This project started in February 2020 when Rob Bakewell a local resident started arranging litter picking events around the streets of Sewell ward in NR3. It soon became apparent that this was a much bigger project. We started off calling ourselves ‘friends of the Sandy Park‘. However, we soon realised that other parks in the area have also been neglected and need some TLC and needed a more generic name. Pockthorpe seems to fit well as it’s not linked to NCC or any political party. We want this project inviting for everyone.
We have had various ups and downs throughout this project, like storm Dennis and the world global pandemic Covid-19.
Sandy park on Gerturde Road
The area around the Sandy Park on Gertrude Road used by local children was awful. This park is the go to for children at Mousehold school and George White. The woodland slope between the park and the George White school was full of I estimate seven skips worth of built-up fly-tipping. Interestingly a lot of items were shoe factory related, building materials from the knocked down council garages that were previously on the St. Martins hostel site and household items.
We sadly found a lot of very old drug paraphernalia. The drug paraphernalia highlighted that our NCC don’t offer a needle sweeping service. They collect needles within one hour if you can give them a pinpoint location, but won’t look in the wider area. The sofas and mattresses we dragged up from the slope were down to the springs. This was an extremely time-consuming job and quite unpleasant some days.
Here we hit another setback when we quickly discovered this piece of land is actually leased to George White School and not County Council. Our local council don’t collect from private land, however because we found the dangerous fly-tipping near a play park and the school being unaware the land was theirs our Norwich City Council made an exception. It would seem that when the County Council handed over the playing field to the school when Charlie Buck’s horse riding school closed in the 90’s, the land boundary wasn’t made clear or this information just simply got lost over the years.
Going forward we are in touch with the school’s trust to come up with a solution for this piece of land. So many children have now enjoyed running through this little urban woodland and the soil is able to breathe again now that the fly-tipping has been removed. Local residents are enjoying sowing wildflower seeds to the areas of land which have been suffocated with fly-tipping for over 20 years.
Better together grant
We acquired a grant from Better Together to buy litter pickers, wildflower seeds, bird boxes and more for the community, which the local people came together to build and plant. The park and surrounding area are now well-used and looked after by the local community. Follow their Facebook page here.
If you would like to get involved with more grassroots projects like this please don’t hesitate to get in touch.