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Charter monument plan now stone dead

PUBLISHED: 10:17 19 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:46 30 June 2010

HOPES for a giant rock monument marking Great Yarmouth's 800th charter year have finally been shattered.

Confirmation that the idea was being scrapped at a Charter Committee follows the decision taken by borough council Cabinet members.

HOPES for a giant rock monument marking Great Yarmouth's 800th charter year have finally been shattered.

Confirmation that the idea was being scrapped at a Charter Committee follows the decision taken by borough council Cabinet members. The prestige project had been hit by a series of delays and complications and was already delayed by 18 months.

Set to have been placed next to the Fisherman's Hospital, the stone structure was to have been an echo of the town's long vanished Market Cross. However, a combination of objections by English Heritage, cost issues and lack of alternative sites has resulted in the scheme being shelved.

Committee chairman and Gorleston borough councillor Bert Collins said: “I can confirm we have decided not to go ahead. I am sorry, but we were not sure where to put the monument it moved two or three times and it would have cost a lot more money than anticipated.”

Originally planned to consist of three large boulders, the charter monument was scaled down after probes found the ground outside the Fisherman's Hospital to be unstable. English Heritage raised concerns about the appearance of the structure and an alternative location near the Market Place big screen was also ruled out.

The eight tonne rock from the outer harbour would have featured scenes from the town created by local stonemason Colin Smith and artist Ernie Childs of Great Yarmouth Potteries.

The bulk of funding for the project from sponsors PKF Palmers JH Bunn and Perenco has already been returned.

A call by borough council Labour group leader Michael Castle for the monument to be located on the seafront was rejected as it is outside the medieval town walls.

Mr Childs said: “It is very disappointing. We were hoping to get something outstanding for Great Yarmouth. A hell of a lot of time and effort was put into planning the monument, but it isn't going to happen.”

However, Mr Childs is completing work on the painting of the people, a 20ft by 6ft canvas featuring current Great Yarmouth residents in medieval scene with King John who granted the town's charter in 1208.

The painting will be displayed in St Nicholas Church and is expected to be unveiled in late May or early June.

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