Tenants move into homes built on old landmark site

Freebridge Community Housing's new Keeble Court develoment.
Freebridge Community Housing's new Keeble Court develoment.
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Families helped mark the start of a new era when they moved into homes built on the site of Lynn’s former Pilot Cinema and Zoots nightclub.

Tenants of Freebridge Community Housing’s new Keeble Court development started moving into the 25 new homes this week.

Work on the mixture of affordable houses and flats started last March when the derelict Zoots landmark was demolished, six years after it closed down.

Now people and families have signed Freebridge’s ‘Residents Commitments’ contracts and started to move into the new homes, with all tenants expected to have received keys to their properties by the end of this week.

Robert Clarke, director of housing at Freebridge, said: “We are committed to providing homes in West Norfolk, and it’s a real achievement to see a part of town that has been unloved for a number of years developed into something great.

“We are sure that people will be proud to call Keeble Court their home for many years to come.”

The development of 18 flats and seven houses, with 25 car parking spaces, was built through a partnership with Freebridge and Wellington Construction.

Planning permission for the homes was finally granted by West Norfolk Council in November 2013, after a previous application to build 28 homes was turned down amid concerns about over development and lack of car parking.

After Freebridge unveiled its plans, many people contacted the association with memories of their time at the Pilot Cinema.

The art deco cinema was built by local businessman Ben Culey in the late 1930s and showed both films and variety shows.

When floods hit the town without warning on Saturday, January 31, 1953 film-goers were unable to leave until 2.30am.

The cinema closed in the early 1980s, and opened as Zoots nightclub in the 1990s after serving a variety of uses.

The nightspot re-opened in 1999 following a major £2 million refurbishment, but closed for good in 2008.