New shop and office approved for city centre restaurant yard

Plans have been put forward for new commercial premises at the back of Paolo's Restaurant, owned by Paolo Duraj

Plans have been put forward for new commercial premises at the back of Paolo's Restaurant, owned by Paolo Duraj (pictured inset) - Credit: Archant/SD Studio Ltd

Wasted land at the back of a city centre Italian restaurant will be turned into a posh new business space after plans were given the green light. 

A new two-storey building will be built behind Paolo's Restaurant with access from St Giles Street. 

The plans will see an existing garage demolished to make way for a the building which will consist of office space on the top floor and retail use below.

Olga Babiichuk and Paolo Duraj of Paolo's Restaurant are behind the plans which were approved by Norwich City Council last week. 

Chartered architect Spiros Defteraios, director of SD Studio, drew up the plans and estimated the work will begin by the end of the year.

Mr Defteraios said: "There was never any doubt on whether these plans would be approved as we worked in close collaboration with planning officers for a number of months. 

"It is very pleasant and we are all over the moon but it is not a surprising result." 

Spiros Defteraios, director of SD Studio Ltd

Spiros Defteraios, director of SD Studio Ltd - Credit: Contributed

The agent said he will be going through various steps including a ground investigation and archaeological report now the plans have been successful. 

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It is not yet known which tenants will be moving into the site. 

Mr Defteraios said: "As long as the development starts within the three year expiry date then the planning applications is valid. I hope it will not take the clients that long to make a start." 

The site is designated as a secondary retail area and is part of a conservation area. 

Artist impressions of what the new building would look like at the back of Paolo's Restaurant in Norwich

Artist impressions of what the new building would look like at the back of Paolo's Restaurant in Norwich - Credit: SD Studio Ltd

Paolo Duraj, owner of Paolo's Restaurant, described the existing space where the new building will be located as "a waste of space". 

He currently parks his car at the back of the restaurant, but believes the new retail space can generate business and ensure more people can be employed in the city.

Paolo's Pizzeria, 1 St James Street, Norwich. Photo: Colin Finch

Paolo's Pizzeria, 1 St James Street, Norwich. Photo: Colin Finch - Credit: Colin Finch

It is understood that no formal application has previously ever been submitted for a development involving construction in the yard.

The plans include associated outdoor space for waste bins and storage for bikes. 

And each unit will be self-contained and feature an open-plan space with access to a toilet and kitchen area.