Swaffham councillor calls for clubs to work together on improved sports facilities

The current sportshall on the site at The Nicholas Hamond Academy Swaffham, this is shared with the general public as a sports centre.
The current sportshall on the site at The Nicholas Hamond Academy Swaffham, this is shared with the general public as a sports centre.

Sporting organisations in Swaffham should join forces to help develop a new, comprehensive facility for the town, a councillor has claimed.

Ian Sherwood says there is an opportunity to be explored because of the continuing closure of the town’s leisure centre.

Officials said this week that they hope to re-open the Brandon Road building on September 1, following repairs to damage caused following heavy rain in late June.

But Mr Sherwood, who is one of the town’s Breckland district councillors, told last Wednesday’s town council meeting that the affair could be a chance to have a wider debate about the provision of facilities.

He said: “My personal view is I would like the sports groups of Swaffham to get together to talk about the option

He acknowledged it had been difficult to bring different clubs together previously and that some groups may not want to get involved with such a project, even if it attracted the interest of potential funders such as Sport England.

But he said he had held a “very constructive” meeting with leaders of the town’s Swimming Pool Association about their continuing campaign for a new pool and suggested inspiration could be found nearby through Watton’s effort to develop a similar facility there.

However, Steve Allen questioned the extent to which external funding could be obtained.

He asked: “Would Sport England be interested? I’ve heard they’re not because of our close proximity to Watton.”

A statement on the leisure centre’s Facebook page, posted on Wednesday afternoon, said contractors were due to move onto the site next week to carry out repairs.

It added: “Subject to required works being carried out successfully we are at present hopeful that the facility will re-open on Friday 1st September.”

Although the building is owned by Norfolk County Council, responsibility for providing leisure centre services in Swaffham lies with Breckland district council and its contractors, Parkwood Community Leisure.

Mr Sherwood said the hold-up in carrying out repairs had been caused by delays in discussions between the authorities and the trust which sponsors the Nicholas Hamond Academy, which shares use of the centre.

He said the trust had to give consent for the work to be undertaken.