Joy as future of The Surge in Watton is secured

The future of Watton's popular youth centre looks to have been secured after a deal to buy the building was agreed by councillors.

The Surge is run by the town's Project Rainbow and gives young people somewhere to hang out two evenings a week.

But, late last year, it was feared the centre could be at risk of closing after the current owners warned they could no longer keep waiting for the committee to find the money to buy the building.

A deadline, set by the owners, was repeatedly extended to allow Watton Town Council to come up with a way to save the Surge, which is based in the old doctor's surgery.

Now the authority has announced it has agreed a deal which will see the Charlotte Harvey Trust, a charitable organisation of which the town councillors are trustees, buy the site and secure its future.

Watton mayor Roy Ivory said the council had spent two or three years searching for a way to save the Surge and were determined to make sure young people did not lose one of their only facilities in the town.

He said: 'I just wanted it to happen. There is not enough happening in Watton for young people.'

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The agreement will see part of a plot of land at the back of the town's Youth and Community Centre, which is also owned by the trust, sold off to raise the money to buy the old doctors' surgery.

Mr Ivory said the deal would also provide some extra funds.

'This will enable the trustees to not only purchase the Surge but to carry out the much-needed modernisation and repairs to the Youth and Community Centre and financially secure both buildings for the future use of the whole community for many years to come,' he said.

The deal is now dependent on the buyer of the land getting planning permission to build homes.

Rev Geoff Garrett, chairman of Project Rainbow, said he was delighted with the news and would keep his fingers crossed while it all went through.

He said: 'It's a big step forward for us in securing the Surge for the community. It's important because I think the community has been wondering what the future is.

'From our point of view, it will also help secure funding and other support from volunteers. It's an important stage and it's a very positive step.'

Only part of the land at the back of the Youth and Community Centre, on Harvey Street, will be sold as part of the deal. Mr Ivory said a plot 'larger than a tennis court' would be retained and used as outside space for users of the centre.

victoria.leggett@archant.co.uk

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