Up to 65 jobs pledged as former environmental centre sold

The Green Britain Centre, Swaffham, is to close Picture: Ian Burt

The Green Britain Centre, Swaffham, is to close Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Up to 65 new jobs are being promised after an 'international company' purchased a council-owned former environmental centre which closed almost three years ago.

Breckland Council has agreed to sell Swaffham’s Green Britain Centre (GBC) to an unnamed business, ending months of uncertainty over the building’s future.

However, the move has sparked some disappointment because it brings to an end proposals to use the site to benefit the community.

The Green Britain Centre, Swaffham. Picture: Ian Burt

The Green Britain Centre, Swaffham. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

The building, which closed suddenly in January 2019, was subject to discussions between Swaffham Town Council (STC) and the district council, with an asset swap being proposed.

But Paul Hewett, executive member for contracts and assets at Breckland, said that when it was approached by an international company over the festive period, who offered to bring 65 new jobs to the region, it was "too great to miss".

He added: “We’re delighted to have secured a great deal to sell the GBC, which will not only generate funding for reinvestment back into Swaffham but will bring a brand new business to Breckland and create dozens of new jobs.”

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The business, which is not being named at this stage while it engages with its staff over the move, manufactures products and sells around the world, according to the council.

The firm will bring 25 existing staff to the site initially, with plans to create more posts in the next few years.

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“Naturally, we’re disappointed that after more than 18 months of discussions with STC, we were unable to make the proposed land swap work," said Mr Hewett 

"But, the opportunity to bring immediate inward investment and jobs into the town – at these challenging times – was too great to miss."

Breckland Councillor for Swaffham, Ian Sherwood said: "I can't deny that I was disappointed, I still believe that getting a sports provision in there would have been a great asset for the town.

"But Swaffham has had a lot of growth with homes and we do need more jobs and investment and that is what this brings.

"The town will still get it's sports and leisure provision, that hasn't been lost."

The iconic 220ft wind turbine adjacent to the Green Britain Centre will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

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