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Lighting up time for youngsters

PUBLISHED: 01:06 20 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:22 03 March 2010

YOUNGSTERS could be slam dunking in style if flood lighting gets the go ahead for a basketball court on an Ipswich estate.

Chantry estate's community court on Hawthorn Drive has been up and running for a year.

YOUNGSTERS could be slam dunking in style if flood lighting gets the go ahead for a basketball court on an Ipswich estate.

Chantry estate's community court on Hawthorn Drive has been up and running for a year.

The freely available facility was well used in the summer because of lighter evenings, but the use of the court has dropped off in the winter because it gets dark earlier.

So the Chantry Youth Development Initiative – part of the Chantry Residents' Association and the group behind the court – are applying for planning permission for flood lighting.

Flood lighting will cost around £12,000 to install and if planning permission is granted money needs to raised, with further funding required to cover running costs.

Residents living directly opposite the court said they would not object to floodlighting because it would help keep youngsters off the street.

William Glading, 68, whose home overlooks the court on Hawthorn Drive, said: "The young kiddies don't bother us. I have seen a few go out and play on their skateboards, running about and playing but there have been no problems.

"I would be in support of the idea of flood lighting. At least it keeps them off the roads. I think the basketball court is good for them."

Pensioner Owen Clements, 70, agreed: "Having flood lighting would make no difference to me. It will help keep the kids off the street.

"The problems are not from those using the basketball court but from the time when the night clubs finish at about 2 – 3 am and when they use Hawthorn Drive to walk home.

"I have had one or two problems with vandalism from that. That's when you get problems. I have had the car damaged a couple of times, but it hasn't been quite so bad lately."

A 71-year-old who also lives on Hawthorn Drive but didn't want to be named, said: "It wouldn't worry me at all. Flood lighting would mean that the court is used more in the evenings."

A spokesperson for Ipswich borough council, said they had received an application for planning permission but are awaiting more information before registering it.

Terry Hagan, chairman of the Chantry Youth Development Initiative, said: "We are talking about another six months, may be longer. If we do get planning permission we still need to raise the money, which is in the region of £12,000.

"We can't put the job to tender until we get planning permission. There is still the big question about who pays for the electricity and how long the lights would be on for."

He asked people to write in with their ideas addressed to: Terry Hagan, Chairman of the Chantry Youth Development Initiative, c/o Chantry Residents' Association Community Shop, 26 Lavender Hill, Ipswich, IP2 ONB.

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