Planning decision due on Hewett School field developments

Matthew SparkesApplications for two sports developments on the Hewett School's playing field will go to a vote before Norwich City Council's planning committee this week.Matthew Sparkes

Applications for two sports developments on the Hewett School's playing field will go to a vote before Norwich City Council's planning committee this week.

A �2.5m all-weather soccer centre has been proposed, which would be built in collaboration with private firm Goals Soccer Centres.

The company owns more than 30 similar sites around the country, and has applied for permission to create a steel sports pavilion and 10 artificial grass sports pitches with lighting.

The land would remain the property of the school and students would be given free access to the facilities during the day, but the centre would be run as a business.

A further application has also been submitted that would see two hockey pitches built nearby to the football centre.

These would be constructed by Norwich Dragons Hockey Club, and would also be available for use by the school's students.

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The soccer centre would include a car park with 93 spaces, which would be shared with the hockey pitches and would have access from Hall Road.

The applications will go before the planning applications committee on Thursday July 1 at 10am in the Mancroft Room at City Hall in Norwich.

A minister for the Department for Children Schools and Families has given permission for the projects, but they still need the go-ahead from the council before work can begin.

Mike Hardy, president of Norwich Dragons Hockey Club, said the club was 'delighted' with the proposal.

'With the recent closure of sporting facilities in this area of the city, it is great to see a significant investment being made in sport for the Lakenham area,' he said.

'Subject to planning permission and funding, it is hoped that the first of two hockey pitches will be ready for use before the end of 2010.'

Dale Coleman, director of resources at Hewett School, said the schemes could be a 'huge benefit' to the students.

He said that hockey had never been on the curriculum, but could be added if the facility was granted approval.

'In these times of financial constraint it's a little bit of a win-win situation.'

'They're putting up a facility which we as a school have access to at certain times on a free basis.

'We wouldn't be doing anything if we didn't feel it was of benefit to the students and the local community.

'It would be heart-breaking having gone through all these efforts for our students not to have these facilities.'

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