Nightclub and concert venue bid for former Great Yarmouth Mecca Bingo hall

PUBLISHED: 12:43 17 January 2014 | UPDATED: 12:43 17 January 2014

The former Mecca bingo and Regent Cinema on Regent Road, Yarmouth.

The former Mecca bingo and Regent Cinema on Regent Road, Yarmouth.

©Archant 2014

One of Great Yarmouth’s largest empty venues could enjoy a new lease of life as a nightclub, two years after Mecca Bingo closed its doors.

The former Regent Cinema, in busy Regent Road, has been bought by owners of a Golden Mile pub who hope to turn it into an entertainment venue.

Mr and Mrs Bromwich, landlords of the Marine Pub, said they would pitch the venue towards an older clientele and offer family fun including comedy, cabaret and concerts during the day.

The Regent Road site has been vacant since December 2011 when Rank Group shut its Mecca Bingo hall, citing a lack of parking facilities among the reasons for closure.

But despite Mr and Mrs Bromwich proposing a new use, their pursuit of a 4am licence for the nightclub side of the venue has sparked concern among residents.

Ken Smith, secretary of Middle Market Road Residents’ Association, said he feared the sale of alcohol could increase anti-social behaviour, late night noise and that parking issues could arise from people travelling to the venue.

But he welcomed the idea in principle if his worries were addressed, adding: “The idea of a club for family entertainment, cabaret etc is a good one and on the whole we do not object so long as [we are given] peace of mind.”

Norfolk police have not voiced any objections, and plans have been recommended for approval by planning officers at Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

This approval could be subject to an 11pm curfew for the venue and extra CCTV cameras being installed.

But environmental health officer Justin Hanson said permission should be refused on the grounds of noise as there are flats directly opposite and houses nearby.

“Although it is possible to mitigate against noise and vibration breakout in this particular location... there will be an adverse noise impact from the use of the premises, people queuing up to get in, people leaving and those outside smoking,” he wrote.

He added there are no other nearby nightclubs that open so late, and he felt the applicant would not want to operate the venue without a nightclub element to it.

Residents voiced similar fears, with Scott Walden, of Crown Road, worried about noise from “drunk, rowdy people”.

He claimed there could be vandalism, and that it would be a “travesty” if the nightclub got the green light.

Lorraine Finch, of St George’s Road, added it was an “inappropriate” location for a nightclub.

But the application found support from Richard Lamb, of Lichfield Road, who wrote: “In principle I support this application and believe that a family entertainment club to be good for the town and this area, with the aim of keeping families in the town with suitable entertainment.

“The applicant appears to have a successful record of running this type of venture.”

The former Regent Cinema was opened in 1914 and was later turned into a bingo hall with amusement arcade in the mid 1980s.

It is grade II listed, and has been closed since Mecca Bingo pulled out in 2011.

Applicants Mr and Mrs Bromwich are seeking permission to open the venue from 11am to 4am all year round, and to run a shop which opens from 8am to 10pm Monday to Friday on a seasonal basis.

A decision on the application will be taken by planning councillors on Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s planning committee on Tuesday, January 21.

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