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'Hideous' building go-ahead

PUBLISHED: 10:35 21 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:28 03 July 2010

LONDON has the gherkin and Great Yarmouth will have the liquorice.

The borough council has granted itself planning permission to convert Futters furniture showroom in The Conge into offices - with black tiles covering up the brickwork.

LONDON has the gherkin and Great Yarmouth will have the liquorice.

The borough council has granted itself planning permission to convert Futters furniture showroom in The Conge into offices - with black tiles covering up the brickwork.

However, councillors didn't share the planning design team's enthusiasm, with Mark Thompson, vice-chairman of the development control committee, branding the design as a “disgruntled liquorice allsort.”

And Mr Thompson also questioned how the building would withstand a white spotted onslaught from pigeons and seagulls.

“It will look hideous,” he said.

Technical director David Frowde and Peter Warner, head of planning, defended the design.

Mr Frowde said: “We wanted to change its appearance so it comes across as a modern efficient building which deliveries modern efficient services,” adding the building could be “easily cleaned” in light of comments about bird droppings.

Despite opposition, the £1m Local Enterprise Growth Initiative(LEGI) offices were approved at the town hall on Tuesday.

During the sometimes heated debate, committee chairman Charles Reynolds ticked off his own council for acting “disgracefully” by rushing the application through without considering moving it to Beacon Park in Gorleston rather than take up valuable retail space in the middle of town.

And councillor Michael Jeal accused planning officers of driving a “coach and horses” through its own conservation and town centre retail policy.

The LEGI building, which replaces the 50-year-old Futters, will be used to allow people to start up small businesses and provide a base for the council's property services department. It will also include support services including The Prince's Trust, police, Yarmouth College, UEA, Business in the Community and the Chamber of Commerce.

Ambitious plans to transform Yarmouth's boating lake and redevelop it with an Italian restaurant were unanimously backed by councillors. Developers say it will mark a new era for the North

Drive attraction, with a 70-seater Italian restaurant, café and gondola rides.

Norwich-based developers, The Concept of Leisure, are still involved in what was described as “well advanced” negotiations with the borough council for a 75-year lease on the land.

Four neighbours had written to the council objecting to the plans on the grounds the development would create more noise, smells from cooking,

extra traffic and add to parking problems.

However, planning officer Tim Major said the impact of cooking fumes to nearby properties was considered “minimal.”

Councillor Mick Castle dubbed the application “an opportunity of a lifetime. This is a very sad facility at the moment. To get something like this which could bring life into that area has got to be for the best.”

Councillor Charles Reynolds said: “It will provide the sort of investment this town wants.”

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