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Five years on from green light and still no houses built at arson-hit site near Norwich

The Pinebanks folly and site from White Farm Lane. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Pinebanks folly and site from White Farm Lane. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

It is a derelict, fire-hit site that has been sitting empty for a decade in Thorpe St Andrew.

The Pinebanks folly and site from White Farm Lane. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Pinebanks folly and site from White Farm Lane. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

But despite permission being granted to redevelop the Pinebanks site five years ago, not a single house has been built.

The former sports and social club, at School Lane, was targeted by arsonists in 2014 – and until last year it had been plagued by anti-social behaviour.

Now, fresh calls have been made for “meaningful” work to formally begin.

John Fisher, mayor of Thorpe St Andrew, said: “This is an application with some significant history, which means there should be good progress on site by now.

The Pinebanks former sports fields from White Farm Lane. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Pinebanks former sports fields from White Farm Lane. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“Vacant sites, such as Pinebanks, attract antisocial behaviour and have a negative impact on those who live and work near the site.

“The town council would like to see development take place on the site as soon as possible.”

Mr Fisher said while some clearance work has taken place, the council “would have hoped” to see developers break ground in a “meaningful way”.

Minutes from a Thorpe St Andrew Town Council meeting in September claimed negotiations with a developer for the site had recently fallen through, and that the owner was now in negotiation with Hopkins Homes.

The Pinebanks former sports fields from White Farm Lane. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Pinebanks former sports fields from White Farm Lane. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ocubis, which manages the site on behalf of the owner Berliet Ltd, refused to comment on its “ongoing commercial negotiations”.

But a spokesman said the company was working with the local authority to bring forward the housing.

“The site benefits from an existing planning permission,” the spokesman said.

“That permission requires further details to be submitted to the local authority before development commences, and those details will be submitted in due course.

The Pinebanks former sports fields from White Farm Lane. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Pinebanks former sports fields from White Farm Lane. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“We intend to bring forward those details as soon as practical.”

Broadland District Council granted the owners permission to build 231 homes at Pinebanks, alongside 71 homes at Griffin Lane in June 2013.

The local authority said planning permission had not expired because work had begun on both sites.

A Broadland spokesman said the landowner had demolished part of the former Pinebanks sports and social club building.

Pinebanks in Norwich
 picture by Adrian Judd
for ENPinebanks in Norwich picture by Adrian Judd for EN

Berliet Ltd has also purchased the adjacent Langley Preparatory School, which was badly damaged in an arson attack earlier this year.

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Caroline Culot

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I am the property editor in charge of delivering some exciting and informative content within Archant’s varied titles. We have 16-17 pages of stories, features and columns in the EDP Property supplement out every Friday free in your EDP so please don’t miss it.

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