green space with a seating area to commemorate the efforts of Dereham’s key workers.  

Dereham Town Council hold their July 2021 meeting

Dereham Town Council met in the Memorial Hall in order to allow for social distancing. - Credit: Noah Vickers

Town clerk Tony Needham suggested that one possible location could be a piece of green space at Old Becclesgate, which is currently under the ownership of Breckland District Council.

In his agenda notes, Mr Needham wrote: “This open space looks like it needs to be given a purpose, the area would certainly be enhanced with some tree planting.

Aerial view of land at Old Becclesgate

An aerial view of the green space at Old Becclesgate, which could, before long, become the site of a copse of trees memorialising the sacrifices made by key workers in Dereham. - Credit: Google

“Small trees would be recommended so as not to cause shading to houses in the future.”

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The cost of maintaining the area would be around £250 per year.

Conservative mayor Stuart Green said: “When you look at a map of Dereham, there aren’t many more places where you could have it [the copse] more centrally.”

Stuart Green, 27, the new mayor of Dereham, and the youngest they have ever had. Picture: DENISE BRA

Mayor of Dereham Stuart Green - Credit: Archant 2020

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Green councillor Philip Morton said: “I would support the idea, because it [the piece of land] has very little use at the moment.”

Councillor Philip Morton.

Councillor Philip Morton. - Credit: Philip Morton

He added: “It might be nice to see if we could include a small play area, so that when people sit down, children can play. Just something small, as low maintenance as we can get.”

But Conservative councillor Phillip Duigan disagreed, saying that a play area would detract from the solemnity of the space. 

Town, district and county councillor Phillip Duigan believes Dereham businesses have plenty to be po

Town, district and county councillor Phillip Duigan believes Dereham businesses have plenty to be positive about. Picture: Breckland Council - Credit: Archant

“It’s an area for quiet contemplation. There is a play area about 70 yards up the hill, just past the gym, so I’d prefer it to be a quiet area, because it is a semi-memorial-type garden.”

Labour councillor Kendra Cogman suggested the compromise of creating a trail to follow or installing some explanatory boards, which would give the area an activity of some kind. 

Kendra Cogman

Councillor Kendra Cogman - Credit: Kendra Cogman

While the precise details of the space are still to be looked into, councillors all agreed that they should make enquiries with Breckland council about using or, if necessary, taking ownership of the land.

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