uilders were scheduled to start work on The Edge project last month, but work has been pushed back to allow the Pleasure Beach to remain open for an extra season.
Albert Jones, explained that he could not afford to close earlier - and much of the ground-testing and paperwork can be completed while the Pleasure Beach is still open.
Getting this completed while the Pleasure Beach is still open will mean building work is as quick as possible. He told the Mercury: “The earliest you will see anything on site is this time next year. We had to make a decision whether we closed the Pleasure Beach in September this year or kept it open for another year, and we decided the latter. All these different studies can be done whether we’ve got rides there or not.”
Ground-testing is set to be carried out from next summer, with bore holes to be drilled, and the final line-up of restaurants at the complex is still being decided. Jones had been in discussion with The Restaurant Group - which operates Nando’s and Frankie and Benny’s - but explained he had been swamped with interest after plans were unveiled.
“We had so much interest we went out to the market again to make sure we didn’t miss anything,” he revealed. “While the project is delayed by six to eight months, this is about the long-term plan. I’m still very excited.” He added progress has been slow due to the nature of working with blue chip companies, but the Odeon is still confirmed as the anchor tenant for the development.
While ground-testing will be completed during the summer months, buildings will not begin to go up until October 2013.
Pleasure Beach boss Jones won Yarmouth’s large casino licence in April this year, bringing a five-year battle to an end. The other contender had been Patrick Duffy, who owns the Palace Casino in Church Plain.
Jones’ proposed vision, called The Edge, will see a large casino, hotel, restaurants, multi-screen cinema and 600-space car park built on South Beach Parade between the Pleasure Beach and the Outer Harbour. He estimates around 300 full- and part-time jobs, including a number of apprenticeships, will be created.
Building work will be completed in phases, with the casino, cinema and restaurants to be built first - from October 2013. The second phase will see a luxury four star 150-room hotel built on the site.
No rides will be removed from the Pleasure Beach under plans, but the monorail will have to be relocated.Original plans had incorporated a bowling alley. While these are not currently on the table as bowling has “taken a downturn in the current economic climate”, they have not been ruled out altogether.
It is hoped the new complex will encourage more people to spend their weekends in Great Yarmouth.