Playtime as allotment battle ends

YOUNGSTERS in north west Ipswich were today celebrating after winning their battle for a new open space in their area.Ipswich council's planning and development committee gave overwhelming backing to proposals to turn disused allotments in Bramford Lane into public open space with play areas for young children and teenagers.

YOUNGSTERS in north west Ipswich were today celebrating after winning their battle for a new open space in their area.

Ipswich council's planning and development committee gave overwhelming backing to proposals to turn disused allotments in Bramford Lane into public open space with play areas for young children and teenagers.

Councillors ignored claims that the area could become a magnet for drug-takers and vandals – instead accepting that it was a much-needed local facility.

Former allotment holders on the Bramford Lane No 2 field had already been moved to the neighbouring N0 1 field, and there is still space if anyone else wants a plot.

Planning officer Steve Miller said that before the allotments were moved, 53 percent were vacant on the No 1 field and 78pc were vacant on the No 2 field.

"Most of the No 2 field was overgrown, and that is the situation today," he added.

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Much of the former allotment land will be left in its current state as a wildlife area, but there will also be separate play areas for teenagers and younger children.

The teenagers' area will include seats, with some shelter, a "graffiti wall" and obstacles for skateboarders.

Youth worker Julia Schubert spoke to the meeting on behalf of youngsters who had campaigned long and hard for the new open space.

She said: "There is very little for young people to do in this part of the town, and this will be a very welcome addition for them.

"The youngsters have been involved in planning what should go there and they've organised their own 500-signature petition. This is just what they need."

However not everyone was happy about the prospect of a park with teenagers' facilities being opened.

Local resident David Heffer told the meeting: "We are really worried that the trouble at Ulster Avenue will move to that play area.

"There is a park at the end of Bramford Lane, Whitehouse rec, and Broadmere Park – they're all nearby. And you should look at Broadmere Park, there are always used syringes around there."

Mr Heffer urged the council to take account of what local people had said. "It's all very well them giving permission. They don't have to live here," he said.

Do you think it's right to provide somewhere for teenagers to meet? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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