Plantation Garden in Norwich has reopened to the public for the first time in six weeks

Plantation Gardens on Earlham Road, Norwich. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Plantation Gardens on Earlham Road, Norwich. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: � ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

People can enjoy the sunshine in Norwich's Plantation Garden today after it reopened to the public for the first time in six weeks.

The picturesque Victorian garden, off Earlham Road, has been closed since January due to concerns about sinkholes in the area.

Tony Burlingham, who owns three nearby MJB hotels, boarded up access to the site in order for underground assessments to be carried out.

A survey has since found the garden to be safe, however a test is yet to be undertaken on the main driveway leading to the site.

Despite this, the Plantation Garden Preservation Trust has today announced the garden is once again open to the public.


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Roger Connah, the trust's chairman, said: 'It is common sense [to reopen] because the access drive shows no sign of a problem. We are only going in on foot, and we won't be using vehicles so there won't be much weight [on the access route].

'Six weeks seems an awful long time, but it has disappeared very quickly and it has not prevented us from maintaining the garden.'

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Mr Burlingham, who owns the driveway leading to the site, closed off access over what he said were 'health and safety' concerns.

It comes after a 20ft sinkhole opened up at the side of his Plantation Hotel last April.

Two of his other hotels, The Beeches and The Governor's, had also suffered from subsidence.

Initial underground studies had suggested that a chalk mine was responsible, and that it could run beneath the gardens.

However, further tests carried out by Norwich City Council found the garden to be safe.

Mr Burlingham is now due to carry out a strength test on the main driveway to the site on March 24, according to Mr Connah.

But until then, people will be able walk into the gardens from the Earlham Road entrance.

A statement on trust's website said: 'There is a possibility that we may have more closures in the next few weeks so please watch this space, just in case.

'The heart warming response by so many people and the incredible petition signed by 11,200 definitely had an effect in getting us back on track.

'We look forward to seeing many more visitors in the Garden and perhaps more becoming members as this is where the base of our support comes from.'

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