Bid to breathe new life into woodland marred by drug use and anti-social behaviour
PUBLISHED: 17:07 05 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:35 06 October 2018
Norwich City Council
Improvements are being made at a wooded area on the outskirts of Norwich, in a bid to breathe new life into a green space marred by anti-social behaviour and drug dealing.
Norwich City Council has said the woods at Netherwood Green in Lakenham have become overgrown in recent years, which it claims has resulted in it becoming a problem area for crime.
In a bid to combat this, the council has employed contractors to clear parts of it and has started consulting with the public over its future maintenance.
Keith Driver, city councillor for the Lakenham ward, said: “Work has already been done pulling out shrubs and plans and create a pathway so people can actually walk through the place.
“If we can get it to a point that more people use the area, there will be less anti-social behaviour because those people would know they can be seen.”
Mike Austin, Norfolk Police inspector for South Norwich, said anti-social behaviour welcomed to efforts to address the problem.
He said: “We have been made aware of a number of reports of drug-taking in the area, which you do sometimes find with wooded areas where there is shelter or places to hide.
“I therefore welcome the council looking to make the area more open and any address the issue.”
Having carried out some work already, the city council is now looking to the public to say how they would like to see the area used in future - while also issuing a rallying cry for volunteers to protect it.
Mr Driver said: “What we really want to happen is the community get involved and my feeling is that these types of areas should be taken over by them in the long run, which is what we want to do here.”
Matthew Packer, city council cabinet member for parks and open spaces, said: “We hope to hear from as many residents as possible about the proposed plans and how residents would like to get more involved in the management of this lovely green space.”
The consultation is open until Wednesday and can be found on the city council’s website.
While people living on Netherwood Green have welcomed the site being given some attention, some doubts were raised about whether members of the public would be willing to chip in further down the line.
Patrick Frary, 60, said: “I do not feel anyone will do anything, so it will just go back to the way it was and anything that has been spent now would be wasted.
“I definitely think there has been problems with drug using in the woods too, although it doesn’t really affect outside of the woods.”
Chris Carr, 78, who lives on the part of Netherwood Green slightly further from the main woods, said he would be keen for trees close to his house to be removed.
He said: “The trees along the fence near my house have been blocking our light for years. If they can remove trees in one part, surely they can in another.”
Roy Chapman, 72, who has lived on Netherwood Green for 37 years said: “I think part of the area could be better used as a nice sitting area for families.”