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Artists yard off to good start

PUBLISHED: 14:11 04 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:50 03 July 2010

AN arty new space which hopes to draw creative types to Great Yarmouth seafront attracted large crowds to its open evening.

Based on the Main Cross Road next to Blackfriars Brewery, The Courtyard is positioning itself as both a tourist friendly open plan arts area and a residential living space.

AN arty new space which hopes to draw creative types to Great Yarmouth seafront attracted large crowds to its open evening.

Based on the Main Cross Road next to Blackfriars Brewery, The Courtyard is positioning itself as both a tourist friendly open plan arts area and a residential living space.

It was after a month's intensive refurbishment work that people visited the site last Thursday to be shown around the Victorian building, which will offer working space for 12 to 16 artisans and residential space with four apartments.

Joe Larter, 70, who previously founded Pleasurewood Hills, runs the venture with partner Bruce Carter.

He said: “It went extremely well and we got a really good response. We had over 40 people who turned up, including groups like Produced in Norfolk. The open day was to show off what we've done so far because it's quite a difficult idea to imagine. We got really good feedback for the idea of the shared workspace downstairs, and people were asking why this kind of thing hadn't been done before.

“We want to have four separate groups of, for example, potters, artists and jewellers- we want a real mix- and the difficulty will be in choosing the right people. Coming out of the open day, our idea is to find a leader for each group and they will know the right people to pick.”

Plans are to complete redeveloping the shell of the building by December, and The Courtyard should be open by next May.

Joe is also hoping the road train will alter its route to stop outside the development once it is finished.

Michelle Payne, 39, has won the Sunrise Coast Tourism Award for the last two years with The Upstairs Gallery in Beccles, and went to the open evening on Thursday. She said: “We need somewhere like this in Norfolk and I think it will be very successful. It's amazing for Great Yarmouth as there are so many artists in the region, and it's a massive thing for the tourism industry.

“Arts do generate a huge income and it should bring more people into the area- to see artists working and living like they will be able to should be fascinating.”

For more information, visit http://the-courtyard.co.uk.

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