A COVERED market could be created in a former town centre nightclub.

Plans have been drawn up to transform the empty building in Kingsway, which was an arcade and bingo hall and was once the Basement nightclub, into a market with 22 stalls and a cafe.

If approved, there would also be an extension and a total of 10 flats.

A report sent to Tendring Council with the plans said: “As stated by Historic England, the conservation area of Dovercourt is deteriorating significantly.

“The proposed works will commercially help the town by providing a facility to support small start-up local businesses together with providing high-quality flats.

“The proposed works will have a positive impact on the character and appearance of the conservation area.

“The existing 1930s façade is to be retained with an additional storey added, but deliberately set back from the street so as not to be overly prominent.”

A roof terrace has also been designed to allow natural daylight into the market area.

Kirsti Ayling, who set up the community group Create to host local events in the town, has welcomed the development.

She said: “We were going to try and do an indoor market at Kingsway Hall and I had quite a lot of people that wanted a stall.

“I think it would be very well received.

“The big problem in the town is people get shops but can’t afford the rent.

“It’s like an Aladdin’s cave in Harwich with people creating things at home but they can’t showcase them because they can’t afford rents.”

Landlord Steve Davies said: the current lease on the building runs out next year. “To try and rent anywhere in the town, by the time you’ve paid out for rent and business rates, electricity, gas and water it’s very difficult to rent anywhere and make a profit and sustain a business,” he said.

“The idea is to have 22 individual stalls that people can rent for a short term to give themselves a start and if it does work they can stay. We would probably only have one of each type of business.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to says they think it’s a good idea. I think it would bring people to the town to shop - it works in Clacton.”