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Starbucks set to open drive-through at former A11 diner site

PUBLISHED: 11:46 28 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:37 28 September 2017

Mr D's Diner on the A11 southbound carriageway at Besthorpe. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr D's Diner on the A11 southbound carriageway at Besthorpe. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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A former American-style diner on the A11 is to be transformed into Norfolk’s latest coffee outlet.

A former American-style diner on the A11 is to be transformed into Norfolk’s latest coffee outlet.

The site of what was previously Mr D’s Diner at Besthorpe in south Norfolk has been let on a 10-year lease to Starbucks.

The multi-national coffee giant plans to build a drive-through outlet as well as open a conventional coffee shop in the former diner building.

The leasehold deal was negotiated by property agents in Arnolds Keys’ commercial team, which acted on behalf of the investor who owned the freehold. In all, just over one acre of land is covered by the deal.

MORE: As Norfolk says goodbye to Mr D’s here are 9 other American diners to visit

Guy Gowing, managing partner at Arnolds Keys, said the deal and investment could be seen as a positive sign for the upgraded road link between Norwich and Cambridge, which has been identified as being economically important to the region’s development by local authorities and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

“The fact that such a major international company is investing in a long-term lease at Besthorpe, as well as in expanding the site and building the drive-through, is a further indication of the growing importance of the A11 corridor,” said Mr Gowing.

He added that he believed there would be continued interest in similar sites near the A11.

“We are about to come to market with another important site a little further along the A11, and we are already seeing strong demand for this kind of commercial property opportunity on this important trunk road,” he said.

Mr D’s Diner was opened in April 2012 by businessman Philip Dingle after he transformed the former Little Chef into a 40-seat 1950s-style restaurant, complete with Wurlitzer jukebox, in a move which created around 20 jobs.

Earlier this year the diner won recognition from TV entrepreneur Theo Paphitis.

The Dragons’ Den star presented Mr Dingle with an #SBS Award at a ceremony in Birmingham as part of Small Business Saturday, an initiative designed to encourage and promote the work of the UK’s SMEs.

But Mr D’s announced in the summer that it would be closing its doors for the last time on July 20, and thanked its customers for their support over the five years it had been open.

A planning application for the drive-through coffee shop was submitted in the summer to Breckland Council, and the new Starbucks is due to open in 2018.
The adjacent BP filling station and M&S Food outlet does not form part of the deal, and remains unaffected.

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