New hope for Norwich day centre campaigners
Kim BriscoeCampaigners fighting to keep a Norwich day centre open say they are 'buoyant' and have been reassured there will be no immediate closure.The Friends of the Silver Rooms met Norfolk County Council yesterday for talks on how the group can take over the running of the day centre for pensioners.Kim Briscoe
Campaigners fighting to keep a Norwich day centre open say they are 'buoyant' and have been reassured there will be no immediate closure.
The Friends of the Silver Rooms met Norfolk County Council yesterday for talks on how the group can take over the running of the day centre for pensioners.
This month the council took the decision that it wanted to close the Silver Road facility, along with the Essex Rooms in Essex Street.
However, the door was left open for the community group to take over the running of the centre and the friends say there was no talk of closure, immediate or otherwise, at the meeting.
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Former city MP and Friend of the Silver Rooms Dr Ian Gibson said: 'I feel very encouraged by the meeting. We are getting a very strong message that they have no immediate plans, if any plans, to move people from the Silver Rooms.
'They are now awaiting our business plan and we are awaiting information from them to allow us to produce that plan in full.'
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Dr Gibson was accompanied at the meeting by the Norwich City councillor for the area, Julie Brociek-Coulton, and Silver Room friend Georgina Moles.
Ms Moles said: 'There appears to be no time limit in closing the Silver Rooms and they are going to wait and see our business plan.'
She said the friends had decided not to enter into a formal partnership with the county council, Age Concern and other organisations as they wanted to focus solely on the Silver Rooms.
The friends had asked the county council if they could see the deeds to the building, believing they may have contained some covenants that stipulate it should be kept for community use.
Karen Knight, the council's head of service community care, said: 'We'd like to thank Ian, Julie and Georgina for attending what we felt was a very useful and productive meeting. At their request, we shared copies of the deeds to both buildings with them and although neither contain covenants which require them to be kept for community use, we have always maintained that it is our wish that these buildings continue to be used in this way.
'We respect their decision not to join the partnership, as their specific interest is in the Silver Rooms, rather than helping to develop day services from a countywide perspective.
'Nevertheless, we look forward to receiving their business proposal for any alternative community uses for either building.'
The campaign group has called for the whole community to get behind the plan to keep the Silver Rooms open, and wants local businesses and residents to turn out at a meeting next month. The public meeting will be at Christchurch Church Hall in Magdalen Road, Norwich, at 7.30pm on Thursday, July 22.
Do you have a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.