Plans for up to 300 new homes and community sports village in Aylsham

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Sports facilities at Aylsham could be boosted by plans for another 300 homes on the edge of the town.

New proposals for housing on 90 acres of meadows between the school and the bypass are the key to plans for a community sports complex.

If the plans are agreed, it is hoped the high school, through section 106 money paid by the developers in return for being allowed to build the homes, will be able to purchase land next to the school and use it to house a community sports village.

Head Duncan Spalding, said: 'The development will mean the school can pursue long-held ambitions to build a community sports village, bringing together existing facilities at the school and the Aylsham Recreation Ground.'

It is understand the school would not take over the Recreation Ground, but instead use it to combine facilities.

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The sports plans include, community fitness facilities in a fitness suite linked to the existing community sports hall, a new full sized football pitch for school and community use, a refurbished swimming pool to improve community access, an astro-turf hockey pitch or full sized third generation football pitch, using the latest in synthetic turf developments, and access to the River Bure for water sports and educational activities.

People are being invited to a public exhibition to view the proposals, which are yet to be submitted as a planning application. It is being held at Aylsham Town Hall on Tuesday, November 30 from 2pm to 8pm.

Developer Welbeck Strategic Land is holding the exhibition, with architects and other members of the design team, to give people the chance to inspect and comment on the scheme.

Director Erik Pagano said: 'We are keen to work with the residents on this potential new housing site and have been working with the school for some time to find a solution that would fulfil their ambitions to expand, and believe we have now achieved this aim.

'Our houses will be carefully designed to fit the town, and will bring much-needed new facilities and add vibrancy to the district.

'The proposals will also deliver a long-standing policy designation to provide for additional public open space with riverside access and an ecology area.'

Finer details were still to be confirmed, but they they had been in early talks with Norfolk Wildlife Trust about possibly becoming a custodian of the open space area.

Mr Pagano added: 'Welbeck is working in partnership with Flagship Housing Group as there are also plans for the scheme to include affordable housing, which could form 35pc of the housing.'

The development would also allow new car parking facilities to alleviate congestion at the school and along Sir William's Lane. However a spokesman for Broadland District Council said nothing had been set in stone yet as what could happen with the land.

He said: 'The land in question has not been allocated in the current Local Plan for housing and this proposal is in its very early stages. An area of eight hectares which forms part of the site is allocated for outdoor playing purposes. We will be keeping an open mind until we have more information.'

He said the developers had asked for confirmation whether they need to do a full Environmental Impact Assessment as part of any formal planning application, and they were awaiting the views of the Environment Agency on that.

Deborah Blake, chairman of Aylsham Traders Association, said: 'From a business point of view, 300 new homes would be very good for businesses here, it may even encourage new business into the area and Red Lion Street desperately needs new businesses.

'I am aware from what people have said to me though that there are already problems with parking and traffic in the town, particularly the road near the high school.'

A spokesman for Aylsham Town Council said they could not comment on the plans until they had seen them.