Swaffham infrastructure ‘must be better’, Breckland Council leader admits

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District council chiefs have admitted they need to do more to ensure Swaffham has the infrastructure it needs for the future.

The acknowledgement came as Breckland Council’s ruling cabinet met in the town this week, in the first of a series of roadshow meetings being held away from the authority’s Dereham headquarters.

A half-hour public questions session, held ahead of the formal agenda, saw town mayor Jill Skinner plead for greater consideration of leisure and health needs in future developments.

And Breckland leader William Nunn conceded the case of the town’s leisure centre, which has been shut for several months for repairs, showed they needed to do better.

He said: “I think there’s been a realisation for some time that it feels like Swaffham has got the short straw.

“Officers are looking at whether there is a viable alternative. I don’t think there is an answer to that at the moment but I know we need to find one.

“We know there’s a massive problem putting the infrastructure in. We need to uplift infrastructure not just in Swaffham but all the market towns.”

Officials leading the campaign for a new outdoor swimming pool in the town also urged the authority to work with them towards that goal, ahead of scheduled talks between the parties next month.

The Swaffham Swimming Pool Association is campaigning to build a heated pool on a site close to the Green Britain Centre.

Rob Walker, the district council’s executive director for place, said he acknowledged the council’s investment in other pools in the area was a “contentious” issue, but insisted he was happy for officials to work with the group.

But the council faced criticism over its management of conservation areas, after town councillor Les Scott revealed the appraisal of Swaffham’s conservation area had not been updated for 40 years.

He called for an assurance that the document would be updated with the support of the town’s neighbourhood plan steering group, of which he is a member.

Mr Walker said the issue was currently being examined following what he described as a “small” number of similar questions from other areas.