From the archive: Friends of the Silver Rooms committee members, from left, Ian Gibson, chairman; Julie Brociek-Coulton, secretary; and Sally Turner, discuss plans for the Silver Rooms as they start fundraising to buy the building. Picture: Denise Bradley

Former Norwich day centre removed from auction as battle to keep it for the community continues

Wednesday, February 6, 2013
6.30 AM

A former city day centre has been removed from an auction after campaigners secured extra time to keep it for the community.

The Silver Rooms, in Silver Road, had been given a guide price of £75,000-plus and was due to be available at an auction on Thursday, February 14.

But the Norfolk County Council-owned building has been added to Norwich City Council’s asset of community value list.

This means community groups have until March 15 to express an interest in the site. If a bid is judged to be valid then a further six months will be made available for groups to raise cash – before it then goes to auction.

The Friends of the Silver Rooms have been campaigning for more than three years to secure the future of the building as a community centre to be used by people of all ages.

They have successfully applied for the Silver Rooms to be put on the community value list after struggling to raise the money to purchase it from the county council for £80,000.

The Friends asked for the centre to be given to them for free, although were later given the option to pay £80,000 over three years or a reduced price of £68,000 if they agreed to a 79-year clawback clause. This would have ensured any profits of a future sale would be split between the group and the council.

The Friends opted for the £80,000 option and were given until December 20 last year to put down a deposit of approximately £2,600, and January 4 to pay the first instalment of around £26,000.

Cliff Jordan, county council cabinet member for efficiency, said: “The guide price was suggested by the auctioneer which is set at a level to attract interest. Norfolk County Council and the auctioneer then agreed on that price which is standard practice.”

Ian Gibson, former Norwich North MP and Friends of the Silver Rooms committee chairman, previously said: “We have ideas for developing the centre. It would, in my view, be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week, such is the demand.

“We have a business plan and know after the first six months it will be well supported, the money will come in and we will keep up the payments.”