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£3m boost for regeneration plan

PUBLISHED: 12:33 20 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:48 03 July 2010

PLANS to restore Great Yarmouth's historic King Street area have taken a significant step forward with the approval of £3m of funding from the government's Sea Change programme.

PLANS to restore Great Yarmouth's historic King Street area have taken a significant step forward with the approval of £3m of funding from the government's Sea Change programme.

Culture and tourism minister Barbara Follett announced yesterday that the resort would receive the cash out of a £12m pot intended to boost regeneration in coastal areas. The other successful bidders were Southport, Bridlington and Hastings.

Ms Follett said: “In these difficult economic times it is more important than ever before to make sure we continue to invest in the regeneration and renewal of our seaside resorts.”

The funding will help pay for the regeneration of an area described by borough council director Peter Hardy as “the most historically important and attractive streetscape in Yarmouth apart from South Quay”.

The central project in an £8m-plus scheme will be the transformation of the dilapidated grade one-listed St George's Chapel - mostly recently used as a theatre - into a flexible arts centre and community hub.

Plans also include restoring King Street's 18th century merchant houses and remodelling the street and square surrounding the chapel to develop a vibrant cultural quarter with galleries, artists' residences, street cafes and specialist shops.

The council's vision also extends to completing the green parkway from the seafront, through the recently revamped St George's Park, to South Quay.

Mr Hardy described the government announcement as a major step forward but cautioned that it was “too early to pop champagne corks” as they were still awaiting the decision of other potential funders, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, East of England Development Agency and English Heritage. He was nevertheless confident that a “significant scheme” would be able to go ahead.

The council had bid for £4m of Sea Change cash but learned on Friday that it would receive £3m. Mr Hardy said it was hoped that the project could be modified to retain all its elements, including the completion of the green parkway.

He said the decisions of all the funders would be known by April 1 and the next step would be to consult the local community.

“These are very appealing proposals for the neighbourhood but we want to get the details right,” he said.

The hope would be to start work at the end of the summer with the refurbishment of St George's Chapel being completed by April 2011.

The council's cabinet will tomorrow be invited to confirm the authority's £750,000 capital funding contribution to the project.


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