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Crown House sale an optimistic boost

PUBLISHED: 11:28 03 February 2012

Crown House on Yarmouth Way.  Picture: James Bass

Crown House on Yarmouth Way. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

A LANDMARK Great Yarmouth building that sprung up on the coat-tails of 1960's optimism is aiming to be at the forefront of a 21st century wind energy boom.

Yarmouth House, also known as Crown House, in Yarmouth Way, was meant as a towering symbol of hope, one of up to seven envisaged by planners standing at every major interchange in the town at a time when high rise meant high status.

But after decades hosting various Government departments, the most publicly accessed area being the signing on point for the unemployed, it ended up vacant and empty representing all that was dismal about the town.

Now the seven-storey building’s sale to speculative buyers is being hailed as sign that Yarmouth is back on its uppers with plenty of confidence to embrace the burgeoning energy sector. It was on the market for £750,000 although that may not be was what achieved.

Mark Duffield, director at Aldreds, who is handling the site for the new owners Oakville Homes, said: “Despite the company’s name the expectation of Crown House is that it will probably be used commercially and we are already getting inquiries from people who are interested. There will be an early planning application for conversion to flats but their hope is that it will remain commercial and there is interest.

“The more jobs in Yarmouth the better and we are already seeing the difference in the town now that the planning department has come back to the town hall. What we want to do is distract from the Innovation Centre at Gorleston’s Beacon Park and boost the town centre.”

He added the company was hoping to be at the forefront of any opportunities arising from wind energy work with companies likely to be seeking town centre office space close to the port.

Comprising 19,250sq ft the building with its distinctive trio of rooftop cones - tipping its architectural hat towards quayside maltings - is large and modern by Yarmouth standards, most offices occupying converted period buildings.

James Allen, senior partner with commercial property consultants Roche, said the firm had been instructed by its owners Telereal Trillium, a private company who entered into an out-sourcing deal with the Government, to sell the building which sits on a half acre site with 49 parking spaces.

He said: “The new owners have bought the property for investment purposes and are looking at the commercial and residential uses of it. Bringing the building back into occupation and re-use can only be a good thing. It does indicate a vote of confidence in the town with people investing in property on effectively a speculative basis.

“It also creates an opportunity to provide accommodation in still a relatively modern building compared to a lot of stock in the town. Wind energy is one of the growth areas in the town and it is quite reasonable that there will be demand for commercial space from that sector.

“It is very positive news for the town. It can potentially provide an opportunity for expanding and incoming businesses to have modern accommodation with parking in the town centre.”

Yarmouth mayor and senior Tory Barry Coleman said: “It has been on the market for several years now. The council did consider it for offices but the figures did not add up and we would have been left with other properties we could not do anything with.

“It needs quite a bit of redecoration and if somebody is willing to buy it and invest in it, that is really good news.”

And Paul Garrod from the Furzedown Hotel in North Drive said his family business had had its best year since his parents bought the hotel in 1959 - due to the surge in corporate business, some of which was coming from the renewables sector - and functions.

The purchasers were advised by Bycroft Commercial in Yarmouth.

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