Crucial step taken towards new leisure centre for town
- Credit: Ian Burt
Plans for a new leisure centre in a Norfolk town took an exciting step forward this week, as land was gifted from one council to another.
At an extraordinary meeting of Swaffham Town Council (STC) on Monday, the council agreed to convey to Breckland District Council (BDC) two acres of land next to the Green Britain Centre.
As part of the agreement, there will be a covenant that restricts the use of the land to a ‘Sport & Leisure Centre’ in perpetuity.
District councillor Ian Sherwood said: “We know we’re going to get the receipt from the sale of the Green Britain [Centre], towards sports and leisure in Swaffham, we’re know there’s some other money that we’re looking at pulling together to help fund the project and if we don’t have to buy a piece of land, the more money can go into building the building and providing what we need.”
Swaffham residents currently make use of a leisure centre at Nicholas Hamond Academy, but Mr Sherwood said the need for improved sports facilities had come up repeatedly on the doorstep during his 2019 election campaign.
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“I’m keen to see a spade in the ground,” he said.
“I can’t promise, but I should think, if everything goes smoothly, we should have a new sports and leisure provision open within 24 months. It could be sooner, it could be longer.
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“I believe the residents of Swaffham deserve that - they’ve waited too long for that,” he added.
Swaffham mayor Judy Anscombe said she was “very pleased” with the decision, which she said was in line with the town’s neighbourhood plan.
“In early consultation, our young people showed support for more facilities for indoor physical leisure activities,” said Ms Anscombe.
“The allocation of this site is a valuable contribution that gives certainty to Breckland Council to now deliver a much-needed improvement in the sport and leisure offer for Swaffham.
Breckland Council’s executive member for planning, leisure and contracts, Sarah Suggitt, said: “I’m delighted that the town council has now agreed to transfer the land to Breckland’s ownership, which is a huge step forward for our project.
“Our focus now is on carrying out a feasibility study which will identify exactly what the most appropriate leisure offering is for the area.”