Submitted Application Jan 2023
THE NEW ROCK DITCHINGHAM ROUNDABOUT GATEWAY PROJECT (DRGP) 2023
The New Rock Ditchingham Roundabout Gateway Project (DRGP) will deliver an organic and maintained bio-diverse landscape to the centre of the roundabout known as “Chicken Roundabout”. DRGP will provide landscaping and maintenance for the roundabout, ensuring it is both eye catching for visitors and safe for motorists and pedestrians. DRGP will be a reflection of the area’s natural beauty, its history and an expression of community spirit.
New Rock is an ‘Innovative Artists Led Music Management Organisation’, developed and operated for community benefit. Creating opportunities, supporting artists and assist in the building of a happier more creative world.
At the heart of New Rocks work is a commitment to positively affect climate change, giving back and helping to offset some of the industries notoriously high Carbon footprint. Supporting bio diversity and natural habitats New Rock uses the arts as a cultural and physical means of supporting a healthier planet. New Rock has an environmental team with a great deal of expertise. They have been part of significant habitat studies on behalf of major UK estates and for and behalf of other environmental organisations such as RSPB, Forestry Commission, Scottish Natural Heritage, Environment Agency, The Wildlife Trusts and a number of zoological organisations.
THE DRGP LOCATION
This location has been chosen for this special attention due to its arterial road positioning providing main links, both for routes taking people to and from Norwich as well as longer distance commuters heading to Ipswich or those holidaying on the Norfolk Broads.
“Chicken Roundabout” is one of two possible sites considered along the A143 and is currently the only one without paid advertising on it. The Roundabout itself has significant local history and its infamy for the live chickens that held the roundabout as their home for over 3 decades and their unofficial guardian Gordon Knowles (“The Chicken Man of Bungay”) up until 2010 when the birds were removed.
A survey of residents and visitors provided numerous accounts as to how much joy the feathered spectacle brought to the area and how this unique experience was part of the cultural fabric of the area.
It made sense to our team when celebrating the beauty of the area that a special recognition should be given to Gordon Knowles and the poultry pirates that claimed the island as their own. (This makes “Chicken Roundabout” our preferred and worthy choice)
THE DRGP PROPOSAL
The New Rock team have requested the lease of “Chicken Roundabout” for the period of an initial six years from Ditchingham Parish Council. It is felt that this will be adequate time to enhance the island with habitat rich planting and some idyllic additions showcasing the areas natural beauty, whilst also exploring remembrance furniture placement with Norfolk County Council.
The New Rock environment team will conduct a full area survey, including soil and drainage analysis as well as a general species count for flora and fauna and insect life. We will provide a full and relevant planting list for approval by the parish council/ NCC as part of the survey.
DRGP will use the day to day maintenance and management of the roundabout to also deliver a training program to local residents to ensure future sustainability and provide unemployed and vulnerable individuals with soft skills and green skills in order to move closer to employment.
With New Rocks other local nature sites and its willingness to support other local projects such as the Waveney River Trust and The Otter Trust, there are increasing opportunities for community involvement. New Rock works hard with its volunteer team to ensure that each member feels fully supported. Demonstrating traditional country skills and supporting personal development this includes up skilling either for personal benefit or as a means to better prepare them for full time employment.
Our volunteer management team are highly skilled in working with and motivating our members, with local links to colleges and accredited training programs too formally recognise their efforts and achievements.
Placements can be made to New Rock directly or through a local job centre or employment support service.
PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT
Given the current well documented decrease in wildlife and insect life in Norfolk “highlighted in the Norfolk Capital Asset Compendium and the 2022 national report published by The Wildlife Trusts on climate risks to Norfolk Wildlife, New Rock is taking a traditional approach to its work. The DRGP expands on this working style operating where possible will rely on hand tools and a strict “No Pesticide or Herbicide” policy favouring natural methods, techniques and management.
We will explore enrichment for wildlife, to include the siting of nesting boxes or other enchantments to bring more life to the area, insect life will also be considered. DRGP will also ensure that there will also be a focus on carbon capture on a busy roadside. The plantings, plus the training and the ongoing display will act as a model for how Parish councils can support the Norfolk wide ambition to be carbon neutral by 2030, while at the same time providing a nature based solution to supporting our unemployed and more vulnerable residents with the skills needed to join the green skills economy that is our future.
As for the practical element of the project it needs to be recognised that as a traffic island that the site must remain well maintained and meet Highways Agency guidance both with its general condition and for any disruption that could be caused by any planned works. Although these will be addressed in detail within the site safety plan and linked risk assessments it’s worth noting that key policies will be observed to avoid any potential issues arising ahead of final planning.
- Grass edges shall be kept short so as not to impair visibility (Line of Sight) to previous and following junctions. This will be judged via line of site or 2m from the outside circumference dependent on which is greater.
- No public access permitted to roundabout (Authorised Personnel Only).
- All staff/ volunteers will be trained prior to working on site, this includes daily “Toolbox Talks” on safety and daily planning.
- Any plaques or writing to be clearly visible from roadside.
- No work vehicle access to the roundabout.
- No fuelling of machinery or maintenance to be carried out on the roundabout.
- All works to be carried out during quieter road times.
- Traffic control to be scheduled if required with Highways Agency/ County Council (emergency traffic management exclusively by qualified road marshals holding CSCS green cards with suitable CSAS endorsements).
- All waste to be bagged and extracted by hand where possible.
- No private advertising permitted on roundabout (for local events see Ditchingham Parish Council policy guidance.
- All works to be carried out in accordance to Highways Agency guidance. (Independent Consultant Directed)
New Rock observes all liabilities concerning to its activities carried out upon the island, following a formal lease the land will be insured independently for public liability for a minimum amount of £5,000,000. All works will be covered by operational public and employer’s liability cover for a minimum amount of £5,000,000. All training of staff and pre checks of potential credentials of external contractors are solely the responsibility of New Rock.
New Rock accepts “No Liability” for Curb Stones, Road Surfaces, Road Marking, Road Signage or Drainage or damage to any of these due to circumstances outside of their operational control.
It is expected that upon the signing of a formal lease that the island known as Chicken Roundabout will become the leased property of New Rock with the respective freedoms and responsibilities that entails. New Rock will not be permitted to “sub-let” land in part or full to any other organisation outside New Rock’s direct control.
“No part” of the land may be used to provide financial benefit of New Rock or any other linked organisation.
Overall maintenance works and planting will be at the discretion of New Rock. All works will be done so to enhance the general appearance of the area, support wildlife and habitats and support local interests whilst respecting traditions.
New Rock will be responsible for any applications to Norfolk County Council, regards the proposal or installation of any object “Furniture” that may be added to the site. Shortlisting’s for possible roundabout enchantments will be given a period of community consultation, allowing for opinions and views of local residents.