Fight hots up to save historic jetty
A Great Yarmouth heritage group is pleading for more time in its battle to save the town's historic jetty from demolition.The borough council has submitted plans to demolish the dilapidated seafront structure, Nelson's landing place after the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801, and the deadline for written objections is Monday.
A Great Yarmouth heritage group is pleading for more time in its battle to save the town's historic jetty from demolition.
The borough council has submitted plans to demolish the dilapidated seafront structure, Nelson's landing place after the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801, and the deadline for written objections is Monday.
Margaret Gooch, secretary of Great Yarmouth Archaeological Society, which has pledged to lead the fight to save it, said: “When the council offices re-open on Monday, I will be asking for an extension to the deadline as it is difficult to contact supporters over the Christmas period. I only learned of the demolition plan on Christmas Eve as I had been away myself.”
Ms Gooch, who has written to English Heritage, calling for the jetty to be listed on the grounds of its historical importance, said several national bodies, including the 1805 Society, Nelson Society and National Piers Society, were behind the campaign to save the structure.
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She said: “The National Piers Society believes it may be the oldest pier in the country, pre-dating one at Ryde on the Isle of Wight.”
Ms Gooch said she had already met officials from English Heritage who had told her to submit the application for listing.
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“It would be listed on the grounds of its history, not its architectural merit, because it has been rebuilt so many times,” she said.
The society, which voted 11-1 to fight for the jetty at an emergency meeting in October, is proposing that the council makes the jetty safe to create time for a charitable foundation to be set up to raise funds for a complete restoration.
Earlier this year the council's development control committee put on hold a �90,000 scheme to partially restore the structure and demolish the end of it in the hope townsfolk might launch a fundraising appeal to keep it intact.
However, the authority's head of regeneration, Tim Howard, said the jetty's condition was getting worse all the time and the cost of even a partial restoration had soared to an unrealistic level.
Despite it having been closed off on safety grounds, people were still putting themselves in danger climbing over barriers to fish on it, he added.
Charles Reynolds, chairman of the development control committee, described the jetty as a “bit of rotten wood and metal largely built in the 1960s”.
He said: “To go on continually maintaining this for no reason - when it scarcely reaches the water - is simply crazy.
“What we need to do is recognise the importance of the site and we feel we can do that with a plinth or something.”
However, he conceded it was important for all views to be considered and felt Ms Gooch's request for an extension to the deadline for objections was reasonable.