A community in north Norfolk alarmed about plans by the National Trust (NT) for a 23-acre caravan park at Middle Farm on the Blickling Estate were recently referred to ELF by the office of The Prince of Wales, our patron. Middle Farm is within a designated conservation area and the community’s overall concern was that a caravan park on this scale (143 mobile stands and 17 static pods) would radically alter the character of the area and have a devastating impact on the environment, the community and local wildlife. The proposals were presented at two meetings hosted by the Parish Councils of Oulton and Itteringham, between which Middle Farm is situated, and not a single resident of either parish was in favour of the scheme.
However, the community was keen to assist NT in achieving its goals of conserving the natural environment and mitigating climate change. They proposed transforming the site into a commercially viable ‘Climate Change Adventure Camp’, where young and old would be invited to come to a beautiful part of the country and experience what it is to live off grid as well as being given challenges relating to issues like soil regeneration and wildlife conservation. ELF gave some guidance on how they should organise themselves, what to focus on in responding to any consultation, recognising that NT might be very sensitive to its local reputation.
Last week we heard from the community who said: “Good news! Thanks to your sound guidance, we did form a pretty rudimentary action group and with formidable support from the local community, appear to have successfully convinced the National Trust to drop the idea of putting a commercial caravan park at Middle Farm on the Blickling Estate.”
In the letter NT acknowledged the need to involve the local community in reviewing the options for restoring the buildings at Middle Farm and indicated that they will be in touch with the community again later in the year.
The community member continued: “I can’t thank you enough for pointing us in the right direction and giving us the confidence to take on the Goliath of the NT ourselves. Something, which at first, seemed impossibly daunting. What you are doing is so very important. I hope you will take all due credit for helping to save one tiny corner of our benighted planet for posterity – at least for the time being.”