Reepham housing plans will bring benefit of new sports hall to the town, says headteacher

Reepham High School and College Principal, Mark Farrar at the Remembrance Service. Picture: Denise B

Reepham High School and College Principal, Mark Farrar at the Remembrance Service. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

A headteacher has backed proposals for new housing in a market town, saying the school and community will benefit from a much-needed sports hall as part of the development.

But campaigners have said they remain sceptical and are urging as many people as possible to attend a consultation event next week.

Under Broadland District Council's proposals to expand Reepham, the town has been earmarked for between 100 and 200 additional houses.

The plans have met much opposition with people living in the area saying Reepham's infrastructure and character would struggle to cope with the expansion and that the level of development would 'cause harm' to the surrounding environment and the future of the small shops.

Nevertheless, although mindful of people's concerns about a new housing development in the town, Reepham High School and College (RHSC) principal Mark Farrar has spoken in favour of the plans.

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The landowner has offered to build the school a large modern sports hall as part of the development.

The proposed sports hall would be used by the school and the community.

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Mr Farrar said it was an offer the school could not turn down.

He said: 'We as a school are supportive of it because our PE facilities are so poor and it would enable us to get a sports hall which meets the needs of a school of more than 1,000 pupils.

'The sports hall will be available for us to use and to be used by the local community in the evenings and at weekends; it will not just be for the benefit of the school.'

Two sites are currently being considered for the houses: one on Whitwell Street, immediately to the south of Reepham Primary School, and another on Whitwell Road, opposite Reepham High School and College.

Members of the public have the chance to view the plans, which can also be seen on Broadland District Council's website, at a public exhibition at the high school on Monday.

The display will be held at 3.45pm at the school's current sports hall.

Trevor Ashwin, from Realistic Reepham, a group which gives people the chance to have their say on the development proposals, said: 'We hear what the high school is saying but are not convinced that the benefit to the town and school outweighs the possible negative impact that could come from an expansion of that scale.

'We are politely and respectfully sceptical.'

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