Spotlight turns to Yarmouth town centre

PUBLISHED: 19:18 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:33 30 June 2010

A framework aimed at steering Great Yarmouth's town centre towards a brighter future, creating jobs and investment is being drawn up as the resort's retail heart takes its turn in the regeneration spotlight.

A framework aimed at steering Great Yarmouth's town centre towards a brighter future, creating jobs and investment is being drawn up as the resort's retail heart takes its turn in the regeneration spotlight.

Regeneration chiefs fresh from success with the seafront and St Georges Park which have benefited from multi-million revamps are hoping they can do something similar for the town's commercial heart - with local vigour making up for an expected lack of grant funding.

Tim Howard, head of regeneration at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “We have had a real good crack at the seafront, we have 1st East pulling the riverside sites along and South Denes is being driven by the outer harbour. What we have got left is the core of the town that is its retail centre and that we think warrants some specific attention of its own.

“What we are trying to do is to develop a strategy for future town centre development. Town centre retail is under a lot of pressure. What we need is a specific retail-focussed framework that will give us a sense of direction and help us preserve and enhance the retail offer.”

Graham Plant, portfolio holder for tourism and regeneration, said it was all about putting out the welcome mat to new businesses and making it straightforward for them to come to Yarmouth by removing hurdles around planning or flooding.

He said the study, likely to be taken on by outside consultants, would also throw up issues around floor space and parking.

Tourism spend in the town had increased by £20m to £270m in the last year, proving the case for regeneration, he said.

Although in the current economic climate there could be little expectation of the kind of multi-million pound sums that had been granted for other projects, the borough needed to look at problems that were barriers to wealth and find solutions.

He added a retail study was being carried out and that issues like infrastructure and car parking, and the first impression created by Vauxhall Station and bridge were priorities.

“We need to be realistic because there is not going to be the same kind of public funding available. We need to put forward plans that will attract the private sector and put the welcome mat out,” he said.

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