Second extension to Great Yarmouth Market Gates welcomed by planners

A SECOND extension to Great Yarmouth’s recently improved Market Gates shopping centre has been welcomed by planners who gave it their full backing this week.

The scheme focuses on remodelling and extending the southern end of the complex close to Regent Road adding a lift where there is currently only escalator access, improving the frontage and adding two new large units.

It comes after an �18.5m redevelopment which increased the centre’s size by a third and attraced Debenhams back to the town in 2008.

The scheme, which is phase two of potentially four, is seen as evidence that its Edinburgh-based owners Miller Developments are pleased with the centre’s performance.

The application, was decided on Tuesday by Yarmouth Borough Council’s development control committee and includes disguising dark brickwork with light-reflective material at the gloomy bus station - welcome improvements which the report notes could nevertheless go further.

As well as adding an extra 1730sq m of floor space over two levels the extension will sweep away the existing curves of the Lighthouse cafe, replacing it with the straight edges and polycarbonate panels to match the previous addition.

John Burmester, director of Centenary Asset Management, the company that looks after the centre, said earlier in the year that if permission was granted the centre would hope to open its extension some time next year at either Easter or September to fit in with retailers’ preferences.

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As well as adding larger units to attract national names the improvements would benefit existing smaller shops by creating a better pedestrian flow, he added.

Mark Hewett, director of Miller, said: “Not only will it present a brand new fa�ade to Regent Road but the stores will considerably enhance the first floor mall and the connection with Regent Road and the Temple Road bus drop-off area, thereby increasing footfall for the existing traders.”

Market Gates is one of the Eastern region’s oldest malls which ushered in a new era of retail opportunity when it was built in 1975.