From footballs to meatballs for former JJB site

Scarborough JJB store. Picture Richard Ponter 124007a
Scarborough JJB store. Picture Richard Ponter 124007a

The unoccupied JJB store in Scarborough could become a restaurant as a bid to find a new occupant intensifies.

Since the sports retailer went into administration in October 2012 the two-storey building in Waterhouse Lane has stood empty as its owners struggled to find a new tenant.

The building has an A1 use attached to it, meaning it can only be occupied by another retailer.

Now its owners, Friends Life Limited, has applied to Scarborough Borough Council to have that permission changed to an A3 listing, meaning it could be used as a restaurant.

Whilst a company has not been lined up the agent acting for Friends Life, GL Hearn, admits that it is hoped the change of use will lead to more interest being shown in the building.

In its submission to the council GL Hearn states: “The retail unit has been vacant for more than 12 months, since the previous tenants, JJB Sports, entered into administration in October 2012. The site has been actively marketed, however, no replacement tenant has been identified in the intervening period.

“Accordingly, this planning application seeks permission to change the use of the premises to an A3 use.

“This is to allow greater flexibility with the future letting of the premises. At this stage no end user has been identified, however the premises will have a better chance of being successfully re-let if there is a wider range of potential uses which could be accommodated.”

It adds: “[The change of use] would serve to contribute to enhancing the vitality of the centre by bringing a currently vacant unit back into formal use.

If the change of use is granted it would not stop a retailer being able to take over the building as it could be changed back by the council, without the need for another change of use application beingf submitted.

The unit is one of a number that sit empty following big name retailers going under.

The buildings that housed Comet and Jessops have also yet to be occupied, despite their prominent positions.