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Ambitious youth project to be unveiled

PUBLISHED: 18:00 15 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:45 08 July 2010

AMBITIOUS plans for new leisure facilities to help keep young people off the streets of Watton will be unveiled tomorrow.

Behind the scheme are local businessmen Paul Adcock and Julian Horn, who are calling on residents to attend a meeting at Wayland Community High School to listen to their plans to sell off the field at Watton Youth Centre in Harvey Street and demolish the former doctor's surgery in St Giles' Road.

AMBITIOUS plans for new leisure facilities to help keep young people off the streets of Watton will be unveiled tomorrow.

Behind the scheme are local businessmen Paul Adcock and Julian Horn, who are calling on residents to attend a meeting at Wayland Community High School to listen to their plans to sell off the field at Watton Youth Centre in Harvey Street and demolish the former doctor's surgery in St Giles' Road.

In their place would go a drop-in centre, an indoor activity facility and a town park on the fields near Watton Sports Centre. The activity centre would offer facilities for a range of sports and activities including a skate and BMX park.

For years the market town has faced bitter criticism for providing very little to keep young people off the streets.

But now, a group of enterprising businessmen has teamed up with Watton Town Council to put forward a range of ideas.

The businessmen want the town council to sell off the field in Harvey Street to raise money which could be then used to build the facilities.

Last month the town mayor Keith Gilbert said that the field could fetch £500,000 which in turn could attract up to £1m in grant funding to be put back into building up youth facilities. The town council, as trustees of the land, has supported the idea in principle, but public support is also needed to convince the Charity Commission that plans would benefit the local community.

“The council have listened to us and have enthusiastically accepted the greater part of what we have suggested,” said Mr Adcock.

He added: “We have been motivated by the efforts of the youngsters in Watton to look after themselves and we both have admiration and great respect for them. We have surveyed them and found that they are very keen to have a drop-in centre in town and an indoor sports facility that would give them something to do, as well as help them to socialise.”

There is currently a youth club in Watton, which was built back in the 1960s, but young people living in town now want updated facilities.

Mr Adcock said: “We just feel that there isn't anything of this type for the young people in the town and as a town we have a responsibility to try to do something for them. What we present now is a vision, which given life, will bring about a change, the scale of which we have not seen before in Watton. It could enhance the lives of our youngsters, their parents and their grand parents, but it is especially about those who will be starting school during the next few years and those who are yet to be born.”

Anyone interested in the plans should attend the meeting at Wayland Community High School tomorrow, at 7.30pm.

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