Revealed: New country park could be created on outskirts of Norwich
Broadland District Council
A new country park could take shape on the outskirts of Norwich, after council bosses paid £700,000 to snap up almost 140 acres of land.
Council leaders hope the new park, between Felthorpe and Horsford, will encourage people in and around the city to enjoy nature closer to home.
Broadland District Council negotiated with the landowners of Houghen Plantation to buy the site earlier this year.
The plantation is next to acres of common land and the council believes it can create a park comparable to the popular Whitlingham Country Park.
The council has £1m to spend on it, thanks to money generated by business rates, the community infrastructure levy and contributions from developers.
A formal car park will need to be created - which would need planning permission - and charges from that would help provide revenue for the free park.
Annie Sommazzi, infrastructure delivery officer at Broadland District Council, said the park would feature walking routes and cycling routes.;
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She said the different types of terrain - including fenland, grazing land and woodland - should make it a good draw for nature lovers.
She said: "Within time, we'd like to see it comparable to Whitlingham in terms of quality and offer, but a different sort of park."
Shaun Vincent, leader of Broadland District Council, said: "It's the perfect location to expand our green infrastructure, but it's so much more than that.
"It's about people having access to the countryside. We talk about the homes we are building, but this is where we are protecting the existing environment."
The park has yet to be given a name, but the council is hoping for a soft launch of it in April or May.
Initial work would include improving paths, signposting, providing an interpretation board.
But the park would be further developed over the next 10 years, potentially with a woodland play area and various activities.
Liberal Democrat Dave Thomas, who represents Horsford and Felthorpe on Broadland District Council, said: "On paper, it looks like a really good idea and I think it could be win-win.
"There's the potential to have something good there and it's important they keep the parishes and stakeholders involved."