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Sporting chance for Watton youngsters

PUBLISHED: 17:47 25 June 2008 | UPDATED: 10:54 08 July 2010

Watton youngsters are celebrating an important breakthrough in ambitious plans to turn the town into a hub of sports and leisure excellence.

Enterprising residents Paul Adcock and Julian Horn are spearheading the £3m Project Rainbow which aims to create a drop-in centre for youngsters, an indoor facility and a large town park on fields near Watton Sports Centre.

Watton youngsters are celebrating an important breakthrough in ambitious plans to turn the town into a hub of sports and leisure excellence.

Enterprising residents Paul Adcock and Julian Horn are spearheading the £3m Project Rainbow which aims to create a drop-in centre for youngsters, an indoor facility and a large town park on fields near Watton Sports Centre.

Last night the two businessmen said they have managed to secure a 12-month lease for a former doctor's surgery in St Giles' Road which they are now looking to refurbish and convert into a meeting centre for youngsters.

The property is currently owned by Norwich based Iceni Developments who previously considered turning it into 14 flats.

But Mr Adcock said: “They [the developers] had the property before and we knew they had submitted an application for the conversion of the property. However, we have good news now. They have agreed to sign a 12-month lease with us and fingers crossed we'll be able to buy the property soon.”

The businessmen said they were hoping to buy the property with money raised from the sale of a field in Harvey Street. The field is in the trusteeship of Watton Town Council which was recently given the green light from the Charity Commission to sell it.

“Once we sell the land which is estimated to fetch over £500,000, we'll be able to buy the former doctors' surgery.”

Meanwhile Mr Adcock is keen to hear youngsters' views on what they would like to see in the future drop-in centre.

“Julian and I have recently presented the Project to years seven, eight and nine at Wayland High School and had a very enthusiastic response. If we're lucky the former doctors' surgery will be open by the end of the summer holiday. We were hoping to open it sooner, possibly at the start of the summer break, but it's too short notice.

“We are looking to see as many youngsters as possible at the surgery this Saturday to discuss the future of the surgery. It will give people the opportunity to see the building and the scope that it will offer as a youth drop in venue.

Mr Adcock said Project Rainbow had whipped up considerable support in town.

“When we had the carnival in town a while ago, Julian spoke to the people of Watton about the project,” he said. “A few days later a little old lady came in and told us how pleased she was to hear about the project and handed in a £500 cheque to help us. This is wonderful stuff and it makes us all very enthusiastic.”

For years the town has faced criticism for providing very little to keep young people off the streets. But through the new project, youngsters will be able to find a new meeting place and focus on a variety of activities.

The new sports centre which will be built in the future would offer facilities for a range of sports including a skate and BMX park The venue would be located within a town park which would include a dog walking area a tree trail a jogging track and a lake for canoeing.

The open evening will be on Saturday from 6pm to 8pm at the former doctors' surgery in Chaston Place Watton.

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