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Leisure centre's maize maze plans could secure new jobs

PUBLISHED: 12:02 17 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:02 17 April 2019

Rossis Leisure centre at North Walsham. Owner Bruce Rossi. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Rossis Leisure centre at North Walsham. Owner Bruce Rossi. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2011

Plans to create an outdoor maize maze and picnic area at a north Norfolk leisure centre could secure up to five new jobs, if the scheme is backed by councillors.

Rossis Leisure, in North Walsham, is planning to convert a nearby field into the outdoor attraction, which owner Bruce Rossi hopes will encourage visitors to the town and boost staffing numbers.

Plans for the scheme at the Tungate facility were submitted to North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) last month and describe the proposal as “the change of use of an adjacent field to our current leisure facility for a maize maze”.

Mr Rossi said: “After last summer, which was a long, hot summer, the business was compounded, and hit by that.

“We were looking to safeguard the business and employment - we decided we needed to add to our offering, and go outdoors as well.

Bruce Rossi is pictured outside the family firm in North Walsham. Picture: David BaleBruce Rossi is pictured outside the family firm in North Walsham. Picture: David Bale

“Rather than laying people off in hot weather, we will add to employment.”

Mr Rossi, who took over the business in 1997, said the creation of the maze, could see up to five new jobs secured at the firm.

He said: “[The land] is owned by a family member who is on board.

“It will bring people into North Walsham. They don't just come to me - they go on into the town.”

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And if plans are given the green light by NNDC, the maze could be in place ready for the summer.

Mr Rossi said: “It will be sown in the next three to four weeks.

“It's traditional maize, like corn on the cob, but for animal feed.

“The crop will be used at the end of its life for play purposes.

“It grows to about 10ft tall and is rapidly growing - by mid July it will be six feet high.”

Existing on site infrastructure, including toilets and car parking facilities, would be used to service the plot, and no building works are needed to install the maze, while its construction would use locally supplied materials.

Mr Rossi said: “We're using a special design which will drill all the walkways so as it grows all the walkways will appear.”

The sole objection to the plans described parking at Stompers soft play, also owned by Rossis, as “a nightmare”, but Mr Rossi said the maze would not cause extra traffic, as people would not use indoor activities in hot weather.

He said: “We have car parking available for wet weather days.

“The business can cope with that no problem.”

The maze would be open for 60 days a year, in sunny weather, and operate from 9am to 6pm.

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