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A ‘Stars’ is born - plans approved for entertainment venue in former Great Yarmouth bingo hall

PUBLISHED: 09:51 27 January 2014 | UPDATED: 09:51 27 January 2014

Ian Bromwich with his son Adam, outside the former Mecca Bingo hall on Regent Street, Yarmouth.

Ian Bromwich with his son Adam, outside the former Mecca Bingo hall on Regent Street, Yarmouth.

©Archant 2014

An “exciting” show bar and nightclub in the former Mecca Bingo Hall will be called Stars, it can be revealed.

Supplied pictures of the former Mecca Bingo hall on Regent Street, Yarmouth. Supplied pictures of the former Mecca Bingo hall on Regent Street, Yarmouth.

The proposed Regent Road venue was welcomed with open arms by planning councillors, who voted unanimously to approve the application on Tuesday.

Ian Bromwich, 62, and his son Adam, 30, have been working for three months to refurbish the attraction, and hope to open it before Easter.

They formed a limited company called A and I Bromwich Promotions to submit their successful planning application.

Adam, who has owned the Marine pub in Marine Parade for three years, explained it would offer family entertainment.

Supplied pictures of the former Mecca Bingo hall on Regent Street, Yarmouth. Supplied pictures of the former Mecca Bingo hall on Regent Street, Yarmouth.

This would include live shows with well-known acts, pantomimes at Christmas, wrestling events in the summer season and family shows.

There would be children’s shows early in the day, and the pair hope to keep the venue open until 4am as a nightclub - though the applicants have yet to gain an alcohol licence.

Adam said: “Everybody’s up for it. They’re all backing us.

“A venue like this - there’s only one thing you can use it for.”

They said they do not want photos from inside the venue to appear in the paper until refurbishment has finished - so locals get the wow factor.

Adam estimated there is space for 1,000 people standing downstairs for gigs, and there are 400 seats upstairs.

Historic photos of the venue, which opened in 1914 as the Regent Cinema, are being used to help guide the refurbishment of the main hall - where two bars have been fitted - and the former tea room.

“It’s just somewhere for people to enjoy a safe environment, watch a show and have a dance,” said Adam.

They hope to preserve the elegance of the venue, with its chandelier-style lighting and Louis XVI style decor.

Ian said: “It’s staying as it was. That’s why we bought it - we didn’t want to board it up.

“It’s got character.

“We’re very pleased that it’s all done and dusted apart from the alcohol licence.”

At Tuesday’s meeting of Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s planning committee the application was explained.

There will be four members of the Bromwich family employed full-time and a further 10 part-time jobs.

Stephen Barrett, the applicant’s agent, played down fears of noise from the nightclub side of the proposal.

He said takeaways in the area already open late and Regent Road is a thoroughfare from the town centre to seafront bars.

And he said explained the idea for 4am opening was for people to stay and chat after shows, with an entry charge, smart dress policy and experienced doormen.

“When you say nightclub, you think of places like Prince of Wales Road in Norwich, but that’s not the intention,” he added.

Charles Reynolds, councillor for Ormesby ward, said: “I find this very exciting.

“When that place shut I thought ‘what on earth is going to happen to it’, and the applicant is a very brave man.”

He told the meeting he was pleased some establishments such as the Long Bar had closed.

But he added: “We should give this guy a chance.”

Kerry Robinson-Payne, councillor for Nelson ward, said Stars would “breathe life” back into Yarmouth.

And Mick Castle, chairman of the planning committee, reasoned it would help keep a nighttime economy in Yarmouth when much of it is migrating to Norwich.

He said many nightclubs such as Rosie’s have been lost, and added: “It’s good to have a nighttime economy even though it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.”

The application won unanimous support, and the applicants will need to make their case to the licensing committee at a later date.

A grand opening event is planned at Stars, with details to be announced nearer the time.

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