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'Exciting' plans revealed for former newspaper office

PUBLISHED: 13:11 11 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:59 11 September 2019

David R Mays and Alex Chenery from Level Up test drive the new gaming centre in Dereham. Picture: BRECKLAND COUNCIL

David R Mays and Alex Chenery from Level Up test drive the new gaming centre in Dereham. Picture: BRECKLAND COUNCIL

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A new video gaming café is getting ready to reboot the high street when it opens later this month.

Cllr Paul Claussen, Deputy Leader of Breckland Council welcomes the new Level Up team to Dereham High Street. Picture: BRECKLAND COUNCILCllr Paul Claussen, Deputy Leader of Breckland Council welcomes the new Level Up team to Dereham High Street. Picture: BRECKLAND COUNCIL

Level Up will be based at 31 High Street, the former home of the Dereham Times, and will be supported by a Breckland Council initiative.

Owned and run in partnership between Alex Chenery and David R Mays, the pair said the idea had already been well-received by locals

Mr Chenery said: "People I've spoken to have all been really excited about the idea and think it would be a good asset for the town.

"We are thrilled to finally be getting our exciting new video gaming café installed and hope it will be a refreshing addition to Dereham high street, for families and gamers of all ages."

However, they admitted they had faced difficulties in turning their idea into a reality before the council stepped in.

"We can't thank the regeneration team at Breckland Council enough for recognising the difficulties we have faced securing a potential property and supporting our project 100pc," he added.

"We genuinely thought, after 15 months of trying, it was a dream that was never going to become a reality.

"We're now ready to hit 'play' and we really hope the Dereham community is too."

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Breckland Council, who owns the building, is taking the opportunity to trial a new approach as part of its Market Towns Initiative, funding schemes to support the district's towns.

The owners of Level Up will receive a grant from the council over the first six months to help the fledgling company become firmly established on the high street, creating a community hub.

Mark Robinson, the council's executive member for community, leisure and culture, said: "We saw a unique opportunity to power-up the high street by offering a grant contribution to a new independent business to help them remain viable while they build up their customer base during the early days.

"It is great news for local gamers, but it is important to us that the deal also benefits the wider community too. That's why the café will also become a community hub, offering something for everybody, regardless of whether they know their Super Mario from their Lara Croft."

Level Up will offer gamers access to the latest games and consoles while also providing an opportunity for them to compete with other players online. Customers will be able to pick up light snacks and refreshments while they play.

There are also plans to host a number of workshops aimed at supporting local residents.

Level Up is due to open in late September.

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