Long wait for play area on Watton estate is finally over

Carbrooke parish councillors and residents gather at the new playground on the Blenheim Grange estat

Carbrooke parish councillors and residents gather at the new playground on the Blenheim Grange estate, in Carbrooke. Picture by Debbie Harris. - Credit: Archant

An estate which has been deprived of community facilities since its construction 15 years ago finally has a safe place for its children to play.

The playground on the Blenheim Grange estate, on the outskirts of Watton, was finally completed last week after years of work by local groups to free up the land.

For years Carbrooke Parish Council had been trapped in negotiations with three developers who worked on the estate – Taylor Wimpey, Bloor Homes and Barratt Homes – to organise the release of the patch of land near Lancaster Avenue.

The council was sitting on a pot of money – around £50,000 – for the development of a play area, which it was in danger of losing this year if an agreement was not reached.

However, in April the land was finally transferred from the developers' consortium and work began in conjunction with Action Play and Leisure to install the long-awaited playground.

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Debbie Muller, chair of Carbrooke Parish Council, said the area had attracted 'longing gazes' from the estate's children during its construction.

She said: 'We are over the moon that the play area is now in.

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'After the developers moved off site it took years of negotiation to get it all through. As soon as we got the land, we released the money we had in our account.

'There is something there for everybody, from toddlers to older children, and they've put up a shelter for older children.'

Ms Muller said some residents had suggested that a skate park for the town could also have been built, but said the money had been earmarked for a play area.

Phil Sampher, chair of the Blenheim Grange Residents' Association, said: 'It's finally been finished and the kids are really enjoying it.

'There's a great atmosphere on the estate now. The youngsters are not out in the streets so much now and the atmosphere is completely different.'

The residents association and the parish council are organising an official opening of the play area on June 24 for those who have contributed to the play area, and have also extended an invite to George Freeman MP.

The estate is set to expand further after an application for 106 new homes off Lancaster Avenue was approved by Breckland Council yesterday. However, developers Westmere Homes have pledged to provide a much-need community centre as well.

What do you think of the new playground? Email bethany.whymark@archant.co.uk.

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