Trees plan will help to regenerate Norwich

Hundreds of trees could be used to transform derelict parts of the city and areas of wasteland into vibrant green community areas, as part of a new plan by the government to regenerate parts of the country.

As part of its Big Society concept, the government is offering a large number of trees to communities throughout the UK in order to bring people together and help them create green spaces in run-down urban areas.

Norwich is one of a number of places in the country to be offered trees and the King Street area has already been earmarked as an area where they will be planted.

Next month, community groups will be coming together so people can have their say on where in the area, which includes St Anne's Wharf, green spaces should be created.

The meeting, which will take place at Dragon Hall on Thursday, February 17, will include representatives from the Central Norwich Citizens' Forum and The King Street Community Voices Project.

Julian Foster, chairman of the Central Norwich Citizens' Forum, said: 'Many people there feel that, with all the new building that has been going on and the arrival of so many new residents and small businesses, it is high time some new, green spaces were created to encourage communities to come together.

'They are to be asked whether they would want to see wildlife gardens, vegetable and herb gardens, forest gardens, flower gardens or children's playgrounds, and what would be their priorities.

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'Then they will be asked if they would be prepared to help to create whichever they choose using the trees that have been offered by the government.

'City council officers will be on hand to help and advise, but the intention is that the communities themselves will do most of the work and will undertake in the future to continue to maintain what they have created and thus remove the need for public funding to been used.'

Another group involved in the project is the Norwich Society, while it is hoped students from Notre Dame High School, who are near neighbours, and youth members of the Central Norwich Citizens' Forum will also be able to participate.

Mr Foster added: 'I have a feeling of deja vu about this project today since it was many years ago that we first made it clear to the city council that the regeneration of this 'Southern Quarter' of the city required more than mere bricks and mortar to create a community and the need for infrastructure and green lungs would be necessary if the community was to have a heart rather than being a mere accumulation of dormitory buildings.

'I am delighted that we have at last made a start.'

The meeting will take place at Dragon Hall on February 17 from 4pm.

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