Diamond Jubilee Lodge offers more for Hellesdon families

Opening the Diamond Jubilee Lodge at Hellesdon Community Centre, council chairman Shelagh Gurney and

Opening the Diamond Jubilee Lodge at Hellesdon Community Centre, council chairman Shelagh Gurney and Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk Richard Jewson JP. Photo by Simon Finlay. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

From speedwatch meetings to exhibits on plans for major housing developments - a new parish office has been heralded as bringing a range of extra outreach facilities for people in Hellesdon.

Dignatories and community members gathered at Diamond Jubilee Lodge yesterday for a celebration and for its offical opening by Richard Jewson, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk.

The new home for Hellesdon Parish Council is based on the same site as Hellesdon Community Centre and Hellesdon Library, between Woodview Road and Middletons Lane.

Previously, the parish council was run from one small room added on to the back of the library, which was a squeeze for its three staff and meant it was difficult for enquiries by members of the public to be dealt with privately.

Now the new building, for which the council borrowed £300,000 to build, features two offices, toilets, a kitchenette and a meeting room, which can be partitioned into two smaller rooms.

While the new building is not available for general hire, the council is making it available for use by other groups, such as the local police team, and say in the future it hopes to work with organisations such as Age UK and the Citizens' Advice Bureau to offer outreach sessions.

Chairman of Hellesdon Parish Council Shelagh Gurney, who is also a district and county councillor for Hellesdon, said: 'I think this is a wonderful opportunity for the community. As I come to the end of my civic year, it's a wonderful achievement for the parish and the residents. I think we will have a lot to offer our parishioners in the future.'

PC Andy Dye, Norfolk Constabulary's beat manager for Hellesdon, Horsford and St Faith's, uses the lodge for Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel meetings and community speedwatch meetings, along with his team comprising PCSO Josh McBride, PCSO Russ Tupper and PCSO Hannah Harman.

He said: 'It's a major community focal point and it's got facilities which are great for action groups.

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'Our community speedwatch use this room already and I would also like it to be used for other youth groups which are in the pipeline at the moment.'

Patricia Kirby, clerk to Hellesdon Parish Council, said the new building provided a more secure working environment for staff dealing with the public face-to-face. She said it had already been used as a meeting place for residents to voice their concerns about the noise caused by helicopters at the nearby airport, as well as hosting more information about future plans for housing development in Broadland.

The Diamond Jubilee Lodge, named because building work commenced in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year, is open from 9.30am to 12.30pm and from 1.30pm to 2.30pm Monday to Friday. It is also open from 5.15pm to 8.15pm on Thursdays and from 9.15am to 12.15pm on the second Saturday of every month.

Do you have a Hellesdon story? Contact reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk