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Replacement sporting facilities to replace those lost at Pinebanks in Thorpe St Andrew, near Norwich

08:19 07 December 2011

Pinebanks, Norwich.
Photo: Andy Darnell

Pinebanks, Norwich. Photo: Andy Darnell

Archant © 2011

Replacement sporting facilities could be built on land close to the former Pinebanks site as part of redevelopment plans.

The Pinebanks sports and leisure facility, off Harvey Lane in Thorpe St Andrew, was closed and put on the market in April 2008, and dozens of clubs based there were made homeless.

Berliet Ltd acquired the former Norwich Union-owned site in December 2009 and confirmed this week that land at Griffin Lane in Thorpe St Andrew has been acquired for the delivery of the new facilities.

They could include a multi-use games area suitable for a wide range of team sports, tennis courts, children’s play area and skatepark as well as a new community building providing space for Thorpe St Andrew’s clubs and societies.

Meanwhile, two new access points will be created to the Pinebanks site, one off Henby Way and the other off Hill Crest Road.

The new facilities, however, can only be delivered should planning permission be granted for the redevelopment of part of the Pinebanks site for up to 240 homes, Stuart Adolph, of Ocubis Ltd, development manager for Berliet Ltd, said.

A public consultation on the plans will start early next year and there will also be a public exhibition.

Mr Adolph said he hopes to put in two planning applications for the sites to Broadland District Council in the spring, and if planning consent is given then work could start by the end of next year.

The plans were revealed to Thorpe St Andrew’s town council on Monday.

Thorpe St Andrew Town Mayor John Ward said: “It’s a very interesting development. The developer have addressed all the concerns we have had about that site. We have been looking for a new community building, so that’s also good.

“We are reviewing the sporting facilities we need in Thorpe at the moment, and feel the proposals will go a long way to meeting our needs.

“We welcome the way they have divided the site at Pinebanks, so there’s no through road, and are pleased with the way the woods could be opened for public access.”

The proposals have also been welcomed by Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, who has worked with residents and Sport England to analyse sports need in the area.

Mr Adolph said: “We realise that the closure of the former Norwich Union sports and social club affected many local groups and individuals.

“Our proposal will deliver community recreation and leisure facilities at a location that’s convenient for the community as a whole.”

He added that it could also open up previously private woodland to the public through the creation of new woodland trails and walks, and new footpaths and cycle ways would create better links into the heart of Thorpe St Andrew.

Mr Adolph added: “We’re very pro sports and recreation and are committed to undertaking public consultation locally and engaging in a positive dialogue with interested parties ahead of submitting our planning applications.

“We will shortly be announcing dates for a public exhibition which will take place in the New Year and we will be providing other conduits so that local people can find out more about our proposals and participate in the planning process.”

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