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Call for city council to do more to breathe life into Norwich's River Wensum

Houseboats moored on the River Wensum near the Waterfront opposite Riverside. Picture: Denise Bradley

Houseboats moored on the River Wensum near the Waterfront opposite Riverside. Picture: Denise Bradley

copyright Archant Photographic 2011

A call is to be made for the city council to help make more of Norwich's River Wensum, to turn it into a major draw for tourism and businesses,

The Wensum River Parkway Project and the Norwich Society have been pressing for action on the river, claiming the most is not made of it, compared to how cities such as Cambridge cash in on their waterways.

And, at a meeting of Norwich City Council next week, councillors will be asked to back efforts to breathe new life into the river.

The Greens have put forward a motion calling for the council’s cabinet to support the Wensum River Parkway Project and to encourage and promote safe river activities.

The motion also asks the council to ensure that when development, such as housing, is built near the river, “all practical action” is taken to encourage pedestrian and cycle access to the river and that private developments not be allowed to prevent access to the waterside,

Lucy Galvin, Green councillor for Wensum ward, who has put the motion forward for discussion at Tuesday’s council meeting, said: “It really needs someone to do something about it. It needs the political will to push forward and say this is an easy win win.”

But Brenda Arthur, leader of the city council, said the city council was already working with HEART (Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust) and the Norwich Society on the Wensum River Parkway Project.

She said: “This is about the Greens trying to make some political mischief out of something which is already the subject of collaborative work. The Wensum River Parkway Project is something which the council gets behind already.”

Last month, civic watchdog the Norwich Society launched a new film to encourage a rethink over the way the river is used.

Shown to invited guests, including councillors, council officers, architects and business leaders, the Beside Still Waters film highlighted how some parts of the river have been neglected, with poor access for the public.

The society says the river should be a focus for tourism, but suffers from a lack of joined-up thinking and under-investment.

• Why not post your photographs of Norwich’s rivers to our iwitness website? The website, at www.iwitness24.co.uk allows people to share their pictures, videos and words.

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