Villagers raise concerns about River Wensum at Elsing Parish Council meeting

Concerns over the management of the River Wensum by the Environment Agency were voiced at a public discussion in a mid Norfolk village.

The discussion was part of an Elsing Parish Council meeting at Elsing Village Hall, near Dereham.

About 50 villagers and parish councillors from the surrounding communities, including Worthing, Great Witchingham, Lyng, Swanton Morley and Sparham attended the debate.

Representatives from the EA, Natural England, the Water Management Alliance and the Norfolk Rivers Internal Drainage Board also came to the meeting.

Peter Dilloway, Elsing Parish Council clerk, said the River Wensum, which is to the north of the village, used to be 30ft wide five years ago.

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But he added that in places, including next to Elsing Mill, it was too narrow to turn a canoe around.

Mr Dilloway said: 'The flow of the river is very slow. It is just not what it used to be and there are similar views all around the area. It is a bit of a disgrace.'

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There is a build up of silt – which derives from soil or rock – reeds and bushes in this part of the River Wensum, according to Mr Dilloway.

Alan Warman, Elsing Parish Council chairman, said: 'We agreed that we would work more closely with the EA.'

He added that the River Wensum was in a 'sorry state'.

Rob Dryden, who represented the EA at the meeting, said the main concerns were the restrictive flow of the river and the perceived lack of maintenance.

He added that the EA was using a targeted approach to restore the river to its original meandering form.

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