Talks to thrash out future of Norwich’s Silver Rooms

Talks are to be held over the future of a day centre in Norwich, which campaigners are fighting to turn into a new community centre.

For two years, campaigners have been trying to secure the future of the Silver Rooms in Norwich, for when it stops being used as a day centre for elderly people.

Because of changes in the way Norfolk County Council provides care for elderly people, the centre, in Silver Road in the north of the city, will eventually stop being used for day care.

But the Friends of the Silver Rooms do not want the building to lie vacant once the elderly people stop using it and, for the past two years, they have been pushing for it to be turned into a community centre.

However, Norfolk County Council says they have to pay the market value of �80,000 to buy or lease the building, while the group is hoping that should be waived.

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Julie Brociek-Coulton, Labour city councillor and one of the committee members of the Friends of the Silver Rooms, said: 'Thousands will be needed to maintain the building which is another good reason it needs to be gifted.'

The group is aiming to provide facilities for people of all ages, including film screening and youth groups.

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They have drawn up a report explaining why the council should give the building, in Silver Road, north Norwich, to the community without charge.

It includes the argument that running clubs for the elderly saves the health service money in the long run because it prevents them from needing treatment.

The report states: 'We believe that by giving us the centre we can promote greater well-being for the whole community and develop social and environmental improvements with other groups who use the centre, indeed across the whole community spectrum.'

Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, has secured talks between the Friends and the county council on the future funding of the building.

She has arranged for the Friends to meet Cliff Jordan, cabinet member for efficiency, next Friday.

Miss Smith said: 'This is a chance for the committee to sit down with the county council and explore all the options available.

'Personally, I am pleased to be able to sit down to explore all the options available to them. I would like to see the centre remain open for the community and the elderly residents who value it so much.

'The committee has worked hard to get to this point. They need to discuss options carefully now to try to secure the best for local residents.

'It is excellent to have the asset considered for the community before going on the open market. Of course it would be great to have it for free, but we have to bear in mind that the county council relies on public funds and therefore has duty to everyone in the community to use our resources responsibly.'

• What do you think? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email

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