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Village preservation split

PUBLISHED: 09:41 16 April 2008 | UPDATED: 09:15 11 May 2010

Battle lines have been drawn in a picturesque village over plans to preserve part of it.

The Broads Authority wants to designate parts of Stokesby, near Yarmouth, a conservation area - which will mean that 100 homeowners will be prevented from knocking down buildings, putting up satellite dishes and lopping trees.

Battle lines have been drawn in a picturesque village over plans to preserve part of it.

The Broads Authority wants to designate parts of Stokesby, near Yarmouth, a conservation area - which will mean that 100 homeowners will be prevented from knocking down buildings, putting up satellite dishes and lopping trees.

But an authority survey has revealed the majority of people do not want the zone which is designed to preserve the look and history of the village.

Calls for the zone to be thrown out straight away have been rejected by the Broads Authority because it says there was only one vote difference in the survey and it was too 'closely balanced' to decide yet.

Twenty-three people voted against the scheme while 22 residents said they favoured the plan to conserve the character of Stokesby.

But the Broads Authority said it categorised some positive responses as 'do not knows' because they were not clear enough.

Anti-zone campaigner Trevor Barber, who would be forced to have all 1,000 trees on his land catalogued and protected under the plans, has now called for the zone to be consigned to the dustbin.

He claims that because 82 per cent of villagers did not even bother to vote at all it gives added impetus to the 'no' campaign.

Mr Barber said: “I believe the plans to create this zone are now dead in the water. It would not be democratic to go against the wishes of the people. This is Stokesby - not Zimbabwe.”

Under the proposed zone, anyone wanting to paint their house or replace a window will have to ask for advice from the authority before they go ahead.

Demolishing or extending buildings will be prohibited or limited, external cladding and modifying roof space will be banned and anyone wanting to lop or feel a tree will need prior permission.

Mr Barber also criticised the Broads Authority for not focusing on protecting flood defences instead of telling people which colour they should paint their front doors.

Parish council chairman Vivienne Fabb has said she is in favour of the zone as it will help preserve Stokesby.

The Broads Authority is now analysing the survey and will decide at a later date if the zone should be scrapped or if the consultation should continue with the possibility of a public meeting.

Ben Hogg, the authority's head of cultural heritage and design, said: “The initial consultation response is clearly closely balanced.

“We are committed to working with the people of Stokesby to find out what the community wants.

“The authority has a responsibility to protect special areas in the Broads. But if it is not what the majority of residents want, we are not going to force it through.”

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