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Picture gallery: Plans for Pinebanks and Griffin Lane developments in Thorpe St Andrew are revealed

PUBLISHED: 06:30 11 May 2012 | UPDATED: 09:36 11 May 2012

Ocubis development manager Stuart Adolph.

Ocubis development manager Stuart Adolph.

Archant

Long-awaited plans for a major housing development on the mothballed Pinebanks site in Thorpe St Andrew have finally been revealed - over four years after the site was closed.

Campaigners have been pushing for community sports facilities to be included with any kind of development, to replace the sporting facilities that had been available at the Norwich Union-owned site.

Now the waiting is over and developers are offering a range of options for people to give their backing to - including a skatepark, new football pitches and a new community building which could host 130 people for functions and provide views of Whitlingham Broad.

The proposals are for 215 houses on the Pinebanks site, off Harvey lane, and 52 on the site off Griffin Lane, which was also purchased by Berliet Ltd last year.

While the proposals for the Pinebanks site are largely focused on houses - of which 86 will be three-bedroom and 84 will be four-bedroom - the Griffin Lane site is offering new community facilities which could prove popular.

The plans went on display as part of an exhibition for the first time yesterday and will be shown at the Dussindale Centre, on Pound Lane, between midday and 7pm today, as well as 9am and 1pm tomorrow.

These include three options for the Griffin Lane site which development managers for Berliet, Ocubis Ltd, are asking for people to give them feedback about at the exhibitions.

The first option includes the skatepark and community centre, which could include enough space for 190 people for a community theatre, 130 people for a dinner dance or 35 to 40 people for exercise classes, such as Zumba.

This could also include a bar, changing facilities, town council offices, a base for local police officers, conference rooms, a children’s play area and a second-floor gallery with Broads views.

The second option would see two five-a-side football pitches built instead of the skatepark and still include the community centre.

Or the third option includes two full-size football pitches on a smaller housing development with a smaller community centre greatly because of the lower income this would generate the developers.

All of the options at Griffin Lane include the creation of new access onto the site from a roundabout on Yarmouth Road.

Ocubis carried out a traffic survey which found that traffic frequency in the area was down 10pc from a survey carried out in 2008 and predict that this will increase by 6.5pc again within five years of the development being built.

With the Postwick Hub part of the Northern Distributor Road set to be built nearby as well, Ocubis have high hopes of minimal negative traffic impact.

It also hopes to greatly improve access for the boat yards at the bottom of Griffin Lane, by connecting the site’s main access road to the lower part of Griffin Lane.

While access to the Pinebanks site would be via two new roads created off Henby Way and Hill Crest Road.

All of this, combined with the creation of new footpath and cycle links, recreational woodland areas and new trees being planted, mean Ocubis have high hopes that the plans will be welcomed by local residents and authorities.

Stuart Adolph, Ocubis development manager, said: “We’re looking forward to meeting local people over the coming days at the public exhibition where they can find out more about our exciting proposals to breathe new life into the vacant Pinebanks site and enhance the setting of homes located nearby.

!The delivery of much-needed new homes here is the only way of funding a wide range of new leisure, recreation and sports facilities at Griffin Lane and elsewhere.

“These facilities would be for the community of Thorpe St Andrew as a whole rather than simply the employees of a private company which was Pinebanks’ primary focus historically.”

When the Pinebanks sports and leisure facility was closed dozens of clubs based there were made homeless, so Broadland District Council had warned Ocubis that any development would be “unacceptable” if new facilities not equal to those lost were not included in the plans.

Ocubis carried out research, sending questionnaires to local sports clubs and speaking to sporting governing bodies, and found that indoor facilities were feeling the strain locally.

This found that 54pc of Thorpe’s population were over 46 years of age and generally required indoor facilities more than outside pitches.

The sport facilities may not be to the scale that some may have hoped, but the developers are also proposing a new ‘Thorpe St Andrew Sports Hub Concept’ that could see new and improved facilities introduced elsewhere in the town.

This could see the developer contributing to new and improved town council-run facilities at Laundry Lane plus better community access to new and improved facilities at Thorpe St Andrew School.

Mr Adolph added: “At Laundry Lane there is the potential to bring forward a new artificial grass pitch and at the school, for example, there is an existing (planning) consent for a six-court sports hall.

“By working with the school to improve public access there is the potential for us to deliver the sports hall as well as reintroducing two grass pitches which are not currently used.

“This is both an efficient use of land and the best way of ensuring any new facilities are actually used and do not place an unnecessary burden on the town council who will ultimately manage them.”

- To view the plans, see the picture gallery at the top-right of this page or go to www.pinebanksproposals.co.uk

- What do you think of the proposals? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or david.freezer@archant.co.uk

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