Third bid to convert café after two rejections in past year

A planning bid has been submitted to convert the disused Coffee Inc. Café on the corner of Norwich Road and Kimberley...

A planning bid has been submitted to turn the disused Coffee Inc. Café on the corner of Norwich Road and Kimberley Street in Wymondham into two homes. - Credit: Daniel Moxon

A fresh planning application has been lodged to convert an unoccupied café and adjoining flat – despite two previous bids being rejected in the last year.

The owner of 12 Norwich Road in Wymondham, which most recently housed Coffee Inc. Café, applied to South Norfolk District Council on February 1 to convert and extend the building to create two homes with gardens and parking.

It follows the refusal of a similar application submitted last year by applicants Joginder and Satbir Bains, which proposed to create two three-bedroom houses and a separate two-bed bungalow.

And before that, potential tenant Rashid Cetin had applied to convert the café into a takeaway, but that was turned down last March, days before lockdown.

That application in particular caused some consternation among neighbours. In total 25 public comments were made objecting to the takeaway proposal, with most citing concerns over parking and anti-social behaviour in the area.

Now, the applicants have amended their plans. They hope to change the premises to residential use and build create two homes, one with four bedrooms and the other with three.

A design and access statement submitted by agent N J Myhill Architecture to support the application showed the owners hope to convert Number 12 largely back to the original house which stood there, while the shop area would be converted to join the living space and become 12A.

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The statement said the homes would have parking provision for one car each, but added "the use of cars is not essential in this location" because of the site's location close to the town centre and the easy access to amenities such as shops, schools and public transport.

As of Wednesday, February 10, two public comments had been left on the application.

Stephanie Castle, who lives in nearby Choseley Court, said she was "fully in favour" of the revised plans, even though she "did not like the previous submission".

Peter Beck, who lives in Kimberley Street and previously objected to the takeaway proposal, said: "It's a great shame that the entrance to the proposed dwelling that used to be a shop is not in keeping with surrounding buildings or is a design of high quality. It looks like low quality French doors will be installed."

The application will be dealt with in due course.

The building's history

The building sits at the end of a terrace and was built on Norwich Road in 1904.

It has been owned by the Bains family for more than 30 years, who originally ran a grocery shop there from 1990 while living in the attached house.

But the shop closed in the mid-2000s and the family now lives in Wolverhampton.

In 2006, planning permission was granted to convert the building for use as a tanning salon, before it became JP's Espresso and Sandwich Bar two years later.

Another successful application in 2011 allowed the extension of the café area into the house, turning the residence into a maisonette flat and, in the words of the approving planning officer, making the business "more viable".

But the café and flat were vacated in August 2018 and both have sat empty since.

The owners have marketed the property on and off since July 2019, offering it as an investment opportunity.

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