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Council invites comments on new Design Guide for town's historic shopfronts

Great Yarmouth Borough Council is asking for public comments on a new Shopfront Design Guide developed to give owners of historic buildings in the town a guiding hand on how to look after and enhance their premises.

Shopfronts in Great Yarmouth town centre. Credit James Bass Photography

The seaside resort's historic shopfronts are a crucial part of the town's identity and local character and the new guide, prepared by the council in conjunction with Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, gives guidance on shopfront repairs and restoration as part of the government-funded High Streets Heritage Action Zones (HSHAZ) scheme delivered by Historic England.

The Great Yarmouth HSHAZ covers the town's Market Place, the Rows and the northern end of King Street, and involves local people in repairing and conserving important historic spaces through high quality architecture. The improvements can make a real difference to the look of a streetscape, with attractive heritage premises that draw businesses and visitors, and help to revive the town centre.

The draft Shopfront Design Guide, which the public is now invited to comment on, includes information on the history of the town's shopfronts, general conservation advice and design principles, and guidance on materials, windows, doors, signs, lighting and canopies in historic or significant buildings.

It will eventually be adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document with recommendations to support planning applications for changes to buildings in conservation areas and other historic locations; and it will assist planners, developers, owners and investors who want to carry out building works in the town centre, including those works that are eligible for Heritage Action Zone grants for shopfront and building repairs.

The document provides general guidance and design aspirations that can be adopted for shopfronts and advertisements in other historic areas of the town and borough as well.

Further guides are planned, and they will cover Public Realm, Environment and Repairs, Alterations and Maintenance, to be combined in a final umbrella guide.

The public can comment on the draft shopfront guide until 12 noon on September 20, 2021, at

To view the guide, please go to

Comments from individuals and those of historic building and planning groups will be incorporated into the final draft which will then go out for formal consultation before adoption later this year.

Council leader Cllr Carl Smith said: "We have some very attractive and historic buildings in the town and the HSHAZ scheme is an exciting development which will help us to shine a light on them and make the most of their features. In developing the Design Guide, we want to give the best advice and guidance to local premises owners for them to appreciate, restore, enhance and improve their shopfronts. We'd really like to hear what the public thinks of the guide as we want our town environment to be as attractive as possible for everyone to enjoy."

Bernard Williamson, chairman of Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, said: "Our new Shopfront Design Guide will help local shop owners see how they, as custodians of much of our unique built heritage, can restore, protect and preserve their shopfronts. This will encourage an improved overall look to our streetscape and make visiting the town centre a more enjoyable experience, breathing new life into it for the future, supporting regeneration, investment and new opportunities for business and the wider economy as we move into recovery."

Tony Calladine, Regional Director for Historic England in the East of England, said: "The Great Yarmouth Shopfront Design Guide will inspire and support premise owners to make the most of the special historic features within their properties. We hope that the public consultation will spark exciting conversations amongst local residents about the possibilities within the Great Yarmouth High Street Heritage Action Zone and how the rejuvenation of historic buildings can create a characterful and lively environment for everyone to enjoy."

Last modified on 19 July 2023

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