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Monday, 28 July 2014

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North Cumbrian village school's £50,000 games area plan

A primary school is set to spend tens of thousands of pounds bringing sports grounds to a small village.

Fir Ends School photo
Headteacher Sue Hatt

While play areas in Carlisle district are disappearing thanks to council cuts, Fir Ends Primary School, in Smithfield, has unveiled plans to create a multi use games area (Muga).

The school has submitted a planning application to Carlisle City Council. If approved, the new area will provide facilities for football, netball and tennis on an all-weather surface. It would also feature 22ft floodlights.

Headteacher Sue Hatt told The Cumberland News the Muga would be for the whole community and not just the school’s pupils.

“There are several (games areas) in Carlisle and then there is one at William Howard School in Brampton but there’s really very little in between so we thought we could do with it,” she said.

She added that a Muga would allow children at the school, and people in the community, to enjoy sports in the winter. It would be built on a field which is currently used to play sport.

“We have got the field but it is very wet at the moment,” Mrs Hatt said.

She added that it would relieve the school’s playground, which is often very crowded with the 104 pupils who attend Fir Ends.

The idea to build a Muga was first put forward in 2010, when the school made an unsuccessful bid for £48,000 in a TV appeal. This also included plans for a play area, which was subsequently funded through a different scheme.

“It (the idea for a Muga) has always been in the back of our minds,” said Mrs Hatt.

“At the moment it would be paid for by the school.”

She has had several quotes for the cost of the proposed project, which she believes would be around £50,000.

However, she would be keen to try and fund the scheme through grants from other organisations.

If given the go-ahead the Muga could be build within two years.

“We have put the planning application in because we need to make sure we can do it before we do anything else,” added Mrs Hatt.

Ivor Armstrong, chairman of Kirklinton (Middle) parish council, welcomed the development.

He said: “The play area is pretty well used and I would rather the older children were playing on something like a multi-use games area.”

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