No plans to transfer ownership of 'cherished' former flower meadow

Goggs Mill Meadow, behind Hayes Lane in Fakenham. 

Goggs Mill Meadow, behind Hayes Lane in Fakenham. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

The state of a "cherished" former wildflower meadow in Fakenham will be addressed when the land has dried out, a council has said.

Residents at Hayes Lane,  headed up by Glenda Sturman and Sue Jennings, are continuing calls for Fakenham Town Council and the Hawk and Owl Trust to restore Goggs Mill meadow to its former state.

Sue Jennings and Glenda Sturman in front of Hayes Lane playing field. 

Sue Jennings and Glenda Sturman in front of Hayes Lane playing field. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

Their petition to restore the land reached 100 signatures in February.

The land was leased to the trust by the council back in January 2017, with the former assuming management responsibilities. 

Mrs Jennings and Mrs Sturman want to see the land given to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, but the council said it has no plans to transfer ownership.

Adrian Blumfield, operations director at the Hawk and Owl Trust, said the issues raised were important to them, but did not wish to comment further. 

a man wearing a green polo top

Chief operations director at Sculthorpe Hawk and Owl Trust, Adrian Blumfield. - Credit: Sculthorpe Hawk and Owl Trust

The trust looks after the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and has to consider what is practical given the condition due to excessive flooding there.

It said it is looking at how it can manage all of its land, but no decisions have been made.

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The town council said that, as soon as the site dries out, the leaseholders will address the land management issues.

Mrs Jennings said: “In my mind, that land was given to Fakenham to be a wildflower meadow. It is for the people.

Goggs Mill Meadow, behind Hayes Lane in Fakenham. 

Goggs Mill Meadow, behind Hayes Lane in Fakenham. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

"These meadows are to be cherished as they are getting rarer at rarer."

Mrs Sturman added: “I think it should be given to someone who is going to cherish it.

“SSI should be proudly displayed, why does Fakenham get something like this, then it disappears."

A spokesman for Fakenham Town Council said: “The land at Gogg's Mill is part of the river floodplain site.

Goggs Mill Meadow, behind Hayes Lane in Fakenham. 

Goggs Mill Meadow, behind Hayes Lane in Fakenham. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

"The height of the river and the nitrate content of the floodwater is causing the current management problems on the land.

“This council has told those few residents that, as soon as it dries out, our leaseholders will address the land management issues. The council has no plans to transfer ownership of the land.

"An SSSI was not a 'facility' for residents to use as they saw fit; the residents assumed those rights. 

“We hope that this further explanation will end this matter."