Broads cafe and shop set to be replaced

Ludham Bridge Stores 

Ludham Bridge Stores - Credit: Archant

A shop and cafe at the heart of a Broads community for more than half a century will be demolished to make way for redevelopment.

Last month the Broads Authority gave the redevelopment of the Ludham Bridge Stores the green light.

The Stores, which sit on the Ant and are used by mooring boats, are set to be replaced with an expanded offering.

The shop, flat and Wayfarers cafe will be replaced, with three new short-term holiday lets added.

A report by WT Design said the scheme was necessary to increase tourism to the area and improve the viability of the existing businesses.

It said: "Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the business has suffered significantly.

"To ensure a long future, the redevelopment is necessary to add additional revenue stream and allow the already successfully owned business to thrive again. 

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"Overall, it is considered that the site is well suited to redevelopment given the condition of the existing building and the need to improve and enhance the existing business assets on the site to ensure the continued success of this location along the River Ant and improve tourism to the wider community."

Ahead of the decision, several members of the public and Ludham parish council objected to the development.

The parish council raised concerns about the impact the development would have on the surrounding roads and that a drainage dyke be kept clear to prevent flooding.

Ludham Parish Council also argued that if the plans were approved the holiday accommodation should not be allowed to be converted for residential use.

Sixteen households also wrote to the authority, raising fears the buildings were too large in scale, the existing sewer system is poor and the impact on wildlife.

This follows a previous application in 2019 which was refused with fears the plans did not have a sound financial basis, the scale of the building was too large and concerns about flooding.

An officer's report to the Broad's planning committee said these concerns have largely been addressed and "there are wider sustainability benefits of the proposal that outweigh any harm."

The plans were approved with a series of conditions, including one that ensures the apartments can only be used for holiday lets.