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Former Poundstretcher could become cafe

PUBLISHED: 17:21 22 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:36 22 October 2019

The former Poundstretcher premises on London Road North, Lowestoft could be transformed into a cafe and soft play area if plans are approved. Picture: Mick Howes

The former Poundstretcher premises on London Road North, Lowestoft could be transformed into a cafe and soft play area if plans are approved. Picture: Mick Howes

Archant

A town centre building that has been empty for three years could be transformed into a café and soft play area, provided plans get the go-ahead.

The former Poundstretcher store in London Road North, Lowestoft, had remained vacant since 2016.

But after opening its doors again in recent weeks for a successful pop-up art exhibition, plans to breathe new life into the building have been submitted.

The change of use plans have been lodged with East Suffolk Council for the development at the rear of the property, changing its use to a farm-themed soft play centre with a café and toilets.

An application from Mark Jones has been submitted to the council and is currently awaiting a decision.

Most recently local visual artists group, Easterly Artists, had taken over the building for the successful gallery.

The Poundstretcher store had closed when the shop expanded and relocated along London Road North in October 2016.

In October last year, the building was the focus of national attention after a security alarm rang for days before being turned off.

A proposed new restaurant tenant came forward in the wake of the disruption, but the move failed to materialise.

Now, Mr Jones - who has relocated to Lowestoft after operating a successful soft play centre in Surrey - is aiming to "create a café and soft play area for local parents to meet up and watch their children play in a safe, supervised environment".

A design and access statement states: "There will be a bespoke designed play frame and a separate toddler area, and a sensory room with sensory equipment to aid and encourage motor skills and develop social skills.

"The café will promote healthy eating. The theme for our business is a farm with the intention that we will wherever possible buy our cosumables from local producers.

"The play area will be located in the rear of the property, furthest from the street entrance.

"We feel that although we are not at this time including a retail area, the addition of a children's play area will hopefully encourage more people to use the local shops and benefit the local economy as well as employing staff and tradespersons from the local area."

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