Could a new restaurant be opening its doors in former Shoe Zone building?
PUBLISHED: 11:03 01 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:03 01 November 2019
Plans to bring a new restaurant to Dereham are firmly underway after an application was submitted to the council.
It comes following the relocation of national retailer Shoe Zone from Market Place to Wright's Walk earlier this year.
Change-of-use plans have been submitted to Breckland Council via the applicant's agents Le Sage Associates to change use of the two-storey building from retail to restaurant.
The application for 40 Market Place also outlines plans to add an extension to the rear of the building, which is located between Prezzo's Italian eatery and Poundland.
A supporting statement within the plans, which were received by the council on October 14, read: "The landlord is now urgently seeking a replacement retail tenant, but as this is currently a very difficult time for High Street retail trading generally, with year-on increases in on-line shopping, the landlord would like to have the benefit of consent for A3 use of the property, to broaden the net to find a tenant of good covenant to take the property."
To apply for Class A3 use means to extend the function of the premises to restaurant usage, including businesses such as cafes and coffee shops.
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Planning permission for a first floor extension, above the existing ground floor sales area, was already obtained in 2017 but the landlord has reapplied for the consent following the application for A3 usage.
The proposals do not conflict with any planning policies in the Dereham Local Plan.
If approved, the plans for the proposed extension will include a flat roof with an array of semi-flush roof lights "to provide natural daylight to the first floor restaurant area".
A customer staircase and passenger lift are also proposed as part of the internal alterations. This will also allow for a unisex disabled toilet to be installed on the first floor for staff and customers.
Closing down signs first appeared in the windows of Shoe Zone back in April.
Shortly after, the retailer moved into the former Sports Direct premises on Wright's Walk which closed its doors in the town permanently in March.
At the time, the manager confirmed the closure but said he was unable to comment on the reasons behind it.
It joined other well-known high street chains New Look and WH Smith, which also closed in the town.