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Plans to set up new cafe in Downham Market town centre approved by West Norfolk Council

Downham’s economy is expected to be given a boost after plans to set up a new town centre cafe were approved.

An application to revamp 4 Market Place, which is a listed building, was first submitted in late October. It sought permission to erect shelves, place a counter and refrigeration units, and replace an old sink and toilet.

West Norfolk Council’s planning officers gave the plans the green light on December 19.

The premises where the new Downham cafe look set to open. Picture: Google Maps
The premises where the new Downham cafe look set to open. Picture: Google Maps

The downstairs area will now be turned into a cafe which will serve snacks. Work will also include pendant lights being placed over the counter, tiling behind the bar, and the re-plastering of a damaged ceiling.

The shop area will only be used to serve drinks and snacks. No cooking or baking will be carried out at the premises, and therefore no additional vents or flues will be required.

A decision notice from planning officers said: “This property is located on the Market Place and is obviously very central within the Downham Market town centre.

“It has been vacant for a while and this application will see the property in use once more.

“The works required to open the space as a café have not affected the setting of the building or any historic fabric or historic plan as the ground floor space has been stripped, and modern materials used to cover the walls, ceilings and floors.

“The application will give the empty property a use which will help the local economy. It will also benefit the property and help to continue to secure the future of the listed building.”

The successful applicant is a Mr Joseph Bilton. He was supported by the manager of William H Brown, a neighbouring business, who believes the new cafe “can only have a positive impact on exposure to the square, town as a whole and our community”.

Downham Town Council also voiced its support for the plans as there are no proposed changes to the exterior of the building, which was formerly a laundry.

A new shop sign on the outside will be permitted, but will have to be approved before it is put in place.

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