Flats could replace disused shop space in town centre

A planning application to turn a disused retail space into three flats in Watton’s town centre have been lodged...

A planning application to turn a disused retail space into three flats in Watton’s town centre have been lodged with Breckland Council. - Credit: Google Maps

Flats could replace an empty retail space in a town centre, as businesses have been "suffering" amid the pandemic. 

A planning application to turn a disused retail space into three flats in Watton’s town centre have been lodged with Breckland Council.

The ground floor commercial space, located on Thetford Road, has been left empty since the last tenant’s lease ended. 

Despite the landlord’s efforts to find a new tenant, “little interest” was shown as high streets and businesses have been struggling after a difficult year.

A planning application to turn a disused retail space into three flats in Watton’s town centre have been lodged...

A planning application to turn a disused retail space into three flats in Watton’s town centre have been lodged with Breckland Council. - Credit: Google Maps

In the planning documents online, it states: “Considerable efforts have been made to let the unit for retail/commercial uses since the last tenants ceased their lease. 


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“During this period, two approaches were made, which were not pursued, otherwise there was little interest shown.  

“There has been limited interest because retail in Watton, and nationally, is suffering as a result from both Covid 19 and the rise of internet shopping.  

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“The property is located off the High Street and has less interest due to passing footfall.  

“The demand for housing is high, and particularly strong in a town centre context, with easy access to all facilities.” 

If the proposed flats are approved, new doors and windows will be introduced into the existing openings, in matching materials, and infilled as required with matching brickwork.  

Signage will also be removed to “enhance the appearance of the block”. 

The documents added: “The building within which the redundant space is located is a three-storey block of contemporary construction, with a mixed retail/commercial, and residential use. 

“Residential uses in the form of apartments occupy the upper two floors and part of the ground floor. There is a small communal area to the rear for storage of bins and cycles, partly paved and partly laid to grass.” 

“The flats will be accessed directly from Thetford Road.

“The flats will have emergency access onto this rear yard, which will also be available for cycle storage.  

“Due to the close access to town centre facilities and public transport, vehicle ownership is not required. Spaces will be available in the nearby public car parks for visitors.” 

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