Dereham Hockey Club could sell off car park for homes to fund new astropitch
PUBLISHED: 13:26 15 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:18 15 December 2018
A mid-Norfolk sports club could see its car park developed into homes if sell-off plans to fund a quarter of a million pound replacement astroturf pitch are approved by a district council.
Dereham Hockey Club submitted an application to Breckland Council last week to extend its car park and redevelop part of it into four homes, to fund a replacement to its 20-year-old astropitch.
The application, prepared by Norwich-based planning consultants Lanpro on behalf of the club, states: “Permission is being sought for the redevelopment of the western part of the car park for the erection of four new dwellings [and] the extension of the car park to the east to relocate parking spaces lost from the area.”
The club is seeking outline permission for the dwellings, meaning specific details do not need to be provided for approval.
If granted, the club plans to sell on the plots, which will look out onto Honeysuckle Drive, to fund the replacement of the astropitch.
A 2017 report on the synthetic turf pitch replacement carried out by contractor Notts Sport, quoted the club a cost estimate of £225,000 to resurface the synthetic turf, and an estimated £284,000 for an alternative surface.
They recommended the pitch be replaced within the next three years “due to the pitch and base conditions”.
The planning application said the club had been based at the site for many years and has two astroturf pitches which provide play surfaces for other hockey and sports clubs, as well as Norfolk Young Farmers, three football teams, a community rehab team, and local schools, and described the club as a “vital community facility within Dereham”.
It states: “One of the astropitches is now 20 years old and is exceeding its 15 year life expectancy.
“The pitch is in a poor conditions and needs urgently replacing to allow for the club’s facilities to continue to provide the much needed recreation facilities.”
The club described the cost of replacement as “estimated high” and “significant sums” and said while some money would need to come from grant funding but “the majority would need to be found by the club.
“If the club is unable to release the capital from the sale of part of the club’s land, then the club will have to declare the pitch worn out and cease its use.”