Town leaders given Diss youth base deadline
The future of a community facility has been cast into doubt after town leaders were given a matter of days to make an offer for the Diss Youth Resource Base.
The building, which was the victim of Norfolk County Council budget cuts earlier this year, is currently the subject of a bid by Diss Town Council and users to keep it open for the community.
But civic leaders will be holding an emergency meeting next week after the county council declined to a request for a three month extension to a business case deadline and told them that they had until July 11 to make an offer to buy the centre in Shelfanger Road.
Town councillors will meet on Wednesday to decided whether to go ahead with buying the youth base from Norfolk County Council for �125,000.
Officials spoke of their shock after being told this week that a plea for a short term lease had been rejected and they had been given less than two weeks to make an offer or the building will be sold on the open market.
The youth base, which no longer has any Norfolk County Council staff, is home to the South Norfolk Youth Symphonic Band and other community groups.
Deborah Sarson, town clerk, said it would be difficult to find �125,000 at short notice, which could be funded through developer contributions and a loan. She added that the council could get a very high return on the investment, which would be reinvested in community facilities, if the project did not work out.
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'The finality of the decision has come as a shock, but we are doing everything we can to ensure that we can try and secure the premises for the benefit of the community.'
'Everything the town council has done to date in relation to this project has been made in good faith. We are not prepared to give up just yet,' she said.
County Hall officials have given the town council the option of first refusal on the purchase of the youth base.
Cliff Jordan, cabinet member for efficiency, said Diss Town Council had been given three months to prepare a business case and the county council was offering the building on a discounted rate.
'We have always said that we would sell Diss Resource Base to the community if there was a sound business case and a good offer. We want to reinvest any receipt back into council services and need to ensure we are getting the best deal for all of Norfolk's taxpayers and their children,' he said.