Housing developers warned over sports facilities provisions at Pinebanks site in Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich

Developers behind plans to replace the defunct Pinebanks sports centre have been warned they will need to provide facilities to match those that were previously at the site.

As previously reported, developers plan to build 240 new homes at the site off Harvey Lane, Thorpe St Andrew, and a further 50, along with new sporting facilities, at nearby Griffin Lane.

But Broadland District Council head of planning Phil Courtier has said development would be unacceptable were the new facilities not equal to those lost when the site closed in 2008.

Speaking after a meeting with developers, Mr Courtier said: 'Developers said they will provide something similar to Pinebanks. From our point of view, if they didn't adequately replace the facilities, then development would be unacceptable.'

Sport England are also being consulted about the plans, and have listed what they want catered for, which has caused concern that their requests cannot be fully met.

Thorpe St Andrew town and district councillor Nigel Shaw referred to Sport England's wishes at a town council meeting on Monday, saying: 'They (Sport England) just listed so many sports, sports that I've never seen played in Thorpe St Andrew.'

Mr Shaw added: 'We (Thorpe St Andrew Town Council) want what the people want, it would be pointless to say, 'put in a hurling pitch', for example.

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'But we would want the majority of facilities to be reproduced.'

Nick Boulter, of Sport England, said: 'Our starting point is to look for like-for-like provision.

'The developers would need to present robust explanations and evidence as to why they weren't providing such provision.

'There is pressure on existing facilities in the area, and a need for pitch provision.'

The site was previously owned by Norwich Union, now Aviva, but closed three years ago, leaving sports clubs without a home. Since then it has had several owners.

A spokesman for developers Ocubis said: 'Exactly what could be provided at Griffin Lane is currently subject to consultation.

'We will continue working with those concerned to determine the community's needs and will look at the full range of uses that may benefit the greatest proportion of the population of the area.

'Once this research and consultation has progressed we will present the proposals at a public exhibition.'

What do you think? Write the Evening News at Letters, Evening News, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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