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Planners to decide on Inspiration Trust’s bid for new school sports hall in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 13:32 07 October 2017 | UPDATED: 13:32 07 October 2017

Hewett Academy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Hewett Academy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Planners are to decide on an academy trust’s vision for a new sports hall which is set to be used by a string of Norwich schools.

Jane Austen College in Norwich. Picture: Angela Sharpe Jane Austen College in Norwich. Picture: Angela Sharpe

The Inspiration Trust has lodged a bid with Norwich City Council for a new sports hall at its Hewett Academy, on Cecil Road, and the proposal, which planners have recommended for approval, is due to go to planning committee on Thursday.

The standalone centre will include a four-court hall and changing rooms, and will be used for badminton, basketball, volleyball, indoor cricket and trampolining.

Though the centre - which will replace a smaller hall - will be at Hewett, it is funded by a government grand aid to provide pupils at Jane Austen College, another trust school, with sports facilities.

The college, on Colegate, was opened in a former shoe factory in 2014 and, planning documents say, “lacked a sports hall”.

The Hewett Academy. Picture: ANTONY KELLY The Hewett Academy. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The trust and government have since decided Hewett is the best site for the facility.

Off-site pupils, including those from Charles Darwin Primary, would be bussed in, leading to about four trips a day.

The plans have been met with some objection, with six letters of opposition raising concerns including light pollution and the impact on traffic. One resident living near the school suggested a 20mph limit on Cecil Road.

Inspiration Trust spokesperson James Goffin said: “We are pleased that council officers have recommended approval for the new sports hall, which will replace the existing dated facilities with a new four-court sports centre.

“Jane Austen College students already regularly play sport at the Hewett Academy and this new investment will further improve the facilities available to both schools.

“We also hope to make it available to other nearby schools like Charles Darwin Primary and the new Wherry School.”

Earlier this year, the Hewett Academy announced its sixth form will no longer provide A-levels and would focus on a BTEC in sport and exercise science.

“Maximising the use of the current on-site sporting facilities will be important to the academy in the future,” documents say.

They also say that it is envisaged the centre would be “open for weekend and evening community use”.

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