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Merger academy looking to hold school sports on nearby public playing field

PUBLISHED: 20:42 08 August 2018

Yarmouth Play equipment. Beaconsfield road playground

PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Yarmouth Play equipment. Beaconsfield road playground PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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A Great Yarmouth academy is looking to hold school sports on a public field following a merger deal which means it could have less space.

Yarmouth Play equipment. Beaconsfield road playground

PHOTO: Nick ButcherYarmouth Play equipment. Beaconsfield road playground PHOTO: Nick Butcher

The merger between Charter Academy in Salisbury Road and Trafalgar College in Thamesfield Way has been agreed by the Department of Education and means more children and buildings on the former Great Yarmouth High School site.

According to documents seen by this paper an expanded and remodelled Salisbury Road school would cut the amount of outside space available.

MORE: Great Yarmouth school’s bid to use Beaconsfield playing fields scrapped

With green areas nearby at a premium the report identifies several options with a preferred solution being access to the borough council owned Beaconsfield Recreation Ground.

Striking a deal would benefit the community with improved drainage at the pitches or new changing facilities as well as providing the school with and additional 41,300m sq of playing fields nearby, the report says.

Yarmouth Play equipment. Beaconsfield road playground

PHOTO: Nick ButcherYarmouth Play equipment. Beaconsfield road playground PHOTO: Nick Butcher

However a community group whose area includes the ‘Beaco’, as it is affectionately known, is holding its hands up against the idea and preparing to protest.

MORE: Challenge to high school merger dismissed by High Court judge

Josie Fitzgerald, of Nursery Terrace, said she and other PONY (People of North Yarmouth) members were opposed to restricting any public access at the site with wider worries about where it could lead in the future.

Inspiration Trust spokesman James Goffin said: “We have no plans to buy or build on Beaconsfield Recreation Ground.

“We know how passionately people feel about the Rec. As part of bringing together Great Yarmouth Charter Academy and Trafalgar College, we do want to explore whether the Rec could be used for school sport alongside public use but this is just one of several options being looked at to improve sports facilities for the school.”

Inspiration Trust opened Trafalgar College in Thamesfield Way as a new free school in autumn 2016.

Ten months later, the trust took over Great Yarmouth High School renaming it Great Yarmouth Charter Academy. The school hit the headlines for strict new rules bought in by principal Barry Smith.

Under the merger pupils in Year 8 and 9 will remain at Thamesfield Way from September while Salisbury Road is revamped.

All new Year 7’s will be at Salisbury Road with all pupils expected to join them by September 2019 depending on planning permission and building works.

In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: “We have recently received an initial enquiry from the Education and Skills Funding Agency, asking about the potential of Great Yarmouth Charter Academy using the Beaconsfield and Wellesley recreation grounds for school PE lessons. At this stage, no conversations have yet taken place and we would want to find out more about their proposal before commenting further.”

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