Norfolk County Council backs Diss youth base plan

The future of a Diss youth centre was looking brighter last night after Norfolk County Council backed a bid by town leaders to keep it open.

A question mark was placed over the Diss Youth Resource Base earlier this year as a result of County Hall cutbacks.

But county council leaders yesterday pledged their support to a Diss Town Council-led scheme, which would see users and local residents running the building in Shelfhanger Road.

Alison Thomas, cabinet member for children's services, said the Norfolk County Council supported the community's plans, but the authority would need some payment for the base.

'We have always said we are keen to see the Diss community take on the ownership of the resource base and would consider a community asset transfer first, provided there was a strong business case.'

'We need to receive a capital payment for the centre, to meet the demands we are facing on our budget and ensure we can reinvest in front-line services. However, any payment could be spread over three years. As part of this process we need to assess the value of the building,' she said.

The closure of the youth base would have made the South Norfolk Youth Symphonic Band and other community groups homeless.

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Diss town clerk Deborah Sarson said the town council and centre steering group had been given three months to put together a more detailed business case and also to look into funding streams to buy the building from the county council.

'The town council is very pleased about the decision to allow the community the opportunity to develop a business case and take over the management of the building in the future and look forward to working with the county council and Norfolk Property Services in developing the business case. We are out of the starting blocks, but there is still an awful lot of work still to do.'