'We don't want to be like Yarmouth' - Seaside traders come out fighting over kiosk bid
PUBLISHED: 16:01 14 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:21 14 March 2019
Archant Norfolk © 2016
Seaside traders in Gorleston have come out fighting over a borough council bid to add new units and outside seating on the lower prom.
Already some 500 letters have been fired off protesting against the scheme that would bring tables and chairs to an uncluttered area popular with children on bikes and scooters.
Jay Formosa of Jay Jays cafe said both he and Dimascio’s ice-cream shop were only able to open all year round because of the money they made in the summer - and that any dent in those takings could force them to close.
Some of the main players along Gorleston’s lower prom spoke out about the borough council proposal at a public meeting this week, and action is planned at the Parkrun on Saturday amid fears the kiosks could interfere with the running route.
The meeting was called by Melanie Ruse, beach clean organiser, who said the new seasonal operators, whatever they sold, would be vying for the same visitor spend.
MORE: ‘It would be a shame if it got too commercial’ - council bid for seaside kiosks and outdoor seating draws concerns
Mr Formosa said the bid had sparked strong objections with people saying: “We don’t want to be like Yarmouth.”
“If people saw the whole of Gorleston closed they would not come anymore,” he said.
“We are quite busy in the summer but let’s face it the winter is a very bleak place in Gorleston.
“We stay open all year round because we are part of the community.
“I do believe that these things being in place could mean we have to shut in the winter, therefore our employees will lose out on work and jobs.
“We have over 10 full time staff and for the sake of three stalls you could lose 20 people’s jobs.”
Christian Dimascio said he was passionate about Gorleston, a tranquil resort, where family run businesses put their heart and soul into what they did, staying open all year when there was little to be gained financially.
The council says the new kiosks aim to broaden Gorleston’s offer and add something different as well as bring in income for council services.
In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: “As part of the council’s business property portfolio, a planning application has been submitted for three food concessions near to Gorleston’s splash pad and two kiosks/huts in the area of the yacht pond, together with a change of use for the existing beach concessions.
“The proposal description in the planning application explicitly states that the new concessions would offer facilities that are not currently available locally.
“The two kiosks/huts proposed in the area of the yacht pond are not planned as food concessions and would only be sited if an operator comes forward to deliver a suitable facility.
“All planning applications are considered on their merits in line with planning policy.
“Public consultation responses form part of the decision-making process.
“If the planning application is approved, the council will then move to tendering for the concessions and would consider tenders for suitability.
“No offer of concessions has been made to any operator at this stage.”
Mrs Ruse, who also writes for the community magazine, said people were calling for a wider consultation on the future of Gorleston.
Overall most said they would be happy see old-fashioned children’s fun similar to what used to be at Pop’s Meadow, as well as traditional entertainment like Punch and Judy.