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Former veterans' centre could become hub for community in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 09:39 27 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:39 27 April 2019

Jubilee Hall, Aylsham Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jubilee Hall, Aylsham Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A former hall once used by war veterans and their families which has been closed for years could be transformed into a "welcoming and attractive" hub for the whole community.

The Royal British Legion sign at Jubilee Hall, Aylsham Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Royal British Legion sign at Jubilee Hall, Aylsham Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jubilee Hall on Aylsham Road, Norwich, was once used by the Royal British Legion but has become a target for vandals since it closed its doors in 2014, despite a hard-fought campaign to keep it open.

It was hoped the building, which was bought in 2015 by the Lind Trust, might have reopened last year after ambitious plans were unveiled by the Norwich Jubilee Centre Charitable Foundation (NJCCF) in 2016.

But the building has since been taken over by YMCA Norfolk, which has confirmed it is hoping to reveal exciting plans for the future of the centre in the coming weeks.

Tim Sweeting, chief executive, said “We have been working hard behind the scenes to develop proposals for a new sustainable community hub that will be welcoming and attractive for all the local community.

YMCA Norfolk CEO Tim Sweeting. Photo: YMCAYMCA Norfolk CEO Tim Sweeting. Photo: YMCA

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“We look forward to sharing these plans over the coming weeks and inviting the local community into the centre to find out more.

“We are really excited at the prospect of growing a permanent presence in the community so we can help more local people reach their full potential.”

As reported in September 2017, the centre was repeatedly targeted by raiders. Thieves had stolen lead from the roof while squatters and drug users had also forced their way into the empty property, leading to security being stepped up.

After taking over the building the NJCCF had a full survey done, which revealed £195,000 would be needed to re-open the building safely - although the full refurbishment would cost in the region of £625,000.

The hall's closure was first announced in 2013, with Royal British Legion bosses saying that to keep it open would be to pose an “unacceptable risk” to charitable funds.

It was expected to close on January 1, 2014, as the branch could no longer continue to operate it, as they could not afford the monthly outgoings.

But it was granted a stay of execution after city councillors applied to get the social club listed as an asset of community value under the Localism Act.

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