Owner of footpath plagued by litter problem is finally found
- Credit: Noah Vickers
The owner of a popular footpath which has become plagued by persistent littering has finally been identified.
Safari Way in Dereham had, in recent years, become a contentious hotspot for littering.
But a registration error meant the landowner responsible for the path, which runs from South Green to the BP garage off London Road, could not be found.
The situation ultimately left local councils and litter picking groups frustrated in their bid to properly clean up the land.
But now, Breckland Council has revealed the owner has not only been tracked down, but agreed to maintain the area.
Among those to embark upon a mission to resolve the long-running saga was Gordon Bambridge, the council's cabinet member for waste and the environment.
He said: "This has been a very complicated legal and land search, but I am delighted to announce the issue has now been resolved.
"Local Safari Way residents will now see the area maintained by the private landowner.
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"This is a great outcome for residents and the wider Dereham area, ensuring a better environment for everyone."
Safari Way, located next to the derelict former Crane Fruehauf depot site, had found itself at the centre of a long-winded legal debate regarding its ownership.
In the meantime, organisations including Dereham Community Litter Pick Group took it upon themselves to keep it as clean as possible.
Their efforts were largely focused on the adjacent ditch, where litter would often end up.
But, having agreed to clear Safari Way of litter, the newly-identified owner will now put in place a scheduled cleaning programme.
Harry Clarke, a Dereham town and district councillor who had long campaigned for action, said it was pleasing to see a resolution reached.
He added: "The trouble with somewhere with Safari Way is that, when people see rubbish, they are tempted to chuck more down because they think nobody cares about the area.
"I am very pleased this has been resolved, and I am just sorry it has taken such a long time."
Safari Way is named after a Second World War submarine called HMS Safari.
The vessel was built after residents of Dereham raised £250,000 and had distinguished war service.