Ormesby’s Jubilee woodland plan back on track

PUBLISHED: 09:39 01 August 2014 | UPDATED: 09:39 01 August 2014

Parish council chairman, Geoff Freeman in the woodland off Station Road in Ormesby St Margaret.
Picture: James Bass

Parish council chairman, Geoff Freeman in the woodland off Station Road in Ormesby St Margaret. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Hopes are rising that a slice of woodland could yet be a Jubilee gift to a village more than three years after the idea was mooted.

If the handover goes ahead it means people in Ormesby and Scratby will be able to enjoy unrestricted access - but will have to play their part in keeping it clean and behaving responsibly.

Experts from the Woodland Trust were this week on site surveying the area, owned by NPower, in order to establish exactly what was there in terms of species and wildlife.

Geoff Freeman, parish council chairman, said he hoped the saga could be wrapped up by the end of the year but that councillors wanted to be sure about what they were taking on and confident there were no major costs involved first.

He said: “The issue seemed to have been put on the back burner and for two years it had gone dead but suddenly I got a phone call from the power people saying they were ready to start the whole thing up.

“We have just got to make sure that even if someone gives us something there is not going to be a cost. It will be an asset for the village.

“NPower either want to give it to the village or lease it for a very long time. I think the option would be to take it on and it become a community projet, and we could plant new trees. It is a win/win situation. It is quite overgrown from when it was fenced off but those routes can be cleared.

“I thought it had died a death, I was getting no replies to my emails and I really thought something had changed. It has no value to them and we have helped police it and tidy it up. Norfolk has not got a lot of woods and it would be nice to see it as part of the village fabric.”

The 2.5 acre swathe towards Scratby had long been popular with families and dog walkers but was suddenly fenced off triggering an angry access row.

It emerged NPower had bought the land when it was laying a pipeline from Bacton to the new gas fired power station at Great Yarmouth around 15 years ago, but was looking to sell.

Following a round of negotiations with the parish council hopes were raised the land would be handed over to the village and at the time, it was hoped it would happen in time to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

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