Morgan Sindall Construction has started work for Great Yarmouth Borough Council to deliver a £17m regeneration plan to turn the former Palmers department store in Great Yarmouth into a new public library and university and learning centre called The Place.
Procured through SCAPE, one of the UK’s leading procurement specialists, the project on Great Yarmouth’s Market Place will house the town’s public library, replacing its current location in Tolhouse Street, along with adult learning provision, a registry office and other community services such as Citizen’s Advice.
As part of Morgan Sindall’s work, the tier one contractor’s Eastern Counties business will deliver a brand-new multipurpose learning hub, general teaching classrooms, state-of-the-art IT labs, art and photography studios, technology and medical classrooms, as well as simulation hospital and function space.
This will be the base for the University Learning Centre, from where East Coast College and the University of Suffolk will offer degree and diploma courses, as well as access to higher education and adult learning courses.
The project is being funded via £8.1 million from the Government’s Town Deal, with a further £3.4 million from the Future High Streets Fund and accelerated by SCAPE Construction, a direct award framework designed to drive collaboration, efficiency, time and cost savings on construction projects. The connected East Coast College and the University of Suffolk are also contributing £3.5 million to fund the project, with Norfolk County Council contributing £2 million.
Morgan Sindall’s work at The Place will be split across two phases, with the initial phase overseeing the completion of repair works to the roof. This will then be followed by full refurbishment works, which are scheduled to commence at the end of 2023.
In addition to this, Morgan Sindall will deliver improved public realm and landscaping to Great Yarmouth’s Market Place to complement the historic setting and make the market brighter and more inviting for residents and visitors. Supported through the Future High Street Fund, the redevelopment will boost the wider town centre economy and forms part of Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s town centre regeneration project, which aims to revive the high streets as a vibrant economic, cultural and community hub.
Morgan Sindall’s Eastern Counties business is committed to achieving a minimum social value return of 30% on this project. Throughout the construction of both projects, the team will utilise the local supply chain to ensure a positive impact is made on Great Yarmouth’s community.
This is not the first time the Morgan Sindall team has worked with Great Yarmouth Borough Council, having delivered the £26m Marina Centre (pictured left) in 2022. This new leisure centre has already had a significant impact on the health of residents and the local economy, attracting over 170,000 people to its facilities and boosting footfall along the coastline by 20% in its first year alone.
Alister Broadberry, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction in the Eastern Counties, said:
It is a real pleasure to be working with the ambitious team at Great Yarmouth Borough Council again. We are excited to commence delivery of another transformational scheme regenerating a key asset in the heart of the town for the Great Yarmouth and wider community following the success of the Marina Centre in 2022.
The Morgan Sindall team understands the importance of developments like The Place for people living and working in the area, particularly the educational value it will provide for students at East Coast College and University of Suffolk. We can’t wait to open the doors of this new educational hub so that it can begin inspiring generations of learners in the heart of Great Yarmouth.”
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.”
Mark Robinson, Group Chief Executive for SCAPE, said:
Adapting community facilities to support the changing needs of a growing population is vital to keep public spaces vibrant and economically stable. The multifunctional spaces as part of The Place project will encourage greater innovation and creativity, attracting new skills and talent to Great Yarmouth, whilst also supporting the council’s wider regeneration programme. Morgan Sindall has a wealth of expertise in delivering transformational schemes, and using the SCAPE framework will ensure high quality outcomes, value for money and enhanced social value, particularly engaging with SMEs and local businesses, are placed at the heart of this important project.”