Academy raises fears over skate park plans

Adrian Ball has been appointed as executive principal at Thetford Academy

Adrian Ball has been appointed as executive principal at Thetford Academy - Credit: Archant

The rollercoaster saga of Thetford's proposed skate park has taken another twist after a nearby school raised objections to the plans.

Thetford Academy's principal, Adrian Ball, has written to Breckland Council to raise a host of fears over safety and security at the proposed £100,000 facility in Joe Blunt's Lane.

His letter states: 'While I understand the importance of such a facility and the benefits that it will bring to the local community in terms of additional play areas, prevention of anti-social behaviour in the town centre and a community engagement project, it does threaten to impact upon the Academy in a negative manner and to date these concerns have not been answered appropriately.'

Mr Ball's letter outlines four areas of concern for the school.

These include an increased risk of 'intrusions' and vandalism at the school site by those using the skate park and the risks of the school's car park being used for access.

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He also states that there will be an expectation for academy staff to monitor the site at the end of the school day, which will limit the work they can do with pupils.

Mr Ball said the site can succeed if it is 'managed effectively'.

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Only last week, the plans, entered by Thetford Town Council, were defended by residents and young people in a surge of letter writing.

That followed objections to plans being raised by Croxton councillors, with the planned park set to lie within the village's boundaries.

Corinne Fulford, chairman of Thetford Town Council's Amenities Committee, said she was 'disappointed' with the objection, with the school seemingly supporting the plans initially.

'The Academy had been 100 per cent behind the proposed skate park application, seeing it as a very positive improvement for the youth of our town.

'However, despite having two meetings with the new Principal, Thetford Town Council have yet to receive the full concerns that have now been published on the planning website.

'With 25 per cent of the population of Thetford being under the age of 16 and all the national concerns with regards to promotion of physical activity, this community project couldn't be more timely,' she said.

The plans will go before Breckland's planning committee on February 17.

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