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Purchase of Swaffham Sacred Heart swimming pool and Barn Theatre announced

Following the closure of a convent school, a council has secured the purchase of facilities at the site as part of an "exciting opportunity" for the town.

Swaffham Town Council has today announced its bid to purchase the Sacred Heart Barn Theatre and swimming pool has been accepted by the trustees.

It follows two extraordinary council meetings in which decisions were made.

Sister Amelia of the former Sacred Heart convent school and Swaffham mayor Jill Skinner
Sister Amelia of the former Sacred Heart convent school and Swaffham mayor Jill Skinner

Swaffham mayor Jill Skinner said: "By opening up these facilities to the general public, they become community assets for the town.

"We had to move quickly to secure the property, now the hard work starts. In the coming weeks we now want to talk with our potential partners, managers, grant funders and possible user groups, as we want to finalise a project that will have a wide appeal for Swaffham."

An independent valuation of the property and financial options were considered on June 18, prior to the council making a formal offer at the full asking price of £325,000.

A consultation day and public meeting will be taking place to discuss future moves with residents, but a date has yet to be finalised at this stage.

Mrs Skinner added: "We will be looking for the endorsement of the town and would welcome all views at the appropriate time, with of course your support. Please let us know if you want to help."

A statement from the council said: "There are financial options still to finalise, solicitors and surveyors to appoint, due diligence and feasibility study to complete and discussions to be had with grant funders to improve the facilities and with third parties regarding the prospect of managing the building via a new or existing charitable trust.

"It is important that all of this work is now carried out concurrently and concluded in the coming weeks."

Norfolk County Council approved a 210-place school on the site of the former Sacred Heart Catholic school last summer. A 25-place nursery class was also approved following a proposal by the Diocese of East Anglia.

But the Barn Theatre had to be sold as part of the closure of the convent school.

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