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'Vendetta' claim at Lowestoft play area

PUBLISHED: 10:49 02 October 2009 | UPDATED: 09:32 11 May 2010

A RUNDOWN play area that opened less than a month ago after being trans-formed by a £50,000 grant has been closed suddenly.

Problems with fencing and unforeseen noise from the refurbished hardcourt area at Morton Road, Pakefield, have been highlighted as the reasons for the decision.

A RUNDOWN play area that opened less than a month ago after being trans-formed by a £50,000 grant has been closed suddenly.

Problems with fencing and unforeseen noise from the refurbished hardcourt area at Morton Road, Pakefield, have been highlighted as the reasons for the decision.

But, with many youngsters left without any-where to play, members of Morton Road hardcourt steering committee were claiming a “vendetta” this week.

The community play area sparked controversy earlier this year as more than 100 people signed a petition after Suffolk County Council announced plans to reopen the site, between Morton Road and St George's Road.

Despite the opposition, it was unveiled after more than a year of hard work by children and residents during an official ceremony led by Lowestoft mayor Malcolm Cherry on September 6.

The hardcourt area has been used as a safe local play space, with new fencing and basketball equipment paid for by the £50,000 Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) Play-builder grant, via Suffolk County Council.

Now, the steering group set up to look after the area and oversee the space has been told that the area will have to remain locked.

“All the children now have nowhere to go and they are left to walk the streets,” said Sue Harvey, of the committee.

“Considering the children are at school during the day, they are only in there from 4pm to dusk during the week

and on Saturdays and Sundays.

“Now the facility will now be closed for the foreseeable future. We think there is a vendetta, and all that money and hard work has gone to waste.”

The hardcourt area had previously been closed in 2005, and now the steering group is planning to hold a meeting next week to discuss the situation.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Waveney District Council said its environmental health team had been asked to investigate the issue of noise emanating from the area.

“It is important to stress that this not a problem of general playground noise but rather a sound that is apparent when ball games take place in the caged area,” the spokesman said.

“As it is likely to cause a statutory nuisance, the council is duty bound to investigate.

“There has been no order to close the play area, rather a recommendation to Suffolk County Council that measures

are taken while further investigations are made.

“This is something that could not have been anticipated, but now that we are aware it is important that a solution is found.

“In the meantime, Suffolk County Council, in consultation with stake-holders and the community, is considering how the court may be reopened for specific, supervised activities while a long-term solution is sought.”

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