Cause for optimism over Pinebanks site at Thorpe
Developers responsible for transforming the site of a former popular sports and leisure centre have indicated that leisure and amenity provision will form part of any new development.
The derelict state of Pinebanks, formerly owned by Norwich Union, now Aviva, which closed two-and-a-half years ago, had prompted community leaders to brand it a 'tragedy' amid calls for the developers to come clean about their future plans.
And now the firm responsible for developing the site, off Harvey Lane, Thorpe St Andrew, has revealed that although no formal application has been lodged, plans being considered for the site include sporting and amenity provision.
Stuart Adolph from Ocubis Ltd, development managers for the site which is now owned by Berliet LLP, said: 'We're looking at a number of options for the site currently which will involve a number of uses - residential and sports/amenity facilities being the primary uses.'
Surveys have been carried out on the site but no formal plans had yet been tabled with Broadland District Council although Mr Adolph said they would be talking to the authority, Thorpe St Andrew Town Council and members of the public before finalising proposals.
He said: 'They are a little way off yet and we're working on various options at the moment. There will definitely be some sports provision within our proposals but what shape or form that might be...we're going to be talking to Thorpe St Andrew Town Council and what their requirements are for Thorpe St Andrew and will go through that with them to see where their shortfalls are.'
Mr Adolph said other things being looked at in terms of amenity provision on the site included making more of the woodland on site.
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He said: 'We have fantastic woodland on the site and a public footpath on the site and want to open up some of the woodland for better use.'
Steven Ford, clerk at Thorpe St Andrew Town Council, said he was pleased to hear the developers were considering retaining leisure use of some kind at the site.
He said: 'We're encouraged to hear that restitution and sporting/leisure facilities are being considered. Leisure facilities are an important thing with all the building work going on around us and it's encouraging to hear the developer is mindful of that and seemingly keen to do what they can to make more facilities available.'