Play area planned for HMP Bure at former RAF Coltishall site

A bid has been submitted for a play area at HMP Bure

A bid has been submitted for a play area at HMP Bure - Credit: Colin Finch

A regional children's charity that works with prisoners' families has filed an application to build a playground at a Norfolk jail.

It has been lodged for HMP Bure by Ormiston Families, which intends to pay for, run and maintain the facility if it gets the go-ahead.

If councillors give the green light, however, the charity will need to raise more funds for the project, which it hopes will come to fruition 'before the winter months'.

In the application to North Norfolk District Council, the charity's Fran Shimi says: 'Travelling to HMP Bure is not easy. Most child visitors have to use public transport. Many leave home at 5am and do not get home until 10pm.

'To have a safe haven here to play really will make a difference to their wellbeing.'

HMP Bure, which is on the site of the former RAF Coltishall, is a sex offenders' prison, and the application says that has been taken into account.

It says: 'We have given consideration to the vicinity of the play area due to the nature of the offenders housed at HMP Bure, and one side of the fencing will be a higher chalkboard fence to assist with shielding the view from the wings.

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'We also discussed the use of film being placed on the window of the cells that are closest to the area to obscure the view.'

If the application is successful, the charity will be looking to raise further money to pay for the scheme, which is estimated to cost between £11,500 and £13,500.

'So far I have raised approximately £6,000 by holding events in our local community, by running the London Marathon and via a generous donation,' Mrs Shimi says in the application.

'We also have a promise of a further £1,000 from Norfolk County Council, and have written to other local organisations for support with funding. But I need a bit more.'

To make a donation to support the work of Ormiston Families, visit www.ormiston.org or call 01473 724517.