Prezzo heading to Dereham after Breckland councillors approve scheme

The former Chambers newsagents in Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The former Chambers newsagents in Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The news an town centre empty shop will soon become an Italian restaurant has been greeted by councillors.

The former Chambers of Dereham newsagents had been closed for three years before Prezzo decided to take on the lease.

Breckland Council's planning committee agreed to the change of use, from retail to an eatery, at a meeting yesterday after the initial scheme had been rejected.

The Grade II Market Place shop was run by the Chambers family for more than 40 years before Colin Chambers retired in 1993.

Previously officers had rejected a change of use application for the site as Dereham has a higher percentage of food outlets than guidelines recommend.

Breckland councillor Alison Webb spoke at the planning meeting. She said: 'Three years is plenty of time for retail shops to come along.

'I have received major support for this from my constituents and others as well as from businesses because they recognise the importance of this for the town.'

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Planning committee chairman Nigel Wilkin said: 'Councillors considered this application and recognised the potential benefits of bringing a well-known chain to the centre of Dereham.

'It will expand the leisure opportunities and choice for Dereham residents and attract visitors to the town during the day and in the evening.

'That could bring a boost to existing businesses, help to support the regeneration of the town and continue to preserve the building.

'This decision sends a very clear message – that Dereham is open for business.'

This follows the opening of Chattels department store on Norwich Street and The Greenstone pub and McDonald's restaurant on the Dereham Business Hub.

Do you have memories of Chambers? Write to doug.faulkner@archant.co.uk