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Thetford children’s hut set to be demolished by Breckland Council

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Residents in a Thetford street have been sent letters from Breckland Council about taking down a popular children’s hut after the council said it should not be on their land.

The hut, which has been up for four years, between the end of a row of houses in Ash Close and woodland, was erected because their nearest play park is more than half a mile away.

Resident Stacey Harding said: “It was built because children were going into the woods, making dens, breaking off branches and ruining the trees.

Breckland and Thetford Town councillor Chris Harvey, far right, with children from Ash Close
Breckland and Thetford Town councillor Chris Harvey, far right, with children from Ash Close

“In the hut we can see them from our windows and make sure they are safe. Some do their homework in there and others play together in there – it is just nice to see.”

A Breckland Council officer spotted the structure two month ago, after looking around the estate and letters were then sent to houses, stating the shelter was not allowed to be on Breckland land and must be removed within
28 days, otherwise the council would ‘dispose of it’.

Councillor Chris Harvey, who is one of the town councillors for the ward and a Breckland councillor himself, said: “No money has been spent on play equipment for this end of town. There is nothing here for the children, they are growing up here and need somewhere to play.”

The residents regularly check and maintain the hut and the area around it and also ensure the children don’t play in it after a certain time.

Resident Kim Barker said: “When you go into the woods there are tents, broken beer bottles, and rubbish – there are bigger things to worry about than a hut we have built for our children.”

But a spokesman for Breckland Council said it had been erected without permission or consultation.

They said: “For this reason, and because its location would make the council legally responsible for its maintenance and safe upkeep, the building must be removed under public safety and public open space regulations.”