Deer park designated a community asset

Broadland District Council has designated The Deer Park in Old Catton an Asset of Community Value. Assets of Community Value are buildings, land or amenities that are important to communities and the people that use them and the Localism Act gave community groups the opportunity to retain and save facilities such as pubs, village shops, pavilions and green spaces.

The Deer Park is part of renowned landscape designer Humphry Repton’s vision for Old Catton and was his first paid commission. It is also well known as the inspiration for Black Beauty, written by Anna Sewell at her house on Spixworth Road.

Broadland District Council’s heritage champion, Karen Vincent, said: “I am delighted to hear that the Deer Park has been designated an Asset of Community Value. The Deer Park is quite simply unique – not only of historical importance, and a visual amenity readily seen and enjoyed by all that pass by, it is an important natural habitat which supports a myriad of wildlife and birds. The Deer Park is recognised as an open space of real importance, local visual amenity value and historic importance in the Old Catton Neighbourhood Plan. The Park is also registered by Historic England as a Grade II designated park” The Deer Park is in the heart of the Old Catton Conservation Area that defines the character of this historic part of the village.

“With unobstructed views from Spixworth Road, the main road running through Old Catton, the Deer Park is enjoyed by all that pass or stop to visit the war memorial or grazing horses. It is also open to view from adjacent footpaths running the length and width of the Deer Park linking hundreds of homes with local schools, church and community facilities. The Deer Park is considered to be of great value to the whole community, not just residents living nearby but also in neighbouring villages and those using the Spixworth Road.”

There had been concerns that the land would be used for housing but if the owner of an Asset of Community Value wishes to sell it, they must first inform the council. This triggers the Community Right to Bid – which essentially gives voluntary and community organisations a chance to prepare to bid on the asset. There is a six month moratorium during which the owner cannot sell the property on the open market, designed to give time to the community groups to develop a proposal and raise any necessary capital.

All the fun of the fair

Overstrand will be holding its village fair on Sunday, and it promises to be the highlight of the north Norfolk social calendar.

Held at the Overstrand Sports Ground, the day promises a raffle, delicious cakes, a tombola, a coconut shy, crafts, nearly 50 stalls, local goodies, plants, bargains, tea and coffee, face painting, burgers, waffles, chips, sandwiches, races, old fashioned games, laughter, music, dance, live performances, friends, classic cars, great company… and a licensed bar!

So if you like your Victoria sponge served with a side order of glorious nostalgia, The Overstrand Village Fair is the place to be from 11am until 4pm this Sunday.

Firefighters battle blazes

Fire crews are fighting a fire near Wroxham which is believed to have spread to neaby homes.

The blaze started in a field in Ashmanhaugh at lunchtime and seven crews, from Hethersett, Earlham, Carrow, Aylsham, Sprowston and Attleborough, were called.

Unconfirmed reports from people living in the area have said two bungalows in School Road have been “destroyed” and that nearby businesses have lost power.

Firefighters have also been called to other fires in the neighbourhood in the last few hours, including at  Barton Turf, where appliances from Stalham, Wroxham, Martham, Gt Yarmouth, Acle and Gorleston tackled a blaze on open ground in Smallburgh Road.

Crews from Cromer also were called to tackle a fire on Kingsway, North Walsham, this afternoon. Among other fires around the county were blazes in open ground in Heydon, Knapton and on Spa Lane, in Aylsham.

No injuries or damage were reported.

Wildfire warning as temperatures soar

Following a spate of fires around Norfolk, the Broads Authority is issuing a plea for the public to be mindful of the current wildfire risk when visiting the Broads area.

With temperatures soaring in recent days and a prolonged lack of rainfall, many areas of land in the Broads are exceptionally dry, raising concerns about the possibility of wildfires in the near future.

Reedbeds are in particular danger as they have become very dry.

Wildfires can wreak havoc on the landscape, placing people, animals and precious habitats at risk. They spread extremely quickly, engulfing vast areas of vegetation in a short period of time. It then often requires large numbers of firefighting crews and other resources to put them out.

During prolonged dry spells, some natural outbreaks of fire are expected. However, each year there are a number of fires caused accidentally in the Broads area, and we are asking people to play their part to help minimise the risk.

The authority is particularly urging visitors to be extra vigilant when using barbecues, lighters, cooking apparatus on boats and other flammable objects, and to be careful when disposing of cigarette butts and matches.

Disposable barbecues are a real fire risk in a heatwave.

Disposable barbecues pose a distinct risk, and visitors are being asked not to use them onboard their vessels, on the wooden parts of riverside moorings, or near dry flammable ground such as reedbeds. There are designated slabs at many moorings which are available on a first-come first-served basis to put barbecues. Open fires on public land, such as those people might start whilst having a picnic, are also prohibited.

Chris Morphew, Senior Ranger at the Broads Authority said: “Although we are fortunate to not have to deal with the number of wildfires that our friends at other National Parks do, there are still areas of the Broads which are highly flammable, such as reedbeds and arable farmland.

“With the ground as dry as it is at the moment, it only takes a single discarded cigarette butt, smashed glass bottle or careless barbecue to start a wildfire which can cause untold damage to the landscape and put people in harm’s way.

“We understand that it’s perfect weather to get outdoors, but we’re just urging people to be vigilant and to pay attention to what they’re doing and where. For example, don’t create any open flames near reedbeds, remember to put your cigarettes out safely and leave the disposable barbecue at home.”

Reedbed fires present a particular challenge. They contain large amounts of highly-combustible material, cover vast areas and often have difficult road access which affects how easily fire crews can deal with the incident.

If you see something you think might be a wildfire, or you witness behaviour which looks like deliberate fire-starting, please phone 999 as quickly as possible and provide details to the emergency services. Visit the Broads Authority and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service websites for more information.

Meet our own rocking Helles Belle

Brought up in Hellesdon, Kylie Olsson is the face of rock on TV. ADAM AIKEN caught up with her between festivals

Tens of thousands of rock fans who attended this year’s Download festival – and many more who didn’t – tuned in recently when Sky Arts broadcast highlights of the spectacular event.
And it was the familiar face of Hellesdon’s Kylie Olsson gracing our screens as she revisited her role presenting the shows, which featured the likes of Kiss and Iron Maiden.

This year’s festival was a special moment for Kylie, who has been the face of Download coverage since 2011 but who – like every other fan – was left frustrated when the pandemic meant the annual pilgrimage to the east Midlands was put on hold for a couple of years.

Norfolk’s Kylie Olsson is the face of the Download rock festival.

“I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it was as the energy in that field, both from the bands and the fans, was infectious,” she said.
“You could tell that everyone was beyond happy to be back at the spiritual home of rock and metal.”
Kylie’s love of music was nurtured back in Norfolk while she was growing up.
She was born in London but her family moved to Hellesdon around 1990, when she was seven, and she went to school at Firside Junior and then Hellesdon High before eventually finding herself at the University of East Anglia.
“I loved it there as it’s a fantastic university. It wasn’t my plan to stay local but the film school there was the second best in the country at that time, so it was a no-brainer,” she said.
Her stint at the UEA also gave her the chance to enjoy live music.
“They have some great bands coming through at the UEA. One of my favourite discoveries was seeing Coldplay with about 20 people in the audience.”
But it’s the heavier stuff that really did it for Kylie, who said: “I’ve always had a huge passion for rock and especially for classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Cream and AC/DC. Basically, if it has lots of guitars in it then they are my band!”
Before she went to university, she’d already started doing some work at BBC Radio Norfolk.

Kylie studied at the UEA, where she expanded her passion for music.

“I knew that to make a career out of my passion I needed to do both,” she said.
“So the whole time I was at the UEA I was also working at the BBC part-time and then doing lots of work experience in London during the holidays.”
But it wasn’t just work and music that Kylie remembers about her time here.
“One of the things I loved about growing up in Hellesdon is having the freedom to be on a bike – as a kid I literally lived on my bike.
“And one of my favourite things to do would be to bike up to one of the local farms and go strawberry and raspberry picking. It’s just the best.”
Although Kylie headed back to the capital in about 2008 to start a TV career that saw her rise to the heights of Sky Arts, Kylie said she has maintained her links with Norfolk.
“All my family still live in Norwich which means I’m back often to visit them, so I still have a little toe in the city.”

Kylie used her downtime during lockdown to teach herself to play guitar, and she’s launched a YouTube series called Life In Six Strings in which she interviews famous guitarists before getting a lesson from them.
Check out

Charities’ chance to win a slice of MP’s marathon cash

Good causes in north Norfolk are being invited to put in a bid for a share of their local MP’s marathon charity pot.

Last year Duncan Baker raised £38,000 which was split between 26 charities in his first ever attempt at the famous endurance event.

This year he is doing the same – but with a twist as he aims to raise £5000 in the final, 26th, mile to help Ukrainian refugees being hosted in Norfolk.

He said: “It was tough last year. My legs were completely shot by 22 miles,  and I initially didn’t want to do it again.  But I wanted to finish it to ensure all 26 charities got their money.

“I beat my target of £26,000 so after the success I wanted to do  it this year because a lot of local charities are still suffering after the pandemic and are now facing the cost of living crisis. There are a lot of unsung causes out there I want to help.”

The Ukrainian connection is strengthened because Duncan is hosting a refugee mum Anna Kolomiichuk and her six-year-old son Sviatik – and has seen at first hand the needs of displaced families.

They came without even the basics such as shoes, hairdryers and toiletries. So he wanted to raise funds to support refugees through the Norfolk Community Foundation’s Supporting Ukraine in Norfolk fund.

Duncan said training for last year’s event had been easier, because Parliament was shut during Covid. Now it was functioning again he was having to fit sessions into already long days, with early morning and late night runs.

Local causes can apply for a slice of the marathon money via Duncan’s website page or  Facebook and Twitter feeds by a deadline of 5pm on Thursday June 30.  The successful causes will be chosen at Holt Youth Centre on July 1.

Jubilee concert will help foodbank

St Joseph’s Church, in Sheringham, will be extending its Platinum Jubilee celebrations with a concert by the St Austin’s Choir on June 11.

The choir, from Wakefield, will be performing during a tour of Norfolk to raise money for the North Norfolk Foodbank.

St Joseph’s is the local collection and distribution point for the foodbank and the concert, which starts at 3pm, will help boost funds to buy more essentials for families in need.

The programme will have a jubilee theme with some of the favourite music of the past

70 years and it is an opportunity to support those in the community whose current situation means parties are unlikely.

All are welcome and concertgoers are asked to make a donation and bring along any non-perishable food items they can spare for the bank. 

Dances from the movies

Dancers from across north Norfolk, including Aylsham and Wroxham, will be taking part in a stage show featuring routines from famous movies.
The Movie Magic show, being staged by the Broadland School of Dance, will be held at Norwich Theatre Royal on Sunday, May 1.
Students from across north Norfolk attend the school and more than 200 will take part in the Theatre Royal production.
They will perform routines from a selection of iconic films including Encanto, Pirates of the Caribbean, Shrek and many more.
Performances will take place at 2.30pm and 7pm. See for ticket details.