Campaigners given hope over Norwich’s Train Wood
- Credit: Norfolk County Council
Community groups have been handed the chance to take over a stretch of woodland, once the home of Norwich's railway station, which campaigners feared could end up in the hands of developers.
Train Wood was put up for sale by the previous Conservative administration at Norfolk County Council, which said they needed to raise money through selling off council-owned assets.
But, following May's elections, which led to Labour and the Liberal Democrats forming an administration, the council has changed tack and has invited community groups to take up a peppercorn lease.
The site, the start of the Marriott's Way Norfolk Trail, which follows the path of the old railway line, was formerly the home of the City Station, which saw the last train leave in the late 1960s.
Steve Morphew, cabinet member for finance, performance and corporate at Norfolk County Council, said: 'I know from listening to the local community that many people are keen to see the site stay in public ownership, so the plan is to offer a long lease on the Train Wood site for a low rate.
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'In the next week or so I would like to hear from community groups who would be keen to take over the day to day running of Train Wood; groups that may be keen to promote the understanding of the history of the site or to enhance and conserve the flora and fauna that have made the site their home.
'One thing I can reassure people about is that this site is not being offered for development.'
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The Friends of Train Wood have been campaigning to keep the site in public ownership since last year.
Lucy Galvin, a Green city councillor and one of the group's members, said: 'This is very good news and something we have long been waiting for.
'We have been working on our management plan for months and we have a strong committee set up, with at least eight user groups supporting us. We hope we will be successful and can get on with it.'
Groups who think they have a sustainable plan for the site's future should write to Steve Morphew at Norfolk County Council, County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 2DH before Saturday, August 24.