It seemed like a bright idea at the time... 

But now a bid to put up a giant Hollywood-style sign spelling the name of a seaside town has been shelved after neighbours labelled it a "waste of taxpayers' money".

Great Yarmouth Borough Council was seeking permission to install the sign at the Pier Gardens, next to the Ocean Room, on Gorleston seafront.

It would have been made from nine six-metre heavy duty galvanised steel columns supporting illuminated letters that spelled out 'GORLESTON'.

The sign spelling 'GORLESTON' in storage after plans to install it in Pier Gardens were withdrawn. The sign spelling 'GORLESTON' in storage after plans to install it in Pier Gardens were withdrawn. (Image: Courtesy of Great Yarmouth Borough Council)

They would have been lit up during the summer season from dusk until midnight.

Similar signs have already been erected at the Pleasure Beach gardens in Great Yarmouth and in Hemsby.

But the Gorleston sign, which the council had already purchased for £9,049, is now sitting in storage. 

A council spokesperson said the letters will be used instead for replacements for the signs in Great Yarmouth and Hemsby if they fail. 

READ MORE: Giant Hollywood-style letters heading to three seaside resorts

An illuminated sign spelling out Great Yarmouth at Pleasure Beach gardens on Marine Parade. An illuminated sign spelling out Great Yarmouth at Pleasure Beach gardens on Marine Parade. (Image: Great Yarmouth Borough Council)

According to a document submitted with the application, which was withdrawn on Tuesday, July 2, it was hoped the additional lighting would encourage more activities at the Pier Gardens after dusk during the summer.

The plans, however, faced objections from 25 neighbours.

Their main concern was the sign was a "waste of taxpayers' money" which would be better invested in more litter bins, wheelchair access to the beach or redeveloping the vacant Ocean Room building.

One person said: "A complete waste of money and will spoil the natural beauty of the area. Gorleston does not need this sort of tat."

Another commented: "We don't need a huge illuminated sign naming Gorleston on the promenade. It's an area of historical importance and not Las Vegas."

One resident said the attraction of Gorleston seafront was "the fact that it isn't plastered with tacky, illuminated signs". 

On the flip side, one comment supporting the application said the sign would have added to the atmosphere of the Pier Gardens in the evenings.

Another person also did not object - subject to one condition.

"I like the idea," they said, "but It's Gorleston On Sea. Not just Gorleston.

"Please use the correct geographical name for the town on the sign."

Tourism honeypot Hemsby with its name up in lights.Tourism honeypot Hemsby with its name up in lights. (Image: Great Yarmouth Borough Council)

'Times of the signs'

The sign in Gorleston was to be the third in a trio, after Great Yarmouth and Hemsby, of illuminated placenames along the seafront.

In March 2022, a ceremony at the Pleasure Beach gardens on Marine Parade culminated in Great Yarmouth's sign being illuminated for the first time.

At 27m long and 8m high, it is about half the size of the real thing in Los Angeles.

Hemsby then saw its name illuminated in April 2022. The 17m wide and 6m high sign sits in a central location on Beach Road.

In 2021, when plans for the signs were first announced, it was hoped they would create "selfie" opportunities.

The signs, which are lit with LED bulbs, are part of See Great Yarmouth In A Different Light project, supported by the government's Town Fund.

Pier Gardens

The gardens, which are owned by the borough council, form part of a larger conservation area including Gorleston cliffs and seafront, from the clipptop carpark to the lifeboat station on the riverside.

Pier Gardens was the site of the former Gorleston open-air swimming pool which opened to the public around 1939.

The site was then redeveloped in the 1990s with its design replicating the Beach Gardens and bandstand which existed before the swimming pool.

The gardens boast picnic tables, benches and table tennis tables. There is a bandstand for live performances.