Norwich has enough sports centres - claim

Matthew SparkesLakenham residents have spoken out against plans to create a new sports centre on the Hewett High School playing field.Matthew Sparkes

Lakenham residents have spoken out against plans to create a new sports centre on the Hewett High School playing field.

The school, which is one of the city's largest, has outlined plans to develop a �2.5m all-weather football centre in partnership with Goals Soccer Centres.

The sports group has over 30 similar centres across the country and the plans include a sports pavilion and bar, as well as ten artificial grass pitches with lighting on its field at the corner of Hall Road and Lakenham Road.

During the day the school would be able to use the new pitches but they would also be used by the public.

Backers claim that the venture would create the equivalent of 20 full-time jobs.

An application seeking planning consent for the scheme has been lodged with the city council but many residents have submitted letters of complaint.

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The Residents Against Inappropriate Development group, which was formed in 2004 to object to plans to build a nursing home and private racquets club on the Hewett playing fields has also submitted an objection.

In a letter of complaint sent to Norwich City Council the group claims that the field is a valued space for the community and regularly used for sporting and social activities.

It points out that it is also used by pupils from Notre Dame School, which does not have its own field.

Residents near the school have also complained about the scheme.

Lyn Holt, of Harford Manor Close, wrote: 'If the aim is to provide sporting facilities what is the need for a bar? Particularly one that is open to all-comers.'

She also questioned whether there would be a charge at a car park on the site and, if so, where the money would go.

'In other words is this simply another hypocritical money-spinner under the guise of sport?'

David Mark Lawson, who lives on Harford Manor Close in a house that backs onto the playing field, said: 'This is not appropriate for a residential area.'

'Norwich is more than adequately provided with sports centres.'

He also expressed concerns than an increase in traffic would cause more pollution in the city and lead to congestion in around the school.

'Furthermore, the Hewett playing fields represent an important green space for wildlife in the city including birds, animals such as hedgehogs and bats, amphibians, as well as countless insect species,' he said.

Rebecca Farwell said that Cecil Road, where she lives, and Hall Road already suffer from 'terrible traffic jams' and that the development would add to the problem.

She also objected to a licensed bar being built on the site and said that it had been described as a 'sports pavilion' which had concealed its true purpose from locals.

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