Regattas, canoes, punts and riverside cafes - report reveals what people in Norwich want from the River Wensum

Paper Mills Yard at Carrow Works from the Wensum beside Carrow Bridge, with the remains of the boom

Paper Mills Yard at Carrow Works from the Wensum beside Carrow Bridge, with the remains of the boom towers from the old Norwich city wall.Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

Regattas, punting, canoeing, public art and more riverside cafes are some of the suggestions put forward as ways to breathe new life into Norwich's River Wensum.

The River Wensum strategy partnership ran a consultation to put the spotlight back on to the river, to help find ways to fulfil its potential.

The goal is to get more people to make use of the river, so it can once again play a valuable part in the growth and vitality of Norwich.

More than 160 residents and groups got involved in the partnership's survey over the summer, which has helped to identify issues and opportunities surrounding the natural asset at the heart of the city.

A total of 818 comments were made on issues such as the environment, leisure and business, which have now been collated and analysed into a detailed report.

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Among the points raised were the need for more day boat/canoe hiring stations, for the riverside walk to be fully connected and better signposted, for more access to the river and for litter to be cleared up.

The document is the starting point for the partnership to draft a strategy and action plan, which will aim to manage the river and surrounding area for the benefit of Norwich and its residents.

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The area covered by the strategy will be within the city, plus the section including Whitlingham Broad.

Norwich city councillor Mike Stonard, chairman of the River Wensum strategy partnership, said: 'We've really enjoyed getting people talking about the river over the last few months.

'By asking the public and stakeholders their views first and sharing expertise between partners, we are well placed to develop a strategy that will make the most of this beautiful natural asset over the coming years.'

Once complete, a draft of the strategy will be subject to a further public consultation to help fine tune the specific topics it will address once implemented.

The final version will then provide a framework for delivery and be able to support funding applications for specific improvement projects.

Alec Hartley, chairman of the Wensum River Parkway Partnership, said: 'Two of the many interesting things that the consultation has thrown up are how closely ideas from the general public and stakeholders chime in with those from officers in the statutory bodies who had their own internal consultations, and how much of these suggestions revolve around improving access to the Wensum. After all, if you can't get on and off the river you can't use it - and that's what you call a no-brainer.'

Norwich City Council is leading on the project, working in partnership with the Broads Authority, Norfolk County Council, Environment Agency and the Wensum River Parkway Partnership.

To find out more about the project and to download a copy of the consultation report, click here.

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