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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.

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