Calls to find a new use for the building opened in Norwich

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Posted:
7:00 a.m. November 9, 2021



It’s been over 18 months since the OpenYouth Trust went bankrupt – leaving a big void in the city center.

But despite various expressions of interest and offers on the table, the important Norwich building he occupied remains empty and disused.

Now, the call of the old occupants of the building is: find a new use and open Open.

While the liquidated charity was the main occupant of the building, it was also home to several other organizations and social enterprises, including the constituency offices of Norwich South MP Clive Lewis.

Mr Lewis is among those calling for the building to be reused, but in a way that the public can access it.


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He said: “The social ecosystem there when it was open was fantastic and it was really a real asset to the community, so it’s frustrating to see it empty.

“You can never have enough community space in the city center and I strongly urge that something be done with the building to foster the local community and benefit the city. “

With the size and versatility of the building, it could be used for a wide range of different uses. However, Mr Lewis said he wanted any new lens to be accessible to the entire community – instead of being converted for residential use.

He added: “It would be a real shame to see it become something exclusive that the community does not have access to, like luxury apartments for example. It has to become a community resource again.”

Jo Myers, creative director of the group Echo Youth Theater, which also found itself homeless because of the closure, said she also wants it to be put to good use.

She said: “When it was open it was a fantastic, multifunctional space for a band like ours – we were able to use it for rehearsals and do all kinds of performances, there just isn’t any space in the city as flexible As is.

“We used it for more traditional performances, but we were also able to provide more immersive experiences and shows while on tour.

“It’s such a shame that it’s still empty after all this time. It’s in a prime location and in such a beautiful building.

“There really should be some sort of way to make it a useful and vibrant place again – although it is a massive building, so a huge commitment for whoever is supporting it.”

Since the building was vacated there have been a few expressions of interest, including a proposal from the owners of Epic Studios.

However, if this interest is still present, it remains to be seen whether an agreement can be reached between the studio and the Lind Trust, owner of the building.

Speaking in April, Graham Dacre, one of the directors of Lind Trust, said he would listen to any proposal that uses the empty Bank Plain building.

He said: “As administrators, we certainly hope that the building will be used for community purposes for the benefit of the youth of the region.

“We welcome any suggestions or partnerships with other local charities or statutory organizations and would love to see the build and operate in a new use. “

Guy Gowing, managing partner of Arnolds Keys Chartered Surveyors, said the size of the building could be one of the biggest barriers to finding a new use.

He said: “The size and scale of the building limits the kind of use it could have – if it were to remain a concert hall for example, there are only a limited number of organizations. who could handle it.

“However, it is a very good building and I have no doubts that a use can be found – I am just that the trust is just thinking about the best approach for it.”

All interested parties are encouraged to contact Neil Quinsey at The Lind Trust on 01603 262626.


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