A disused doctor’s surgery in Dickleburgh that has sat empty for almost two years could have a future as a fish and chip restaurant, if a proposal to convert it obtains planning permission from South Norfolk Council.
Norfolk businessman Ismail Budak, who runs a fish and chip shop in Litcham with his family, submitted a change-of-use planning application to covert the Rectory Road surgery, which served the village for 50 years prior to its closure in spring 2013.
Dickleburgh and Rushall Parish Council said it had tried to find another suitable use for the building, following an unsuccessful campaign by local residents calling for it to re-open as a doctor’s practice, and stated they felt the proposal would bring “considerable benefits” to the community, including employment opportunities.
Breckland councillor Trevor Carter, whose ward oversees the area where Mr Budak runs his current business, said in a letter of support: “Ismail showed himself to be a positive and focused business man.
“As a result, they gained respect amongst residents of villages who are prepared to travel some distance to buy their fish and chips.
“The family is seen as an asset to the village (Litcham) and has integrated well into village life, therefore, I have no hesitation in recommending Ismail to the parish council.”
Patrick Marney, of Dickleburgh, involved in the campaign to save the surgery, said he was “disappointed”, but stated the odds of saving the practice had been stacked against campaigners from the beginning.
“The longer the campaign went on, the more I realised everything was already signed and sealed,” he said.
“Having said that, we can’t turn back the clock.
“It (the shop plan) would at least make the building a functional property, so it’s better than nothing, but it would be nice if it was something medical.
“I will give the parish council their due. They were left with a building they had to look after.”