Football pitch unused for a year after goal posts stolen

The football pitch and bandstand area on Mousehold Heath where police searched for a man reported to

The Fountain Ground football pitch off Gurney Road in Mousehold Heath, Norwich - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A for-hire football pitch in a Norwich beauty spot is back in use a year after goal posts were stolen from storage.

The Fountain Ground football pitch on Gurney Road, part of Moushehold Heath, wasn't used for competitive 11-a-side games during the last financial year after the theft.

An annual report to the Mousehold Heath Conservators, a group that oversees the 184-acre site, said the posts had been stolen from storage used by city council contractors.

Views from Mousehold Heath. Picture: Danielle Booden

Football pitch on Mousehold Heath went unused for a year after goal posts were stolen - Credit: Danielle Booden

The situation has now been "resolved" for the 2022-23 football season and booking should have returned to normal.

Judith Lubbock, a Liberal Democrat city councillor and conservator, said: "It says they hope the bookings will return to normal this coming season. Don't bank on it, they've probably found somewhere else to go.

"It seems such a pity we weren't more reactive. 

"It seems a shame we weren't quicker getting them back there so we could have some of the season for youngsters to play football."

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This is not the only issue to hit the Fountain Ground this year, with a sinkhole forcing the sports pitch to be fenced off for several weeks.

A survey said this had been due to adverse weather conditions, with heavy rainfall contributing to the collapse. The hole was filled with concrete and soil.

The meeting room at the Fountain Ground changing room was also broken into with the interior door damaged beyond repair.

Police are investigating the incident with new locks and doors installed.

The annual report, which covers April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022, said there has also been an increase in anti-social behaviour in the Mousehold Heath area.

This includes six wooden bollards pulled up around the Britannia Road car park, a no overnight parking sign removed from its fixing and a bench uprooted adjacent to the Mottram Memorial.

The report said: "Unfortunately, from the information we currently have, there are no lines of enquiry which would be proportionate for us to pursue and so this investigation has to be closed."

Fly-tipped rubbish, including garden waste and building materials, had to removed from spots across the site.

Seven cubic metres of fly-tipping and litter were removed from an area adjacent to the back gardens of Lavengro Road.

Woodland walks on Mousehold Heath. Picture: Danielle Booden

Woodland walks on Mousehold Heath. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant 2021

Mousehold Heath is a unique area made up of 184 acres of woodland, heathland and recreational open space within Norwich. 

In Tudor times, Mousehold Heath stretched as far north as South Walsham and was 22 miles round.