Protestors to fight on

Villagers campaigning to save 326 acres of riverside and woodland at Fritton say they face a “David and Goliath” battle in their bid to save it from a quarry threat.

Villagers campaigning to save 326 acres of riverside and woodland at Fritton say they face a “David and Goliath” battle in their bid to save it from a quarry threat.

Fritton action committee and parish council members met with representatives of local business together with a senior member of the rural community council on Thursday.

Norfolk County Council is sieving through a list of 96 proposed sites put forward by landowners, but says that because of the weight of objections its shortlist will not now be announced until mid 2009.

Protestors have been fighting their battle on several fronts including:

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The loss of a “superb” amenity for Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft which would be difficult to replace.

The loss of the valuable biodiversity in the existing woodlands which include some protected species.

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The desecration of archaeological world war relics including the resistance hides

The possible flooding effects of the low lying site and the effect on the Fritton lake

Traffic implications on the overloaded A143 at Bradwell and Great Yarmouth.

Noise dust and devaluation of the Fritton properties.

Disturbance to the riverside and the vertigo augustious snail which is protected and cannot be moved from its quite unique riverside habitat at Fritton.

Parish council chairman Keith Nunn told members that the final round of consultation on the policy issues only, would start in February and last 12 weeks. He added the council was critical of the consultation system which was loaded against a small village.

He said: “Truly it is a David and Goliath situation. We have done well so far to have formulated strong opposition to the site proposal and the action committee's 17,000 signature petition showed the work that had been put in locally without asking villagers to contribute financially this was a superb effort.”

He warned that as the sand tonnage was a government requirement final decisions could easily go the wrong way if momentum wasn't sustained and urged objectors to write to the parish clerk or the county planners during the consultancy giving their views.

Villagers were strident in their criticism of the “insipid” response of the Broads Authority. Locally the Broads Authority was well known for its strict planning policies, Mr Nunn said, but was “surprisingly quiet” when asked to offer an opinion on its own river area. However a Broads Authority spokesman said it could not comment until it received a planning application. She added: “This is a sensitive and prominent site in the southern Broads. If a planning application were to come in we would consider the impact on the site and on the users.”

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