Up beat future for Yarmouth's Drill Hall

A GREAT Yarmouth sports hall which, users feared, could be closed and turned into a youth centre has a promising future, it was claimed this week. The comments were made after a meeting between users of the Drill Hall in York Road and representatives of Norfolk County Council.

A GREAT Yarmouth sports hall which, users feared, could be closed and turned into a youth centre has a promising future, it was claimed this week.

The comments were made after a meeting between users of the Drill Hall in York Road and representatives of Norfolk County Council.

The talks on Wednesday went ahead despite the council being unsuccessful in a bid for �1.7m of lottery funding.

Attended by more than 50 people, the meeting at the Furzedown Hotel aimed to find a way forward for the hall.


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which, if successful, could have seen the sports hall being divided into smaller units for a youth centre.

Mark Westgate, who runs a women's basketball club at the hall, said there was a heated start to the meeting but the talks were positive.

He added: “I think the future is looking promising, but we need to use the expertise of sports representatives, Norfolk County Council and NPS Property Services to find out what funding is available and get the building into a good state of repair.”

Mr Westgate said the council appeared keen to work with users to find a solution for the building, which is running at a loss.

He said: “After the meeting, I was asked what I thought a reasonable usage price was. At the moment the club pays about �5.50 an hour, but to our members it would not matter if that cost was raised to �10.”

The meeting was attended by Jeff Leak and Alison McPhail, from the council's children's services eastern area team, Yarmouth MP Tony Wright, county councillors Rex Parkinson-Hare and Tom Garrod, Yarmouth Borough Council's culture and sport manager Marie Hartley, and the borough head of regeneration, Tim Howard.

Mr Westgate said it was suggested in the meeting that the running of the county council-owned building could be taken on by members of the community - something that would be considered in more detail during a public meeting planned for September about the Drill Hall's future.

County council spokesman Steven Reilly said: “The meeting was positive and allowed users of the hall and members of the local community to meet with us and the borough council to share their ideas for the future use of the venue.

“It is clear from the meeting that there is a lot of passion and commitment from many different people for the venue. To utilise this, we have set up a working group, made up of users and representatives from the county and borough councils, who can work closely to consider the best way forward for the future of the hall.”

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