Bid to save Halesworth Day Centre as community asset

Halesworth Day Centre.

Halesworth Day Centre. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A day centre threatened with closure has been registered as an asset of community value in a bid to protect it.

Halesworth Day Centre on London Road houses organisations including the Volunteer Centre, the Open Door Carer Support Group and the town council, and also provides social and recreational activities for older people.

The centre is also home to Waveney District Council's customer service office and is due to be closed to the public in March.

Waveney District Council's cabinet said it decided to close the customer service offices to save money, and reinvest the savings into essential services - leaving the future of the building uncertain.

And following a meeting with Head of Communities at Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils Nicole Rickard, Halesworth councillors voted unanimously to register the building as an asset of community value at a council meeting this week.

If successful, this would mean the building could not be sold for six months, giving the town a fair chance to put in a bid on it, but would not give community interest groups first refusal on the property.

Vice chairman of Halesworth Town Council David Thomas said: 'We wanted to talk to her about how we could use the Localism Act 2011 to help us protect some of the areas in Halesworth that we are being forced to stump up money for, and in particular we are concerned about this building. What will happen is it will prevent the building being sold from under us. It will give us six months grace to work out how we can possibly run this venue.'

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He said there was no other locations in the town which would be suitable for the many groups currently using the Day Centre.

'We have organisations that have nowhere else to go,' he said.

The local authority will have eight weeks to judge whether or not the building meets the criteria to be registered as an asset of community value.

One of these is that its current use furthers the social wellbeing and interests of the local community, with councillors confident the Day Centre meets these requirements.

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