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Part of town beauty spot could be sold off

PUBLISHED: 09:29 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:58 30 August 2019

Spring Walk's area behind the resident's homes. Photo: Emily Thomson

Spring Walk's area behind the resident's homes. Photo: Emily Thomson

Emily Thomson (staff)

Anti-social behaviour may cost a Norfolk community a scenic view along a popular public walk if a sell-off goes ahead.

Breckland Councillor Chris Harvey for the Thetford Burrell ward, at Spring Walks, Photo: Emily ThomsonBreckland Councillor Chris Harvey for the Thetford Burrell ward, at Spring Walks, Photo: Emily Thomson

Thetford's Spring Walk is a popular destination for families to visit during the summer months, to get out into nature and enjoy some of the town's natural beauty.

But despite its outward appearance, this scenic area has seen an increase in reports of anti-social behaviour.

Now a nearby resident has enquired about buying an area of the publicly owned land from Breckland council, so they no longer have to see this behaviour take place outside of their home.

Chris Harvey, Breckland councillor for the Thetford Burrell ward, said: "When I visited this area with a council officer there were empty cans of alcohol and evidence of drug use. There is definitely anti-social behaviour here. But that isn't the areas fault that is lack of enforcement.

The area of land at Thetford's Spring Walks that may be sold  to a private resident to stop anti-social behaviour. Photo: Emily ThomsonThe area of land at Thetford's Spring Walks that may be sold to a private resident to stop anti-social behaviour. Photo: Emily Thomson

"Selling off public land is not a positive thing, unless it's going to be used for something really worthwhile like play areas or parks and housing then it's okay, but not for the benefit of private house owners, no."

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A Breckland Council spokesman said: "The council has a broad property and land portfolio which is under regular review.

"Council property assets help generate income to support local services, however if an asset is surplus to requirements, we then explore options to dispose of the land or property, with any income from the sale then reinvested into council frontline services."

The area of land at Thetford's Spring Walks that may be sold  to a private resident to stop anti-social behaviour, looking out onto a public footpath. Photo: Emily ThomsonThe area of land at Thetford's Spring Walks that may be sold to a private resident to stop anti-social behaviour, looking out onto a public footpath. Photo: Emily Thomson

The area of land in question falls just outside of the old Thetford Paper Mill, St Audrey's, across the river and if it is sold plans to section off the area from the public would go ahead.

Neighbours of the potential buyer, say they support this purchase if it means they don't have to witness anti-social behaviour anymore.

One neighbour said: "People drink there, they smoke there, they get loud sometimes at night and during the day. I have also seen them urinating into the river.

"It would be nice if the buyer was able to fence that off and keep it away especially with little kids in the yard."

Attempts to contact the potential buyer were made.

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