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‘The town deserves it’ - ‘Exciting’ bid goes in to reclaim community hub

PUBLISHED: 14:06 03 November 2020 | UPDATED: 14:06 03 November 2020

The Grade-1 listed Priory Centre is reckoned in the top 5pc of listed buildings in the UK and is up for sale for a the same price as a three bed semi in Great Yarmouth Picture: Arnolds Keys

The Grade-1 listed Priory Centre is reckoned in the top 5pc of listed buildings in the UK and is up for sale for a the same price as a three bed semi in Great Yarmouth Picture: Arnolds Keys

Archant

An historic seaside hub could be reclaimed for the “benefit of the community” after it went up for sale for £150,000.

Inside the Great Hall at Great Yarmouth's former Priory Centre which is up for sale for £150,000 Picture: Arnolds KeysInside the Great Hall at Great Yarmouth's former Priory Centre which is up for sale for £150,000 Picture: Arnolds Keys

The Priory Centre in Great Yarmouth has a special place in the hearts of the borough’s residents and, according to Labour councillor Jade Martin, its closure in 2019 left community groups “homeless”.

She said: “So many groups called the centre their home, and it was a real hub of empowerment for local people. At £150,000, the place is a steal.”

Great Yarmouth’s Community Land Trust - known informally as Yarmouth Roads - is hoping to make an offer for the centre and turn it into an “Asset of Community Value”.

If the application to the borough council is successful, the Priory will be held “in perpetuity” - which means owned by the community and used exclusively for community use, forever.

Great Yarmouth's Community Land Trust at a meeting of trustees. The group said it was feeling Great Yarmouth's Community Land Trust at a meeting of trustees. The group said it was feeling "motivated" about their new project following an avalanche of support from the public. Photo: Yarmouth Roads

Helen Lynch, Yarmouth Roads’ secretary, said: “Our CLT started last year, and we’ve been looking for a project ever since. Our reason for being is to provide affordable housing and community spaces in the area. The Priory Centre fits the bill perfectly.

“The pressure is on us at the moment, and our bid is in the hands of administrators.

“There’s lots of emails firing off, and a lot of applications going in for grant funding to help make this a reality.”

She added: “It’s about getting the council on side.

The application to register the Priory Centre as an Asset of Community Value has gone in to the Borough Council -...

Posted by Yarmouth Roads - Great Yarmouth Community Land Trust on Wednesday, 21 October 2020

“We’re now registered as an interested party, which is exciting, but stressful at the same time.

“We need the public on board. We have a Just Giving page people can donate to, and residents can email the council with their own memories of the Priory Centre to help make the case for designating the building as an asset of community value.”

Ms Martin said: “We did it with Pops’ Meadow, and we can do it with this too.

“Gorleston is so privileged to have the Shrublands Centre - but Great Yarmouth, which has already been decimated by austerity, is crying out for a space they can turn to for help. The town deserves its own space - and the Priory Centre is it.”

A Slimming World group had to be hastily rearranged after its regular meeting place at the Priory Centre closed last year Picture: Liz CoatesA Slimming World group had to be hastily rearranged after its regular meeting place at the Priory Centre closed last year Picture: Liz Coates

Local historian Michael Boon said: “Heritage is something you cannot get back once it’s gone. There are 900 years of history there, and Yarmouth has to look after what its got.”

Email sammy.wintle@great-yarmouth.gov.uk about what the Priory Centre means to you, and donate at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/saveourpriorycentre

Ivy Kendrick and Mary Spragg making some greeting cards at the Over 50's Funday at the Priory Centre.  Picture: James BassIvy Kendrick and Mary Spragg making some greeting cards at the Over 50's Funday at the Priory Centre. Picture: James Bass

You may also want to watch:

Sandy Lysaght (left) with Jacky Honour at a fundraiser at the Priory Centre to raise money for Greengrow, a community farm near Beccles. 
Sandy went to Berry Farm near Beccles with her children through Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Surestart Centre. 

Picture: James Bass

Sandy Lysaght (left) with Jacky Honour at a fundraiser at the Priory Centre to raise money for Greengrow, a community farm near Beccles. Sandy went to Berry Farm near Beccles with her children through Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Surestart Centre. Picture: James Bass

Michael Boon said once a town loses its history it can't 'get it back'.  Picture: James BassMichael Boon said once a town loses its history it can't 'get it back'. Picture: James Bass


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