Vision to revive long-closed pub as community hub revealed
- Credit: Archant/Paul Robinson
The first plans for how a former pub will be converted into a multi-use community hub have been revealed.
Sprowston Town Council purchased the vacant Royal Bengal restaurant and former Viking public house in May to save the landmark building from potential demolition after it was put on the market for £500,000.
Since then, the authority has worked with Norwich-based Bidwells LLP to convert the building into a space for the community, addressing the lack of provision in the west of the town.
The existing building frontage will remain with a large modern space to the rear of the property.
Preliminary plans and 3D models have been drawn up to show how the building will be providing a range of spaces offering one-to-one consultation rooms, flexible office space, and a large hall for regular club and society meetings.
Completion of the Tills Road building is expected to be around mid to late 2023.
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Town councillor Judy Leggett, chairwoman of the recreational facilities working group, said: "Production of these draft plans mark an important milestone in the journey to bring this building back into community use.
"A key part of these plans is the inclusion of a space for a community café."
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The council will be taking on board feedback from the community who will be invited to comment on the draft plans.
Clare Lincoln, project leader of the Sprowston Youth Engagement Project (SYEP) is among those to express an interest in the new facility.
She said: "We are definitely keen to use the space as a possible office. It would provide access to those who live around Tills Road and would be a good opportunity to reach more young people.
"We never have really had a proper base. The church has been very helpful and there are lots of spaces to deliver from but we have never had a physical space for one-to-one outside of school."
John Ward, town council chairman said: "It is important that any plans for the former-Viking building allow it to accommodate a wide range of users without spoiling its unique appearance or affecting the amenity of nearby homes."
History of the Viking Centre
The Viking pub was built in 1956 before opening the following year. It closed in 2007, before a bid was lodged to turn the site into the Royal Bengal Indian restaurant in 2010.
Purchased by Sazu Miah, the restaurant was closed down in mid-2019.
Plans to convert the former pub into a house fell through in September 2009 and March 2010.
And Broadland District Council had to board up the site after it was targeted by vandals following the closure of the pub.
Jason Menezes, partner at Bidwells, said: "The building has been empty for a number of years and we are confident the proposed scheme will bring the premises back into a much-needed community use in the area.
"We believe this is an excellent example of what the Community Infrastructure Levy scheme was set up to achieve.”
People can comment on the draft plans by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning the council office on 01603 408063.