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Landmark building is gaping ruin as developers move in

PUBLISHED: 11:46 17 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:08 17 April 2019

The former Ferryside register office is being taken down Picture: Liz Coates

The former Ferryside register office is being taken down Picture: Liz Coates

Archant

A landmark Gorleston building is a gaping ruin as demolition teams move in to tear it down.

The former Ferryside register office is a gaping ruin Picture: Liz CoatesThe former Ferryside register office is a gaping ruin Picture: Liz Coates

With the roof lifted off and its interior exposed the site that has paid witness to so many lives and deaths in its role as borough register office is facing its own end.

For campaigners who fought to save the historic but unlisted building it was a sad day with Margaret Ward tagging it “quite appalling” to see an “interesting” building lost to development.

But what happens in the aftermath remains uncertain after a controversial scheme to put six houses and 28 flats on the site was turned down by Great Yarmouth Borough Council's development control committee last month.

Ferryside was originally built as a family home in 1880 but later became the borough's register office where thousands of couples married.

The former Ferryside register office is a gaping ruin Picture: Liz CoatesThe former Ferryside register office is a gaping ruin Picture: Liz Coates

When the service moved to Great Yarmouth library in 2011 the building was sold by the county council's property wing.

In August 2013 planning permission was granted for a change of use to residential.

This week the clank of machinery and diggers reverberated around the site as giant claws reached to the upper floors to take away debris.

A small fire burned at the back of the site.

The former Ferryside register office is a gaping ruin Picture: Liz CoatesThe former Ferryside register office is a gaping ruin Picture: Liz Coates

No specific permission was required to demolish the building although developers did need “prior approval” which details how they intend to go about the process of taking it down.

One letter writer whose comments are among planning documents said: “This is not all about the building. Ferryside has been a distinctive place since the mid 18th century - it's special like Koolunga.

“The loss of one fine house in a bucolic setting would be very sad. Replacing it with perimeter development appropriate for a town centre would be unforgivable.”

Rejecting the scheme Ronald Hanton, chairman of the development control committee, said the councillors had concerns about the loss of trees and the lack of open space or a children's play area.

He said an objection from Peel Ports that would-be residents might complain about noise at the port had also “found favour with councillors”.

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