Bid to convert Sheringham community hall into takeaway

The St John Ambulance hall, Sheringham.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

The St John Ambulance hall, Sheringham.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A community hall in Sheringham could be turned into a fast food takeaway under a charity's plans to sell the building.

The St John's Ambulance HQ in Wyndham Street has not been used by the group for several years after the town's branch amalgamated with the neighbouring Cromer division.

Since moving out of the hall the charity has rented the space out to other community groups, but with little prospect of the Sheringham group reforming it was decided to put it on the market.

A buyer has now been found and an offer made on the hall, but the sale is conditional on planning permission being given for the building to be converted into a kebab and pizza takeaway, with a two bedroom flat above.

Mick Coley, St John's regional manager for facilities and logistics, said the charity had to maximise whatever return it could get from its assets, and going to the open market was the best way to do this.

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'For a charity we could be held to account for why we own a property that we're not physically using ourselves,' he added.

'The timing was on the basis that there was very little likelihood of resurrecting a division in Sheringham, bearing in mind the Cromer one is far more vibrant and active and travelling between the two towns isn't that difficult.'

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Mr Coley said the handful of groups that used the hall had been informed about the sale before it went on the market so they had plenty of time to find an alternative venue, and its main user - a church group - has already moved into new premises.

He also stressed the proposed conversion would not have any effect on St John's coverage of the area.

'The commitment that St John's has to north Norfolk maintains, nothing has changed,' he added.

'It is still very much part of the community within the north Norfolk area and we'll maintain that, but the meeting place is in Cromer and not in Sheringham.'

Members of Sheringham Town Council's planning committee discussed the proposed conversion at a meeting last night, and while they welcomed the provision of extra housing they objected to 'another' food outlet opening in the town.

Chairman Mac McGinn said if it opened, the new takeaway would be the 47th food outlet in the town.

North Norfolk District Council will make a final decision on the plans.

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