Spotlight on Breckland's green spaces

THE importance of the preservation of green space was emphasised with a visit by officials to various cultural sites in the west of the county.

THE importance of the preservation of green space was emphasised with a visit by officials to various cultural sites in the west of the county.

The Brecks Partnership, alongside partner agencies, visited existing areas along the river corridor in Thetford and cultural sites including St Mary's Priory and Brandon Country Park.

The move came as part of a bid to outline the need to take into account the large and varied spaces which form The Brecks and cover hundreds of square miles in the west Norfolk, as new homes continue to dominate the growth agenda.

Group considerations include the amenity and conservation importance of existing green spaces, which cover forest, heathland and agricultural lane, and cultural sites, and the access to them by visitors now and in the future.

It will also assess how they can be managed in the future and how that can be financed.

Brecks Partnership manager Neil Featherstone said the emphasis was in making sure a green infrastructure was in place and that existing spaces were managed effectively.

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He added: “We visited the sites in Thetford and the aim of was to make people aware of what's there and to emphasise that the management of every one of those sites needs to be done with the others in mind.

“We're keen for them to be maintained and enhanced with the growth and keen to see access to them is a priority.”

He added: “It would be a serious loss without them and I think the important thing is to remember they have numerous benefits. There is a sense of wellbeing and learning and that they are a nice area, and it's important people have these areas for access and recreation.

“They also support biodiversity needs and it's important they're managed in such a way that they link up.

“There's also the health agenda as people can walk through them, and they are very important in attracting business to the area.”

The Brecks include the five market towns of Thetford, Brandon, Watton, Swaffham, and Mildenhall and in 2006 brought in a tourism value of more than �2m.

They stretch across 370 square miles through Norfolk and Suffolk, and are at the heart of several growth points including Thetford, Brandon, Kings Lynn and St Edmundsbury.

Brecks Partnership chairman Ian Monson and environment portfolio holder at Norfolk County Council said: “Now, more than ever, the six local councils of the Brecks area need to work together to ensure the special qualities of the Brecks are not lost under the growing pressure that will be placed upon it.

“Not only for providing peoples' recreation and amenity but with almost 40pc of the Brecks designated for wildlife we need to ensure that development takes account of this internationally recognised conservation area.”

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