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New Aylsham Development to Provide Essential Sports and Housing Facilities

A proposed major new development in Aylsham, Norfolk, designed to provide the town with essential sports and housing facilities, has progressed to the next phase, with a public meeting held on Wednesday 19th August at Aylsham Town Hall.

The scheme, which is being designed by award-winning Norwich architects Chaplin Farrant Limited, proposes the construction of a new purpose-built football facility comprising nine football pitches and a clubhouse, plus much-needed housing in the area. The site earmarked for the development is to the west of St Michael's Hospital, bordered to the north by Marriott's Way and to the south by Cawston Road.

Chaplin Farrant director Mark Nolan said: “The public planning forum was organised and chaired by Broadland District Council and Aylsham Town Council to provide an opportunity for people to come along and take part in an open discussion about the proposed development, air their views and find out in more detail what the project involves.

“There are obviously many questions and concerns from local residents, which we completely understand, but we are confident we can show them how the new development will provide significant benefits to the community.

“I think the greatest concern from them is the proposed new housing. Aylsham has been identified as one of four major towns in the Greater Norwich Development Partnership Area and there is a real lack of housing in the area. Aylsham has available employment, capacity in schools and has a recognised deficit of open space. The proposal is to build no more than 200 new homes, which will provide a mix of private and affordable housing for the area.

“It is essential that the town provides good housing for its growing population and with this new development younger people will be encouraged to stay and make their home in Aylsham.

“The plans also include possible allotments, a green open space and various enhancements to the surrounding area, such as landscaping, plus improvements to road links and routes through the site – in particular access onto Cawston Road. We want to stress that it will be a priority to maximise road safety and our aim is to encourage more foot traffic and pedestrian links through the development and to the new football club.”

An issue, which has proved a stumbling block for previous proposals in Aylsham, has been the treatment of surface and foul water on any new development. “Anglian Water has no spare capacity in their system for dealing with this,” explains Mark Nolan, “but we can solve the problem by building a private water treatment facility on the new site. The water, when treated, will then irrigate both the football pitches and the surrounding farm land.”

The proposed new Aylsham Football Club development will enable the town’s Charter Standard football community to be brought together in one, dedicated facility. The scheme has the full support of the Football Association (FA) and, once complete, will be one of the best grass roots facilities in the county.

A spokesperson for the Aylsham Football Club committee, commented: “The new site will provide a vital service to Aylsham and is key to the club’s expansion. We have around 500 people involved in the club – over 300 of these are players with 19 teams from under sevens to adults, and the numbers are growing fast.

“We have a five-year development plan in place to expand to 29 teams and in particular we want to develop Aylsham as a centre for girls' and ladies' football in the area. For a town with a population of 8,000 we believe it is essential that we build this new facility and significantly improve football in our community.”

According to Chaplin Farrant, the site for the new football club was chosen for a number of key reasons. Mark Nolan said: “The land is available to build on, it’s flat and very accessible, just a 7.5-minute walk from the local schools and nine minutes from the town centre. This means it’s close enough to be a focal point for the community and visitors from the town can reach it on foot.

“At 20 acres the site is large enough to accommodate nine pitches, a clubhouse and associated buildings, plus a sizeable car park. Overall it’s the ideal site and promises to be an impressive addition to Aylsham. Locals have voiced concerns that the new site will eat into agricultural land and is outside the development boundary. We have weighed this carefully and we believe that the benefits the new club and residential development will bring to the community far outweigh the loss of land.

“We see this new venture as a partnership between Aylsham Football Club and the landowner on whose property the houses will be built. The club is also keen to encourage users from other sporting clubs to use the facility to ensure it is as flexible and diverse as possible.

“We believe the club and the housing need to be built together, to ensure the size of the new facility and the housing are comparable and provide adequate facilities now and in the future. It was also suggested that the club reduce the size of its aspirations but, again, if this was to happen the future needs of the town would not be met.

Mark Nolan added: “There was good attendance at the public meeting, with lively debate. We believe this exciting development is a real step forward in providing the area with essential community facilities and housing, and we hope that residents will be able to see the long-term benefits.”


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