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Bring back halcyon days

PUBLISHED: 10:05 10 June 2008 | UPDATED: 11:12 03 July 2010

A RALLYING cry has been issued to breathe fresh life into the North Beach recreational area, which in its heyday would be packed with visitors.

The Venetian-style Waterways opened 1928 but the attraction no longer draws the same number of trippers as in the halcyon days of the Waterways in the 1950s.

A RALLYING cry has been issued to breathe fresh life into the North Beach recreational area, which in its heyday would be packed with visitors.

The Venetian-style Waterways opened 1928 but the attraction no longer draws the same number of trippers as in the halcyon days of the Waterways in the 1950s.

Demands have also been made to revamp the neighbouring seafront and promenade, which no longer

Yesterday's empty scenes were in stark contrast to other parts of Yarmouth's coastline, which were packed full of trippers enjoying the sunshine, arcade games and the sandy beach.

Mick Castle, Yarmouth borough councillor for the area, has asked if something can be done urgently to attract more visitors to the Waterways, which is still carefully managed by the council.

Mr Castle has suggested that 100 beach huts could be built by the site to generate income for the council to revamp the area and bring more people to the North Beach.

He has also asked the borough council if the Waterways could be enhanced or new uses found for it to help reinvigorate it for the 21st century.

Mr Castle said: “It is terribly sad to see the Waterways so empty. What has happened to all the boats? Although it is still very attractive, something must be done to stop it deteriorating further as a tourist destination. I just want to see a return of its heyday.”

Mr Castle was keen to point out he would not want to turn the Waterways into a new, noisier Golden Mile-like area.

Businessman Peter Jay, owner of Yarmouth's Hippodrome, has already suggested that the Waterways is turned into a sculpture park.

The Waterways were built by 84 men over 20 weeks as part of scheme to cut unemployment. It was originally called Artificial Rivers and Gardens and initially featured five electric boats on the 1,200-yard stretch of water.

In 1956 the old-style boats were replaced by gondola-style craft as the site reinvented itself.

Paul Garrod, owner of the Furzedown Hotel opposite the Waterways, said: “I would not say the area has been neglected at all and this has always been the quieter end of town.

“But it would be nice to see the boats back.”

Mr Castle's Waterways regeneration plan will now be discussed by an informal meeting of the council's regeneration and environment advisory group later in the year.

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