Poll: Pinebanks plans advised for approval ahead of committee decision - do you agree?

The vacant Pinebanks site in Thorpe St Andrew. Photo: Andy Darnell The vacant Pinebanks site in Thorpe St Andrew. Photo: Andy Darnell

Thursday, February 21, 2013
12:00 PM

Controversial plans for more than 260 new homes in Thorpe St Andrew look to have moved a step closer to becoming reality – but defiant campaigners said today they were not giving up their fight.

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The proposals for 215 homes at Pinebanks, the former Norwich Union sports ground, and 52 homes in Griffin Lane are set to go before Broadland District Council’s planning committee next Wednesday.

A report prepared for the committee by council officers has been published ahead of the meeting and is advising the councillors to approve the proposals.

The site has now been left empty for five years and Berliet Ltd have been planning to develop the site since December 2009.

Mike Riches, spokesman for the Friends of Thorpe St Andrew (FOTSA) campaign group, said he was “surprised” the plans had been recommended for approval.

Pinebanks history

February 2008 – Members of Pinebanks informed by Norwich Union, now Aviva, that the site would be shutting. Members told the site is worth almost £500,000 in real estate and over 30 sport socieites are immediately left searching for a new home.

December 2009 – It emerges Jersey-based Berliet Ltd have purchased the Pinebanks site from Norwich Union, although the company insists it has no firm plans and the site may not be developed for five years.

November 2010 – Local residents join forces with Norwich North MP Chloe Smith and district councillors to make clear to Berliet Ltd’s development manager, Ocubis, that provision for sports facilities were included in any plans.

January 2012 – Broadland District Council head of planning Phil Courtier warned any Pinebanks development would be unacceptable were new facilities not equal to those lost when the site closed in 2008.

May 2012 – Ocubis reveals its plans for 215 homes at Pinebanks, alongside 52 homes at Griffin Lane. and reveals a ‘sports hub’ which would create new sport facilities, including a skate park and cricket training facilities, and bring redundant football pitches back into use.

FOTSA have been campaigning to try and ensure sports facilities lost on the Pinebanks site will be replaced and Mr Riches, who lives in Henby Way, is not giving up hope of Broadland’s planning committee going against the recommendation.

He cited comments from Sport England in the report, which state “the proposal fails to meet” the organisation’s playing field policy.

Mr Riches said: “The sporting aspect is the biggest thing that we have been campaigning for and I still think the sports hub being proposed is not going to work.

“The council needs to make sure the developers do replace what’s being lost for our future generations.

“How many kids are becoming obese has been in the news and it’s frightening. Whenever I go abroad every village seems to have a sports pitch, but we seem to have our priorities wrong in this country.”

Development managers Ocubis, working on behalf of Berliet Ltd, have attempted to compensate for the loss of the Pinebanks facilities by pledging several planning agreements.

These include £997,000 towards a new sports facility at Thorpe St Andrew School, which would have public opening hours and for which there is also pre-existing planning permission.

This also includes £25,000 for reinstating two football pitches at Dussindale Recreation Ground and £80,000 towards a skate park, while £400,000 would contribute towards a new town council community facilitiy.

Three members of the public have so far requested to speak about Pinebanks at the committee meeting next Wednesday. Anyone else wanting to speak must contact the council by 5pm tomorrow.

- Do you think the plans should be approved? Cast your vote in the poll above and leave your comments below.

12 comments

  • I agree with Mike Riches and Sport England - the proposals do fail to meet Broadland's own playing field and green spaces policy - it just won't do to have the so-called sports hub away at the Griffin Lane site. Sadly it seems that the "smarm offensive" by Ocubis has worked - Broadland will get their quota of new homes built but in an area that simply doesn't have the infrastructure to cope. I wonder who we can hold responsible when the traffic grinds to a standstill in a few years time, the schools are overcrowded and local GP surgeries oversubscribed?

    Report this comment

    churchill

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

  • I seem to have an echo. Sorry about that! ;-)

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    iclone-2000

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • What absolute rubbish ! These were private sports facilities for the use of Norwich union employees only. Funny how everyone living on the roads approaching the development are suddenly worried about fat kids ! Probably the very people that wouldn't give there ball back !

    Report this comment

    Freddy

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

  • I have lived in Thorpe St Andrew for 25+ years and been a member of Pinebanks Sports and Social Club and also coached football at the venue. Of course it is sad that the facilities have been broken up, but the new proposals are exciting and I'm sure will benefit ALL of Thorpe. To be frank sometimes Pinebanks was completely underused. I was regularly the only person using the gym, sauna, etc. It was unusual to bump into anyone there at all. Let's get this into perspective, a great many locals are very much in favour of the new facilities for schools, sports, leisure and community. And 'FOTSA', please change the title of your Facebook page, the views expressed there are not that of ALL the locals of Thorpe St Andrew.

    Report this comment

    iclone-2000

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • I seem to have an echo. Sorry about that! ;-)

    Report this comment

    iclone-2000

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Your missing the point these facilities were privately owned and even with all the funding from norwich union they couldn't afford to keep these facilities open ! Drive round norwich on Saturday or Sunday morning and you will see numerous pitches not being used ! We need to build houses there is a real shortage of housing and building homes creates jobs

    Report this comment

    Freddy

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

  • I have lived in Thorpe St Andrew for 25+ years and been a member of Pinebanks Sports and Social Club and also coached football at the venue. Of course it is sad that the facilities have been broken up, but the new proposals are exciting and I'm sure will benefit ALL of Thorpe. To be frank sometimes Pinebanks was completely underused. I was regularly the only person using the gym, sauna, etc. It was unusual to bump into anyone there at all. Let's get this into perspective, a great many locals are very much in favour of the new facilities for schools, sports, leisure and community. And 'FOTSA', please change the title of your Facebook page, the views expressed there are not that of ALL the locals of Thorpe St Andrew.

    Report this comment

    iclone-2000

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • No Freddy, you're missing the point - it's not about what Pinebanks used to be. BDC's planning guidelines, if you take the time to read them, state that playing field and green space provision should be ON SITE for a development of this size (215 houses on the Pinebanks site). We've been hoodwinked into allowing this to be all concentrated on the (cheaper) land at Griffin Lane. You might not be able to see though this, along with BDC and Thorpe Town Council, but I can, and I'd like my children to be able to have green space and facilities nearby. Instead they'll have a nice dense housing estate - how unique, how in character for Thorpe!

    Report this comment

    churchill

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

  • iclone-2000

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • I seem to have an echo. Sorry about that! ;-)

    Report this comment

    iclone-2000

    Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Actually some people are very misinformed...there were over 50 community groups, social clubs, sports clubs IN ADDITION to individual locals ( allowed to use Pinebanks) using the complex..... Local and national sporting bodies have been consulted by those locals interested in keeping the future of this facility for community, recreation and leisure....and there is a demonstrated need for such a facility....one body stated they would & could use Pinebanks tomorrow if it was available. There is also a viable business case....sadly Town Counsellors have declined to listen ( flounced out of meeting in fact) to Sports England who came to meet them to discuss sporting provision in the area......terribly sad reflection on elected officials declining to listen to their actual constituents but prefer to follow their own self appointed direction. Questions re logistics of access via proposed routes when roads too congested by traffic and is physically sinking as on infill site have remained unanswered...... I note from planning file that the vast majority of correspondence is from locals objecting.....but at town council meeting, the counsellors do not take note of this....as it goes to Broadland rather than the town council. Good thought out procedure re planning is needed obviously!

    Report this comment

    sarah mogford

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

  • iclone-2000

    Friday, February 22, 2013

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

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