Norfolk residents team up to save wildlife site from planning development
Nature has triumphed over urban development in a Norfolk town as residents have teamed up with a wildlife charity to buy a site.
Star Meadow, once known as Back Common, in Fakenham has been bought by a number of local residents in collaboration with the Hawk and Owl Trust.
Fakenham resident, Robin Parker, 74, had already bought the neighbouring fields-known as St Edmunson’s Acres in 2014.
And he is now turning these into a nature reserve with the help of Hawk and Owl Trust.
Now Star Meadow will be added to this area being conserved, which lies within a Special Area of Conservation and a Norfolk Wildlife Trust County Wildlife Site.
Mr Parker said: “Star Meadow is a wonderful place joining up with Edmonson’s Acres in the important and beautiful River Wensum valley, and securing this place will enable us to protect this site for wildlife and the community for ever.”
Star Meadow was previously owned by Tesco, who had hoped to develop but due to access issues, the meadow had been left.
Mr Parker approached operational director of the Sculthorpe Moor Hawk and Owl Trust Nature Reserve, Adrian Blumfield, who helped persuade Tesco to sell the land.
He also galvanised other Fakenham residents equally keen to preserve the area.
“This is a fantastic place in the centre of Fakenham, which many residents didn’t know was here,” Mr Blumfield said.
“It will now take several years of conservation work to restore the land and we plan to engage with the residents and schools when we are able to offer activities.
“It is through Robin’s skills and the generosity of all the donors that has made this possible.”
Formerly known as Back Common, the land was used as an open area as early as the 16th century, but has had little use since the River Wensum course was changed.
The meadows are described by the Hawk and Owl Trust as representing “a rare link with natural habitats.”
A spokeswoman for the charity said it will “revert to wild flower meadows relatively quickly with the reintroduction of careful grazing and habitat management.”
Barn Owls, Tawny Owls and otters are all frequently seen there.
David Hunter, chief executive officer of Fakenham Racecourse, was among the donors ensuring the site remains one for wildlife.