No car park says Regent Road fire site owner, but a year-round attraction
- Credit: ANTONY KELLY
The owner of the former Regent Bowl and indoor market has said the site will never become a car park.
Phil Thompson said the complex would not be used for parking even on a temporary basis after it was suggested last week by Great Yarmouth mayor Cllr Malcolm Bird.
Mr Thompson, who was born in Regent Road said: 'That will never happen as long as I have a breath in my body.'
He added: 'I would like to rebuild it as quickly as possible, but that is in the council's hands.'
Mr Thompson said at the moment he was thinking about a like for like replacement, but that was subject to everyone saying they were coming back.
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'What we are going to try and do there is make it so it draws people down there 52 weeks a year. Although a lot of people are suffering, it is an opportunity as well.
'I grew up here and the buildings used to be open until 11 o'clock, now they shut at five. I'd like to fulfil an ambition to get it back to that.'
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Demolition work is beginning on Monday and Mr Thompson is meeting with borough council planners next week to discuss rebuilding the site.
Since the fire a fortnight ago, £7,500 has been raised as part of the Great Yarmouth Inferno Appeal set up in the wake of the blaze by the Great Yarmouth Mercury and its sister paper the EDP with the Norfolk Community Foundation.
Deputy council leader Cllr Penny Carpenter said she was absolutely delighted at how people had rallied together since the fire.
Speaking about the appeal she said it had been a resounding success after it was announced that fund raisers were almost half way towards their target.
'I'm absolutely delighted. We are a very strong community in Great Yarmouth – whatever the people who say the town is not a nice place think.
'It is a combination of members of the public and the wider business community. The generosity of people never ceases to amaze me.'
Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis said: 'It is good to see such community spirit looking to support those affected by the fire. I hope the money can go to support the staff who work at the affected businesses and who will be hard hit until businesses can get trading again.
'I have met with the owner as well as council this week and everyone is working to find the best venue or venues to see the traders having the chance to be trading again ASAP.
'Again Yarmouth has shown its resolute spirit to keep going and welcoming visitors to our wide range of fantastic attractions across the borough in this summer season.'