Green awards for Norfolk businesses

The “Oscars” of the environmental world were held in Norfolk last night with inspirational projects ranging from an anti-litter campaign to restorations of historic buildings among the winners.

The “Oscars” of the environmental world were held in Norfolk last night with inspirational projects ranging from an anti-litter campaign to restorations of historic buildings among the winners.

Now in its 30th year, the Campaign to Protect Rural England Norfolk awards are believed to be the longest running environmental presentations in the country.

This year, 24 outstanding architectural, environmental and educational projects - all of which enhance the Norfolk countryside and its market towns - have been selected by a panel of judges.

Martin Walton, who with his partner and fellow judge Nancy Legg visited many of the projects, said: “We had 42 entries and short listed 24 but every one of the entries could have been recognised for its contribution.

“The awards are our equivalent to the Oscars and the ceremony is always very special.”

Among the projects receiving recognition are the access and conservation work at Binham Priory, an exemplary wildlife management scheme at High Ash Farm at Caistor St Edmund, the new library and college in Wymondham, and The Walks Urban Park project in King's Lynn. Gardening and landscape projects at Fairhaven School and Garboldisham School are also recognised, as is The Natural History of the Catfield Hall Estate, a publication from the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society.

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“Hearing about the projects receiving awards this evening is both fascinating and encouraging,” said Greg Peck, the charity's chairman.

“There are projects that improve access and understanding of the countryside - for adults and children alike - and projects that promote and protect the biodiversity of our county. There are some excellent examples of historic restoration that have breathed new life into some of our most precious buildings and there is a selection of new buildings, designed and built in a sustainable way.”

“It is an impressive array of projects and I personally am very heartened to see so much positive activity in the county.”

The awards were presented at a ceremony at the Assembly House in Norwich last night attended by more than 200 people.

Julian Wells, development director of Targetfollow who support the awards, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the CPRE Norfolk Awards for a third year. The standard of entries, as ever, has been very high and we congratulate all of the winners for the vision and creativity they have shown in their projects.”

Entries for the CPRE Norfolk Awards 2010 will be accepted in the New Year. For further information, judging criteria and an application form, contact the CPRE Norfolk Office on 01603 761660 or email

The 2009 winners -

Architectural projects.

Wymondham Library - A distinctive contemporary building made of warm, natural materials. The design makes architectural references to significant and historic buildings in the town, while providing light, airy and open accommodation for different library activities. Owners/Commissioners: Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service. Architects: NPS South East Ltd.

The Green Pavilion, Lower Gresham - A sustainably-designed, environmentally-friendly building which sits comfortably in the landscape and connects well to the natural surroundings. The design includes the use of natural materials in construction, solar panels for water heating and high insulation levels. Owners: Mr A and Mrs J Young. Architect: Keith Reay.

Oak Frame: Ed Crane (Timber Framing and Conservation). Contractor: Edmund Reardon.

St Peter's Church Strumpshaw - A new nave roof designed to match the original medieval roof and include a new lighting scheme for the entire church. The design enabled the tower arch to be exposed and the installation of a new high-level stained glass east window.

Owner: PCC of St Peter's Church Strumpshaw. Architects: Nigel Sunter and Iain Walker (Purcell Miller Tritton).

Anglia Farmers Offices, Honingham Thorpe. A conversion of redundant farm buildings to provide office accommodation for the co-operative Anglia Farmers Ltd. The choice of black-boarding and brick-red panelling was inspired by the colours of traditional Norfolk barns. Owners: Anglia Farmers Ltd. Architect: Lydia Russell-Demisse (Arctica). Contractors: H Smith and Sons (Honingham) Ltd.

Restoration of the ancient ha-ha at Wymondham Abbey - The repair and restoration of the ha-ha ditch and wall has significantly improved the vista from the Abbey Churchyard and the view from the Abbey Meadows whilst enhancing the landscape setting of Wymondham Abbey itself. Trustees: The Reverend William Papillon Charity. Architect: Neil Birdsall. Stonemason: John Allen.

Wymondham College - A new VI Form centre at Wymondham College, incorporating a 115-bed unit with day accommodation and connections to existing buildings. The extension provides a new landmark building at the entrance to the College and its design works well with its landscape setting. Owner: Wymondham College. Architect: Jeremy O'Rourke of LSI Architects LLP

Landscape Architect: Eoghan Sheils. Contractor: RG Carter Ltd.

Binham Priory access and conservation project - A project which improves access to, and understanding of, the medieval Binham Priory. It features conservation of the medieval gatehouse, and precinct walls, the improvement of physical access to the church, a new entrance and service building and additional information sources for visitors. Owner and project managers: Binham Parochial Church Council. Financial manager: Hilary Brown. Project contributor: Pauline Scott.

Archaeological Advisors: Norfolk Archaeological Trust. Architects: Mark Wilkinson (Donald Insall Associates) and Mark Cleveland (The Whitworth Co-Partnership). Contractor: Fisher and Sons (Fakenham) Ltd.

Hall Farm Barns, Deopham - A new garden room which connects the existing listed barn conversion to the garden, and improves access to the outside of the dwelling. The project was designed to minimise disruption to the original listed building, and is a contemporary structure with good levels of insulation. Owners: Drs Alan Lee and Gillian Gray. Architect/Project Manager/Contractor: Steve Highton.

Old Hall Barn, Great Ellingham - The transformation of a 20th century prefabricated agricultural building into a spacious contemporary home. The conversion uses the frame and foundations of the existing buildings, larch cladding, and highly insulated areas of glazing, to a vigorous contemporary effect. Owners: Mr and Mrs Fred Ingrams. Architects: Jeremy Walker and David Buckingham.

Starston Hollow Post Windpump - The windpump, a Grade 2 Scheduled Ancient Monument, was erected in 1832 and is now thought to be the only one of its type left. It has been restored with help from English Heritage and Norfolk County Council and has been adopted as a symbol for the village of Starston. Owner: Mr R G Lombe Taylor. Millwright: Mr Richard Seago.

North Norfolk Information Centre, Cromer. An environmentally-friendly, innovative and landmark building which provides flexible accommodation as an Information Centre and as an education facility for local schools and visiting groups.

Client: North Norfolk District Council. Architects: Stead Mutton Associates. Project Managers: Norfolk Property Services

Main Contractor: H Smith & Sons (Honingham) Ltd.

Quantity Surveyor: Andrew Morton Associates. Engineer: Canham Consulting. Services Consultant: P J Cozens.

Environment projects.

Sheringham Trails Project - A series of route-marked walks which encourages residents and visitors to appreciate the attractive countryside around Sheringham, while highlighting the natural and social history of the area. The routes cover a diverse range of landscapes within a relatively small distance. Project co-ordinators: Sheringham Plus. Key Contributor: Francis Farrow.

Whitlingham Visitor Centre Landscape and Education Programme, Trowse - A comprehensive improvement project of Whitlingham Country Park, including the development of a visitor centre with caf� and office facilities, improvements to the landscape and pathways, and an education programme. Owners and Project Managers: Whitlingham Country Park and the Broads Authority.

Apple Barn and Heritage Orchard at Salthouse - A heritage apple orchard with apple barn. The low-energy, wildlife-friendly barn provides a frost-free area in which to sort and pack the apple crop and its construction was used as an opportunity to educate others in environmental building techniques. Owners: David Lincoln and Judith Campbell.

Broadland Flood Alleviation Project, Cantley Marshes - Improvements to this internationally-important 250 hectare wildlife site, featuring a wider flood bank with an even surface for improved pedestrian access and a new "double-dyke" system to benefit water management and wildlife. Project Managers: BESL Ltd.

The Walks Urban Park Conservation Project, King's Lynn - Conservation and restoration of The Walks - a Grade II Listed historic landscape in the heart of King's Lynn. The �3.5 million restoration project was jointly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk. Improvements include better lighting, new children's play area and multi use games area, CCTV installation, a new park management building and a cafe.

Corporate Project Managers: Mark Fuller and Kate Littlewood. Historic Buildings Officer: David Pitcher.

Portfolio Holder for Sports, Arts and Open Space: Cllr Elizabeth Nockolds.

High Ash Farm, Caistor St Edmund - An exceptional farm-management project which includes the provision of high quality permissive access, the planting of three new areas of native woodland, large fallow plots for hares and nesting lapwing and quantities of other environmental initiatives. Project manager: Chris Skinner. Advisor: Emily Swann (Natural England)

Technical advisor: Peter Walker. Project Designer; Richard McMullen (FWAG). Contributor: Stephanie Laurence.

A Natural History of the Catfield Hall Estate (publication) - An extensive research project which documents the biodiversity of the 122-hectare Catfield Hall Estate. The publication aims to bring to wider attention the richness of the Norfolk countryside and the benefit of sympathetic management in maintaining or enhancing biodiversity. Research: (The Research Committee of) the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society. Owner of Catfield Hall Estate: Mr Tim Harris.

White House Orchard, Walpole Highway.

A one-acre orchard comprising a mix of apple, pear and cherry trees. A wide range of local, rare and heritage varieties of apples have been grafted on some of the trees and the fruit from these is used for apple day displays and identification. The orchard is used to deliver traditional orchard management workshops and other biodiversity events.

Owners: Bob Lever and Fraser Goulding. Project manager: Gerry Barnes (Norfolk County Council).

The Tiffey Trails at Wymondham - A project which uses the arts as a medium for protecting and promoting the River Tiffey valley. An extensive series of events, promotional material and practical improvements for walkers has proved popular with residents and visitors to the town. Project Co-ordinators: Wymondham Arts Forum.

Educational projects.

Fairhaven School Garden and Gardening Programme, South Walsham - A collaborative project between the school, its pupils and parents, and the local community. The project has developed the gardens of Fairhaven School to encourage children to learn about gardening and the rural area in which they live.

Headteacher: Mrs Fearns. Chairman of governors: Christine Futter. Key contributor: Edna Mallett.

School grounds development at Garboldisham Primary School - Staff, parents and pupils at Garboldisham School have worked together on this project which includes the planting of native hedging and trees, the creation of a wild area with a pond and dipping platform and most recently, the planting of a 30-tree orchard. Headteacher: Alice Hemmings. Project co-ordinator: Alison Nightingale. Chairman of governors: Mary Feakes. Grounds advisor: Pete Chambers (NORSE).

How Hill Living Marshes Project, Ludham - A project which focuses on the problems of managing reed beds for biodiversity. It features a traditional, wooden, thatched, building, which provides a home for a collection of bygone marsh tools, and as an education base. Owners: The How Hill Trust.

Litter Education in Breckland - A wide-ranging education project for schools and youth groups which highlights to children the dangers of litter to wildlife and its impact on the countryside. Practical litter-picking, education events and promotional activities revolve around an environmental mascot Spike the hedgehog which has been created specifically for the project.

Project co-ordinator: Michelle King (Breckland Council).