New hub takes shape

Just Regional
Jun 5, 2024 2 mins read

The development of the new Viking Community Centre has taken another step forward with councillors signing the freshly erected steelwork for the new hall extension at the back of the building.

In a tricky operation, the beams for the steel-framed hall were “blind lifted” from the front of the building into a position at the rear which couldn’t be seen by the crane operator.

A workman with a walkie-talkie had to carefully guide the crane and steel beams over the roof of the two-storey building and down into position, where council chairman Bill Couzens “autographed” one of the beams.

“Today, for the first time, councillors were able to really see what the finished hall will look like,” he said. “There are still months of work to be completed by our Norwich-based contractors, Draper and Nichols, but so far everything is on track for the building to be ready by the anticipated opening in November.”

As well as the new main hall there will be two fully accessible multi-use rooms downstairs and a fully accessible bay-fronted community café in the centre of the building.

The café is a particularly important part of the council’s vision for the building as a hub for local residents, and it is in negotiations with a social enterprise to run it.

Upstairs there will be a further three smaller multi-use spaces which can be hired on a flexible basis.

These would suit home-workers who might need an office only now and then, or could be used as treatment rooms, private counselling rooms or one-off meeting rooms.

In addition, caged areas in the basement will provide plenty of storage space for any clubs or societies based at the centre who may need somewhere secure to store their equipment long-term.

The cost of the purchase and refurbishment of the former pub will be met from payments by the developers of new homes in Sprowston in the form of the Community Infrastructure Levy.


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