Shops on Great Yarmouth site destroyed by fire to open by Easter
- Credit: Archant
More than two years ago it was destroyed by a devastating fire.
But out of the ashes of the former indoor market and bowling alley in Great Yarmouth's Regent Road, a new development is beginning to take shape.
And with a concrete structure appearing above the boards on the town's busy thoroughfare, its owners have confirmed that shops should open there by Easter.
The site was gutted in a huge blaze two years ago at the height of the summer season.
The gaping hole overgrown with weeds that had been left in the wake of the devastation has since been filled in with the concrete foundations and climbing walls of the new development.
Phil Thompson, owner of the site, has said that the mixed-use complex will include eight apartments, fifteen houses and twelve shops.
He said that ten of the shops are with traders who had businesses on the site before the blaze, and are continuing their leases, while the remaining two premises have not yet been let.
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The shops will sell arts and crafts, wooden carvings, leather, handbags and ice-cream - 'the general Regent Road fare', Mr Thompson said.
He added that the apartments will be ready three months after the shops have opened.
More than 100 firefighters and 41 fire engines had tackled the fire, with water pumped from the nearby river Yare to help extinguish the flames, which took almost seven hours to put out.
The tall plume of smoke was visible for miles, from as far away as Acle and Lowestoft.
Over one year later, Great Yarmouth Borough Council's planning committee voted unanimously to back the proposals for the development.
The company which ran the former Regent Bowl alley, which until the fire was the oldest bowling alley in the country still in use, said they would not be returning to the site.