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Cabinet members rubbish suggestion small parks could be sold off by council

PUBLISHED: 20:00 10 October 2018 | UPDATED: 20:20 10 October 2018

Denise Carlo, leader of the Green group at Norwich City Council. Pic: Denise Bradley.

Denise Carlo, leader of the Green group at Norwich City Council. Pic: Denise Bradley.

©Archant Photographic 2008

Fears Norwich City Council could be prepared to sell off some of its open spaces have been resoundingly dismissed by its cabinet.

Norwich City Council has dismissed fears open spaces in the city could be sold off  Photo: Bill SmithNorwich City Council has dismissed fears open spaces in the city could be sold off Photo: Bill Smith

Members of the cabinet, its leader and its chief executive all distanced themselves from suggestions the area’s smallest parks and open spaces could be sold.

The concerns were raised by Denise Carlo, leader of the Norwich Green group, at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening.

Her fears came from a workshop attended by councillors, members of the council’s parks team and stakeholders at which general ideas about open spaces were shared.

Ms Carlo said the idea of selling small spaces was “floated” by an independent consultant.

She said: “It is so important to keep all of our open spaces for the benefit of residents.”

However, Paul Kendrick, cabinet member for resources, said the measure had merely been mentioned as something that had happened elsewhere, not something that would be taken on in Norwich.

Alan Waters, leader of the council, added: “What I would not want is the assumption that if a consultant says something is an option we are considering it.

“We know the value of our open spaces and are in a very different situation to those that have considered this.”

Laura McGillivray, City Hall’s chief executive, also distanced herself from the possibility.

She said: “Our motivation in terms of balancing our budget is to keep services at the same standards for as long as possible.

“It is not in our lexicon to consider selling off open spaces for this reason.”

Mike Stonard, cabinet member for sustainable growth, added it was a case of “nothing to see here” in terms of the sale of open spaces.

He said: “It would be sad if misinformation were to lead to the public being warned about something we are not planning to do.

“In the past we have had campaigns against things when we never planned to do them in the first place.

“I therefore feel it is important the public know we do not have this plan.”

Ms Carlo said the council distancing itself from the consultant’s suggestion was what she had hoped to hear.

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