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Community centre bought by town council for just £1

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Hunstanton Town Council is to buy the town’s community centre for just £1.

Members voted unanimously to go ahead with the freehold purchase on Thursday to safeguard the building and its field as a community asset for townspeople.

The decision to buy the property in Avenue Road from West Norfolk Council was taken at the August town council meeting.

An open night at Hunstanton Community Centre
An open night at Hunstanton Community Centre

The purchase includes disbursement (legal) costs, estimated at £2,000.

Town mayor Tony Bishopp said: “When we talk about a community asset, we mean buildings or land which are used for the well-being or social interest of the local community.

“A welcoming, community space where people can come and enjoy themselves, meet friends and where residents are offered the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of activities and events within their locality.

“Although Hunstanton Town Council currently manages the community centre on a lease from the borough, the transfer of the freehold will open the potential to bring in new sources of grant income, previously unavailable.

“Hunstanton Town Council recognises community assets should play a central role in the life of local communities, providing a hub for civic life and features that attract newcomers to an area, which can in turn help stimulate the local economy.”

Amanda Knight, chair of the council’s environment panel, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the council to incorporate a tree planting scheme around the perimeter of the community centre.

“This will not only enhance the cosmetic appearance of the site but will offer safe nesting for birds and improve the habitat of all wildlife there.

“We will also investigate the possibility of expanding the community orchard and will work alongside the Wild East project to rewild part of the area.”

As the centre slowly re0pens after five months closure due to the covid pandemic, small groups are enquiring about returning to the venue, maintaining strict social distancing and undertaking the extra cleaning regimes required as per Government guidelines and HTC’s own risk assessment.

First to come through the doors last Friday were Friends of Hunstanton, a group who welcome all to go along for a chat and a cuppa, especially those feeling lonely or depressed.

Future plans for the centre include the relocation of the Men’s Shed.

A community space for men to connect, converse and create by holding activities often similar to those of garden sheds, for men to enjoy talking together and to help reduce loneliness and isolation.

HTC’s Community Engagement Working Panel are currently looking at ways to help small groups and work closer with the community.

If you would like to discuss your group or need assistance/advice on any community matter please contact the clerk on 01485 532402 who can arrange for a Councillor to call you.

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