Big changes planned for time-warp shop and cafe on the Broads

PUBLISHED: 11:52 09 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:52 09 January 2020

Plans could see Ludham Bridge Stores and the Wayfarers Cafe demolished and redeveloped. Picture: Google Maps.

Plans could see Ludham Bridge Stores and the Wayfarers Cafe demolished and redeveloped. Picture: Google Maps.


Big changes are in store for a little shop and cafe that have been a fixed part of the Broads for more than half a century.

Busy holiday scene at Ludham Bridge.Photo by John Paul.Busy holiday scene at Ludham Bridge.Photo by John Paul.

Ludham Bridge Stores, perched above on the River Ant, is part of a larger complex which also includes the Wayfarers Cafe, an art gallery and a fishing tackle store.

The shop has ticked on for years, untouched by the ebb and flow of trends, with a local councillor calling it "a real part of the identity of Ludham".

But a proposal, submitted in November to the Broads Authority, would involve the demolition and redevelopment of the shop and cafe, the removal of existing pop-up shops and the installation of two elevated holiday lets.

A document supporting the planning application, on behalf of Bure Properties Ltd based in Rollesby, states the structural condition of the existing complex is "poor".

The two new holiday lets - raised on stilts above any anticipated flood level - would help sustain the rest of the facility which is otherwise seasonally dependant, it says.

Neighbours and councillors, however, have raised concerns about the visual impact of the new development.

Adam Varley, member of North Norfolk District Council, who is objecting to the plan, said: "The Ludham Bridge and Wayfarers cafe has been a fixed part of Ludham for many years.

"The place offers convenience to both tourists and locals and has become a real part of the identity of Ludham Bridge, many people often calling it iconic or historic."

He said the application is ambitious and the design is of high standard but is not in keeping with the current surroundings.

Ludham Parish Council, also objecting, said the proposed development does not suit the area.

The Broads Society, a charity, also objects on the grounds the holiday lets as planned would not fit in.

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A neighbour said the shops are "part of a fabric enjoyed by untold numbers of people over decades" while the development would "change the feel and nature of the area in a way which benefits many fewer people than is currently the case".

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