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Queries raised over former Swaffham school site conversion

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Town councillors have raised concerns over an existing application to convert a former school site into housing.

Property company A.R. and V. Investments has submitted an amended change of use application for the Old School House in Swaffham Market Place.

The revised plans have been intended to reduce the risk of overlooking by decreasing the number of proposed units at the former Hamonds High School site.

Old School House, Swaffham Market Place. Picture: David Dixon
Old School House, Swaffham Market Place. Picture: David Dixon

But members of Swaffham Town Council’s planning committee said they would like to see the number of units reduced even further.

Councillor Graham Edwards said three-storey properties on the south of the site would be able to look straight into homes behind.

He said: “There are no elements of design in them whatsoever.”

Queries were also raised over the materials proposed for the new buildings and whether they were in keeping with the grade II listed buildings on the site.

Mr Edwards said: “We have got this monstrosity in the middle of the town and they are supporting metal sheet roofing, I mean for goodness sake!”

The site has been vacant since 2013, when it was briefly an antiques centre, with issues of vandalism reported since.

Chairman of the committee, councillor Les Scott said Breckland Council’s original objection of harm being caused to listed buildings remains pertinent in the new application.

Councillor Lindsay Beech said: “Can we ask how financially viable it is to take out the units five to seven block entirely?

“If they take them away, they could charge more for the houses and deal with it that way.

“It’s a very important site and I think this will be a blot on the landscape. If you are going to do it, do it sensitively and charge more for less units because I know they will sell well.”

It was recognised the applicant has already invested too much in the scheme to walk away.

At the end of the meeting, Mr Scott said the town council is not objecting to the site, but will question whether the units can be reduced or realigned

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