Council to take action against B&Q over owed land in Norwich

An unusual legal battle for a piece of deserted inner-city green space is in the offing after a Norfolk council decided to take action against a national hardware store this afternoon.

Broadland District Council's Planning Committee have agreed to enforcement action being taken against B&Q to secure the transfer of land behind its Hellesdon store on Boundary Road.

The council granted B&Q planning permission to develop the former Eastern Electricity Board site in 1997 and B&Q agreed to lay out two hectares of land behind the store as public open space.

It also agreed to pay the authority �44,000 for the costs of maintaining it, the deal being agreed under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act.

The land and money has never changed hands between the two parties though and there is currently no public access to the large piece of land, which provides access between Mountfield Avenue and the northern end of the B&Q access road which runs along side the store, providing a link to Boundary Road.

Last month, Broadland's legal advisors wrote to the company stating that it had 21 days to comply with the agreement before it pursued the matter through the courts, and no response was received.

The enforcement action was overwhelmingly accepted by the planning committee yesterday.

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The authority have not yet settled on what they will use the land for but Hellesdon South East councillor Peter Lancombe strongly urged the committee to claim the land and then decide just before the vote was held.

He said: 'We must not let this opportunity slip through our fingers. Hellesdon is the most deficient parish in the district in terms of public open space provision and this land certainly offers opportunities to change that.'