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Wildlife and safety concerns row could scupper new woodland paintballing site

PUBLISHED: 11:58 18 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:58 18 March 2020

Concerns over wildlife could scupper plans for a new paintballing centre. Picture: Bill Darnell

Concerns over wildlife could scupper plans for a new paintballing centre. Picture: Bill Darnell

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A new paintballing site which could be coming to woodland near Norwich has sparked a row over whether dangers to wildlife are worth the benefits of encouraging people to get outside.

Concerns over wildlife could scupper plans for a new paintballing centre. Picture: Bill DarnellConcerns over wildlife could scupper plans for a new paintballing centre. Picture: Bill Darnell

Activity firm Skirmish Paintball Games could see its Racecourse Plantation site, in Thorpe St Andrew, transferred to Drayton Drewray, if plans submitted to Broadland Council succeed.

The ten-acres of woodland at Reepham Road, in Norwich, a currently unused private area, could be converted to a paintballing site, with a 25-space car park and portable toilets.

It could also see two full-time and 25 part-time jobs transferred from the former site.

The applicant, Sharon Breeze, from Skirmish Paintball, requested “planning permission for change of use of mixed conifer and deciduous woodland to paintballing due to relocation”.

The application added: “We plan to construct the customer area and game fields from timber [and] to use a portable toilet facility and small container for storage.”

But both objectors and supporters of the proposal have made cases for and against the project.

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One person who objected to the plans stated: “It is very close to a livery yard business where horses are kept. The activity on-site would be disruptive and unsafe.”

While another person who disagreed with the proposals said: “I am totally against this - I’m no party pooper but it will mean more trees cut down and disruption to the main route into the woods.”

They added: “Horses have very good hearing and I think the noise from the paint guns and voices could easily stress and scare them. This could result in a nasty accident.”

Other concerns included risks to wildlife, a lack of space in the car park and an increase in litter. However, several other people left comments praising the scheme.

One person wrote: “This is not a harmful scenario and sure nobody has issues with hobbies or sports other people have.”

While another added: “The safety of all when at these sites is the priority. Games will be paused while make sure that anyone in the area is made aware of the activities and safely escorted away to a safe area before games are resumed.

“I always hear that people want kids to get out more. It’s team building, exercise, making friends, communication, learning, hand eye coordination and more.”

While another person added: “I can’t think of anything better for the area.”

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