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Fury at Thetford play area delay

PUBLISHED: 09:26 22 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:17 07 July 2010

Residents at a Thetford estate have spoken of their frustration over delays in dismantling a play area that remains a hive of anti-social activity.

The all-weather ball park on Charlock Road was opened two years ago after the completion of a £75m 500-home development, but soon became a centre of nuisance, criminal damage, intimidation and drunkenness.

Residents at a Thetford estate have spoken of their frustration over delays in dismantling a play area that remains a hive of anti-social activity.

The all-weather ball park on Charlock Road was opened two years ago after the completion of a £75m 500-home development, but soon became a centre of nuisance, criminal damage, intimidation and drunkenness.

Householders from the Cloverfields Estate have now spoken of their anger after there appeared to be no immediate resolution to local residents' “hell” - a year after it was announced that the multi-use area was set to be removed.

Community groups, councillors and police officers welcomed news last October that the ball park was set to be dismantled and landscaped by Christmas 2007 as a result of ongoing anti-social problems.

But it has emerged that the play facility, which was built on the doorstep of people's homes and apartments, is still no nearer to being redeveloped.

Trevor Duffy, chairman of the Cloverfields Residents' Association, which was formed to combat the troubles surrounding the ball park, said the residents' committee was told last month that quotations for the work had been drawn up, but the developer, Ashwell Homes, had yet to transfer the land to Breckland Council.

“It is very frustrating for us, but for some people it is abysmal what they have to go through. For the people who live adjacent to and overlook the area, their lives have been made hell by these delays. The police have been instrumental in trying to remove it and it is costing them a lot of time and effort to patrol that area,” he said.

Thetford's Safer Neighbourhood Team placed extra patrols on the Cloverfields estate and a dispersal order was introduced to prevent groups of young people from gathering at the multi-use games area and causing anti-social behaviour.

A spokesman for Breckland Council said the local authority was “doing everything it can” to resolve the situation, but there was nothing further the council could do until the land is released by the developers.

“We have agreed that once the ownership is transferred to Breckland the equipment and asphalt area will be removed. We are still in communication with the developers to facilitate the transfer of ownership at the earliest opportunity at which point we are keen to take immediate action to remove the current facilities,” he said.

No one from Ashwell Homes was available for comment last night.

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