Calls for the city to trial safe spaces to take illegal drugs has sparked fears that the scheme will make “life easier for county lines dealers”.

If Norwich goes ahead with the project it will be the first area in the country to set up safe consumption rooms that allow people to take illicit substances under the supervision of medical experts.

The facilities aim to reduce the number of drug-related deaths and are already being used in certain parts of Europe, which supporters of the scheme say have seen some success.

Jamie Osborn, Green city and county councillor, said: "The government's current approach to drugs, which sees people being compelled to take dangerous drugs in risky conditions, is costing lives and causing untold suffering.

"We need to treat drug deaths as a public health issue, not a criminal offence.

"Safe consumption facilities have been proven to be effective in other countries, such as Portugal, and Norwich has expressed strong support for this life-saving initiative."

Eastern Daily Press: Bill Borrett

Norfolk County Council, however, has remained reluctant to support the idea.

David Thomas, who is standing for the Conservatives in Norwich South, raised concerns about the initiative.

Eastern Daily Press: David Thomas, Conservative candidate for Norwich SouthDavid Thomas, Conservative candidate for Norwich South (Image: Norwich Conservatives)

He said: "I think Norwich has enough challenges already with county lines and drug users and that brings criminal activity and negative impacts to the city.

"I think the last thing we should be doing is making life easier for county lines dealers by improving the drug-taking experiences.

"If we have the resources for this, we should be using it to help people break their drug habits."

Bill Borrett, cabinet member for public health at the Tory-led council, added: "As of present, I have not read the report so cannot comment on it.

"However, I can say that the government's policy has not changed and we would of course wait any new guidance from the Home Office before considering any of the report's recommendations."