December 12 2013 Latest news:
The current way that children use to cross the dyke separating the areas. Area of land between Castle Green and Blake Drive where there is a proposal to build a footbridge linking the two areas for pedestrian access. Picture: James Bass
Friday, August 16, 2013
On the surface it is an innocuous proposal.
But efforts to build goalposts and a simple footbridge, linking a field to a cul-de-sac, have united a Bradwell street in protest.
And residents of Blake Drive are turning up the heat on cabinet member Bernard Williamson to scrap the mooted footbridge over a dyke which separates them from Castle Green.
The intention was to link Castle Green - which has no playground access - to the field by Blake Drive.
But proposals have touched a nerve.
More than two dozen people packed into the home of 44-year-old engineer Christian Weihser after consultation letters dropped through people’s doors last month.
And at a second meeting in his kitchen this week, residents made their arguments against the footbridge clear.
“We’ve got foxes, deer and dive-bombing seagulls that will come and attack you,” noted Ralph Hardwick, who works in health and safety. “We don’t want more people in that area.
“We’ve already had neighbours who have put their foot through a rabbit hole and twisted their ankle.”
He added that council maps explaining the proposals were laughable, with the locations of the proposed bridge and goals marked by “what look like a couple of children’s stickers”.
And he said the original August 9 consultation deadline was only extended to August 31 after fierce protest, amid claims proposals were being rushed through.
Angela Easeman, a finance manager, said she used to live in Castle Green, and would have opposed the footbridge even if she were still there.
“It’s a very safe cul-de-sac,” she reasoned. “But with a footbridge you would get strangers wandering through.”
Mr Weihser, who hosted the meeting, said their objections were five-fold - based on safety, anti-social behaviour, litter, a security risk created by the throughfare and claims that there are better alternatives.
He said using ground at the former Claydon school for a new playground would make more sense and would cater for children in a wider area.
Dale Farrow, who works in health and safety, said council bosses should have looked to remove the makeshift water crossing of broken tables and ladders rather than turn it into a bonafide thoroughfare.
And he said lighting in the area is poor with deep water warning signs in place, and no access for emergency vehicles.
The Mercury has also received a flurry of emails opposing the footbridge.
Steve Titterington, of Blake Drive, wrote: “I can’t believe that an area full of many different species of woodland and wildlife including, herons, muntjac deer, many differing bird species and fauna and flora will be decimated to make way for a football pitch.
“If this was a brown field site I would be all for it.”
And Leslie Shepherd added: “A bridge would mean the opening up of a direct route to Gorleston and Yarmouth which could help to create an added crime risk to both estates.”
Residents are now starting a petition to ensure their voices are heard.
Proposals to build the £30,000 footbridge, funded by cash from housing developers, are being led by Bernard Williamson, cabinet member for transformation and regeneration at Great Yarmouth Borough Council.
The final decision will rest with cabinet members, who have commissioned a consultation before ruling on the proposal.
Two further consultation events are planned.
One will be held in the field by Blake Drive on Tuesday, August 20 from 5pm to 7pm and the second in the car park of the Little Acorns home on Castle Green on Wednesday, August 21 from 5pm to 6pm.
Comments can be sent directly to Valerie Cadmore, Play and Leisure Officer, by emailing email@example.com
The deadline is Saturday, August 31.
In a written statement Bernard Williamson, cabinet member for transformation and regeneration, said: “It was always intended to link the Castle Green development with this open space.
“The bridge was shown on original plans submitted by developers in 1999.
“This is the only suitable open space within walking distance of Castle Green. As such it is already used by children, who take unacceptable risks in order to access the large field.
“Naturally we are keen to create a safe access route before someone is seriously injured, and also install some goalposts so youngsters have somewhere to go for a kick-around but before anything is agreed, we want to hear the views of local residents.”