Online petition in new bid to protect Old Catton Deer Park


11:08 am September 30, 2022

A campaign group has stepped up its efforts to prevent valuable green space from being turned into housing.

Action group Deer Park has launched a new website and online petition in a bid to stop the Grade II* listed park from being built.

It comes after property developer Lee Devlin bought the Deer Park from the Buxton family in Old Catton in April.

The park – home to a variety of wildlife – has since been designated as an Asset of Community Value by Broadland District Council.

And now the action group has sought to collect signatures online to drum up support for the park.

Kathy Branson, President of Deer Park Action Group, said: “People can find out more about our campaign, sign our petition online and also donate if they can.

“We are looking to raise funds to access specialist planning support so that any objection to a planning request is as strong as possible.

Kathy Branson of the action group Deer Park
– Credit: Kathy Branson

“Essentially, we are busy gathering all the facts and figures we might need to challenge any planning request.”

The Deer Park at Old Catton

The Deer Park at Old Catton
– Credit: Ben Hardy

The park has national and historical significance due to its association with Anna Sewell’s famous novel Black Beauty.

Anna Sewell, originally from Great Yarmouth, lived directly across from Deer Park for 10 years.

She would have looked out the window towards the park in search of inspiration for famous scenes from the book.

Members of the Deer Park Action Group attended the last parish council meeting where Deer Park was discussed

Members of the Deer Park Action Group attended the last parish council meeting where Deer Park was discussed
– Credit: Kathy Branson

Ms Branson received a global response from countries including the United States, Canada, Barbados and South Africa after she posted a photo of Deer Park in the ‘View From My Window’ Facebook group.

“I was overwhelmed by the response to the post to which 5,000 people reacted,” she said.

“Black Beauty is a book that means so much to people around the world.”

The new website and online petition were designed and hosted by web designer Martyn Oakley of COG Media, who lives in Old Catton himself.

Deer Park Action Group

Deer Park Action Group
– Credit: Cog Media

Richard Potter, Conservative District Councilor for Old Catton, said: ‘The website evokes an incredible sense of community spirit and it makes me very proud to be a resident of Old Catton.

The new website and petition are available at

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