Plan to make Sudbury school field a town asset after complaints about it being fenced off

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A proposal to register a school playing field as a community asset is being put to Sudbury councillors on Tuesday.

The former Sudbury Upper School playing field in Tudor Road is the subject of controversy because it has been fenced off by Ormiston Sudbury Academy which leases it.

This has led to a flood of complaints from residents who had previously used the open space for recreation and dog walking.

Sudbury town councillor. Jan Osborne, who is Babergh’s portfolio holder for health, wellbeing and communities, wants councillors at this week’s Leisure, Environment and Highways meeting to agree to ask Babergh District Council to register the playing field as a community asset.

Mrs Osborne explained: “This will give the site some degree of protection as well as help me put forward my case to all parties.”

Mrs Osborne said that, since the development of People’s Park, the town’s East ward has no suitable open spaces, leading to numerous complaints from residents.

Initially, she suggested a section being fenced off for the school, with the lower part of the playing field left “for the benefit of the community”. But, she said, Suffolk County Council does not support this.

She said the playing field had been leased to Ormiston Academies Trust in a counterpart lease dated November 18, 2015 for 125 years.

Earlier this year, Ormiston principal Caroline Wilson explained the playing fields had been fenced off because of safety issues and dog mess which had “blighted” the school’s PE sessions on and off for many years.

This week she said: “The situation hasn’t changed, and we would welcome the support of the town council in safeguarding our students and respecting the teaching space.”

In response to a letter from Mrs Osborne, Gordon Jones, Suffolk’s Cabinet member for children’s services, education and skills said he supported the school

He said: “Quite frankly dogs and school playing fields do not mix, and I say that as a dog owner. My sentiments are with the school and I believe they are taking appropriate action to safeguard their students and are within their rights to do so.”