The River Wensum, which runs through the heart of Norwich, is benefitting from local partnership working led by a strategy and delivery plan.
The River Wensum Strategy Partnership set out its key priorities in its strategy document, which was adopted in 2018, and has now produced a comprehensive delivery plan to support this. This plan sets out projects prioritised for delivery over the next few years, including improving access to the river and enhancing biodiversity in the river corridor.
The partnership is led by Norwich City Council, and includes representation from the Broads Authority, Norfolk County Council, the Norwich Society, the Environment Agency, Norwich BID and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, alongside other key stakeholders.
Despite the challenges of the last couple of years, mainly due to the pandemic, some of the projects set out in the strategy have been successfully delivered.
These include installing new pontoons for river access for canoe users and other water activities and an eel pass, both at New Mills.
The eel pass will enable access to further reaches of the river where previously the New Mills sluice was a barrier to eel migration. The status of the European eel is still regarded as “critical” and since the pass was installed the Environment Agency have seen an increase in the number of eels observed, as well as sightings further upstream on the River Tud; the first to be found in that location for nearly 40 years.
The Barn Road entrance to the Marriott’s Way has also seen some changes, including overgrown shrubbery being cut back so path visibility is improved which opens up this important environmental and historic route for pedestrians and cyclists.
Councillor Mike Stonard, chair of the River Wensum Strategy Partnership, said:
“I’m so proud of what the partnership has delivered so far and I’m really excited to see and hear about future improvements along the river.
“The Wensum and adjoining rivers play such an important part in Norwich’s past, present and future with its unique natural and historic environment that it’s essential we preserve it.
“The partnership has worked really hard to deliver these projects alongside their ongoing organisation priorities and with changeable funding and resource challenges.”
The delivery plan will be shared with Norwich City Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday 8 December and you can view all other River Wensum Strategy information and documents on the River Wensum Strategy pages.