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Plans given go-ahead for former city nightclub to be transformed into flats

PUBLISHED: 15:32 11 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:14 12 July 2020

Toby Middleton, manager of the former Mercy nightclub in Norwich. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Toby Middleton, manager of the former Mercy nightclub in Norwich. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

It was once Norwich’s biggest nightclub but now a major part of the city’s clubland is to be transformed into almost 50 new homes, it has emerged.

Mercy Nightclub in Norwich, which is being converted into flats. Picture: Nick Butcher.Mercy Nightclub in Norwich, which is being converted into flats. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Mercy nightclub attracted thousands of revellers each and every week after it opened in 2003 but the building, which used to house a cinema, has remained empty since it closed down in March 2018, after the company behind it went into liquidation.

But new life is to be breathed into the site after plans for almost 50 homes, a coffee shop and two new floors were given the go-ahead.

The site, which will be known as Regents Place, will be turned into 49 homes, with new fourth and fifth floors becoming penthouses known as Alexandra Mansions Penthouses, names which applicant and developer Estateducation said celebrated the building’s history.

The plans also include a gym, cinema room, pool table room, storage and parking for residents, along with shared office space and a coffee shop on the ground floor.

Insp Gavin Tempest overseeing Operation Enterprise in Prince of Wales Road in Norwich in 2003. PIC: Bill Smith.Insp Gavin Tempest overseeing Operation Enterprise in Prince of Wales Road in Norwich in 2003. PIC: Bill Smith.

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Online planning statements said the development would be a “significant improvement to the amenity of the neighbourhood” compared to a large nightclub and “associated potential for noise and anti-social behaviour to occur”.

Gavin Tempest, a former Norfolk chief inspector who spent much of his 17 years as a police officer helping to make Norwich a safer night out by tackling alcohol-related disorder in the city’s night-time economy, said: “I feel a lot of nostalgia for the place, it had a lot going for it and its operators were strong on supporting community safety.

“Working as a licensing consultant now, the night-time economy has changed beyond recognition and the Covid pandemic has made club hospitality a hard business to be in.”

The site was originally built in 1890 as the first block of residential flats in Norwich, with shops on the ground floor.

In 1923 it was converted to the Regent cinema, but was renamed ABC Norwich in 1961, becoming a Cannon cinema in 1986.

In the 1990s it closed, and reopened as Mercy nightclub in 2003.

In 2018 Code Red Promotions, which ran Mercy, Flaunt, Rocco’s restaurant and gentlemen’s club Lace, faced a petition to wind up brought by the city council, as it tried to recover £200,000 in unpaid business rates.


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