Monday, May 20, 2024

National retailer set to open first store in coastal town

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Having stood proudly on Lowestoft town centre since 1907, a new lease of life is earmarked for a former department store that has been empty for more than four years.

Lowestoft Journal: The former Palmers store in Lowestoft town centre could be set for a new lease of life. Picture: Mick HowesThe former Palmers store in Lowestoft town centre could be set for a new lease of life. Picture: Mick Howes (Image: Mick Howes)

After this newspaper revealed last October that plans for “alterations to existing shopfront and rear elevation” at the former department store at 66 to 76 London Road North in Lowestoft had been given the green light, a “national sports retailer” was mooted.

Lowestoft Journal: The existing and proposed elevations. Picture: Tetrick PlanningThe existing and proposed elevations. Picture: Tetrick Planning (Image: Tetrick Planning)

And now new plans have been lodged for the former independent department store – with JD Sports unveiled as the applicant behind the development.

A scheme centring around the “installation of three AC condensers” – consisting of two double fan units and a single fan unit – on the “rear elevation” of the property on Grove Road, Lowestoft has been proposed.

Lowestoft Journal: Work is continuing at the former Palmers department store in Lowestoft town centre. Picture: Mick HowesWork is continuing at the former Palmers department store in Lowestoft town centre. Picture: Mick Howes (Image: Mick Howes)

The plans submitted by the applicant JD Sports – which are currently “awaiting decision” – were lodged with East Suffolk Council on April 17.

It states: “JD Sports are looking to take on the lease of the unit (at 66-76 London Road North, Lowestoft) for a fixed length period.

Lowestoft Journal: JD Sports logo. Picture: JD SportsJD Sports logo. Picture: JD Sports (Image: JD Sports)

“We are looking to add three condensers to the rear of the unit, the location has been determined as the upper floors will be residential and its unfeasible for them to be installed on the roof.”

With the application listing the last use of the site as a “Retail unit” and currently a “Construction site”, further details in the design and access statement for “JD Sports Lowestoft” adds: “The existing building is a four storey property with what will be retail space on the ground floor and other floors yet to be decided by landlord.

Lowestoft Journal: Work is continuing at the site of the former Palmers department store in Lowestoft town centre. Picture: Mick HowesWork is continuing at the site of the former Palmers department store in Lowestoft town centre. Picture: Mick Howes (Image: Mick Howes)

“Following advice by the landlord they had recommended us to install our three AC condenser units on the rear elevation (Grove Road).”

Lowestoft Town Council recommended approval of the plans last week, with East Suffolk Council likely to make a decision in the coming weeks.

Familiar name

Founded as the family-run Chadds independent department store in 1907, after more than 100 years trading in the high street the familiar name of Chadds disappeared from the centre of Lowestoft as it was taken over in 2009 by Palmers.

Lowestoft Journal: The former Palmers store in Lowestoft town centre could be set for a new lease of life. Picture: Mick HowesThe former Palmers store in Lowestoft town centre could be set for a new lease of life. Picture: Mick Howes (Image: Mick Howes)

With Palmers subsequently closing its stores at Bury St Edmunds and Dereham, the Palmers stores in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft looked to have been given a lifeline in November 2018 after being taken over by Beales.

But the chain collapsed into administration in March 2020 – meaning that the store at 66 to 76 London Road North has remained empty ever since.

A new lease of life was proposed in May last year by Tetrick Planning Limited on behalf of the applicant Panther (VAT) Properties Limited – a property investment company, based in Potters Bar – as “shopfront alterations” were permitted last October under delegated council powers.

Lowestoft Journal: Work is continuing at the site of the former Palmers department store in Lowestoft town centre. Picture: Mick HowesWork is continuing at the site of the former Palmers department store in Lowestoft town centre. Picture: Mick Howes (Image: Mick Howes)

With works having already been carried out inside the property, noticeably the shopfront developments have progressed in recent weeks.

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