Green light for 137-year-old pub to be turned into shop

The Albion pub on Lowestoft Road in Gorleston-on-Sea.

The Albion pub on Lowestoft Road in Gorleston-on-Sea. - Credit: Google

Plans to convert a 137-year-old pub into a convenience store have been given unanimous approval by councillors.

At a Wednesday meeting of Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s development control committee, councillors considered plans to re-fit and extend the Albion on Lowestoft Road in Gorleston.

Agent Jake Russell, speaking on behalf of the applicant, Punch Pubs & Co, said the pub had become “an unviable commercial enterprise” but that its new purpose would help to maintain “the vibrancy of the local area”.

““The proposal for a new convenience store will provide Gorleston-on-Sea new economic and social benefits - most notably, the creation of around 20 new jobs,” said Mr Russell. 

“The property’s car park will be available free of charge to users of nearby shops, regardless of whether they intend to shop at the proposed convenience store or otherwise. 

“The applicant has confirmed its acceptance of a planning condition which will enshrine this arrangement into the future."

Labour councillor Marlene Fairhead said she was concerned by the building’s traditional design being altered by the conversion, but Mr Russell assured her that aside from the proposed extension, alterations made to the building’s exterior will be “nil to minimal”.

Councillor Trevor Wainwright, leader of the Labour group in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Leader of the Labour opposition on Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Trevor Wainwright - Credit: Archant

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The leader of the council’s Labour opposition, Trevor Wainwright, said: “I think it’s a really good scheme. The pub has been struggling for years, and if this doesn’t take place, it will just deteriorate further and end up either left as derelict, or it will end up as housing at some stage, I would imagine.”

He added: “Nobody wants to see pubs go, wet-led pubs, but unfortunately, that is the way of the world now, so I think the recommendation is good and I would move it.”

Labour councillor and former MP for Great Yarmouth, Tony Wright, said he thought the plan was “not without its issues” particularly with the impact on smaller nearby shops, but the alternative would see the pub “lay dormant”. 

Tony Wright speaking at the unveiling of a blue plaque to mark the 30th anniversary of Crimestoppers

Labour councillor and former MP for Great Yarmouth, Tony Wright. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

Near neighbours had voiced concerns spanning parking, litter, noise, and loss of a community pub and meeting place for local groups.

One said: "This is an iconic building and public house, we have two large convenience stores in very close proximity, a supermarket just down the road and a Tesco Express one mile away, so why do we need another?”