Council urged to take over ownership of derelict Cromer nightclub

Mike Bossingham old station Cromer

Mike Bossingham (inset) has called on North Norfolk District Council to use a compulsory purchase order to buy the former Bouncers nightclub on Holt Road in Cromer. - Credit: Mike Bossingham/Denise Bradley

A former mayor of Cromer has set up a petition calling on the district council to buy and refurbish the town's old railway station which has been vacant for seven years.

Mike Bossingham, who stepped down from the town council in February, said the building on Holt Road has "deteriorated to a shocking state".

The property closed down in 2015 when it was trading as a nightclub called Bouncers.

Mr Bossingham, 69, said: "It is not acceptable that this is the first thing that visitors see when they arrive in Cromer.

"I feel it's time something was done."

Bouncers bar, Cromer.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The building previously known as Bouncers nightclub and which once served as the Cromer's railway station closed down in 2015. - Credit: Archant

He has called on North Norfolk District Council to buy the building with a compulsory purchase order (CPO).

In January 2020, the council prposed taking over ownership of the Shannocks, a hotel in Sheringham that had been empty for a decade.

"I thought they could do the same for the old station site and refurbish it for community or commercial use," Mr Bossingham said.

So far, his petition has received 100 signatures.

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A spokesperson for NNDC said: "The Old Station in Cromer is owned by Morrisons and leased to Greene King, who are responsible for its upkeep.

"NNDC has been in joint discussions with Morrisons and Greene King to ensure measures are undertaken to improve the condition of the building and find new uses.

"All reasonable approaches will be undertaken to ensure the building is brought back into use as soon as possible," the spokesperson added.

Di Lindsay Cromer in Bloom

Di Lindsay, 63, who volunteers with Cromer in Bloom, painting a mural outside the former Bouncers nightclub on Holt Road. - Credit: Ashley Pickering

In recent weeks, volunteers with Cromer in Bloom have planted flowers on a grass verge and painted murals on concrete blocks at the edge of the site.

Greene King took over the long-term lease of this building in 2015 as part of its wider acquisition of the Spirit Pub Company.

The venue was previously known Buddies Bar, the Station House and Buffers.

The charity Sue Ryder wanted to turn it into a furniture-based charity shop in 2016, but this plan was later abandoned, and they moved into the former Cromer Shopping Centre building in Garden Street instead.

Since then there has been a lot of speculation about what would happen to the building.

Suggestions have included converting it into a soft play centre or a railway museum.

Tim Adams, leader of North Norfolk District Council.

Tim Adams, leader of North Norfolk District Council. - Credit: Supplied by the Liberal Democrat

'Not realistic'

Tim Adams, leader of North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), said he has been "corresponding with Morrisons and Greene King for a long time to make better use of the building" and that planning enforcement officers have asked for some short-term improvements to the site.

Mr Adams has twice applied to Historic England to have the building listed - but both applications were turned down.

"It's a rare example of a Victorian multi-storey station house, which has some very fine architectural features. But Historic England can be quite snobby about Victorian architecture," he said.

He said the council does not want to see the building removed. "It's a very important part of our town's heritage," he added.

Regarding the proposal to make a CPO, he said that was "not realistic" because there is commercial interest in the building.

"Hopefully we will start to see some progress on this building this year."