Hopes for new Norwich swimming pool dashed after £200,000 study
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Hopes that Norwich could get a new swimming pool have been dashed, after a £200,000 feasibility study ruled it out.
The possibility of a new pool at the Mile Cross Depot site was mooted in November 2018, as Norwich City Council considered what to do with the site.
The council wanted to explore whether homes could be built on the site and if money generated by the new homes could allow the construction of a leisure facility, such as a pool.
But the council’s controlling Labour cabinet will be told next week that the feasibility study did not stack up in favour of a pool.
Council papers state that a development viability, carried out by the council’s arms length company Norwich Regeneration Ltd, showed “there would not be sufficient surplus generated from the residential scheme to fund the building of the leisure centre”.
The study also ruled out selling the land to a commercial developer to build homes on, including a third of affordable homes.
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Instead, council officers want the cabinet to agree to use the land to build new council houses on. They say about 150 could be built there, along with a GP surgery and a pharmacy.
The council’s own property development company Norwich Regneration Ltd was set up to oversee the building of homes, but the first phase of its scheme at Rayne Park in Bowthorpe saw it make a £5.7m loss.
Options for how the build the homes will be considered and recommended to the council’s cabinet next month.
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Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, said the Mile Cross depot scheme was part of the council’s ambitious plan to help the city recover from the impact of coronavirus.
He said: “Over the longer-term, our focus will be on building the homes people need, including investing in hundreds more council houses.
“All this is being done during a time of significant financial strain for local authorities. It’s essential that the government ensures Norwich and other councils are fully funded to absorb the impacts of COVID-19 and that critical local services get the funding they need to remain sustainable.” The 10.5 acre site used to be the council’s City Works depot and then became the Mile Cross Business Centre.