Mural gives preview of Cromer shop refit

Shoppers all over the county are getting used to the sight of boarded-up shops and closed shutters.But as businesses fall to the recession one seaside shop is being refitted and reopened over the next few months.

Shoppers all over the county are getting used to the sight of boarded-up shops and closed shutters.

But as businesses fall to the recession one seaside shop is being refitted and reopened over the next few months.

And tourists wondering what the shop will be selling are being treated to a renowned artist's impression of the final look.

Lizzie Riches, who exhibits at London's Portal Gallery and is internationally acclaimed for her portraits, finished painting the mural of a shop front on Monday.


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She approached the owners of the building, Billy and Arran Selhi who run La Griglia restaurant in Cromer, to ask if she could brighten up the fa�ade while essential repairs and shopfitting is carried out inside.

The design is a trompe l'oeil - a style designed to trick the eye and make passers-by believe, even if only for a moment, that the shop is real - which they hope will get a few smiles from locals and tourists alike until the refurbished food and wine store selling local, organic and seasonal produce opens to the public later this year.

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'Hopefully people won't even notice that it's a painting. People will just think it's another shop,' Mrs Riches said. 'Cromer is a tourist town and rather than having a dead shop front over the summer, we want the place to look nice for the tourists.'

Mrs Riches has also offered to lend her talents to brighten up the empty Woolworths shop in the town centre but a spokesman for owners Cathedral Park Properties said they already had plans for the store, though they would not say what those plans were or how long the building might be empty.

Catherine Plewman of the Poppyland Partnership, which forges links between public, community and business groups in the town, said they would support any work on Woolworths without question, and that they were thrilled with Mrs Riches's colourful design for Fishers.

'I think it's lovely, and it's really good that they have done this for the tourist season,' she said. 'Anything looks better than a blank shop, but this is really charming, and the shop is going to be great.'

She also said that the Partnership was looking at the potential of renting out closed shops to artists at a reduced rent, and would speak to Cromer Town Council to discuss the possibility.

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