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Norwich castle gardens to get £80,000 revamp

PUBLISHED: 11:44 30 March 2010 | UPDATED: 09:15 02 July 2010

Early artist's impression of what part of the revamped castle gardens could look like

Early artist's impression of what part of the revamped castle gardens could look like

Peter Walsh

These artist's impressions give an early glimpse of what part of the Castle Gardens could look like after the completion of a major revamp to crack down on anti-social behaviour.

These artist's impressions give an early glimpse of what part of the Castle Gardens could look like after the completion of a major revamp to crack down on anti-social behaviour.

The city centre Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel (SNAP) has come up with a list of recommendations for the improvement of the area, which has become a magnet for anti-social behaviour, after receiving several complaints from adults about the behaviour of youngsters.

The plans, which were devised with the help of youngsters to help allow adults and teenagers to enjoy the area together without feeling threatened, have moved a step closer after securing £84,000 worth of funding.

The project, which includes more seating and moving existing seating away from the main pathways as well as putting a cover over the Whiffler Theatre, has been allocated £64,000 from developers building on King Street in an agreement called a section 106.

A further £20,000 will come from the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) which includes Norwich City Council, Norfolk County Council, the police, fire service, and NHS Norfolk.

Julian Foster, chairman of the city centre SNAP said the project will help improve the lives of everyone who uses the area - whether they are young or old.

He said: “The main aim is to reduce crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour and improve the gardens by designing out all the features that we felt were the cause of that behaviour.”

As part of the plans more seating is to be introduced on the grassy banks of the gardens which have “disintegrated” as people have walked over them.

He said: “We've asked for some additional wooden seating, which has been approved, which will stretch most of the way up the bank with steps leading around it.”

Mr Foster said granite seating, which currently appears in the middle of the pathway, will be moved to near the lift shaft in the gardens to appease concerns from older people about youths gathering at the seats “spilling out into the pathway” and making it intimidating to pass.

Hostile plants will also be introduced to parts of the gardens where youngsters can climb walls and get onto the mound which has itself been the subject to a restoration programme after falling into disrepair.

Another major aspect of the improvements of the castle gardens will be the addition of a striped “awning-style” roof structure to the open-air Whiffler Theatre.

Mr Foster said: “It will provide a shelter for people using the gardens when it's raining. Currently people shelter near the lift shaft going up to the castle and what we've found is that when people hang around there for a long time there's been a tendency to spray the walls with graffiti.”

Mr Foster said the final plans for the project would be submitted at the end of the month.

What do you think? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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