A historic theatre is set to get a major revamp despite concerns it will harm the appearance of a grade II listed pier. 

Cromer pier’s Pavilion Theatre could see a series of improvement works to its bar, café and toilets under plans going before North Norfolk District Council’s (NNDC) development committee. 

While planning officials at NNDC have recommended the scheme for approval, they have said the changes will bring "modest" harm to the structure, which was first built in 1901. The enclosed pavilion was added in 1905. 

The plans would see the upgrading of the theatre's toilets and the relocation of the accessible toilet to reduce the required travel for a wheelchair user. 

It will also include increasing the internal floor space by enclosing two outdoor seating areas and replacing the bar furniture. 

The proposal is part of a £1,134,000 project to upgrade the pier and has seen the support of the town council.

Eastern Daily Press: Cromer Pier, pictured in 1961 (Image: Archant Library)Cromer Pier, pictured in 1961 (Image: Archant Library) (Image: Archant Library)

However, two objections have been submitted to the council, with concerns about how the changes will impact the symmetry of the building due to “poor design” and with it not being in keeping with the Victorian heritage of the pier. 

A letter of representation was also sent by the Theatres Trust which raised concerns about external changes, but the group was ultimately supportive of the application. 

A planning officer’s report to councillors said: “Overall it is believed that the alterations represent a reasonable compromise between conservation and adaptation of the asset to ensure its future viability.  

“Officers were of the opinion that while the reduced overhang and the loss of bench seating under the eaves line is considered unfortunate, this has to be balanced against the required operational improvements of the Theatre” 

Officers also rejected the public’s concerns that the plans would affect the “symmetry” of the structure arguing the pavilion is “balanced rather than truly symmetrical”. 

They added: “It is considered that the proposal would result in a modest amount of harm to the heritage asset.  

“However, this is heavily outweighed by the public benefits accruing from the proposals.” 

The application will be decided next Thursday. 

The Cromer pier chronicles  

As far back as 1391, there are records of a pier - or jetty - at Cromer, from which local produce was loaded onto ships. 

In 1822, a 210ft (64 m) long jetty was constructed, made of cast iron supplied by a foundry in Saxthorpe, but it was destroyed in a storm just 24 years later. 

It was replaced by another wooden structure, this one a little longer at 240ft (73m). 

The jetty became popular for promenading, with a keeper employed to 'keep order'. 

Strict rules meant ladies were required to 'retire' from the jetty by 9pm. 

In 1897, a coal boat smashed into the jetty, damaging it beyond repair. It was dismantled and the timber sold for £40. 

Eastern Daily Press: A view from the sky of Cromer Pier in 1988

The town was without a pier until, in 1902, the new pier - which survives to this day - was completed. 

It was 450ft (140m) and cost £17,000 to build. 

In the early years, it had glass-screened shelters and a bandstand on the end. 

The shelters were roofed over in 1905 to form a pavilion. 

The bandstand was later replaced with a stage. 

From 1907 this was used to accommodate the latest craze of roller-skating.