‘Did someone mention cakes?’ - Popular pet shop could be replaced by cafe

Mother and daughter Jacqueline and Laura Lovejoy, 55 and 24, hope to open a cafe on Bell Lane in Bel

Mother and daughter Jacqueline and Laura Lovejoy, 55 and 24, hope to open a cafe on Bell Lane in Belton. Picture: Laura Lovejoy. - Credit: Archant

A mother and daughter hope to transform a much-loved Norfolk pet shop into a cafe at the heart of the community.

Belton Pet and Hardware, a premises on Bell Lane, will close in September, with the announcement prompting disappointment among residents who have shopped there for decades.

But last week (July 22) a planning application was submitted to Great Yarmouth Borough Council to change the use of the premises to cafe.

The applicant is named as Clint Rice, while mother and daughter Jacqueline and Laura Lovejoy are planning to run the business.

Laura Lovejoy, 24, said: "Belton has been a huge part of my family's life for many years.

"My mum has lived in the village since the 60s and both myself and my brother grew up there.

"When the opportunity to take over the shop came up we wanted to find a way to give back to the village.

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"We knew that Belton Pet and Hardware is a hub for the community but due to difficult market conditions and the current owner retiring, it wasn't viable to carry on.

"We therefore decided that opening a cafe/tea room would be a fantastic way to bring the community together.

"We hope for our family-run business to be the heart of the community, a place for everyone young and old to enjoy," Ms Lovejoy said.

The premises sits in a string of four shops including a hairdressers, Chinese takeaway and Tesco Local.

The application states the proposed name is Binky's Tea Room.

It also notes the applicants plan to recycle as much as possible, source all the food and ingredients from local suppliers and any unsold food will be donated to a charity for people who need it.

The cafe will open from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 2.30pm on Sundays.

News of Pet and Hardware's closure and proposed new function has generated a lot of response on social media.

Louise Carway said: "Good luck with the cafe. Looking forward to a cooked breakfast and some lovely cakes."

Jill Philpott asked: "Did someone mention cakes? Yummy."

Jean Brooks commented: Wish you good luck, it's what Belton needs."