More work needed to resolve problems with King’s Lynn playing field, council admits

Overgrown and uneven playing field at South Lynn'Alexandra Kemp (Left) and Charles Joyce(centre) with Kimberley Ely (Community Steward Yours South Lynn)(back right) with other residents and youngsters who are keen to see the area in use again. ANL-140822-202121009

Overgrown and uneven playing field at South Lynn'Alexandra Kemp (Left) and Charles Joyce(centre) with Kimberley Ely (Community Steward Yours South Lynn)(back right) with other residents and youngsters who are keen to see the area in use again. ANL-140822-202121009

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A South Lynn playing field deemed unusable last summer is in an even worse condition now despite drainage works, council leaders have now admitted.

West Norfolk Council is now examining the likely cost of carrying out new repairs to the field, near the St Michael’s Primary School.

And a local representative has demanded answers on how the situation was allowed to develop.

Last August, the borough council did a deal with Balfour Beatty for the company to carry out remedial drainage works on the field, which was unfit for public use.

Community leaders maintained that the ground, which was developed over the infill of the Puny drain, should have been properly restored when the school was first built in 2011.

At the time the agreement was completed, it was intended that the council would adopt the field, taking over responsibility for its maintenance, once the drainage work was completed.

But, following a recent inspection, leisure portfolio holder David Pope told Thursday’s full council meeting: “The field is now in an even poorer condition, which is very disappointing.

“The drainage system at the moment is totally unacceptable with poor workmanship and whoever was in charge at the time did not monitor the work done.

“The contractors installed a system that was impossible to work properly.”

Mr Pope said he had instructed senior officers to obtain quotes for the work to be redone, but admitted the cost would have to be met by the council. However, it is not yet clear how much the new work may cost.

And ward councillor Charles Joyce questioned who had signed off, and paid for, the previous work.

He said: “I really don’t know the polite way to put this but it sounds very strange anyone would part with money without checking what has been done and making sure it’s been done right.”

Mr Pope insisted that work had not been paid for by the borough council and suggested it was likely to have been paid for by Norfolk County Council.

But Mr Joyce later asked council leader Nick Daubney: “How did we get into this situation” and questioned whether he had overruled Mr Pope on the issue.

However, Mr Daubney said: “I think this council is very fortunate to have someone who has seen something that is not right and is resolving it. I entirely back his decisions.

“If the situation is not right and the cabinet member recognises that he has a responsibility to put it right and that’s what he is doing.”