Former Newmarket Blockbuster could be turned into café

The former Blockbuster store in Newmarket's High Street could be turned into a cafe called Midpoint

The vacant former Blockbuster in Newmarket could be turned into a café. - Credit: Google Maps

Plans to turn a former video rental shop in Newmarket into a new café have been unveiled. 

The site, at 128 High Street, was previously occupied by Blockbuster and has stood empty since the video company left in 2013. 

West Suffolk Council planning documents have revealed a proposal to turn the shop into a café, named Midpoint, which will be run by a qualified chef with over 20 years’ experience in the trade. 

The café will specialise in fresh, local produce, and will employ four full-time and six part-time staff. 

It is proposed the cafe will open seven days a week - 7am to 9pm Mondays through Thursdays, 7am to midday on Fridays and Saturdays, and 9am to 9pm on Sundays and bank holidays. 

The design and access statement for the application stated that although the conversion itself does not require planning permission, a number of the necessary physical alterations do.

The physical alterations requiring planning permission comprise of the installation of a new active shopfront, to entail various changes to the property frontage, including new signage and an external seating area, and the installation of an extraction/ventilation system, to be taken through the rear wall.

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Commenting on the planning application, James Lay, West Suffolk councillor for Newmarket West ward, said he would not oppose the application as the High Street needs occupied units. 

In the application, planning consultants Planning Direct added: "It is anticipated that the council will enthusiastically support the proposal which seeks to sensitively return a long vacant High Street unit to active, commercial use.

"The design of the new shopfront has been very carefully considered, paying close regard to the local context and local design guidance.

"Overall, the proposal would serve to materially enhance the character, appearance and heritage significance of the affected section of the High Street.

"It would directly improve the quality of views experienced from the significant listed buildings located across the street, The Jockey Club included, whilst equally grasping the available opportunity to enhance the public’s appreciation of these assets."

A decision from West Suffolk Council is expected in November. 

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