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New forest school could see yurts and alpacas in Norfolk village

PUBLISHED: 20:22 06 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:17 09 July 2019

Hingham Primary School open their new woodland and forest school area.  Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018

Hingham Primary School open their new woodland and forest school area. Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434

Plans have been submitted for a new woodland school in a Norfolk town, complete with outdoor classrooms, yurt accommodation and a herd of alpacas.

Sir Robert Hitcham's Primary School has begun Forest School lessons.

Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Sir Robert Hitcham's Primary School has begun Forest School lessons. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

The application, submitted to South Norfolk Council in December last year, requests permission to build the school in a 20 acre wooded area on Long Road, Silfield, near Wymondham.

The applicant, Maurice Briggs of Hargham Road, Attleborough, said the school would provide educational courses for children and older adults with learning difficulties or at risk of social isolation.

He said a total of 30 spaces would be available for students and added the school would: "enable cross generational activities" and "nurture and inspire relationships, confidence and educate on conservation".

The school would follow the model created by the forest school association, which focuses on providing regular, outdoor sessions teaching students about their place in the natural world.

A forest school has been proposed for Long Road, Silfield, near Wymondham. Photo: GoogleA forest school has been proposed for Long Road, Silfield, near Wymondham. Photo: Google

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As well as the forest school, the application lays out plans for a permaculture area, featuring an orchard and vegetable patch, chickens and a herd of six alpacas.

The site would be served by three compost toilets and a hard standing car park area.

The applicant states that all work on the site would be in the interest of the surrounding environment and "minimise impact to neighbours".

However those living nearby have expressed concern about the location of the site and suggested that Long Road would struggle with additional traffic.

Trevor Panter, who lives on Silfield Street, said: "The roads are narrow with blind bends, we have seen increased volumes of traffic in the past which had resulted in driving up the banks and reversing to pass. Not only is this dangerous but it's also disruptive to the residence."

However others in the area have pledged their support to the school, including Nicholas Crowe from Wymondham, who has worked in mental health for 45 years.

He said: "This development addresses the need for a broader approach to education. It allows children to develop and explore their skills and interests in a natural environment. There is nowhere else like this. Being outdoors will have holistic benefit to all adults."

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