City folk have vowed to save Norwich's Wensum Lodge after plans to close it were announced.

Plans to close the adult education centre in the city's King Street were announced by Norfolk County Council in June as it hopes to redevelop the site.

Labour councillors called the matter before the county council scrutiny committee last month amid outcry about the plans but a U-turn was ruled out.

But now a group of neighbours and councillors have agreed to fight tooth and nail to save what they said should be a "cultural and creative jewel in the city's crown", following a meeting at the nearby King's Centre on Monday night.

Those at the meeting expressed their "shock and anger" at the sudden announcement to close and sell the centre.

Norwich Evening News: Roland Pascoe of Norwich Community Land TrustRoland Pascoe of Norwich Community Land Trust (Image: Newsquest)

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At the meeting, Roland Pascoe of the Norwich Community Land Trust said: "It’s like some stranger just marched into your neighbourhood and decided to change it drastically and without consultation.

"The trust will be working with King Street neighbours to measure the social impact of any closure."

Steve Morphew, leader of the county council’s Labour group, told the meeting the closure was "incredibly short-sighted" given King Street is earmarked as the link through to the Carrow Works redevelopment. 

He also warned the costs of securing the empty site could run to £100,000 a year.

Norwich Evening News: Steve Morphew, Norfolk County Council Labour leaderSteve Morphew, Norfolk County Council Labour leader (Image: Newsquest)

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His comments were echoed by Stephanie Northen, who lives in King Street and said there was "a strong suspicion that the county council had been deliberately running down the centre".

She said: "The council is coming up with spurious arguments - such as that people now prefer online learning or that Wensum Lodge is hard to get to. Both are not true.

"They just don’t want to spend any money in Norwich."

Norwich Evening News: Wensum Lodge in King StreetWensum Lodge in King Street (Image: Sonya Duncan)

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Wensum Lodge is expected to be declared an asset of community value by Norwich City Council in the next few days, which would then give the community six months to come up with alternative uses for the site before it could be sold.

A report to the county council's cabinet said: “With further plans to increase community-based delivery, having a large single building in Norwich no longer fits with our vision for the service.  

“Wensum Lodge was the largest, most appropriate building for courses when it was set up, but it is now obvious that it no longer provides the sort of accommodation our courses need and that it is time to move out altogether.”