Plans for 10 new shops and new homes on fire hit site approved
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A gaping hole was left in the centre of Great Yarmouth's tourist thoroughfare after a huge fire gutted an indoor market and bowling alley.
Now the future of the Regent Road is looking brighter after plans to build 10 new shops, a leisure facility and 23 homes were approved.
Councillors on Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s planning committee voted unanimously on Wednesday night to back the proposals.
The first shops could open in 2019 if the timetable for works is met, with building expected to take a year.
Site owner Phil Thompson said he already has people ready to move into the 10 shops.
MORE: Great Yarmouth’s fire hit Regent Road sees fresh bid for homes and retail units submitted
He added: “It has been a long time coming. We have listened to what the neighbours want and we’re trying to do what is best for the area.”
A plan was originally submitted earlier in the year for a total of 49 homes, a new indoor market, public toilets, a café and a leisure complex.
However after a consultation exercise and commercial soundings for the development were taken, there was found to be a lack of interest in the dense housing offer and larger leisure complex.
The plans were subsequently withdrawn and a new design drawn up.
The company which ran the former Regent Bowl alley, which was until the fire the oldest bowling alley in the country that was still in use, said they would not be returning to the site.
Speaking at the planning meeting councillor Marlene Fairhead questioned what the future use of the leisure space would be and expressed disappointment that the site would not be replaced like for like.
She added: “That is what the public were promised, that it was going to be replaced.”
Councillor Carl Annison welcomed the revised plans and said they would be a big boost.
He added: “I think it’s a fantastic plan. I know there are areas of Yarmouth where terrible fires have happened that are still empty,
The blaze in August 2016 left traders from around 40 businesses and three employees from the bowling alley without jobs.
At its height 80 firefighters tackled the blaze and it was considered one of the largest peacetime fires in Great Yarmouth’s modern history.