Construction Work Starts at The Place

13 September 2023
Time to read
2 min read
outside of building
Artist's Impression of The Place

Construction has started on ambitious £17m regeneration plans to turn the former Palmers department store in Great Yarmouth into a new public library and university and learning centre called The Place.

The Place will be home to Norfolk County Council's Great Yarmouth public library - currently located in Tolhouse Street - along with adult learning, registry office and other community services such as Citizens Advice.  

The new University Learning Centre at The Place will see the University of Suffolk and East Coast College offer degree and diploma courses, as well as access to higher education and adult learning courses. 

The Place is due to open in the autumn of next year and is one of Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s key regeneration projects. The 5,300 sqm, five-storey building first opened as a drapers in 1837 and is being transformed with a wider aim to increase the number of people in Great Yarmouth who hold qualifications above Level 4 so they can obtain high-quality and sustainable jobs. 

Professor Mohammad Dastbaz, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Suffolk, said: “With work starting on the construction of The Place, we are all moving one step closer to improving access to high education in Great Yarmouth and the surrounding area and meeting our vision of raising aspirations and opportunities within the region.” 

Stuart Rimmer, Chief Executive of East Coast College, said: "Bringing more adult learning and higher university study into the heart of the town makes it easier to access. We'll be able to bring a new offer to a greater number of residents. We are really proud to be a key partner in this once-in-a-generation opportunity to increase university study in the borough." 

The Place project is being funded via £8.1m from the Government's Town Deal, with a further £3.4m from the Future High Streets Fund. East Coast College and the University of Suffolk are contributing £3.5m and Norfolk County Council £2m. 

Councillor Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “It is extremely exciting for Great Yarmouth to finally see this much-loved building being given a new lease of life. 

‘’We are delighted to be once again working with Morgan Sindall and now the building works are underway it won’t be long until this fantastic venue will open its doors and begin providing first-class education and services for the people of the borough.” 

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for communities and partnerships, said: “The combined library and learning facilities at The Place will provide a fantastic opportunity for people living in and around the Great Yarmouth area, as well bringing together unique services for the community in one convenient place. We very much look forward to working with all our partners to establish this unique learning centre.” 


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