Apartment plans for former Beales store revealed

beales beccles

The former Beales building in Beccles has been left vacant since 2020. - Credit: Reece Hanson

Apartments could be installed in a former Beccles' department store which has been empty for two years, it has been revealed.

The former Beales building was one of the largest department stores in the market town between 2017 and 2020, spanning two different floors and two large buildings.

But the building has been sat vacant since 2020 when Beales went in to administration, meaning that the Smallgate branch closed alongside other regional stores including Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth and Diss.

Most recently, Toolstation moved into a small section of the building after a period of three months of renovation work which was carried out by Panther Securities, the property managers.

In documents seen by this newspaper, property managers of the building, Panther Securities, reveal the potential for retail operators downstairs and a conversion to residential properties at the top of the floor.

beales beccles

Beccles Town Council recently branded the empty building a 'disgrace'. - Credit: Google

At a recent full Beccles Town Council meeting on March 15 councillor Jennie Robinson, planning committee chair, branded the empty building a 'disgrace', saying that something should be done about it.

But Panther Securities have since hit out at the town council's claims in a letter that says: "The assertion that (the building) is in any way deteriorating or vacant is simply incorrect.

"Throughout the ensuing period the property has been regularly inspected not only by our team but also by our agents and when any issues have arisen they have been acted upon.

"We continue to market the remainder of the property and have strong interest from several parties in various aspects of the remaining space.

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"This is likely to include more retail operators and potentially a conversion to residential of the upper parts of the property.


Toolstation moved in to a former part of the Beales store in October 2021. - Credit: Toolstation

"The interest we have is active and strong so we are confident we will be able to secure additional lettings for the remaining space.

"It is a shame that the town council and Councillor Robinson in particular did not feel it appropriate to make contact with us, prior to branding the situation a 'disgrace' without any knowledge of what was happening."

Beales had previously employed approximately 1,050 people before announcing its first closures in January 2020, having run for 139 years.