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Plans for new sports hall lodged amid controversial housing scheme

PUBLISHED: 18:00 27 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:52 30 June 2020

An artist's impression of the sports hall planned for the new sports hall at Reepham High School and College. Image: Brown&Co/planning documents

An artist's impression of the sports hall planned for the new sports hall at Reepham High School and College. Image: Brown&Co/planning documents

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Plans have been unveiled for a school’s new sports hall, which is linked to a controversial housing scheme in the same town.

Realistic Reepham supporters and Mark Bridges at a previous protest again development in the town. Photo: Steve AdamsRealistic Reepham supporters and Mark Bridges at a previous protest again development in the town. Photo: Steve Adams

Reepham High School and College has applied to Breckland Council for permission to build the hall, which would be funded by the proceeds of a planned 141-home estate, which developer Lovell Homes wants to build on land off Bromhill Lane.

The sports hall would be built as a phase two of the overall project following the construction of the homes, which could bring about 320 new residents to the town. The plans also include an extension of the cemetery on Whitwell Road.

Reepham High headteacher Tim Gibbs said there were still a lot of uncertainties around the project, and work on the sports hall would probably not start for another five years if at all.

But Mr Gibbs said the hall would significantly boost the sports offering at the school, which has about 810 students.

Reepham High School and College head teacher Tim Gibbs. Photo: KAREN BETHELLReepham High School and College head teacher Tim Gibbs. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

He said: “Any facility would benefit the school and community, as we would intend to let it to the community out of school hours.

“We are in an area without a decent sports hall, so I think it would be a great thing for local sport.”

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The facility would include a four-badminton court hall, meeting, office and studio space as well as two teaching rooms.

File photo of Realistic Reepham chairman Mark Bridges, demonstrating against what the group sees as overdevelopment of the town. Photo: Steve AdamsFile photo of Realistic Reepham chairman Mark Bridges, demonstrating against what the group sees as overdevelopment of the town. Photo: Steve Adams

MORE: Bid for more than 140 new homes in town lodged

Community group Realistic Reepham opposes the plans for the estate, and would prefer a smaller number of new homes be built on brownfield land or “other suitable areas” rather than the 7.5-hectare site off Broomhill Lane.

Mark Bridges, from the group, said the benefits the new sports hall would bring were limited, but the adverse impact it would cause - whilst minimal in its own right - would be limited. But he said the overall development presented severe adverse issues for the town.

Mr Bridges said the school would one day need to expand again and part of the land which has been earmarked for homes should be safeguarded for the children’s needs. He said the overall development would cause significant traffic and pollution problems, impact the beauty of the area and put further strain on the town’s infrastructure.

He said: “It makes no sense to erode what the school could need in the future.”

The estate plans include 28 affordable homes.

Simon Medler, managing director at Lovell Homes East Anglia, said: “We have worked closely with local stakeholders to develop a proposal for the site, which is allocated for residential development within the current local plan and it was tabled at a public consultation event back in February.”


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