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Pakefield residents oppose play area

PUBLISHED: 08:39 25 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:36 05 July 2010

A £50,000 scheme to transform a run-down site near Lowestoft into a community play area has been met with opposition from neighbours.

More than 100 people have signed a petition calling for Suffolk County Council to rethink plans to reopen the hard-court site between Morton Road and St George's Road, in Pakefield.

A £50,000 scheme to transform a run-down site near Lowestoft into a community play area has been met with opposition from neighbours.

More than 100 people have signed a petition calling for Suffolk County Council to rethink plans to reopen the hard-court site between Morton Road and St George's Road, in Pakefield.

The council has secured a £50,000 government grant to turn the site into a play and social area for schools, youth clubs and sports teams with hard courts for ball games, a seating area and goals.

But people who live nearby have said that the hard courts were closed because they became a hub of anti-social behaviour, and they are worried that the same thing will happen again.

Rosemary Eastwood, of St George's Road, said: “If all the council is going to do is re-lay the play area then we will be back to where we were with anti-social behaviour and structural damage being done to the houses.”

The concerned residents have now been backed by Waveney MP Bob Blizzard, who said that neighbours were worried to hear that the site will be unsupervised and open for all to use.

He said: “This is a recipe for trouble. Local residents are right to be concerned. This area squeezed between people's houses would become a magnet for anti-social behaviour, which would put children off playing there and be a real nuisance for residents.

“Nobody wants to prevent children's play, but there are acres of open space for kids to have fun on only a short distance away.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “It is a great pity that this excellent, promising scheme has become controversial locally. Local staff have listened carefully to residents, with changes to the scheme following the meeting at Morton Road Youth Club on January 22, for example.

“The new scheme will be very different and much more positive than what was built before, let alone the waste area that is there now. I hope local people will come to understand the proposals fully and support them.”

The spokesman added: “Residents have been canvassed door-to-door and all say that the site should be used positively. There is some concern over noise from play, but we hope to be able to minimise the effects.

“This site has been used for play for many years, so the benefits for local people and their families should outweigh legitimate but avoidable concerns.”

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