Disused Thetford building could become respite facility for disabled people

The Elm Road Centre in Thetford. Picture: Archant Library

The Elm Road Centre in Thetford. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Archant

A disued building which has been empty for five years could be brought back into use as a respite care site for disabled people.

Councillor Terry Jermy, picture earlier this year when he was Thetford mayor, is backing the proposa

Councillor Terry Jermy, picture earlier this year when he was Thetford mayor, is backing the proposal. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Norfolk County Council's Adult Social Services department has submitted plans to open the Elm Road Centre in Thetford, a former school and day care service, as a day resource hub and respite care site for people with disabilities.

In a planning statement, it states the building would be renovated to include three respite en-suite care rooms and one respite one-bedroom care flat 'to enable young adults with complex needs to experience supported living'.

The county council-owned building has been sitting empty since 2012.

Terry Jermy, county councillor for Thetford West, said he has been campaigning for the building to be put to good use in the community since its closure.

He said the building has been 'costing Norfolk County Council a fair amount of money' and that residents would welcome the proposals.

He said: 'I know the building quite well as it used to be my play group.

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'The proposal they have come up with is actually a good one. It costs the council a lot of money to transport people across the county for a facility like this.

'It is quite a prominent site and it has been deteriorating.

'I am really pleased there will be a good use for it to help vulnerable people in the area.'

The building was a former infant school which dates back to the 1960s.

It was extended in 1973 as part of the school's expansion and a detached building was constructed in 1975.

Thetford mayor and Breckland councillor Denis Crawford said: 'I think it will be a very good use of the area because it is an area that is not being used at all right now.

'I would be supporter of a day centre because right now, our people are having to go all the way to Norwich and to have it local, in my opinion, would be very good.

'It will be a good resource for the people of Thetford and the surrounding area.'

Plans for the use of the site were first revealed in 2015. Details revealed in a budget report to NCC's adult social care committee reported a day resource hub could save £250,000 a year in transport costs,

What are your views? Email rebecca.murphy@archant.co.uk

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