Appeal to find Norfolk and Suffolk’s ‘lost’ fields before developers build on them
08:39 02 March 2015
The hunt is on for the region’s “lost” playing fields, given special protected status but never centrally recorded more than 80 years ago.
The following cash grants were issued for Carnegie fields in Norfolk more than 80 years ago, indicating the scale of each project. In today’s money, each total would be around 50 times greater:
Attleborough £40; Aylsham £90; Blofield; £10; Docking £15; Downham Market £225; Fakenham £175; Great Ellingham £30; Happisburgh £35; Holt £150; Horsford £15; Lingwood £60; North Lopham £20; Norwich £875; Saxlingham £65; Sprowston £300; Stalham £50; Thorpe St Andrew £330.
Carnegie UK Trust paid cash grants for more than 900 fields in the country between 1927 and 1935, with 17 of these located in Norfolk and more in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.
The £200,000 – worth around £10m in today’s money – was to invest in the locations for communities to enjoy.
While some details are known about the towns and cities where the fields are located, there has never been a central record of their exact locations.
Now, Fields in Trust has launched a campaign called #FieldFinders, hoping that residents can delve into their own local records and find these lost fields before it is too late.
The charity will then work with communities to ensure that the fields are legally protected from developers.
Residents have until August 31 to report back to Fields in Trust with details about their local Carnegie playing field. Members of the specialist Fields in Trust team will then cross reference it with any surviving documentation and begin the process of improving legal protection of the site to keep it safe for generations to come.
People are also being urged to share photos of the fields on social media using #FieldFinders to help spread word of the campaign and encourage others to join the hunt.
Douglas White, head of advocacy at Carnegie UK Trust said: “When these grants were made it was a significant sum of money for outdoor recreational spaces across the UK.
“A requirement of the grant was that the playing fields should remain public areas for the benefit of the community in perpetuity.
“We want to find as many of these fields as possible and ensure they remain legally protected for the local community.”
Each confirmed location where legal protection can be added will then be given the chance to win one of two £5,000 prizes to make improvements to facilities such as children’s play areas.
Kathryn Cook, of Fields in Trust, said: “Many playing fields in built up areas offer the only green space and safe playing area for children and families.
“They are places to relax, play sports or hold community events.
“Ensuring they are around for future generations is a priority.”
She urged the public to share as much information as possible about the spaces they believe to be Carnegie playing fields via an online form, and also to share photos.
To tell the charity about the location of a Carnegie field, see www.fieldsintrust.org/Carnegie.aspx