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Eyesore sports site could be developed under 725-home plan

PUBLISHED: 17:37 30 March 2020 | UPDATED: 07:50 31 March 2020

The former site of Pinebanks sports centre in Thorpe, Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden

The former site of Pinebanks sports centre in Thorpe, Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden

Archant 2019 Danielle Booden

Hundreds of new homes could be built across four vacant sites in the same town - including the latest vision for a former sports park that has been derelict for more than a decade.

The former site of Pinebanks sports centre in Thorpe, Norwich. Picture: Danielle BoodenThe former site of Pinebanks sports centre in Thorpe, Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden

The former Pinebanks site in Thorpe St Andrew has been unused since 2008 and in 2014 was the victim of a serious arson attack - and despite a previous plan to develop it being approved has remained untouched.

However, the former Aviva leisure centre is one of three sites being earmarked for development in the town which would see 725 new homes built - and also see the redevelopment of the former Langley Preparatory School site.

The vision has come from a Jersey-based firm called Berliet Ltd, which owns both the former school, the redundant leisure centre and a plot of land off Griffin Lane.

While a formal planning application is yet to be lodged, documents submitted to Broadland District Council state the plans would be split across four separate bids - two relating to the former Pinebanks and one each for Langley and Griffin Lane.

The former Langley Preparatory School site in Thorpe. Picture: Dominic GilbertThe former Langley Preparatory School site in Thorpe. Picture: Dominic Gilbert

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These applications would all be submitted in outline form, with 400 homes earmarked for the Yarmouth Road site, 175 homes on the former preparatory school and 150 off of Griffin Lane.

John Fisher, the town’s mayor, said the prospect of the sites finally being developed would be welcome, with Pinebanks in particular proving a something of a blot on the town for several years.

Mr Fisher, who is also a district councillor, said: “I would have to wait until the applications have been submitted to properly assess them, but there is certainly a lot of willing for work to be done on the Pinebanks site.

John Fisher, mayor of Thorpe St Andrew. Photo: Broadland District CouncilJohn Fisher, mayor of Thorpe St Andrew. Photo: Broadland District Council

“I think most people would much sooner to see homes built on existing brownfield sites like this than the town continuing to grow out towards Great Yarmouth on greenfield sites.”

Earlier this year, neighbours to the eyesore site called for answers over what the future holds for it, however, a spokesman for Ocubis, which manages the site on behalf of Berliet, said they could not provide further updates at that time.

The four planning applications are expected to be submitted in due course.


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