Great Yarmouth fighting back as Town Centre Master Plan takes shape
PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 March 2019
Archant © 2018
Following the loss of three national retailers from the town centre over the last couple of years it may be easy to think Great Yarmouth’s stock is shrinking.
Buildings once occupied by Marks and Spencer and H.Samuel remain vacant, while British Home Store has been replaced by Poundstretcher.
Although many will admit the town centre no longer offers the same shopping experience it once did, town centre manager Jonathan Newman is encouraged by the number of independent businesses now trading in the town.
Mr Newman highlighted the “major transformation” retail is going through but has reassured residents Great Yarmouth is well prepared to deal with the challenges that lie ahead.
He said: “Through the development of the Town Centre Master Plan there exists a plan to transform the town centre to better meet consumers’ changing needs and shopping habits.
“It is important to consider and value what we still have - hundreds of businesses providing friendly, informed and focused customer service.”
The Town Centre Master Plan - a vision outlined by the borough council in 2018 - hopes to enhance Great Yarmouth as a destination for the 21st century.
A number of projects, including improvements to the market place and the transformation of the Conge, are included as part of the master plan - which is hoped to have taken shape by 2025.
“There is still more to do - much of which will require private sector development for the more desirable projects of adding a cinema and increasing the dining and leisure facilities the town has to offer,” Mr Newman said.
In our survey, 73pc of you thought the empty and closing stores were a ‘big issue’.
The Great Yarmouth Town Centre Partnership, alongside the council, has already implemented several initiatives to help address the challenges.
ShopAppy - an online service designed to enhance people’s shopping experience on Great Yarmouth’s historic market - was launched as a pilot scheme for 12 months in September.
While the council introduced its ‘First Hour Free’ initiative a number of years ago.
It is hoped the scheme, which offers customers who shop at certain retailers the equivalent of one hour’s parking off their purchases of £10 or more, will make Great Yarmouth more accessible.