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Residents angry at plans for city parks

PUBLISHED: 10:43 05 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:57 22 October 2010

LORNA MARSH

Moves to transform Norwich's parks into evening entertainment venues have met with anger from those living nearby. Norwich City Council wants licences to run events such as plays, films, live comedy, sporting tournaments, live music concerts and dances at three city parks as well as Cow Tower by Riverside Walk.

Moves to transform Norwich's parks into evening entertainment venues have met with anger from those living nearby.

Norwich City Council wants licences to run events such as plays, films, live comedy, sporting tournaments, live music concerts and dances at three city parks as well as Cow Tower by Riverside Walk.

The licences would run from 9am until midnight with the sites staying open until 1am.

But residents living near the river, Wensum Park, Waterloo Park and Chapelfield Gardens fear evening events will bring more anti-social behaviour to their doorsteps and have lodged strong objections.

Entertainment is regularly staged at the sites, including fairs, concerts, children's shows and film screenings, with many going on into the night, but these have been subject to one-off licences.

The current scheme means that blanket licences could be issued to cover a whole range of entertainment up until midnight, including late-night food stalls.

No objections to the new applications were received from police, environ-ment agencies or the fire service.

In reports to the licensing sub-committee relating to each one council officials state: "Norwich City Council has a professional event team.

"Events are managed to strict safety management procedures… Input to safety management is sought from the police, fire, ambulance services plus risk managers and experts on electrical and structural and environmental health. Each event will have a council representative in attendance during operation time."

But the reports continue: "Representations have been received from several interested parties… These responses relate to all of the licensing objectives of the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm.

"Specific issues are anti-social behaviour, noise, litter and parking."

Each application has met with a number of objections.

The scheme relating to Wensum Park sparked the most with a 114-signature petition against it as well as 28 separate statements from neighbours claiming anti-social behaviour and personal safety were already problems in the area and fearing the licence would make them worse.

One writes: "Licensed activity until midnight, whether or not accompanied by films or music, is no more acceptable than its existing, unlicensed present form.

"Late-night refreshment until midnight will simply mean that continual breaches of our peace will occur."

Eleven similar objections were raised in relation to Waterloo Park with three for Chapelfield Gardens, including a letter from the Chapelfield Society, and two for Cow Tower.

The sub-committee is set to meet on June 16 to decide the applications.


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