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Public meeting to save Norwich's Wensum Lodge sports hall

A public meeting will discuss the future of the sports hall at Wensum Lodge.

A public meeting will discuss the future of the sports hall at Wensum Lodge.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Families have been urged to attend a public meeting where the future of a popular sports hall in the centre of Norwich will come under the spotlight.

Wensum Lodge Sports Hall, in King Street, closed last December, with bosses at Norfolk County Council claiming it could no longer afford the maintenance costs to keep it open.

The council, under pressure from campaigners, were forced to admit it had blundered over how much it would cost to fix up the hall, overestimating the price tag by £120,000.

But the council then submitted the site as a potential location for housing in a blueprint for future development - known as site allocations development plan - which is currently out for consultation.

But the Friends of Wensum Lodge, which have managed to keep the squash courts at the centre open, are hoping that they can take over the rest of the sports hall as a community asset.

A public meeting has been organised next week where the future of the site will be discussed, encouraging people to have their say on what should happen there.

Working with King Street Community Voices, the King Street Cultural Quarter and Friends of Wensum Lodge, Thorpe Hamlet Green Party councillors are holding the meeting at Wensum Lodge on Wednesday.

Chaired by former Norwich North MP Dr Ian Gibson, the meeting, which starts at 7.30pm, will give people a chance to find out what they can do to play a part in the sports hall’s future.

Lesley Grahame, one of the Green party city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet said: “King Street is a diverse, vibrant and growing community, with many existing and planned attractions.

“The sport hall supports the bar, which supports local shops, which provide local employment. And how secure can Wensum Lodge be if the surrounding attractions get closed? It’s a lot more than just prime real estate for sale to the highest bidder.”

Through the consultation on the city council’s site allocations plan, people are able to have their say on the future of the site.

Dragon Hall and Wensum Lodge have agreed to keep printed copies of the consultation papers so people who do not use the internet can see the information and respond on paper.

Otherwise people can make their views known by visiting www.norwich.gov.uk and click on current consultations, phone 0344 980 3333 or write to Norwich City Council, City Hall, Norwich NR2 1NH.

The consultation process runs until Friday, September 30 and includes a number of other sites across the city where development could happen.

They include the site of Lakenham Sports and Leisure Centre, land owned by Bartram Mowers, off Bluebell Road and the Heigham Waterworks site.

• What do you think should happen to Wensum Lodge Sports Hall? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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