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What would you like to see in Aylsham’s historic former ironmongers?

PUBLISHED: 17:08 13 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:37 13 April 2018

The former Clarkes ironmongers in Aylsham. Pic: www.archant.co.uk

The former Clarkes ironmongers in Aylsham. Pic: www.archant.co.uk

Your views have been sought on what should be done with a historic former ironmongers in the heart of Aylsham.

The former Clarkes ironmongers in Aylsham. Pic: www.archant.co.ukThe former Clarkes ironmongers in Aylsham. Pic: www.archant.co.uk

Opinions have been sought on what should be done with a historic former ironmongers in the heart of Aylsham.

An investor recently bought the Grade II listed Clarke’s building in the town’s Market Place and wants to know what people would like to see go into it.

The former shop has stood empty for more than five years, and now the new owner is on the lookout for a commercial tenant - or three - for the 2,000 sq ft ground floor space.

So far, the most popular choice from people is another hardware store.

The former Clarkes ironmongers in Aylsham. Pic: www.archant.co.ukThe former Clarkes ironmongers in Aylsham. Pic: www.archant.co.uk

Here are the comments from people so far on what they would like to see go in to the building:

‘A few thoughts on the vacant and sadly missed Clarke’s ironmongers shop. Some ideas in today’s EDP are good, like another hardware store and definitely no more tearooms! An antiques centre is an interesting idea but would it be viable? Anne Summers is another interesting idea but possible not the image required for historic Aylsham and Costa or Starbucks etc - definitely not!

‘The ladies are catered for well, but there’s no men’s clothes shop/gents and ladies shoe shop, but again would that be viable; altthough Aylsham is an expanding town.

The former Clarkes ironmongers in Aylsham. Pic: www.archant.co.ukThe former Clarkes ironmongers in Aylsham. Pic: www.archant.co.uk

‘There are not too many places to eat a decent meal in Aylsham town apart from the Black Boys, so my idea would be a good modern pub/restaurant/wine bar, something like Byfords in Holt. I await with interest on the final outcome, but what a great opportunity for someone with the capital and business acumen to make a success.’

‘I would like to see a ironmongers at Clarke’s Shop in Aylsham.’

‘It may come as no surprise to you to know that I for one feel that what we need in Aylsham is a proper ironmonger in Clarkes shop. The little one in Red Lion Street has now closed and the town has sufficient coffee shops and restaurants as it is. Ironmongery is a much bigger need.’

‘Clarkes hardware store in Aylsham has been missed by both town and village residents alike.’

‘Aylsham is a town that is growing rapidly but does not have the restaurant facilities it needs! It has plenty of tea rooms but they do not open in the evenings. The town needs to attract its residents to local facilities they can walk to, not drive out of town.’

‘I’d like to see, and think it would make an ideal, antiques centre with a coffee shop.’

‘It was a great ironmongers shop and I would be happy to see another such shop on the site. Other ideas are a bookshop, a shoe shop, a restaurant/bistro but NOT another tea room or ‘pretty’ gift shop.’

‘Anne Summers - Aylsham could do with spicing up.’

‘Costa? Starbucks? Cafe Nero? *sigh*’

‘Well, the landlord will want a business that work so he will get his rent paid, but what does work on the high street now? Charity shops? I can’t think of much else.’

Henry Cockerton from agents Brown & Co said the owner wanted to know what people wanted to see in the building.

Mr Cockerton said: “The investor is very keen that the building is preserved so it will look exactly the same except structurally it will be improved and updated inside.

“But apart from that, and a different name above the door, Clarke’s lives on in Aylsham.

“I myself live in Aylsham 
and I grew up in Itteringham so I am going to be as sensitive as anyone could be with the renovation of Clarke’s. We want to know what people want to go in to the ground floor - so speak now and be part of the most exciting commercial project Aylsham has seen for a long time.”

The new tenants could include a restaurant, deli, cafe or shop, potentially reinvigorating Aylsham’s town centre.

Mr Cockerton said it was not known exactly how many apartments could be created because it was necessary to work with Broadland District Council as well as English Heritage.

He said: “The investor is keen on helping to bring people into Aylsham and make it a landmark market place.”

Mr Cockerton said the buyer was keen to secure a commercial tenant before renovation work started.

He said the price would be based on the average commercial rental in the town of £30 per square foot.

The ironmongers was run by Alan Clarke, who died last year.

His much-loved shop was known for always having what the customer wanted – even if it took Mr Clarke a little bit of time to find it.

The property went under the hammer at auction last September, at a guide price of £450,000-£500,000 but failed to sell, however, it was announced in Janurary a buyer had been found.

What would you like to see go into the ground floor of Clarke’s? Email your ideas to caroline.culot@archant.co.uk or comment here online.

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