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Your thoughts on Great Yarmouth's town centre: Where do we go from here?

PUBLISHED: 11:20 03 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:20 03 November 2019

Great Yarmouth Borough Council has secured a Heritage Action Zone for Great Yarmouth town centre, Picture: Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Great Yarmouth Borough Council has secured a Heritage Action Zone for Great Yarmouth town centre, Picture: Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Archant

Cheaper parking, less secondhand shops and lower business rates would attract Great Yarmouth residents back to the town centre, survey figures show.

Great Yarmouth town 2019Great Yarmouth town 2019

The town centre has been the topic of much debate in recent years, with shop closures and Internet retail causing concerns for residents and businesses.

This newspaper asked for your views on its future, and among the responses, numbering almost 1,000, some common themes were raised including business rates, charity shops and the price of parking.

One of the most popular suggestions for improving the town centre was encouraging smaller independent shops into the famous Rows, creating a coastal version of Norwich Lanes.

Some suggested lowering business rates to encourage new shops to open.

Another concern was that the town centre appears "rundown".

Some respondents, while unable to put their finger on a specific remedy, expressed a desire for regeneration and reinvigoration, noting a lack energy in the town centre.

"The town needs energy, a buzz to it," one resident said, adding: "I saw a picture of the outdoor market in the 80s, solid with people, made me smile."

Another commented: "The town needs bringing up to date. It's very tired."

For some the cure was a simple as a clean up and a lick of paint.

One person said: "Need more trees and flowers to brighten the area."

There were also calls for cheaper parking, while others spoke about feeling unsafe.

"The town feels threatening, I try to avoid it," one resident said.

Could people see a future for the town centre?

Responses included:

- "I would love to see the town centre brightened up, but it's really not that bad, I don't know why people knock it so much."

- "Why save the town centre when you keep allowing out of town shops?"

- "Something needs to be done. Yarmouth looks horrible these days. Empty shops, dull and usually a mess."

- "King Street could be a vibrant multicultural welcoming place. Primark would being people into town. People go to retail parks because you can't get everything. Holidaymakers would go to Primark for holiday clothes so go into the centre as well as locals. An outside covered area to eat would boost winter eating."

Which shops would you like to see open or return?

Most people (55pc) would like to see Primark open a store.

Marks and Spencer, which moved out of the town centre to Gapton Hall, is also still missed, with 15.3pc of respondents wishing it would return.

Town centre or out-of-town retail parks?

Most residents (64.7pc) would prefer to shop in the town centre.

Other comments included:

- "Unless we get more shops back into the town centre, people will not support the ones we have. There are too many pound shops in the town centre, and also all the banks have moved there as well. Unless we get more shops, we will not get the footfall that is needed to keep the existing shops that we have. January we lose Debenhams, what will be next?"

- "I would love to see the town centre brightened up, but it's really not that bad, I don't know why people knock it so much.

- "Only an improved road network will make Yarmouth more accessible. When you observe how dualling Elveden helped the area, Yarmouth can follow suit."

- "The closed/empty shop units just make the town appear run down and unloved and disjointed."

- "No more charity shops, pound shops or bookies."

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