Campaign not to build houses on Norwich site

Shaun LowthorpeA disused sports and leisure site in Lakenham should not be turned over to housing - according to campaigners who want it brought back in to community use.Shaun Lowthorpe

A disused sports and leisure site in Lakenham should not be turned over to housing - according to campaigners who want it brought back in to community use.

Yesterday was the final day of a consultation about Norwich City Council's site allocations document - which looks ahead to how around 170 potential sites across the city should be redeveloped in future.

But fresh concerns are being raised about a proposal to clear the former Lakenham Sports and Leisure Ground on Cricket Ground Road to make way for new housing.

Residents have been frustrated by the rundown state of the former club, which closed in July 2007 after its owners lost their battle to stop part of the land from being compulsorily purchased by Norfolk County Council to form part of a playing field for the new Lakenham Primary School.

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But Geoff Lowe, chairman of the New Lakenham Residents' Association, said the majority of people did not want to see the area redeveloped.

'We are terribly short of open spaces and it would be really nice to have as a public open area or a play area for younger children,' he said. 'When you look at Lakenham, it's a fairly densely populated area and it would be nice to have some breathing space.'

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Simon Wright, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Norwich South, said he had received 32 objections to the housing idea from residents, who want the derelict brought back in to community use.

'Residents are appalled by the state that the ground is now left in and do not want the increasingly dilapidated appearance to be used as a reason for developing the site,' he said. 'The grounds should be kept for the benefit of the community and brought back in to use.'

Families had asked for the pavilion to be listed to protect it from demolition and for green space options to be considered, including a park, community garden, allotment, or even an orchard. They also wanted to preserve the trees and preserve access for walkers and cyclists.

Other Proposals, which have been submitted to the council, include schemes to transform many of the city's car parks into housing developments, and there are also ambitious ideas to create a business park on part of the Anglian Water treatment works, and turn the former Big W site into a concert hall. A scheme to turn earmark land on the City Works depot in Mile Cross for housing is also being mooted.

Following the end of the consultation, the council will decide whether to adopt the suggested uses as part of its next planning blueprint.

Are you concerned about plans in your area? Contact Shaun Lowthorpe on 01603 772471 or email

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