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Swaffham planning application for 51 houses near A47 to look at potential for leisure facility at site

Plans to build over 50 new houses have been halted as a town council looks at an alternative plan to potentially develop a sports and leisure facility at the site.

Swaffham Town Council had already secured outline planning permission for a Days Field site on New Sporle Road in the town.

The proposal, which would accommodate 51 new houses, will be renegotiated as further facilities are sought. This coincides with a growing appetite for a public swimming pool in Swaffham.

The proposed site for Days Field as seen from Google Maps
The proposed site for Days Field as seen from Google Maps

In order to explore the principle of incorporating a number of services at one site, the town council has re-applied for planning permission for the Days Field site.

It has been agreed by councillors 'in principle' to investigate further with Breckland Council and Norfolk County Council to see if a new project can be developed.

All options previously considered are still on the table. Deputy mayor Keith Sandle has previously voiced concern over the safety of the entrance to the site.

Previously used for allotment purposes, the town council had received permission to dispose of the surplus land with the intention of delivering new homes.

Town mayor, Jill Skinner, said the council are still awaiting a Sports and Leisure feasibility report from Breckland Council so the future of the site is "uncertain" right now.

She said: "At first glance, the potential for this project is certainly worth investigating. It is time for our town to prepare itself for the future. We have made a good start with our Neighbourhood Plan, now it is right for us all to be more proactive to shape the kind of town we want for our children and grandchildren, this should be our legacy.

"All we ask of people is when we come and talk to you, please approach this with an open mind. This could be exciting for the town, so lets enjoy the ride together.

"We all want what is best for our town."

Swaffham mayor Jill Skinner and deputy mayor Keith Sandle
Swaffham mayor Jill Skinner and deputy mayor Keith Sandle

Town clerk Richard Bishop described the circumstances as a "once in a lifetime" opportunity.

"The Plan if realised would transform the sports and leisure facilities on offer for Swaffham, but it is only at an embryonic stage at the present time," he said.

"We need now to have those important conversations with all interested parties, to flesh out the details in a fully costed Business and Project Plan.

"It is only when other organisations come on board, will we know whether there is any project at all.

"In theory it looks good and if we get the support we need, then we will have enough information to share with the public, who will have every chance to lend their support, as we need everyone pulling in the same direction."

A town councillor, who did not wish to be named at this stage, said it is a "refreshing" approach for the enhancement of local life.

They also said some "hard evaluations will now be considered" before taking the idea further.

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