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Petition over green spaces

PUBLISHED: 15:51 20 February 2008 | UPDATED: 14:27 07 July 2010

More than 220 people have signed a petition against the loss of a well-loved green on their estate in Dereham.

And a group of the opponents are set to attend a meeting today where councillors are being recommended to support a plan to look at selling off the land and 10 other sites across Breckland for housing.

More than 220 people have signed a petition against the loss of a well-loved green on their estate in Dereham.

And a group of the opponents are set to attend a meeting today where councillors are being recommended to support a plan to look at selling off the land and 10 other sites across Breckland for housing.

Anger has been growing at Breckland Council proposals to build on pockets of green open space in Dereham and a number of villages.

Opposition councillors have branded it “illogical” and “asset stripping” - especially as the district is short of open spaces.

The most controversial site is a green behind the former shops in Laburnum Crescent on the Boyd Avenue estate in Toftwood.

Local residents Patricia Hairabedian, Patricia Neate and Glenys Burridge have collected 221 signatures on a petition to save the green - virtually

all the people on the estate.

Mrs Burridge said: “Everybody loves that area and it is so peaceful and quiet. Some people are so upset that it may be lost that they have said they may move.”

Mrs Hairabedian, who has lived in Laburnum Crescent for 18 years, added: “It took me a long time to find a bungalow that was not overlooked by houses and had a space and greenery to the front.

“I am against this 100pc. Over the last 15 years Breckland Council has spoilt Dereham and now it looks like it wants to do the same in Toftwood.”

They and other Boyd Avenue residents will be at Breckland's full council today when a recommendation from the cabinet will be discussed for £130,000 to be spent on consultants to look at the land sell offs.

Other sites identified for possible development in Dereham are at Girling Road, Howlett Close, Moorgate Road and South Green Gardens.

Elsewhere in Breckland the sites are at: Cubbits Close, Bintree; Coronation Terrace, Caston; Swan Drive, Gressenhall; Burghwood Drive, Mileham; Sandringham Way, Swaffham; and Church Close, Whissonsett.

Labour councilor Robin Goreham said: “I am delighted these people have done this petition and it demonstrates how seriously they are taking this.

“We will not give up. This is a test case and if Breckland get away with this they will do it in other areas.

“These green areas were put there for a very good reason and mean we don't just have a concrete jungle.”

Breckland stressed there will be full public consultation on the sites.

Council leader William Nunn said: “Clearly the planning process will involve the opportunity for public representation. Should planning permission be granted, the council will need to consider the relative value of the land, as either an opportunity to provide much-needed housing or as a public open space.”

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