Hellesdon council in talks with landowner about using allotment money

Young people in Hellesdon could soon get more play equipment, after councillors confirmed that they were in talks to free up land in the parish.

Hellesdon Parish Council received about �350,000 from selling its allotment land near the airport about 10 years ago, but most of the money has been sitting in an investment bank ever since.

But members of the public who attended a council meeting at Hellesdon community centre last night were told that the authority was in ongoing talks with a landowner, R G Carter Farms to free up land off Reepham Road to use as a leisure facility.

After the meeting, councillor Shelagh Gurney said: 'The parish council is still committed to providing more recreational amenities for the residents of Hellesdon, and we continue to work towards that goal.'

Hellesdon is short of play equipment compared to other areas of a similar size, and some parishioners have expressed concern that the money that was supposed to be used for youth leisure facilities had not been spent in a decade.

Hellesdon councillor Peter Balcombe said after the meeting that he acknowledged that it had been a long time to keep onto the money.

He said: 'We are short of play space in Hellesdon, but our options to acquire land for it are exceedingly limited, and there's nothing out there other than the land that Carter's Farms owns.

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'We have not lost anything on the money which has been invested, although savings rates have obviously gone down recently.

'I know there are people in Hellesdon who think we ought to spend the money on something else, but land does not depreciate. I know it's a long time ago that we received the money, but the council has tried to progress the matter.'

R G Carter Farms was unavailable for comment.

Have you got a story about your local council? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.