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Opposition group put forward alternate plans for derelict Pinebanks site in Thorpe St Andrew

Pinebanks, Norwich. Photo: Andy Darnell.

Pinebanks, Norwich. Photo: Andy Darnell.

Archant © 2011

The plans for Pinebanks have already angered one local group, which feels the sports facilities in the proposed plans from Ocubis do not replace what was previously available.

The Friends of Thopre St Andrew group has put forward an opposition plan to bring sports back to Pinebanks to Broadland District Council and Thorpe St Andrew Town Council, as they feel the developers’ plans for the site include inadequate sports provision.

The group say they were “dismayed” at the plans unveiled in May, which, along with the site in Griffin Lane, include 215 new homes but no sport facilities at Pinebanks.

A ‘sports hub’ concept is being proposed by developers, which could bring two unused football pitches in Laundry Lane, which are owned by Thorpe St Andrew School, back into use.

The developers are also discussing funding a major part of a new sports hall at the school, which would have public use, where there is already planning permission in place.

A representative of Friends of Thorpe St Andrew said: “We are not against the developers helping out Thorpe St Andrew School, in fact we very much encourage it, but school facilities are not community facilities.

“What the area needs is replacement facilities which are available to all residents on one site, which is exactly what Pinebanks once provided, not a mediocre offering spread across various locations in the town which will only come into existence if and when the planned new houses are built and sold.”

The presentation put together by the group showed that the land once owned by Norwich Union, now Aviva, provided groups with the facilities to play sports including bowls, tennis, cricket and rugby.

Despite the new £400,000 community building on the Griffin Lane site and an £80,000 skate park at Dussindale Recreation Ground, the group still feel “this does not replace a fraction of the sports facilities lost and would be divided over multiple sites throughout Thorpe St Andrew”.

The group have been working with former Norwich North MP Ian Gibson and former Director of the UEA Sportspark, Keith Nicholls, to put together a plan to keep sports at Pinebanks.

It will include an “affordable sports hall” consisting of five courts, a community hall, an aerobics and dance studio, fitness centre and cafe.

For more details about the group and its plans, email FriendsTSA@gmx.com, or search for “Friends of Thorpe St Andrew” on Facebook and Twitter.

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