The former Beales department store in King’s Lynn could soon be demolished to make way for modern new shops.

Work is set to begin early next year if permission is granted and the regeneration project is expected to create around 45 new jobs for the town.

Beales closed its branch in the Vancouver Quarter last month after announcing in April its decision not to renew the lease on the building.

Now, working closely with West Norfolk Council, the shopping centre owners are seeking planning permission to replace the prominent unit, built in the 1960s, with four new shops.

The application, submitted to the borough council last week, includes a large two-storey unit, on the corner of New Conduit Street and St Dominics Square, and three smaller shops.

A Vancouver Quarter spokesman said it was already in negotiation with a major fashion retailer to fill the largest shop.

“The project represents a ground-breaking moment for King’s Lynn,” the spokesman added.

The new building is to feature a curved glass frontage wrapping around from Broad Street to Baxters Plain and is expected to transform the area.

Beales, which still has branches trading in Wisbech and Spalding, employed a total of 38 staff in its Lynn store.

The planning application says the redevelopment of the site could create 35 full-time and ten part-time jobs for the town.

Vancouver Quarter manager Abbie Panks said: “Investment in this area is a welcome move for both the Vancouver Quarter and King’s Lynn.

“Not only will this development bring a wider retail and leisure offer to the town, but will further benefit the local community with the creation of new jobs.

“We look forward to welcoming both new tenants and shoppers to the scheme.”

A report supporting the application says the existing red brick store does not meet the requirements of retailers or shoppers and needs to be replaced rather than re-used.

“Because  of  the  existing  configuration  of  the  units  and the  lack  of architectural  merit  of  the  existing  buildings,  the  intention  is  to demolish the existing buildings and provide notable retail units that fulfil  the  requirements  of  multiple  store  users  and  have  merit architecturally,” the report continues.

Flint detailing has been incorporated into the design of the proposed shops and the report says the surrounding streets will be brighter and more inviting without the large canopy on the existing building.

The shops also feature large, two-storey windows to create “a modern appearance,” the report says.

Simon Wantman, of Vancouver Quarter owners London & Associated Properties PLC, said: “This is an incredibly exciting new phase for Lynn town centre, providing an enhanced experience for shoppers which will further emphasise the Vancouver Quarter’s status in the retail and shopping hierarchy within the town.”