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'Children left with ripped clothes and scratches' - town's battle with overgrown bramble bush

PUBLISHED: 14:13 15 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:31 15 November 2019

Nicola Watkins, childminder and resident of Raleigh Way for 15 years, and Timothy Bullett in the alleyway before Network Rail cut it back. They used to spend their free time cutting back the brambles and nettles to make it safe for the community. Photo: Timothy Bullett

Nicola Watkins, childminder and resident of Raleigh Way for 15 years, and Timothy Bullett in the alleyway before Network Rail cut it back. They used to spend their free time cutting back the brambles and nettles to make it safe for the community. Photo: Timothy Bullett

Timothy Bullet

Families say years of "nasty scratches" from a giant bramble bush in an overgrown alleyway have come to an end after it was finally cut back.

Nicola Watkins, childminder and resident of Raleigh Way for 15 years, and Timothy Bullett in the alleyway before Network Rail cut it back. They used to spend their free time cutting back the brambles and nettles to make it safe for the community. Photo: Timothy BullettNicola Watkins, childminder and resident of Raleigh Way for 15 years, and Timothy Bullett in the alleyway before Network Rail cut it back. They used to spend their free time cutting back the brambles and nettles to make it safe for the community. Photo: Timothy Bullett

The alleyway, off Raleigh Way in Thetford, leads to a footbridge over the railway and is a well-used route close to Admirals Academy.

But people living locally say, for years, children have been hurt by its overgrown brambles and nettles.

Despite Breckland Council's attempts to regularly cut it back from the chain link fence, Timothy Bullet, who lives in Raleigh Way, decided to go to the root of the problem and contacted Network Rail, which owns the land where the bush originally grew.

Now, after years of scrapes and cuts, Network Rail has taken action.

The Thetford community say they have spent years battling against a giant bramble bush, in an alleyway off Raleigh way, which has left children, dog walkers and passersby with a few nasty scratches. Photo: Timothy BullettThe Thetford community say they have spent years battling against a giant bramble bush, in an alleyway off Raleigh way, which has left children, dog walkers and passersby with a few nasty scratches. Photo: Timothy Bullett

Mr Bullett said: "I feel a sense of relief that the problem has been addressed after all these years.

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"I'm just pleased for everybody who can safely use the alleyway and not worry about getting nasty scratches and cuts from the thick brambles."

A Network Rail spokesman said: "Network Rail was only too happy to address local residents' concerns about the bramble bush near Raleigh Way. We are committed to cooperating with people living near railway owned land and property."

The Thetford community say they have spent years battling against a giant bramble bush, in an alleyway off Raleigh way, which has left children, dog walkers and passersby with a few nasty scratches. Photo: Timothy BullettThe Thetford community say they have spent years battling against a giant bramble bush, in an alleyway off Raleigh way, which has left children, dog walkers and passersby with a few nasty scratches. Photo: Timothy Bullett

Nicola Watkins is a childminder and has lived in Raleigh Way for 15 years. She said the large brambles have always caused problems and was surprised Mr Bullet managed to resolve the problem.

In the past, Ms Watkins, Mr Bullet and Nick Georgiou all took turns in cutting the bush back from the alleyway to make it safe for users.

Ms Watkins said: "I have been a childminder for 18 years, sometimes taking 10 or 15 children to school. They end up having their clothes, bags and skin cut and then go into class bleeding, screaming and in bits. It has been horrendous over the years.

"It's a community area everyone uses, children, adults, dogs, families, we all walk that way and I have complained for years but Tim has finally managed to get something done for all of us.

"Network Rail has done a massive job by cutting back the bramble bush two metres back from the fence and we are really truly grateful."

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