Footpath row solution complicated by City of Norwich School academy move

Parents and children who use eaton Golf Club to access local schools have been told they must stop a

Parents and children who use eaton Golf Club to access local schools have been told they must stop and stop using the gate at the back of CNS school.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A high school's application to become an academy has meant Norfolk County Council will no longer be able to spend money to help solve a controversy over a blocked short cut used by primary school children.

Eaton Primary School parents raised concerns about their children's safety after Eaton Golf Club said it would permanently lock a gate at the back of City of Norwich School (CNS) from February, which pupils used to walk to their school.

They now face a longer walk, including a stretch alongside the A11.

There had been hopes a corner of CNS land could be shared between the golf club and school, with a footpath constructed for children to use.

CNS announced last month it had decided to become an academy, breaking away from the local authority.

A council spokesman said: 'The academy order that has been issued for CNS precludes any Norfolk County Council expenditure on resolving the matter.

'We have previously made improvements within the school site to the alternative Branksome Road entrance and we will also be meeting with representatives from Eaton Golf Club and CNS next week to explain our position.

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'As landlord to the academy, we would be willing in principle to approve any local initiative which seeks to improve current arrangements.'

A spokesman for CNS said: 'If CNS does become an academy sponsored by Ormiston, we are confident we can explore further options regarding this route and it would give CNS greater flexibility in terms of our role in a decision. CNS has had some of the works costed and we can potentially see a way forward for opening the gate in the future.

'We are very conscious of the time it has taken, and the community effort to reach this point. We know Ormiston Academies Trust is very supportive in finding a solution to this issue.'

Councillor Brian Watkins, who represents the area on Norfolk County Council, said: 'We are still working very hard to find a solution. I know that parents are clearly very frustrated by the fact they don't see enough progress being made. It's taking longer than perhaps we would like, but rest assured that people are still working as hard as they can to find a solution that's acceptable to all parties, and those discussions are still ongoing.'

Should CNS become an academy? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.