Residents' anger over gas company ring fencing green space

The fenced off area at Boyd Avenue. 

The fenced off area at Boyd Avenue. - Credit: Submitted

Residents of a Dereham estate have expressed their frustration over the setting up of a gas works site on their communal green space.

Barriers were set up at Boyd Avenue, in Toftwood, on Thursday evening, and have been in place since. 

Cadent, a company managing the UK’s largest gas distribution network, formed the enclosure, within which they have been storing equipment and dumping earth from gas works they are carrying out in neighbouring streets. 

By Monday, residents had formed a blockade of cars to prevent access to the green, because they did not believe the company had the right to use their green as storage space. 

A sign set up by Cadent lists a permit number

A sign set up by Cadent lists a permit number - Credit: Submitted

Resident Iris Tuttle said: “In the school holiday, it’s our green, where the kids play.”

Ms Tuttle said workmen told her there was nowhere else they could store their materials.

In a letter to the town council, which does not own the land, Ms Tuttle wrote: “There has been no consultation with local residents who this affects nor has there been any notification from the council or anyone else to give an indication as to what is going on and how long for…”

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A Cadent spokesperson said: “We are currently carrying out essential work in the area until September 9 as part of our Mains Replacement Programme, replacing the existing iron gas pipes with new plastic pipes, which will future-proof our network and keep the gas flowing to Norfolk.
“Following feedback from the community, we are now looking for an alternative site to store our materials and are working with the local authority to arrange this.”

A lorry dumps earth onto the green at Boyd Avenue.

A lorry dumps earth onto the green at Boyd Avenue. - Credit: Submitted

A spokesperson for Breckland District Council, who own the land, said: “Cadent recently requested access to land on Boyd Avenue in Dereham to enable essential work on gas pipelines.”

“We have granted permission to avoid any unnecessary disruption to local utility services, however to maintain public safety it has been necessary for Cadent to temporarily ringfence some space for equipment and works.”

The spokesperson said the council were informed of the works needing to take place at the start of last week and that it was Cadent’s responsibility to inform residents that the land was going to be used as storage space for the works.