13/11/19: District and town council deal could bring Green Britain Centre back into community use

Breckland Council and Swaffham Town Council are working on a deal which could bring the Green Britain Centre back into use by local people.

The proposed deal, which is yet to be finalised, is effectively an 'asset swap' and would see the town council take ownership of the Green Britain Centre site in exchange for handing over to the district council the five-acre former allotment area called Day's Field.

The Green Britain Centre site, which is also five acres, is on Turbine Way in Swaffham and owned by Breckland Council. It has remained vacant since January 2019, when the previous tenant officially moved out.

Breckland Council has since been marketing the building for rent or sale and received a number of enquiries over the summer. Having evaluated the interest received, the council has now confirmed that its preferred bid has been submitted by Swaffham Town Council.

While the deal is yet to be finalised, if it were concluded successfully Swaffham Town Council would seek to use the building as a hub for a range of local services in the future.

Swaffham Town Mayor Cllr Jill Skinner commented: "We're delighted to be frontrunner to take over this building and we have a vision of making it a one stop shop for a variety of local services. We've begun preliminary discussions with a number of our potential partners who may be interested in offering services from the site in the future and we hope that it will be open to the public again in 2020.

"The people of Swaffham should be assured, that before any deal is concluded, that we will hold extensive public consultation to detail what we have in mind, and nothing will be signed until we are absolutely sure that we can deliver a viable project that will meet the needs of our growing town."

As part of the deal, the iconic turbine next to the Green Britain Centre is expected to reopen to the public. More details will be available in the new year when it is hoped an 'open day' consultation event will be held, concluding with a public meeting.

While Breckland Council is still considering options for Day's Field, one option could be to promote it for housing growth, as the site already has planning permission for 51 homes.

Cllr Paul Hewett, Executive Member for Contracts and Assets at Breckland Council, added: "This deal is a very exciting prospect as it would make the Green Britain Centre a useful resource to the public once again, restore the turbine as a visitor attraction, and release currently unused land in Swaffham for potential future development.  Everyone is working hard to make this deal work, and if it does there will be benefits for the community of Swaffham as well as the wider District as we continue our ambition to help residents and business thrive".

Both the district and town councils are currently undertaking due diligence processes to ensure that the project is deliverable. It is expected that this will take until the early spring of 2020 at which point the outcome of the proposal will be confirmed.

Last updated: 03/02/2020 16:15:04