Hundreds call for Earlham school to get its own playing field

A petition signed by almost 800 people, calling for an Earlham school to be given a new playing field, has been handed to council chiefs.

Governors at Henderson Green Primary School say children only have a small patch of grass at the back of the school, yet next door there is space ripe for transformation into playing fields.

Claire Smith, a governor at the Irstead Road school, today presented a petition signed by 778 people, to Derrick Murphy, leader of Norfolk County Council.

She said: 'I understand Norfolk County Council is about to acquire some derelict land next to the school that it intends to turn into a playing field.

'I believe this should be a priority in order for the school to meet statutory requirements for a playing space for Key Stage Two children.'

Councillors acknowledged the lack of a playing field at Henderson Green was 'a major matter outstanding' from the reorganisation of the school from a first school to a primary school in September 2007.

Council leader Mr Murphy, said there had been negotiations by council officers to purchase the land from the North Earlham Larkman and Marlpit Development Trust.

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But he said: 'The concern we have is the cost of bringing it into use, given the extensive need for rememdiation, even before a playing field can be laid out.'

He said he could not give a date when the money might be available, but said he did not want to the see the scheme's development delayed, so asked for officers to draw up a costed report on options.

Marcus Hemsley, Green county councillor for Wensum ward in Norwich, who has been campaigning for the field, said: 'The leader of the council seemed keen to make this issue a priority.

'Now it is on the agenda, we hope action can be taken swiftly to provide adequate facilities for the local children.'

Do you have a story about your school? Call education reporter Victoria Leggett on on 01362 854703 or email