Potential land sale in Swaffham causes upset

People living in The Paddocks are upset that Breckland is planning to sell off a strip of land to th

People living in The Paddocks are upset that Breckland is planning to sell off a strip of land to the nursing home. Pictured (from left) Bill Smith, Molly Belcher, Phyllis Aberdeen, Stewart Belcher, Patricia Finch, Christine Smith, Janet Church and Emily Belcher (4). Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Families living on a market town housing estate have raised concerns about the potential sale of a strip of land near to their homes to a nearby nursing home.

People living at The Paddocks in Swaffham have said they first discovered that the piece of grass, which is close to a cut-through to the town, could be sold to The Paddocks Nursing Home when they spotted laminated signs attached to lamp-posts.

The land is currently owned by Breckland District Council, and the nursing home owners are exploring the possibility of extending the outside area for people who live there.

Those living in The Paddocks, however, have said they want the land to be kept for public use, and will be looking into purchasing the land themselves.

Christine Smith, who has lived on the housing estate since 1969, said: 'It's not a very big piece of land, it's just outside of our gate. It's a green area which is pleasant and nice. It's used by people with dogs, buggies, wheelchairs and bikes who use the cut-through.'

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Neighbour Pat Finch said: 'When we get rain like what we got the other Friday, the drains are unable to cope. At the moment, the water can overflow into this piece of land but that wouldn't be able to happen if this land is sold off.'

A number of people who live at The Paddocks raised their concerns at Swaffham Town Council's meeting on Wednesday.

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Town councillors said they will object to the land being sold off for private use to Breckland Council.

The residents said they will also set up a petition.

Dr Sanjay Kaushal, who runs the nursing home, said he was in 'early discussions' with Breckland Council about purchasing the land.

He said: 'It's an option we are looking at to enhance the habitat and life of the patients we have at The Paddocks. If it means we can extend the garden or create walkways there, it will be ideal for them.'

A Breckland Council spokesman said: 'We have received an application to purchase a piece of land owned by the council to improve outside areas for residents of the adjacent nursing home.

'We will fully consider this application and no decision has been made. Two signs were put up at The Paddocks in July asking for residents' comments by August 14. We have now extended that deadline and continue to welcome feedback for a short further period.

'The application will be considered at the council's capital asset management working group later this year.

'Any other parties also interested in applying to purchase this land should contact the council directly.'

Anyone who wants to share their views, should email susan.bloomfield@breckland.gov.uk, call 01362 656293 or write to Susan Bloomfied, Breckland Council, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, Norfolk, NR19 1EE.

Are you campaigning against development plans in the Swaffham area? Email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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