Petition launched to save the former Apollo Club in Harleston
A petition has been launched to save the former Apollo Club in Harleston from demolition.
The club, which has been part of the community for 30 years, has now been designated as an asset of community value (ACV), but it may not be enough to save it from demolition.
Hope Church, which currently meets in Diss and Harleston, aims to buy the former club in Mendham Lane and turn it into a community hub.
The church has now successfully applied to South Norfolk Council to have it listed as an ACV, but the centre could still face demolition under existing permissions.
The former snooker and social hub in the town – closed since the end of 2016 – is currently up for sale.
Last autumn, Hope Church held an appeal and raised enough money to put in an asking price offer of £380,000, only to see this rejected as plans had already been submitted to demolish the centre and build retirement flats in its place.
There was an outpouring of support for the church on social media, with many from the local community expressing their desire to see it put back into use for the town.
With South Norfolk Council agreeing to register it as an asset, it cannot be sold for five years without the community having the option to buy it.
Plans to demolish it, however, are still in place.
Hope Church team leader Graham Blake said: “We don’t have a permanent base for the church in Harleston and currently meet in the high school.
“We’ve been searching for a long time for a space that we can use, not just for our Sunday meetings, but for all the community services we are involved in, such as community works and Waveney Foodbank, as well as a social space where we can host community lunches and offer support services.
“We would love to give clubs in the town a usable space for hire, too.
“The Apollo centre would be perfect in so many ways and we know it has a special place in so many people’s hearts in Harleston.
“We have written to the owners to implore them to reconsider the demolition.”
Hope Church is now appealing to the community to sign a petition to save the Apollo Centre.
The petition can be found by going online to save-the-apollo-club.