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The former Clarke’s ironmongers in Aylsham. Picture: ARCHANT


A former ironmongers in a prime position in a north Norfolk town is to be turned into a restaurant and hotel.

Clarke’s of Aylsham hardware store has its final closing down sale. Picture: ANTONY KELLY
The Grade 2 listed Clarke’s building in Aylsham’s Market Place, which has stood empty for more than five years, would house a 58-seat restaurant on the ground floor, seven double bedrooms on the first floor and two more on the second floor, including one with a partitioned living room.

The ground floor would also have a toilet with disabled access and a lobby for the hotel rooms above. BA Crisp Properties of Upper King Street, Norwich, has applied to Broadland Council for permission to go ahead with the scheme. It is unclear exactly what the restaurant would be, but the applicant’s design and access statement said: “A restaurant on the ground floor would utilise its interior as well as exterior features, in a way where members of the public, both local and tourists, would have the opportunity to appreciate these in a relaxed restaurant atmosphere.

“The building’s main elevation has floor to ceiling windows on the ground floor which allows visitors of the restaurant to look out onto the Georgian delights of the Market Place, including the projected pediment flanked by pilasters on the main facade of the town hall.” It added: “The ground floor will create a reasonable-sized restaurant with the kitchen located in the south extension built in the early 19th Century.” MORE: Have your say on what you would like to see go in to the former Clarke’s ironmongers in Aylsham

The application says the building’s exterior would not be affected by the development. It says the building, which was constructed around 1740: “Is filled with classical details which unfortunately are not utilised as the building lays empty despite its prime location. “Situated in the heart of Aylsham, it is a building which careful and considered restoration could become a valued feature of the town’s thriving tourist industry.”

The ironmongers was run by Alan Clarke, who died last year.

His much-loved shop was known for always having what the customer wanted – even if it took Mr Clarke a little bit of time to find it.

The property went under the hammer at auction last September, at a guide price of GBP450,000-GBP500,000 but failed to sell, however, it was announced in January a buyer had been found.

Reference: 520005

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