Investigation continues into 'disgraceful' littering problem

Littering on Safari Way in Dereham will be discussed at a town council meeting next week

The littering at Safari Way has been discussed in recent meetings of Dereham Town Council - Credit: Harry Clarke

A Norfolk council is continuing to investigate the ownership of derelict land which has become a ‘disgraceful’ littering hotspot.

At a Tuesday meeting of Dereham Town Council, councillors discussed the ongoing issue of rubbish being left along a footpath called Safari Way, which is next to Dereham's former Crane Fruehauf depot site.

“I’ve been asking and asking about who owns that strip of land where the rubbish is,” said Breckland district councillor Alison Webb.

“The problem is, the factor of land ownership is so inconclusive and complex, that we are even looking back at historical mapping from decades ago, some back as far as the early 1900s,” said Mrs Webb, reading out a response she had received from Breckland’s legal team.

Littering on Safari Way in Dereham will be discussed at a town council meeting next week

The littering at Safari Way has been discussed in recent meetings of Dereham Town Council - Credit: Harry Clarke

The team said they had examined contradictory documents mapping the ownership boundaries, and that they were continuing to follow the paper trail.


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Their response continued: “It may be that this land has never officially had a landowner, or it has, but without relevant parties knowing it.”

“I’m asking you to bear with Breckland legal at the moment,” said Mrs Webb to the town council. 

Alison Webb, the Breckland District Councillor who created Dereham Cares. Picture: Alison Webb

Councillor Alison Webb urged patience while the investigation into who owns the land continues - Credit: Archant

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“They’re doing their best, and they will get back to you as soon as possible with a definitive yes or no: we can find the owner or no we can’t, [and] what the proposal is,” she added.

Councillor Harry Clarke, who has also been pursuing the issue, said: “I think we’re all agreed it’s disgraceful, because when people see rubbish along there, they’re just going to go and dump stuff there.” 

He added that it was “too risky” for volunteers without the right safety equipment to attempt to clear the rubbish, explaining after the meeting that much of it consists of sharp glass and metal.

Town and district councillor Harry Clarke.

Councillor Harry Clarke said the littered path was "disgraceful"

Mrs Webb said: “I think we’re nearly there, and it’s just a bit of patience on the final bit, to make sure that we’re not stepping on anybody’s toes by going in and clearing it up - if that makes sense - and setting a precedent.

"If it belongs to somebody, we can’t suddenly go in and say that we’re going to clear it up without doing due diligence on who is the owner. 

“Trust me, I am really pushing on this,” said Mrs Webb, adding that she hoped to receive an update before the next town council meeting.

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