A disused site in Long Stratton is set to be rejuvenated with a major commercial and residential development, after building works commenced earlier this month.
Construction of Maple Park, the new name of a plot in Swan Lane that formerly hosted the Cygnet House Care Home, began in the last couple of weeks, having been earmarked for commercial units and office space spanning around 800 square metres, in addition to 50 new homes.
The project, spearheaded by the South Norfolk Council-owned Big Sky Developments, arrives following months of consultations with parish councillors and members of the local community, and it is intended to host a variety of different businesses upon its completion.
Councillor Michael Edney, South Norfolk Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said: “I am really excited that work on Maple Park has started.
“The development will bring enormous benefits to the local community, including employment, affordable housing and office space to suit businesses of all sizes.
“Big Sky Developments is building houses that both fit with and enhance the local surroundings, and meet the needs of the community.
“We are providing commercial office space that will boost the local economy and employment opportunities.”
Since 2009, the site, which is located next to the South Norfolk Council head offices, has been empty, following the closure of Cygnet House.
During the setting of its 2015/2016 budget, the council committed to investing as much as £8 million of taxpayer money between this land and a similar development, called Rosebery Park, in Poringland, south of Norwich.
Last year, South Norfolk Council leader John Fuller told the Diss Express they considered the projects a ‘very low risk investment’.
“It is incumbent on us to add value to the land, especially if it creates places for people to live and work,” Cllr Fuller stated.
“This is not about turning a quick buck. Developing this and retaining ownership means that the tax payers of South Norfolk have a stake in this forever.
“The income that will be generated is not just for one year, but for many years and will keep council tax low for everybody in South Norfolk.”
The plans for Maple Park include business units, a subdividable office block, at least five affordable homes and a family recreational area.