Art-Deco site could be empty for years

PUBLISHED: 14:11 19 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:04 03 July 2010

It could be years until more homes spring up in place of the bulldozed Art-Deco house on Gorleston's prestigious Marine Parade, the developer behind its demolition said this week.

It could be years until more homes spring up in place of the bulldozed Art-Deco house on Gorleston's prestigious Marine Parade, the developer behind its demolition said this week.

Philip Oldman of Lowestoft-based Oldman Homes triggered a mountain of opposition with his plan for flats aimed at the active elderly and its modern, wave-like design in a saga that stretched on for months.

The rumpus tapped in to a well of affection for the distinctive building known for its vibrant colour changes and its wartime role as a listening station for the Luftwaffe.

But two years on Mr Oldman has tagged as “a blessing in disguise” the Government planning inspector's decision to refuse his appeal at a time when recession wasn't even a rumour.

He said: “The application was lost on appeal which now seems like a stroke of luck because we would have had seven or eight apartments on Marine Parade and with the current economic climate I am very pleased they are not sitting there. Fortunately the planning process was such that I did not get consent. It was a blessing in disguise.”

Instead Mr Oldman was told he could build two luxury four-bedroom homes on the empty site - but with planning permission alive for three years he is in no rush.

All that stands at 69 Marine Parade today is a board showing what the new homes will look if a client comes along and asks him to build one. Depending on the specification Mr Oldman reckons the three-storey homes will have a market value of between £600,000 and £750,000 and hopes that people will be knocking on his door for them once the economy picks up.

Oldman Homes is also the company behind the conversion for Flagship Housing of Great Yarmouth's former College of Art and Design in Trafalgar Road. Mr Oldman said architects were working up a scheme and looking closely at the detail with borough council conservationists Ian Hardy and Darren Barker. He hoped to be on site within four months and expected the finished building to be “superb” on a prominent corner close to the newly refurbished St Georges Park.

The company's conversion work at the former Boulton's site in North Quay, Great Yarmouth, is almost complete. Its £1.5m redevelopment into 21 apartments saved the historic former merchant's house from oblivion, enhancing the area and adding new homes, also for Flagship Housing.

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