Petition bid to protect historic Norwich train line
- 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.
'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.