Silver Rooms talks move forward
Campaigners hoping to transform a Norwich day centre into a community centre have been promised the county council will look again at its business plan – and try to reduce the asking price for the building.
But Cliff Jordan, cabinet member for efficiency, who met with The Friends of the Silver Rooms Community Centre, said the authority could not afford to hand it over for free.
He said: 'What I told them is I would go through the business case like a greased weasel to see if it stacks up. I will also try to find ways where I can trim the costs.
'But I can't afford to do it for free and they know that.'
The Friends want to take control of the day centre, which is set to close as part of county council cuts, and create a new community centre which would offer a host of services from a credit union to film screenings and youth groups.
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They have been told they can buy it from the authority for �80,000 but the campaigners say that price tag is far too high.
Following yesterday's meeting, which was arranged by Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, the Silver Rooms committee said they felt encouraged by the discussion and were still determined to get the building for free.
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The group said it was set to come up with a financial plan which would show the council how much money the community centre could save them. But they said many of the benefits – including the effect having somewhere to socialise would have on older people's health – could not be quantified.
Former Norwich MP Ian Gibson, committee chairman, said: 'They should trust us. We have the support of the community. We know who will work there.
'Cliff is going away to think about it. He seemed sympathetic. They never told us to shove it.'
The former politician said plans by the Friends of Silver Road were exactly what the government was looking for as part of its Localism Bill and, if successful, could pave the way for other communities to take over council assets.
Do you have a council story? Contact Dan Grimmer on 01603 772468 or email email@example.com.