Is Norwich getting a new Prezzo or Loch Fyne restaurant?

PUBLISHED: 06:00 25 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:25 25 December 2019

The Bonmarche store in Norwich which is still open and trading. Pic: Archant

The Bonmarche store in Norwich which is still open and trading. Pic: Archant

A new restaurant has been given the go-ahead to open in the city centre if women’s clothing store Bonmarche closes for good.

An Essex-based property investment firm Moody Commercial, which works for Prezzo and Loch Fyne, has been given planning approval to convert the store in St Stephen's into a restaurant if it becomes vacant.

Bonmarche is still trading in Norwich, one of 285 stores still open after the firm closed 30 earlier this month. About 25 jobs have been made redundant nationwide but clothing firm Peacocks is currently in negotiations to buy the business. It recently stated it could not assure the future of the remaining Bonmarche stores.

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Meanwhile, a planning application was made for a restaurant in the building, 18a-20 St Stephens, subject to Bonmarche coming out. This bid was recently given planning approval by Norwich City Council subject to the applicants ensuring any fume extraction and also litter collection was done in accordance with regulations.

Plans show a two-storey building with cloakrooms on the first floor but no other detail. The application to change the building's use from retail to a restaurant states: 'The application has been made to establish that the proposed change of use is acceptable in principle, in the event the present tenant vacates the building either during or at the end of their tenancy."

A spokesperson for Peacocks recently said: "We are working very hard to reach a deal that secures the future of the company and the greatest number of jobs. But given the unprecedented pressures the business continues to face, it is also important to recognise this cannot be assured at this time.

Bonmarche has four shops in Norfolk, in Norwich, King's Lynn, Dereham and Yarmouth which are all currently still open and trading. The Norwich store recently launched a 'closing down' sale, however.

Norwich currently has a Prezzo in Norwich's Tombland. Loch Fyne recently closed its Norwich restaurant in St Giles Street and the building is currently for sale.

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