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Flats plan for Dereham green space

PUBLISHED: 12:02 03 September 2008 | UPDATED: 14:41 07 July 2010

Green space in Dereham town centre could be turned into 14 flats in order to fund a refurbishment project on the town's Memorial Hall.

Town officials have agreed in principle to seek planning permission for a 1,300sqm section of land they own on Fleece Meadow in Norwich Street, which they say is not regularly used.

Green space in Dereham town centre could be turned into 14 flats in order to fund a refurbishment project on the town's Memorial Hall.

Town officials have agreed in principle to seek planning permission for a 1,300sqm section of land they own on Fleece Meadow in Norwich Street, which they say is not regularly used.

If they are successful they would hope to sell it off to help fund long running plans to refurbish the Memorial Hall, Dereham's main events venue, which sits adjacent to the land in Norwich Street.

The decision was made at Dereham Town Council's finance and resources committee on Tuesday night and it will have to be ratified by the full council next Tuesday.

Yesterday, John Gretton, chairman of the committee, said: “This is very much at an early stage, but the finance committee is proposing that the council explores the possibility of some limited development which could, if the council decides to sell the land, be used to help finance the refurbishment of the Memorial Hall.

“We have deliberately looked at developing a part of the site which is currently not able to be utilised for open space so that the main body of Fleece Meadow would be retained as it is for informal recreation.

“If the development goes ahead it would only take about 10pc of the meadow and there is also the option of using a proportion of that income to purchase a much greater amount of open space elsewhere in the town.”

At the moment the only details of the scheme drawn up are the position in Fleece Meadow, access off Norwich Street and that it would be for 14 open market two-bedroom flats.

If they wanted to build 15 if would mean a proportion would have to be affordable homes, which would make them less cash.

Plans for the Memorial Hall are to modernise it, making it more fit for purpose for a range of live performances, and possibly build an extension to the back of it.

The town council also hopes to have retractable rake seating, so everyone would get a better view and it could be moved quickly so the hall could be used for different things, and improved look and feel.

Specific details were still discussed and looked into by an architect, but town clerk Tony Needham said they were “moving forward”.

“We have established a rough idea of what we think it might cost and we want to work out if we will be able to find if we would have enough money to go ahead with the work,” he said.

“We are now looking at what funds we have got available and what is available elsewhere. Seeking planning permission is part of that process.”

The town council is also starting to put on a range of shows to “test the water” with what people would like to see at the hall.

This will start on October 25 with Sun Dragon, a play for children. For more information contact the town council on 01362 693821.

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