'Like the Bermuda Triangle': City downsizers slam outdoor space

St Anne's Quarter, Norwich

Some of the people who have complained about the 'mini skatepark' outside St Anne's Quarter. - Credit: Archant

Pensioners who swapped country life for a Norwich apartment say the city-living dream has been "shattered" by skateboarders.

St Anne's Quarter, Norwich

Andy Burns outside at St Anne's Quarter. - Credit: Archant

Couples who bought riverside homes in St Anne's Quarter, off King Street, say the "oasis of calm" the site boasts is being ruined by large groups on skateboards and BMX bikes.

They say the design of the outside communal space which fronts the picturesque riverside setting is "like a mini skate park". 

St Anne's Quarter, Norwich

The picturesque riverside setting at St Anne's Quarter. - Credit: Archant

The city dwellers are calling for the area to be made secure at night to avoid other problems they claim including drunks urinating in the river and even verbal abuse from people passing in boats.

St Anne's Quarter, Norwich

St Anne's Quarter, Norwich - Credit: Archant

Greg Birch, Orbit's head of property management, said: “We have been working closely with customers at St Anne’s Quarter and exploring a number of ways that will best address their concerns.

"We encourage anyone who may witness any anti-social behaviour to report it to the police directly.”

St Anne's Quarter, Norwich

Signs have been put up about the skateboarding. - Credit: Archant

The people, of all ages, living in a block called Lords Gardens, who have now formed a residents' association, also claim a man living in one of the lower apartments had eggs thrown at his window.

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Others say they feel like 'prisoners in their own homes' because they're too intimidated to go outside.

St Anne's Quarter

The outside space which people say attracts skateboarders. - Credit: Archant

They fear the problems will get worse when lockdown eases.

Sam Howard, 33, said: "It's like living in the Bermuda Triangle, people enter into the space outside and something just seems to happen to them, they turn weird.

"Many now feel like prisoners in their own homes."

Susan, 70, who would only give her first name, moved into a two-bedroom apartment last April with husband Paul, 50. But now she says she wishes they had never downsized from a bungalow near King's Lynn.

"When I hear the skateboarders coming over the bridge, I get this horrible feeling in my stomach, I feel really down," she said.

This was my dream retirement but the dream has been shattered. These skateboarders aren't just young people but men in their 30s, large groups and they are intimidating.

"The gentleman who lives in the apartment below mine had eggs thrown at his window. Glass bottles are left and some people walking their dogs lift them into the flower beds to do their business."

Andy Burns, 33, a university lecturer, who bought an apartment with his wife Crystal, said: "We bought into the fact Orbit was creating a community of home owners.

"We realise there's going to be noise in the city and we all understand the outside space is for public use. But it's like a mini skatepark, that was a flaw in the design. Even though Orbit eventually put in steel studs, they are too wide so skateboarders can weave in and out.

 "We would like the area cordoned off at night because people urinate in the river. These problems have made us feel like we want to move out."

Another 68 year-old woman, who did not want to be named, said: "The groups are very disrespectful. I was on my balcony and I just looked outside and smiled at them and one man shouted back and I just felt I had to go  back inside."