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Owners of Thorpe St Andrew’s Oasis Sports and Leisure Club lodge plans to knock it down and rebuild

PUBLISHED: 09:58 16 June 2014 | UPDATED: 13:01 16 June 2014

The Oasis Sports & Leisure Club in Thorpe St Andrew. Photo: Bill Smith

The Oasis Sports & Leisure Club in Thorpe St Andrew. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2014

The owners of the Oasis Sports and Leisure Club have announced they want to knock it down, so they can rebuild it alongside almost 60 new homes.

The club, in gardens off Pound Lane in Thorpe St Andrew, belongs to Norfolk entrepreneur Andre Serruys, having been founded by his late father Harry.

The Serruys Property Group has lodged plans with Broadland District Council to redevelop the nine acre site, which would see the current club demolished to make way for a purpose-built replacement.

In documents submitted to the council in support of the application, agents Pike Partnerships state that the current buildings are “no longer fit for purpose”.

They state: “The Oasis, although relatively popular, has been running at a substantial loss for a number of years.

“My clients have explored other uses on the remaining unused parts of the site to subsidise the loss making club. These either presented planning difficulties or were not viable.
“All past options have been undermined by the endemic problems of the club’s inefficient buildings, which have been added to over the years from the base of the Victorian house ‘Woodlands’.

“The piecemeal growth of the club complex over 40 years has resulted in ergonomic failings that demand high levels of staffing and high levels of energy use that combine to create a toxic business model.
“The club is not able to compete because it cannot afford to improve its facilities. In short, the buildings are no longer fit for purpose.”

Pike Partnership said the owners had looked into bringing in higher membership fees, selling the business or closing the business, but had ruled those options out.

Instead, the preferred route would be to move the club to a new tailor-made building with a 1,200 metre square footprint, on a site just north of Tawny Lodge.

The new club would include a spa, pool, sauna, steam room, gym, treatment rooms and cafe, with the agents describing it as a third of the size of the old club, but more “intensively planned”.

But, the agents say a new club would cost £2.5m. They say the only way to generate the money to build it would be by getting planning permission for 59 new homes to be built on the site where the club currently stands, including the tennis courts.

Those homes, the agents say would “sit more comfortably on the site and be a better neighbour to the adjacent housing in Dussindale”.

Forty-one would be houses, either two or three bedroom, while the remaining 18 would be flats.

Thorpe St Andrew Town Council will be considering its response to the proposals when it meets on Monday July 14, while members of Broadland District Council’s planning committee are likely to consider it at a meeting yet to be scheduled.

• What are your memories of the Oasis Sports and Leisure Club? Share them with us by writing, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.


  • Nasty developers with no concern for heritage !

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    Albert Cooper

    Monday, June 16, 2014

  • Having achieved their objective in demolishing the Lakenham cricket pavilion it was inevitable the next target would be this nice building in Thorpe. Will probably follow the same timetable of closure followed by years of neglect before the council caves in and allows the new houses and nasty blocks of flats.

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    Steely Dan

    Monday, June 16, 2014

  • What a lot of people don't realise is that the house that currently forms the centrepiece of the current facility was historically known as 'The Woodlands'. It is a late Georgianearly Victorian villa that was once owned by the Birkbeck family. The estate extended deep into the Belmore Plantation and included the lake that is visible from the Pound Lane woods. The house is one of only a few 19th Century properties that remain in Thorpe St. Andrew. This house is part of the history of Thorpe St. Andrew and deserves to be saved from the developers.

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    Monday, June 16, 2014

  • Sadly I fear this venture is doomed to failure. I used Oasis for a while and have to say it has always lookedexactly what it is - a big tired converted house and no amount of mirrors and gym equipment can disguise that. You have to ask the question of how a large purpose built gym is going to stack up financially when Thorpe St Andrews already has the large Bannatynes Health complex on the Northside Business Park? If you cant get people through the doors now, where are all the new customers going to come from? The attraction of Oasis was that it wasn't a fitness factory - it offered something different. If you now want to take on the big boys on their own doorstep you are going to lose - ever heard the phrase "Throwing good money after bad"? Save a lot of nugatory effort and just wind the business up and build the houses.

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    Monday, June 16, 2014

  • All this concern about the Oasis puzzles me. Do people not understand the intense empathy that the Serruys group have for people and property? For further clarification may I point you in the direction of Lakenham Cricket Ground.

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    Monday, June 16, 2014

  • My view is that where places like Thorpe are concerned, where the large plots are being plundered and over developed, the planners should have in place what they will allow in advance, on the basis of what the area can support and retain its character and the effect on neighbouring properties . And not engage in horse trading with people like this.

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    Daisy Roots

    Monday, June 16, 2014

  • The present muddled building is a bit like Topsy. It just grew. And weirdly enough that site would be suitable for houses. Not often you can say that about the ridiculous applications that are made on a daily basis by get rich quick merchants wanting to throw up nasty little boxes for buy to let individuals to get their hands on

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    Monday, June 16, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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