Jubilee woodland gift chance for Ormesby and Scratby

A SLICE of woodland at the centre of an angry access row could be gifted to villagers enabling more people to enjoy the area and opening the way for grants and improvements.

People living in Ormesby and Scratby took matters into their own hands vandalising fences and ignoring “keep out” signs that sprang up suddenly at the site, popular with families and dog walkers who had walked there unhindered for at least 15 years.

Rumour and speculation were rife in the villages over why the land was suddenly off-limits and about who owned it - the ensuing vandalism roundly condemned by the parish council.

This week however it emerged that energy company NPower was prepared to give most of it to the community and that the parish council wanted to call it Jubilee Wood in honour of the Queen’s diamond milestone next year.

Spokesman Kelly Brown said the company had bought the land around 13 years ago when they were laying a pipeline to allow gas to flow from Bacton to the new power station at Great Yarmouth.

“The area we are discussing is a field and some woodland. It is fair to say as a company we have not utilised and have not needed it. About a year ago we started looking at different areas and what we should be doing with it. We were looking to sell at least the field and then the idea was that the woodland could be fenced off and used.

“We are not at the end of any negotiations but it would be really nice if we could look at this woodland area being given across to the parish council.

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“The issue is the adjoining field and there needs to be clear separation between the areas. We want to give something to the community, we do not want them to vandalise it. People need to respect that there will be boundaries in place because we cannot sell land that is not secure. We would really like people’s support on this.”

Parish council chairman Geoff Freeman urged people to keep out of the land adjoining the caravan park and Scratby Hall that was up for sale.

He said: “I think it’s a wonderful thing for the parish because it opens up a lovely piece of woodland. There’s not much woodland in Norfolk and this is deciduous. With help from The Woodland Trust we can make it really lovely. Now it is up to the people of the village to act and behave responsibly, not allowing their dogs to foul and respecting the fact that the other piece of land is not public.”