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Forest school with alpaca provision poised to get the go ahead

PUBLISHED: 15:36 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:38 20 August 2019

Plans for a new forest school near Wymondham have included provisions for six alpacas. Picture: Ian Burt

Plans for a new forest school near Wymondham have included provisions for six alpacas. Picture: Ian Burt

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Plans to set up a new forest school which will home its own alpacas are poised to get the go ahead.

A forest school has been proposed for Long Road, Silfield, near Wymondham. Photo: GoogleA forest school has been proposed for Long Road, Silfield, near Wymondham. Photo: Google

Maurice Briggs has lodged a bid with South Norfolk Council to create an outdoor learning environment from a 20 acre area of woodland of Silfield Street, near Wymondham, which would provide a forest school for up to 30 children.

The school would include yurts, woodland shelters and even an animal field shelter for half a dozen alpacas,

In his application, Mr Briggs said the school would provide educational courses for children and older adults with learning difficulties or those at risk of social isolation, with the aim of providing "cross generational activities".

The application has divided opinion locally, with a number of letters submitted in support of it, but also a significant amount of objection.

Among the objections are fears that the project would have an adverse impact on traffic in the area and that noise from the school would disturb neighbours - despite the site being in open countryside.

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The application will go before South Norfolk's planning committee this week, with officers recommending it for approval.

Lynn Armes, case officer for the scheme, wrote in her report: "The proposed development would provide overriding benefits from the provision of a forest school, as well as not impacting the character of the area or the amenity of the neighbouring properties."

The application sets out that the school would open on weekdays between 8am and 4pm or 5pm - depending on the time of year - and that it would create jobs for 13 people.

The site would continue to offer activities outside of school term times, closing for just two weeks of the year over Christmas.

The plans include a summer house, poly tunnels for planting and three compost toilets to serve the site.

However, while South Norfolk's officers have said the proposal is acceptable, Wymondham Town Council has urged the committee to refuse it.

South Norfolk Council's planning committee will consider the application on Wednesday, August 21.

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