Historic house poised for flats

An historic 17th century merchant's house is poised for a £1.5m refurbishment to turn it into affordable flats ending a decade-long dilemma about its future.

An historic 17th century merchant's house is poised for a £1.5m refurbishment to turn it into affordable flats ending a decade-long dilemma about its future.

The scheme at the grade II-listed former Boulton's furniture store in North Quay is one of a raft of projects aimed at reinventing and preserving Yarmouth's historic heart.

Conservationists are hailing it as a boost for the down-at-heel area, earmarked by urban regeneration company 1st East for major development.

Principal conservation officer Stephen Earl said it was one of 98 projects in the town under the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) aimed at repairing old buildings and generating investment.

The Boulton's project and others, including one at fire-ravaged Market Row, were adding 120 residential units under conservation-led regeneration, he said.

He added: “It's about changing the perception of Yarmouth. It is a very important historic town. It has a real sense of identity and place which is made up of buildings like Boultons.

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“It is quite a jigsaw puzzle and eventually we will see the whole picture.”

The council bought the building amid controversy three years ago, and this year purchased the building next door, where printing firm Advision used to be, making it a larger housing scheme.

The building received a £140,000 facelift two years ago. The full refit, estimated to cost at least £1.5m, will begin in the Autumn and involves creating 19 mostly one and two bedroom flats.

North Quay was once the preserve of the richest merchants whose beautiful homes had gardens which rolled down towards the water's edge.

Boulton's was built in the 1650s as a five-bay mansion house. It was extended in the 18th century when its owners built over the medieval row and added a rear wing.