Pinebanks plans approved as 900 new homes for Thorpe St Andrew get thumbs-up from councillors


PINEBANKS - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

More than 230 homes are to be built on the vacant Pinebanks site in Thorpe St Andrew.

And with 71 homes at Griffin Lane and 600 homes at another nearby site also getting approval at Broadland District Council's planning committee yesterday it means more than 900 new homes are on the way.

The decision also brings a £3.5m boost to sports facilities in Thorpe.

The committee voted unanimously in favour of 231 homes at Pinebanks and 71 homes at the nearby Griffin Lane site, which are both owned by the same developer.

Power to give final approval subject to the completion of Section 106 planning agreement funds – which provide money to benefit the community – has been delegated to Broadland's head of planning.

Speaking after the decision, Stuart Adolph, development manager for property developers Ocubis, said: 'If we can start work this year then we will – but we are probably looking at early next year.'

The committee also voted in favour of up to 600 homes being built at the Brook Farm and Laurel Farm sites to the east of Thorpe.

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However, that proposal is still reliant on significant improvements to the Postwick Hub interchange, which would form a gateway to the proposed northern bypass, with a public inquiry into the Norfolk County Council proposal set to be held in July.

Pinebanks was formerly a Norwich Union sports centre where dozens of sports clubs were based. It has been empty since 2008, but plans did not come before the committee until earlier this year.

Councillors voted against the plans that time, saying they were unhappy that the Victorian Pinebanks house was to be demolished and about the low level of affordable housing on the site.

But the revised plans drew praise from councillors yesterday, with the house to be retained, 30pc of affordable housing agreed across the two sites and £3.5m to be paid by the developers for various community benefits.

These will include:

£1.7m for a new sports hall at Thorpe St Andrew School, as part of a 'sports hub' intended to replace some of the lost sports facilities from Pinebanks;

£140,000 for a skate park at Dussindale Recreation Ground, cricket facilities and to bring disused football pitches back into use;

£400,000 for a new community centre on the Griffin Lane site.

Thorpe St Andrew School headteacher Ian Clayton said: 'The benefits to our youngsters, in terms of education, and the community were a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.'

Sarah Mogford O'Hara, who lives in Henby Way, spoke on behalf of the Friends of Thorpe St Andrew campaign group, which has been opposing the development of Pinebanks.

She urged councillors to reject the plans, saying that the revised plans were only made publicly available on May 15 and did not provide enough time for residents to provide proper feedback.

But planning officer Martin Thirkettle said 475 letters had been sent to residents living nearby.