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Petition to re-open Swaffham's Green Britain Centre attracts 1,000 signatures

PUBLISHED: 16:39 08 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:46 08 February 2019

Swaffham's Green Britain Centre closed last July. Picture: Supplied

Swaffham's Green Britain Centre closed last July. Picture: Supplied

Archant

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for the Green Britain Centre in Swaffham to be re-opened.

Children enjoying the view from the top of the Ecotricity wind turbine, Green Britain Centre. Picture: Sara CoxChildren enjoying the view from the top of the Ecotricity wind turbine, Green Britain Centre. Picture: Sara Cox

Businesses and schools were left in the lurch when the landmark environmental centre closed suddenly last July,

For nearly 20 years, the not-for-profit centre, which was known for its distinctive 220ft wind turbine alongside the A47, helped to educate schoolchildren across Norfolk about food, energy and transport. The wind turbine is the only one in the world where you can walk up to the viewing tower.

But the green energy magnate behind it said he was unable to make it break even.

Swaffham resident Margaret Flitton said: “The person leading the campaign to re-open it is Pat Welsh who ran the organic garden and heritage orchard at the centre with a team of disabled helpers. She had to move out of the centre after Christmas and is temporarily at the Swaffham Community Centre on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

“Everybody feels it must be re-opened, and there are now more than 1000 signatures on a petition.

“The centre was closed without any warning to staff or volunteers and the first anybody knew anything about it was on Facebook.

“It was such a vital part of local community life.”

The centre boasted an organic garden and orchard, meeting rooms, a cinema screen and seating, a popular cafe, an extremely large hall used for a service every Christmas, and a repair cafe to take broken equipment.

It was originally founded as the EcoTech Centre in 1999 before Dale Vince, owner of green energy firm Ecotricity, took on the project a decade ago.

Renaming it the Green Britain Centre in 2012, he expanded its educational remit, and offered school trips and event hire.

A spokesperson for Breckland Council said: “Following the departure of the Green Britain Centre’s former tenant, Breckland Council is currently considering the future use of the building with a number of parties interested in the building. As these discussions are ongoing, we are unable to confirm what the building may be used for in the future or who the prospective tenants may be.”

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