Trust tasked with management of Great Yarmouth’s Venetian Waterways after £2.7m relaunch

The Venetian Waterways in Great Yarmouth Picture: Nick Butcher

The Venetian Waterways in Great Yarmouth Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A vital piece of the jigsaw for the relaunch of Great Yarmouth’s Venetian Waterways has been put in place, as its £2.7m revamp nears completion.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council is currently in the process of restoring the attraction on the seafront back to its former glory, in a flagship project for the town.

As part of this process, the council put out a call for organisations to manage the facilities at the site once it is back in working order.

This will involve running the café, the boating lake and taking care of plants on the site.

Following a tendering process, social enterprise Access Community Trust was able to convince the borough council it would be up to the task.

Five companies registered an interest in providing the service, though four of these withdrew from the process.

However, officers were more than satisfied with ACT’s bid, which they said passed the tendering process “with flying colours”.

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The social enterprise, which began life as the Lowestoft Night Shelter in 1975, will now be paid £37,000 a year to manage the attraction.

Initially this will be on a two-year basis, with a 10-year contract proposed after this if the partnership proves a success.

Bernard Williamson, Labour councillor for the Claydon ward, said: “ACT had a number of really encouraging proposals including suggesting a Parkrun starting from the waterways. I just hope they can live up to the impression they gave us.”

Graham Plant, Conservative leader of the borough council, said it was important that while it would be a social enterprise managing the attraction, that it still be ran in a commercial way.

He said: “We do not want to be in the same position we were five years ago when we had a facility which was costing more to run than it makes.”

Managing the waterways will be ACT’s first venture in Great Yarmouth, with its only other current Norfolk project being a homeless facility in Thetford.

The Venetian Waterways restoration project is current on course to be completed in the spring and has largely been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.