Supermarket U-turn as ASDA agrees to pay to fit out Norwich community centre
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Supermarket chain Asda has reached an agreement to fit out the new Harford Community Centre after a row over funding broke out this week.
As part of the sec 106 agreement for the construction of the store on Hall Road, the company were required to provide a new community centre.
While the shell of the building has now been built, Asda capped their budget for the internal fittings at £70,000, less than half of the cost estimate of £162,000 from Norwich City Council to make the facility fit for purpose.
The deadline for negotiations expired last Friday, when trustees of the centre launched a campaign to pressure Asda into honouring the full cost.
Ian Wells, centre manager for Harford Community Centre, said he was 'extremely pleased' the situation had been resolved.
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'What we wanted was to show Asda how we felt, and we are now happy they are supporting the community again,' he said. 'The specifications which were put to them by the city council were agreed by our management committee as what we needed. 'The finer detail has not been ironed out yet but they are totally on board and proceeding with a usable community centre, as opposed to the one they were suggesting.' As part of Asda's proposed £70,000 fit of the building, it would have no dedicated disabled toilet, carpets or storage.
'We will now be getting adequate toilets, ceilings, floors and storage,' said Mr Wells. 'All the things a community centre needs to operate successfully. The old building will be returned to Norwich City Council assets and it will be up to them what happens to it next. 'The old building was very tired and the advantages of having a new building that is fit for purpose is it will be efficient and reduce our costs. That is of benefit to the community because we can keep costs low for our users.
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'We can't deny the fact we were disappointed but now we are extremely pleased things have worked out favourably.'
A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: 'The city council and ASDA [on Tuesday] agreed the specification for the fit out of the community centre and the new Hall Road district centre.
'The specification was that proposed by the council under the legal agreement of 3 July 2013 which was issued as part of the planning consent for a new district centre which included the foodstore.
'Asda is now required to complete this work within six months, with the company bearing the entire cost.'
An Asda spokesman said the building will be 'fully fitted out'.
'We have now agreed and finalised the fit out of our new community centre in South Norwich. We are really looking forward to opening the brand new centre in the coming months.'