Vandals defeat plan for Ormesby community wood

PUBLISHED: 16:57 14 April 2011 | UPDATED: 09:31 15 April 2011

VANDALS have scuppered any hopes of gaining a slice of woodland in Ormesby for the community.

Parish council chairman Geoff Freeman said people protesting about being denied access to the woodland close to Scratby Hall Caravan Park had caused around £1,000 of damage.

The landowner’s agents, he said, were willing to prosecute if the culprits were found and the police were making regular patrols.

Having made some inroads talking to the Woodland Trust, who were keen for the public to prove their support and community backing, Mr Freeman said making any sort of application to take it over would be to condone the criminal damage.

The amount of wire-cutting he said was extensive and probably not the work of one person with 17 lots of dog muck along the nearby public footpath, indicating people wanted a dog toilet not to be close to nature.

He said: “The cost to repair the fence could be as much as a £1,000 plus 10 notices have been removed that were placed there by the land agents.

“They are in contact with the police who are making regular checks on the area to see if they can catch the culprits.”

In a letter from the agents he said they were adamant they had done nothing wrong other than to protect their client’s interest. The public footpath is still available for all to use.

The parish council, which met on Monday, unanimously decided not to approach Norfolk County Council about claiming the land as public because it sent out totally the wrong message to the people who damaged the fence.

Furthermore the agents had made it clear to the chairman in a telephone call prior to the meeting that the situation had gone too far now and there would not be any negotiations over the future access to the land.

Ormesby with Scratby’s annual parish meeting is on May 26 when the subject of footpaths and open spaces in general will be discussed.

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