Calls for historic Norwich building to be brought back into use
David BaleCalls have been made for a boarded-up, iconic building on one of Norwich's busiest streets to be brought back into use.The former Norfolk Chamber of Commerce building at the junction of Barrack Street and Silver Road has been empty for many years, and the windows are boarded-up.David Bale
Calls have been made for a boarded-up building on one of Norwich's busiest streets to be brought back into use.
The former Norfolk Chamber of Commerce building at the junction of Barrack Street and Silver Road has been empty for many years, and the windows are boarded-up.
Built as a brewery in the 1920s and also used as a film set by Anglia TV, the Norwich City Council-owned building was broken into a few years ago and a lot of damage was caused when vandals pulled apart the pipework.
But a council spokeswoman said today that it could start repairs to the building as soon as the insurance money for the damage was received.
Alec Hartley, chairman of the Norwich Society, the heritage watchdog that fights to preserve the city's historic buildings, said the society had a long-term interest in the building.
He said: "We would fully support the city council in its attempt to breathe new life into the building.
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"It's a very substantial and stylish office building of a type that has maybe gone out of fashion, but which is very handsome.
"It was built in the 1920s as an imitation High Victorian office building, and is very posh inside. It has a wonderful staircase and mosaic floor."
The building is just a few doors down from the former county coroner's office in Barrack Street, which is empty and up for sale or let after being vacated earlier this year. The new coroners' office is in Thorpe Road, Norwich.
However, the opposite side of Barrack Street is abuzz with activity with work on the huge St James Place new business quarter for Norwich.
When completed, there will be 250,000 sq ft of offices at the St James Place site and a new 180-bed four-star hotel.
A Norwich City Council spokeswoman said: "We are currently waiting for money from the insurers for the damage that was caused. Once this has happened we plan to put the money towards the cost of repairs needed to ensure the building is a condition which allows it to be let."
� Are you fighting to preserve part of Norwich's heritage? Ring reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.