Crunch time for future of Norwich centre

The Silver Rooms which the Friends of the Silver Rooms committee are hoping to raise enough funds to

The Silver Rooms which the Friends of the Silver Rooms committee are hoping to raise enough funds to purchase. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

Campaigners fighting to turn a former day centre for elderly people into a community centre could be dealt a hammer blow or handed a useful boost this week.

Norfolk County Council is looking to sell the Silver Rooms in Norwich following a major shake-up in the way social care is provided.

The Silver Rooms, in Silver Road, was used as a day centre for the elderly, but the county council, the building's owners are no longer directly providing care in that way.

They are looking to sell the centre at auction, saying it is in the taxpayers' interest to sell it on the open market.

But campaign group the Friends of the Silver Rooms wants to buy the building and use it as a community centre.

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In January, the campaigners used the Localism Act to get the building listed by Norwich City Council an asset of community value.

That delayed an auction and bought the campaigners more time to try to raise money for the centre.

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However, the county council has appealed against the city council's decision. On Thursday, ex-Norwich North MP Ian Gibson, on behalf of the campaigners, and representatives from Norfolk County Council will present their cases at City Hall on why it should and should not remain on the list.

The city council's deputy chief executive Jerry Massey will then decide whether or not to allow the appeal.

If taken off the list, it would mean the county council could put the building up for auction. If it stays on, it would delay the auction for six months.

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