Parking at Dereham beauty spot blocked in row between two councils
11:46 21 February 2013
© Archant Norfolk 2013
Dog walkers who use a Dereham beauty spot have been caught in the middle of a simmering row between two councils about the maintenance of a badly pot-holed road.
Residents living on Neatherd Moor have complained about the state of the track between the open space and their properties for months.
The moor is owned by Dereham Town Council, but, under regulations dating from 1910, Breckland Council is responsible for some management and maintenance. Despite both councils taking legal advice, they have failed to agree a way forward.
In a Valentine’s Day letter, Breckland told residents it had a duty to prevent encroachment on the moor, and on Monday it erected bollards to block three parking areas beside the track.
Neatherd Moor resident Bill Gravett said: “Rather than there being too much parking, it’s insufficient. The car parks they are proposing to close are used particularly by dog walkers. It’s ridiculous, absolutely barmy, because the people are going to park somewhere. Now they will park all the way down the road.”
Tracy Walby, another Neatherd Moor resident, said: “This is common land and most people use it are not people who live here. They are dog walkers, disabled people coming from homes and sixth formers.
“What really galls me is that this has been done so quickly. Where is the consultation? They might think this is the best solution but as a community we may have solutions they have not thought of.”
The town council said Breckland had created the car parks more than 30 years ago and has maintained them since, and branded their closure “a measure designed to maximise public confusion and anxiety”.
It said it would take up the matter with Breckland to examine options to allow parking to continue.
A Breckland Council spokesman said: “Breckland has in the past carried out maintenance work and filled in potholes on the track, when the town council requested it.
“In the present financial climate, we have had to look carefully at what our obligations are. We believe that Breckland tax payers should not take on a legal responsibility that rests with the land owner.”