No plans yet for town asset list sites, Swaffham council insists

The Green Britain Centre (formly known as the Eco-Tech centre) featuring the UK's only windturbine with viewing platform.
The Green Britain Centre (formly known as the Eco-Tech centre) featuring the UK's only windturbine with viewing platform.
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Twelve sites in Swaffham could be earmarked for future development under new district council proposals, it has emerged.

The areas are among more than 100 Breckland council-owned properties listed in a project which officials say is designed to make the most of the area’s assets, by creating more than 1,000 new jobs and hundreds of new homes.

But the authority has insisted it has no short-term development plans for the town locations included in the document.

The council wants to use a mechanism called a Local Asset Backed Vehicle (LABV), in which it would work with private sector companies to develop sites that it owns.

In a presentation to town and parish council representatives, leader Michael Wassell said: “Against a backdrop of central government cuts, we want to maximise income from the growth we will experience in the district.

Mark Kiddle-Morris, the council’s executive member for assets and strategic development, added that “substantial investment” was needed if the authority’s property portfolio was to continue to provide a financial return.

A total of 122 sites across the district have been listed as part of the plan, with 28 on an A list of potentially viable development projects.

The A list includes three Swaffham sites: the Green Britain Centre which has been the subject of speculation following suggestions that a hotel could be built on the site, the Station Yard and Station Street car parks and the Theatre Street car park.

However, none of those sites are among a group of eight which are thought to be most attractive to a developer in the first five years of the project, which is expected to last up to 20 years.

The council claims that, if all 28 A list sites were developed, at least 1,031 new jobs and 511 new homes would be created. Meanwhile, nine other Swaffham sites are among 94 B list properties which are also included in the list, but without being given any priority for development.

The list includes the Peddlars car park, plus the car parks in Lynn Street, London Street and Market Place.

The other areas named are Ormesby Drive, Brancaster Way, Rockland Close, Wolfeton Drive and The Paddocks.

The council aims to have selected a development partner by the autumn, with the partnership established by the end of the year.

It is hoped that the first projects will get underway next year.