When residents complained, the scheme was put on hold and a full consultation was held which showed that local people wanted to keep the green and the football pitches. The council have now done a full u-turn and the play equipment will be installed elsewhere – this time with full consultation.
This episode is a disgrace and local kids have had their play area and football pitches destroyed just as the summer holidays have got going. The council said to local councillors that they had carried out full consultation but they had not. Now they are even saying that planning permission may be required. What a disaster from beginning to end. Why are City Hall so afraid of asking residents what they think about these plans? One local person told me that the only consultation he saw was a poster up in the village hall. It isn’t good enough and now the village green has been ruined for the summer.
Now the community faces a second blow as the works site for City Care to replace local tenants kitchens has been placed on the green space at nearby Waldergrave.
With the news that Waldergrave cannot be used, local people must be asking themselves where they can go to have a kick-about. Have the council decided to cancel summer for some reason?
If we don't get assurances of a better service, this is an issue I will take to the next full meeting of Norwich City Council. This has been an error from beginning to end but we must learn something from this. Consultation must be real and extensive – no more half measures. We can never allow this to happen again.
The statement from the Council to residents, issued by Paul Nicholson said:
Basically the problem at Clover Hill stems from the fact the we should have undertaken a much more in depth consultation with local residentsbefore progressing this project. We had intended to erect a play areathat would help to serve a lot of local children and this seemed like agood location. Our project officer was very keen to respond to requeststo erect something quickly so that the children could have a new playarea in time for the Summer. Unfortunately, this haste meant that people like yourselves were not fully consulted, for this I apologise.When we realised that there would be some opposition to the play area,we immediately asked for the work to be halted until we completed a door to door questionaire to Peverell Road area residents. The replies that we've had show that there are significant concernsabout using the village green to site a permanent play area andtherefore this work will stop until we discuss the matter with localcouncillors and community representatives. In addtion, I believe that planning permission would be needed to continute to build the play area.This is something that we would be unlikely to get in light of the correspondance that we've received. As a result my advice to officersand councillors is that we should look to use our resources on othersites and to leave the village green intact.We'll put back the village green as it was - work in progress to dothis. I'm very sorry for the trouble this has caused everyone and wewill make sure that, in future, we undertake much more fuller consultations in Norwich than we have done previously in order toprevent a similar situation occuring.Once we've finally agreed what to do next I'll ensure that all local residents are kept informed and they are asked for their opinions onfuture play areas that are proposed.
Well Done City Council for putting your hands up on this issue, but we really must do better in future.