A dozen or so intrepid volunteer litter pickers helped to tidy-up Wreningham, Top Row and Penny’s Green as part of the Big South Norfolk Litter Pick on Sunday October 10.

The volunteers spread out from the Village Hall to clean verges, paths, playing fields and other public locations across the Wreningham Parish area.

Items including metal grills, wheel arches, lots of tin cans, plastic and glass bottles, sweet wrappers and even a bucket were gathered up and disposed of.

The effort was part of the annual Big South Norfolk Litter Pick, organised by South Norfolk Council, who lent equipment for the event.

If you would like to litter pick in Wreningham, equipment can be loaned from members of Wreningham Parish Council.

Please contact Cllr Keith Morris at keith.morris@networknorwich.co.uk for details.

Pictured above are some of the volunteer litter pickers outside Wreningham Village Hall with rubbish they collected.


Please help us to tidy up litter in Wreningham, Top Row and Penny’s Green by joining the Big South Norfolk Litter Pick on Sunday October 10, at 2pm.

Volunteers are required to help us keep our lovely village tidy by taking part in South Norfolk’s Big Litter Pick 2021.

We will provide litter pickers, bags and holders and high-vis jackets (you can bring your own). You just need to bring yourself and, ideally, some gardening gloves or similar.

We will start at 2pm in the Village Hall Social Club and finish off with a free drink and cake in the Social Club from 3.30pm onwards.

If you have any queries, or to confirm you are coming, please email keith.morris@networknorwich.co.uk, or ring 01508 488318 – but you can just turn up.


Wreningham Parish Council has published here its proposed comments on the South Norfolk Village Clusters Consultation relating to a large proposed development in Wreningham.

We urge residents to give their views to the consultation, which you need to do by August 2 and which can be done via the Consultation website (you need to register with site before making a comment): https://vchap.exhibition.app/

The Wreningham/Ashwellthorpe/Fundenhall section can be seen here:

https://south-norfolk.oc2.uk/document/1/697#d697

There are two questions relating directly to Wreningham – questions 170 and question 172.

The council’s comments are below and parishioners are welcome to pick points which they think are relevant and include them in their own submission if they wish:

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Wreningham Parish Council submission to questions 170 and question 172.

QUESTION 170: Do you agree with the extent of the Settlement Limit in Wreningham and any changes proposed?

SUMMARY: Wreningham Parish Council sees no reason to have the Settlement Limit enlarged for the reasons given below.

In the current existing South Norfolk Local Plan, adopted in 2015 and covering up to 2026, ten houses were allocated to Wreningham. Since 2015 no fewer than 25 houses have been built, meaning Wreningham is already at almost double the previous set limit with no further development in the next five years.

The GNLP which resulted in the ten-house Church Road development, included the comment that Wreningham roads were at capacity. The point is repeated in this consultation document saying “The road capacity of the village is a limiting factor”.

All roads into Wreningham have considerable highways constraints in terms of narrowness of roads, twisting and turning with several blind corners – they are not conducive to the additional traffic 25 homes would introduce both during and after construction.

We would suggest that with some small scale infill development within the existing settlement limit, Wreningham will have already provided its fair share of development to meet housing targets.

A couple of new sites are about to enter the planning process we believe – one for two houses at Pear Tree Cottage on Wymondham Road and one for around six homes at the brownfield former Spratts Coaches site at the main village crossroads. Both are much more suitable developments, on already developed brownfield locations, within the existing settlement limit and not facing the flooding and drainage issues which a development of 25 houses on the agricultural open landscape site of SN2183 would inevitably cause.

Any development which proposes 52 houses (SN2183) in greenfield site outside the settlement boundary  is completely out of context/scale for a village of our size. It is five times any previous development.

There is a primary school in the village but it is already at capacity, including two mobile classrooms which have a limited lifespan. It is unlikely that many children from the new homes would gain access unless at reception age.

QUESTION 172: Do you support or object to the allocation of the preferred site in Wreningham (south of Wymondham Road)?

SUMMARY: Wreningham Parish Council objects to the proposed large development on Wymondham Road because it believes that the village has already had its fair share of development and there are other opportunities within the existing settlement limit to facilitate more appropriate development.

In Wreningham, windfall infill development has and should provide its share of the extra homes needed, including half a dozen at the brownfield Spratts Coaches site.

Any development which proposes 52 houses in a greenfield site outside the development boundary  is completely out of context/scale for a village of our size. It is five times any previous development.

Village character and Settlement limit:

The SN2183 site on Wymondham Road is completely out of character with the existing linear ribbon development of Wreningham, in both scale and density. Described as a “reasonable alternative” site only within the whole consultation (and only “preferred” within the context of even less suitable sites within Wreningham), we would suggest it should only be considered when all “preferred” sites within South Norfolk have been developed.

There is nothing even comparable within the village of anything more than five houses away from the roadside and nothing outside the settlement limit. The existing four-home cul-de-sac on Wymondham Road is on the brownfield site of a former farm.

The GNLP (5.89 Wreningham) suggested incremental growth would be most appropriate for Wreningham (including the already developed site GNLP0431 at the top West end of Wymondham Road for three houses), rather than a much larger single development.

Drainage / flood risk / sewage

Wreningham is a “wet” parish, as recent flooding of gardens on Wymondham Road and Ashwellthorpe Roads and blockage of both roads for significant periods due to flooding around and since Christmas 2020, demonstrate.

It seems that the existing drainage and sewage system on Wymondham Road is already at capacity given the issues it is regularly throwing up. An almost doubling of homes on the road would surely overwhelm this.

According to existing flood maps, SN2183 sits directly on an area of significant surface water flood risk (which does not apply to any of the other already rejected sites within Wreningham), with implications for those further downstream from it.

See flood risk map below on gov.co.uk, On the map link use drop down to ‘Flood Risk from Surface Water’ and ‘Extent of Flooding’

https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/long-term-flood-risk/map?easting=616131&northing=298347&address=2630155186

A much smaller planning application in 2019 (2019/0644) for six houses on the same site as SN2183 was recommended for refusal due to “unacceptable flood risk” (letter from Shirley Bishop, South Norfolk Environmental Quality Team to Glen Beaumont). Surface water flooding of between 30 and 90 cms was quoted for most of the suggested plots. The application was quickly withdrawn after this was pointed out by Mr Beaumont to the applicant.

In March 2019, Glen Beaumont wrote to the developer to say: “I am not convinced that the social, economic and environmental benefits of six dwellings outside of the development boundary are sufficiently overriding to warrant recommending that the application is approved.”

We would ask how a 25-home development is now deemed acceptable when a six-home one is not, on flood risk grounds among others.

If any development is deemed necessary then a water management plan should not only encompass the development site and surrounding homes and roads but also those downstream from it. Digging out existing ditches upstream of the site and no filling in of them on the site would be necessary in addition to any mitigations.

Rurality and ecology

Any development should ensure the rurality of the village is maintained with no loss of trees, hedges, habitats and ditches. The village is a rural one and requests no loss of trees, hedges and other habitats. The still essentially rural nature of Wymondham Road with fields completely down one side, would be destroyed by such an intensive, deep development stretching away from the roadside.

Great Crested Newts have reportedly been seen in nearby Long’s Wood and a survey to see if they are present on the SN2183 site needs to be requested before any development.

Highways

All roads into Wreningham have considerable highways constraints in terms of narrowness of roads, twisting and turning with several blind corners – they are not conducive to the additional traffic 25 homes would introduce both during and after construction.

These highways constraints have largely ruled out other proposed development sites in Wreningham and they apply equally, if not more, to  SN2183, given the blind bend at the top of Wymondham Road.

School

The SN2183 site appears to have been chosen because it is the nearest to the village primary school, but that school is already at capacity, including two mobile classrooms which have a limited lifespan. It is unlikely that many children from the new homes would gain access unless at reception age.

Alternative site

It has been suggested to the parish council that if the owner of The Poplars and the SN2183 site wishes to see such a development then a more suitable location would be behind The Poplars itself with an existing road already in place and on a brownfield site which would avoid the flood-risk area on SN2183 and not encroach onto existing views and open countryside. It would also avoid the blind bend highway constraint at the Wymondham Road/Ashwellthorpe Road junction directly opposite a primary school (though no roads into Wreningham are without considerable highways constraints both for construction traffic and the extra traffic generated by such a large development.


Lotus have written to local residents about tomorrow, Tuesday, 6 July 2021. For them, this is a very important day as they unveil the new Lotus Emira, a mid-engined, premium sports car. This will be built in a new factory at Hethel – part of a £100 million investment in Lotus’ UK operations.

They invite you to find out more and to watch the world premier of the Lotus Emira, broadcast live from Hethel online at www.lotuscars.com and on the Lotus YouTube and Facebook channels from 7.30pm on Tuesday 6 July.

The event is largely outdoors and will be attended by around 200 media, VIPs and special guests. Lotus has consulted local council and independent health and safety advisers and is following careful safety protocols put in place across the site to ensure that the event is safe to go ahead as planned.

As this is a world premier of a new Lotus, there will be some noise from the proceedings, primarily some unveiling music and from a handful of Lotus road cars and one classic Lotus F1 car being driven on the track for a short time.

Note that there filming this evening (Monday) until around 9:00pm and tomorrow afternoon for the “dress rehearsal” prior the main event. The main activities will be finished between 9:00 pm and 9:30 pm.

If you have any questions contact Alastair Florance, Group PR Manager, Group Lotus:

aflorance@lotuscars.com / 01953 608462


A Wreningham village history group is set to hold its first meeting on November 7 at the village hall and anyone interested is welcome to attend.

Called Wreningham Past and Present, organiser Jean Lambourne said: “We want to draw together as many old sources about Wreningham village life from times past as we can.  Since my initial request for interest, there has been a significant response from villagers wanting to join in.  You can be any age to get involved.

“We have a plan. It’s not a rigid plan – we’re open to shaping it up to suit the interests or skill sets of those who want to help. All are welcome to come along and you might be surprised at what you learn.”

The first meeting will be held on Wednesday November 7, 7pm in the Margaret Preston Room at the Village Hall.

Pictured above are schoolchildren in Wymondham Road, Wreningham, in 1910.


The Anglican Upper Tas Valley Benefice, which includes Wreningham, has a new priest-in-charge with the installation of Rev Lydia Avery, who has moved with husband Chris from Somerset to take on the role.

Over 130 people attended a service at Tacolneston church on September 13, when the Rt Rev Dr Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, licensed Lydia and the Ven Steven Betts, the Archdeacon of Norfolk, installed her into the full-time role.

Upper Tas Valley Benefice Administrator, Christine Minns, said: “Friends and family of Chris and Lydia travelled from Somerset, Oxford and Suffolk to join with us in celebrating the start of this new phase in our church life and in Lydia’s ministry.  It was good that we were able to share this service with so many local clergy, many of whom have helped us during the interregnum.”

The schools, district and parish councils and the community at large all turned out to support Lydia at the service, which was followed by a buffet.

Lydia said: “Chris and I are absolutely delighted to be here, and to have seen the last of our packing cases!  We have moved from the Mendip Hills in North Somerset where we lived for about 34 years but felt that we were being called into a new challenge away from the West Country. So we’ve swapped one beautiful part of the world for another beautiful place.

“We’ve been completely bowled over by the friendly welcome we’ve received, and are looking forward to getting to know everyone well over the coming five years.

“During this time, I hope that we’ll worship and work together to serve our Lord, in whatever way He has planned for us. In particular, I hope to see the church-school and church-community relationships develop and grow even stronger.”


Wreningham’s former red phone box has been transformed into a village Swap Box facility for exchanging books and DVDs, complete with a stunning mosaic floor, thanks to the parish council and a group of residents.

The phone box on Ashwellthorpe Road near the school was bought for £1 from BT last year by Wreningham Parish Council and villagers were asked what they wanted it turned into.

A free library was the most popular answer and Cllr Keith Morris gathered together a group of interested residents to put the plan into action.

Hughie Glaves and Noel Course used their expertise to renovate and repaint the box and install new glass and signs. David Minns helped to straighten up the box and improve the surrounding landscaping. Andrew Moore built new shelves and the finishing touch was a stylish mosaic floor, depicting a wren, reflecting the story of how the village got its name, expertly created by Jo Billham.

The project was backed and paid for by Wreningham Parish Council and it was officially opened on September 7 and is in full use.

Residents are welcome to take books and DVDs for free and leave others in their place. Please use the facility considerately.

A light is installed in the box so it can be used at any time.

If you have any queries about the facility or ideas for its use, please email Keith at keith.morris@networknorwich.co.uk

Pictured above are Jo Billham, Keith Morris and Andrew Moore with the new Swap Box in Wreningham.


The Wreningham Community Archaeology Project got off to a promising start over the weekend of August 11-12 with a total of five test-pits dug in gardens around the village, reports archaeologist Steve Hickling, who is leading the project.

A sunny weekend saw pits being dug in people’s gardens on Wymondham Road, Ashwellthorpe Road, Mill Lane and the B1113 and all the test-pits yielded some interesting results:

Victorian pottery and little bits of tile were unsurprisingly found in all the test-pits and almost all also yielded prehistoric burnt flints (pot-boilers). These are flint pebbles heated in a fire and then thrown into a liquid in order to heat-up that liquid.

In prehistoric times pottery was terrible and would not survive being put on a fire to heat the contents so pot-boilers were used instead. It is thought that they were heating liquid as part of the process of dying cloth or perhaps making beer. A great number were found in Graham’s test-pit on Mill Lane.

Two of the pits yielded medieval pottery. One on Ashwellthorpe Road produced a couple of sherds, and one on Wymondham Road, behind Pear Tree Farmhouse, produced some rather large sherds. This suggests that there is medieval occupation here.

Pear Tree Farm is a lovely c.17th century timber-framed farmhouse. The test pit produced a lot of c.17th century pottery, a posthole and a layer of redeposited yellow clay, which may be spoil from a deep hole dug nearby, or the remains of a demolished clay-lump building. The medieval pottery suggests that the present house may be a rebuilding of a medieval farm.

All the artefacts recovered will be cleaned and passed to an expert for dating and describing.

What Next?

The next step is to excavate a couple more test-pits on Saturday 1st of September. It would be nice if we could have people to help with the two test-pits on the 1st September. Both are in the middle of the village. If anyone else wants to take part, please let me know on 01508481718 or email me on steve.hickling@norfolk.gov.uk.

Ashwellthorpe Road pit

Wymondham Road pit

Mill Lane pit


The Wreningham Community Archaeology Project got underway last night (August 7) with the digging of a test pit on the village playing field, led by local archaeologist Steve Hickling.

Old bricks fragments, pantiles, an iron nail and a fossil were among the items uncovered during the short dig.

A number of villagers took part in the digging and sifting training for the main event which is this coming Saturday, August 11, and it is still not too late for anyone to take part.

Villagers are invited to dig a 1m square pit in their garden, sift the soil layer by layer and pick out anything of interest for experts who will be on hand in the village hall to identify finds. You will then get a fascinating insight into the history of your house and land. Pits will be filled in afterwards.

The weekend will start at 10am when everyone will gather at the Village Hall for instructions and anyone who is interested in digging a pit or simply lending a hand (the more the merrier) to those who have already volunteered their gardens.

All the information gathered will be looked at by experts and form part of an official archaeological report. Becky Sillwood, a freelance finds (artefacts) expert will be on hand in the village hall on Saturday if anyone wants to show her anything they have found for identification.

There will be a barbecue for participants from 6pm onwards at the Village Hall social club, so please bring something to barbecue, and the bar will hopefully be open.

If you are interested you can simply turn up at 10am but if possible please contact steve.hickling@norfolk.gov.uk beforehand.

The Step-by-Step guide to digging an archaeological pit is here:
ACA field academy handbook 2011 final
and the test pit record booklet is here:
ACA test pit record b&w 2014

Pictured above are villagers during the test pit dig on Wreningham playing field last night.


Wreningham has paid a special tribute to a well-loved local postman – Pat Maidment – with a community meal and his own special postbox erected at the village hall.

Known, of course, as Postman Pat, he lived in the village for over 30 with wife Jill. Pat worked for the Post Office his whole career from the age of 16, until he died last March, aged 60, from a brain tumour.

After a community Sunday lunch in the village hall on March 4, around 40 family and friends gathered together outside the hall to watch Pat’s brother Mark unveil the special black postbox, which had been erected on the wall of the hall by some of Pat’s many friends in the village.

Friend Trevor Wadlow said: “There was a strong feeling in the village that we wanted to do something to recognise what a truly memorable and well-loved character Pat was and a postbox seemed a fitting tribute. We hope it will help preserve fond memories of Pat for us all for many years to come.”

Pat and Jill moved to Wreningham in 1986 and Jill said Pat worked for the Post Office since he left school at the age of 16. He started as a messenger boy and then became a postman, based at Thorpe Road in Norwich.

Commenting on the tribute, Jill said: “It means a lot to me and the family. I knew he had a lot of friends in the village, but it is great to know that so many people genuinely liked and thought well of him. It is comforting to know he is well thought of and people still think of him now. A postbox is an entirely appropriate memorial.”

Pictured above are Pat Maidment’s wife Jill, brother Mark and other close family members with the new postbox erected in his memory at Wreningham Village Hall. Picture by Michael Hill.