A COVERED market will be built in Dovercourt despite objections over flats and an extension of the art-deco town centre building.

The plans are to transform the social club and bingo hall in Kingsway, which was once the controversial Basement nightclub, into a market with 22 stalls and a cafe.

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.

But the first and second floors of the building will be turned into nine flats, causing concern from nearby residents and town officials.

Tendring Council was sent 11 letters of objection to the plans, including one from Harwich Town Council and the Harwich Society.

The popular history society said: “Whilst the market and cafe use of the building is appropriate in the town centre, the extension and the additional development of flats does appear to be an overdevelopment of the site.”

Residents living nearby also raised concerns over the parking, traffic, noise and fears of being overlooked by the new flats.

One anonymous letter sent to the council, said: “Both myself and my partner feel the proposed development would in no way benefit our already struggling high street.

“Do we really need another cafe?

“The town already has a market on a Friday and most of the shops in the high street sit idle.”

Landlord Steve Davies has welcomed the council approval but said he is unsure of when work will begin. He said: “We don’t have a start date, there is a lease on the premise that runs out in September this year.

“We just got approval last week, which I’m really pleased about.

“It should help rejuvenate the town.”

The work will see the existing 1930s façade retained on the building 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.

Speaking when the plans were first announced, Kirsti Ayling from Create, welcomed the concept to help talented residents start their own businesses.

She said: “It would be invaluable to the town as small businesses will now have an opportunity to showcase their goods in the town centre and experiment with new ideas without the extortionate overheads.

“It gives local people more choice as well so hopefully they will shop in town more.”

“Anything that benefits the high street encouraging more trade is a bonus.”