May 18 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
A campaign to stop an area of Norwich woodland being auctioned off has gathered 400 supporters in two days.
The petition was launched on Saturday to stop Train Wood at the start of Marriott’s Way, which includes the site of the old city station, being sold by Norfolk County Council.
The council is set to auction the five-hectare site in May, but supporters of the petition want Norwich City Council to take over the site for a nominal fee.
The petition, launched by the Green Party, has called on the county and city councils to work together to keep the woods in public ownership.
Green Party councillor for Mancroft ward Richard Bearman said: “This is a unique place and there are many risks if it is sold off. It could be sold on or not maintained adequately, for example.
“Monitoring it could well cost the city council much more in the long run than agreeing a token price with the county council now.”
The land being sold includes the beginning of the Marriott’s Way, but protections in place mean it cannot be developed.
Cliff Jordan, Cabinet Member for Efficiency, said: “The sale will be subject to the continued free use of the Marriott’s Way path through the site for the benefit and enjoyment of walkers, cyclists and horse riders and will be conditional on the purchaser maintaining the existing path to a standard to allow the passage over it by its users.
“We have already been contacted by one community interest group about the site and I would urge any others to contact us if they may be interested in the property.
“I’m keen to see the auction proceed in May as the management of this site is not a County Council function, and the sale will give all interested parties the chance to bid on the site in an open and transparent manner”
Alan Waters, city council cabinet member for finance, said he was satisfied that enough protections were already in place on the land.
He said: “It is an exaggeration to imagine that if somebody bought it from the county council that housing developments or businesses would appear on it.”
Mr Waters ruled out the city council buying the land, stating the authority did not want the costs of maintaining it.
Nearly 3,000 people have supported a Facebook campaign demanding safety improvements on the A47 near Dereham set up after the latest fatal crash.
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