Petition bid to protect historic Norwich train line

Petitioners gather at Train Wood at the start of Marriott's Way to protest against the sell-off of t

Petitioners gather at Train Wood at the start of Marriott's Way to protest against the sell-off of the land. - Credit: Archant

Campaigners have collected more than 1,000 signatures to keep a Norwich woodland publicly owned – as council bosses insisted they need to protect funding for existing green spaces.

Norfolk County Council is to auction in May the five-acre Train Wood, at the start of Marriott's Way, off Barn Road.

There have been calls for Norwich City Council to work with the county council to secure a deal.

But in response to a public question, Alan Waters, city council cabinet member for finance, ruled out financial support from City Hall.

Mr Waters said: 'The city council is facing budget reductions over the next four years of at least £8m on top of the £20m already taken out of our budgets since 2008.

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'We cannot afford additional financial pressures which would arise should we purchase Train Wood from the county council.'

Mr Waters added in response to a follow-up question: 'We have all the protections in place for this piece of land and I think that will secure its future. I want to make the additional point – I want to make sure we are investing and able to sustain the main assets and green space we have to a high standard and not to take on additional, unspecified costs, which could jeopardise what we own and are responsible for.'

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Mr Waters said basic maintenance of Train Wood was expected to cost £1,500-a-year, with 'major investment' in tree works needed in the next 10 to 15 years. The question, from a Mr Elliott, had urged the city council to 'exercise stewardship' by stepping in to negotiate with the county council, given the level of the support for the campaign.

The Green Party-led petition has passed the 1,000-signature mark and will continue.

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