Planning Application at Billingford Lakes, Swanton Morley

Reporter Alwyn Jackson

Many members will be familiar with the former gravel workings at Swanton Morley and Billingford. It attracts a wide range of interesting bird species some of which are birds of conservation concern – e.g. Cuckoo, Marsh Tit, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush. The WVBS has visited the site in the past and enjoyed the birdlife and peaceful tranquillity of the area.

We have received details from Breckland Planning Department of amendments to a plan to the change of use of the land around Billingford Lakes for a campsite, outdoor recreation & centre with associated works, the erection of a visitor centre and outline permission for 8 holiday lodges. Two previous applications have already been rejected by appeal inspectors because the proposed development would be detrimental and harm a protected river valley along with its high value landscape. We would urge members to lend their support to the efforts being made to get this new application rejected on the grounds that:- ? the green infrastructure of local and strategic importance will be damaged  open spaces and areas of biodiversity interest will be harmed ? it threatens the protection of the landscape of the District, its intrinsic beauty, its rural character and the biodiversity, geodiversity and historic conservation (part of the site is a Scheduled ancient monument i.e. part of a Roman town) ? it will threaten the tranquil, pastoral, undeveloped character of the River Wensum and its floodplain habitats. Please submit your comments to the Breckland Planning Department by the 19th February if possible at www.breckland.gov.uk/planning  then click on “Search Planning Applications” and then click on “Search for Planning Applications”. Enter the following Reference No. 3PL/2016/0533/H and make your comments. You are free to use any of comments list given above. We understand the number of objections can make a difference so you are urged to make a little time available to save this valuable area of the Wensum valley for posterity.

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