Row over access to River Wensum in Norwich

Civic watchdogs have called on city councillors to go against advice from their officers and refuse to excuse a developer from an obligation to provide access to the River Wensum.

When Norwich City Council granted permission in 2005 for the Read Flour Mills in King Street to be converted into homes, two conditions were attached.

One was that the owners must provide public access to the river front at two locations and the other was that mooring provision must be provided for boats on the river frontage.

But PJ Livesey has asked for those conditions to be removed, In documents submitted to the council, the company states that attempts had been made to resolve the moorings issue, but that residents of the complex were concerned about security issues and noise arising from boats docking on the river bank.

On the public access issue, the company said although it had been agreed that two small areas next to the Novi Sad Bridge and Carrow Road Bridge would be accessible to the public, people living in the complex also had security and noise concerns about that.

City Hall officers are recommending that members of the planning committee today agree to remove the condition.

But the Norwich Society has urged councillors to go against the advice of officers. Victoria Manthorpe, the society's secretary said: 'Approval of the proposal would be against the city council's own policy for increasing access to the River Wensum within the city.

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'This failure of planning negotiation should not be allowed to set a precedent that would be quoted whenever a future developer wished to maximise profit by denying access to the river.'

The Broads Authority also 'objects strongly', saying the removal of the public space will hem in the river corridor.

Councillors will make a decision in a meeting at City Hall today.