Jamie Oliver restaurant for Norwich?

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver plans to open a restaurant in one of Norwich's most elegant shopping streets.

If proposals for the new Jamie's Italian restaurant in the Royal Arcade are approved, it would open at the site currently occupied by a branch of Waterstone's booksellers.

A spokesman for Jamie's Italian restaurants confirmed that it was interested in the Royal Arcade site, and added: 'It's still a long way away from being a restaurant but at least the journey has begun.

'If all goes well, we should be open by this time next year.'

There are currently 19 Jamie's Italian restaurants in the UK, with the nearest at Cambridge, with six more due to open this summer.

The application for a change of use from shop to restaurant at the site also affects three other properties in the Royal Arcade.

But it is understood that Artique art gallery and Marmalades cafe would continue to trade as normal, as the restaurant would be based on different floors and not occupy their spaces.

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Fans of the restaurant chain are already posting comments on Twitter that they cannot wait for it to open.

A spokesman for Artique also welcomed the application and said: 'We are very pleased and excited that Jamie's Italian restaurant could be moving in next door, and I'm sure that it will increase footfall.'

No-one at Marmalades wished to comment, but Claire Read, who owns Poppy Valentine ladies' clothes store opposite Waterstone's, also welcomed it. She said: 'I think it would be brilliant for the arcade, and I think most people in the arcade would be positive about it.'

There are two Waterstone's shops in Norwich city centre with just 50m between the Royal Arcade and Castle Street branches.

A spokesman for Waterstone's said: 'Waterstone's continues to trade as normal from our shop in the Royal Arcade.'

The application will be discussed by Norwich City Council's planning committee at a date to be fixed.

Have you put in for a change of use at a prominent site in the city? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.