How Thorpe St Andrew has changed in 17 years for outgoing councillor

Thorpe River Green. Photo: Nick Butcher

Thorpe River Green. Photo: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A community near Norwich has grown exponentially over the last two decades according to an outgoing town councillor who is leaving the role after 17 years.

Thorpe St Andrew district and county councillor Ian Mackie has announced he is standing down from the town council having started in 2004. 

Mr Mackie has reflected on how the town has seen a population growth over the years with more young people moving into the area to live in bungalows once occupied by older generations. 

Dussindale Primary School has grown from around 70 pupils when it first opened in 2005 to around the 400 mark now. 

Mr Mackie said: "The school has given a real focus to that newer area, however we have seen some assets go like The Buck and The Griffin pubs. 

"But we have also seen other things come in like the Co-op, post office and new businesses so there has been a real change. Thorpe St Andrew now has a very clear identity as a town in its own right." 

County councillor Ian Mackie 

County councillor Ian Mackie - Credit: Submitted

Mr Mackie also commented on "how long and protracted" developments in the town have been, citing the ongoing saga with the Pinebanks sports and leisure facility, which was once owned by Norwich Union and put on the market in 2008. 

Calls to protect Thorpe's woodlands have been a constant demand while development continues to hang over the town.

The councillor would like to see developer contributions used for social infrastructure such as green spaces and facilities, as set out in the Neighbourhood Plan. 

He believes hospitals and schools are vital to creating a sense of place, or the town would be at risk of being swallowed up as a suburb. 

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Mr Mackie added: "Crime remains very low and we have a sense of identity. Community events have grown over the last 17 years such as the Christmas switch-on.

"We are on the cusp of significant growth but the fundamentals are still the same in having a very strong neighbourhood and it has become more of a destination with Bishy Barney Boats and the River Garden reopening." 

The councillor would like to see a review of a public car park for the town, believing there is cope for one on Yarmouth Road.