Mystery potential buyer of former council offices revealed

Thorpe Lodge / Broadland District Council.<2 of 2> edp 29/6/00

Thorpe Lodge / Broadland District Council. <2 of 2> edp 29/6/00 - Credit: EDP © 2000

An interested party has thrown its hat into the ring to take on the Grade II-listed district council headquarters on the outskirts of the city.

Broadland District Council has agreed to relocate from its Thorpe Lodge site in Yarmouth Road to a new joint base on the Broadland Business Park.

And Thorpe St Andrew Town Council has now been revealed as having expressed an interest in using the Thorpe site as an incubator hub for start-up businesses and entrepreneurs. 

The town council is also considering whether part of Thorpe Lodge could be used to store the town's archives which are currently housed in Roxley Hall. 

Thorpe Lodge, now Broadland District Council Offices -Thorpe St Andrew<Copy: Rachel Banham - EDP S

Thorpe Lodge - Credit: Archant

A permanent display for a Thorpe St Andrew history collection is also being proposed.

The town council previously explored setting up a business incubator hub at the Beech Hill house in the Langley South site of Pinebanks using Section 106 developer contributions.

However a fire ended these hopes after the site was burnt down in 2018. 

The fire as seen from the aerial platform at the former Thorpe House Langley Preparatory School site

The fire as seen from the aerial platform at the former Thorpe House Langley Preparatory School site in Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: Geraldine Scott. - Credit: Archant

Thorpe St Andrew county councillor Ian Mackie (Cons) said: "Whatever is considered for the site needs to be very carefully planned and consulted upon.

"We must avoid another Pinebanks and years of uncertainty.

"The loss of another building of historical importance to Thorpe through neglect or vandalism would be dreadful.

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"If the old part of the building could be used in an imaginative way, I am all for it.  

"It has been home to the council and open to the public for more than 45 years."

County councillor Ian Mackie

County councillor Ian Mackie - Credit: Contributed

The town council has begun early discussions to consider their options for Thorpe Lodge whether that means an asset transfer, leasing or a purchase.

Thorpe Lodge includes a nuclear bunker and the Grade II-listed former house was once home to John Harvey, a wealthy textile manufacturer and banker. 

Thorpe St Andrew historian, Malcolm Martins, said: "It used to be a key site but it was altered years ago. 

"It remains an historic and key building that needs to be preserved." 

Thorpe St Andrew historian Malcolm Martins 

Thorpe St Andrew historian Malcolm Martins - Credit: Malcolm Martins 

A spokesman for Broadland District Council said: "There is a process that the council will follow to decide the future of the site.

"We are at the start of that process and all options will be explored."