August 21 2014 Latest news:

A boarded-up restaurant on the side of the A11 will soon be transformed into a rocking 1950s style diner.

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The former Little Chef on the south-bound carriageway at Besthorpe, near Attleborough, has been bought by Philip Dingle, the owner of the adjacent BP fuelling station.

In anticipation of the long-awaited dualling of the last stretch of the A11, Mr Dingle intends to investment about £1m reinvigorating the redundant building, which closed about two years ago, while also modernising and doubling the size of the station’s shop to encompass a new Wild Bean Cafe.

A number of local contractors are set to benefit from the project and the move will create 20 to 25 new jobs, including a general manager position, chefs, waitresses and additional forecourt staff.

The shop and its fuel pumps will close today for the extensive refurbishment, with the aim of reopening towards the end of January.

The new 40-seater restaurant, which will be named Mr D’s Diner, is set to open its doors in February.

Mr Dingle, whose family has been in the motor trading and fuel forecourt business for almost 100 years, has been working on the fresh venture with chef Richard Hughes, who runs the acclaimed Lavender House, in Brundall.

With colourful decor, a classic jukebox, a separate function/conference room, he hopes to make it a destination for families.

The Harley Davidson enthusiast, who will put one of his bikes on display at the diner, also hopes like-minded riders will chose the diner as a meeting spot at weekends.

“There are many good American restaurants in Norfolk but we hope we can go the extra mile,” said Mr Dingle.

“With the right people around me I hope to make Mr D’s Diner into a destination rather than somewhere just to eat. It is a major investment for me but with the potential growth of Attleborough and Wymondham and the impending dualling of the A11, I see it being successful.”

Mr Dingle, of Rocklands, built the fuelling station 26 years ago. His grandfather George opened a garage, named Attleborough Motor Works, in the town’s High Street in 1919. The business passed to his father, also named George, before he and his brother John took over.

Ten years ago, the brothers amicably decided to separate the business. John continued with the motor trading side of the company and now owns three Toyota dealerships in Attleborough, Lowestoft and Norwich, and also has the Subaru and Lexus franchises in Norwich.

Mr Dingle took on two forecourts - one on the site of the old business which was later sold to Sainsbury’s in 2008 and the station at Besthorpe.

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