A vacant five-acre site in Hellesdon could be transformed into a community hub with a new centre, a 300-seater church auditorium, motor museum, boxing gym and shops.

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Norwich businessman Graham Dacre, left, wants to build the hub on the former Volvo building and used car sales facilities in Cromer and Reepham Roads.

His company, the Lind Trust, acquired the site earlier this year for an undisclosed fee.

The large site has been vacant following the transfer of the Volvo franchise to Holden Motors in September last year.

Residents in the area are being consulted on the plans, and their comments will be taken into consideration ahead of a planning application being submitted to Broadland District Council for the change of use, alteration and extension to the site and buildings to create a community centre.

The proposals include a multi-purpose community forum space, church auditorium, restaurant/cafe, games zone, day care centre, boxing gym, children’s creche and motor museum.

They also include incidental lounges, meeting rooms and administration offices, and it’s intended that the proposals will provide for all age groups.

Mr Dacre said: “I’m obviously excited about this new proposal. I’m hoping that people in the area see it as an appropriate new use for the area, and I’m looking forward to developing the plans with our clients over the coming months.”

The motor museum could be used to accommodate Mr Dacre’s extensive collection of luxury vehicles.

Shelagh Gurney, parish, district and county councillor for Hellesdon, said: “I’m looking to get public feedback on this before I make my own views known. I want people to tell me what they think about the plans.”

The news comes after the Evening News revealed earlier this year that plans put forward by the Lind Trust to build a controversial £6m mega church in Drayton were withdrawn.

Plans for the proposed 1,000 capacity Norwich Family Life church and community centre on the site of the former David Rice Hospital, off Drayton High Road, had sparked opposition since 2008.

Planning permission had already been granted, but the trust was told more public consultation was needed.

In March last year Broadland District Council’s planning committee finally accepted scaled-back plans for the site after rejecting previous efforts.

More than 50 letters of objection were sent to the council raising concerns about the scheme, ranging from the number of parking spaces, traffic, the impact on local wildlife and the appearance of the 7.2m high, 2,020sq m building.

Full scale plans, elevations and site layout plans are being displayed in the window of the former Volvo showroom in Cromer road until Saturday, November 24.

Representations in writing can be made to Les Brown Planning and Development Consultants, Church Field, Attlebridge, Norwich NR9 5TH or by email to lcba@sky.com until Friday, November 30.

Residents can also speak to a member of the team between 4pm and 7pm on Monday, November 26 at Drayton Hall, Hall Lane, Drayton, Norwich NR8 6DP.

What do you think? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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