What is happening at the empty units on this Norwich road?
- Credit: Andrew Fitchett
A new chapter could be on the horizon for a shopping centre in Norwich which is plagued by several empty units.
The empty shops on Plumstead Road sit alongside popular businesses - Archers butchers, the Great Eastern Railway Models and Richardsons of Norwich - and opposite an Aldi supermarket.
Some have stood empty for months, with the road having been dealt a below in spring 2017 when the Budgens closesd. It left three units empty, one of which remains so.
The other two have been filled by an East Anglia's Children's Hospices charity shop, and woodburning stove business Norflame.
Popular hardware shop Richardsons of Norwich, which originally opened in the 1950s, is now also listed for sale, due to the owner's wish to retire.
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The property has been listed for just shy of £50,000.
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Another unit, which has been empty for some months and is next to Rockafellas Barbershop and Tattoo Studio, was granted permission in September 2017 to become a hot food takeaway business.
Last week, the council gave the go-ahead to a bid, submitted by Joshu Kurian, to introduce an awning to the front of the unit, and an external extraction flue, suggesting work may be on the horizon.
A report by a council officer said: 'The awning will facilitate the use of the area to the front of the unit for outdoor seating, however the noise generated by patrons will not result in significant harm being caused.'
And another application was submitted to the city council in October to turn part of an existing car park to the back of the row of shops into a car wash.
The bid by the Redeemed Christian Church of God, which operates from another building behind the shops, would also see a pay and display car park area installed.
And Ian Thorburn, a commercial property surveyor, said there were soon likely to be more developments on the road, which is also home to a bookmakers, pizza shop and independent hairdressers.
On two neighbouring empty units towards the end of the centre, near the petrol station, he said there had been interest from more than one party over taking them on.
At another, a former mobile phone shop, a deal is likely to be signed imminently, possibly even this week. Mr Thorburn couldn't reveal details over who would be taking it on, but said it was a retail business.
A third empty unit is set to undergo significant repairs and soon be put on the market.
But he said planning policy needed to be reshaped to be kept up with changing retail demands. Earlier this year, he said an application for a fish and chip shop on the road had been turned down because the city council feared it would have led to too many non-retail units.