Giant Hollywood-style letters heading to three seaside resorts
- Credit: PA
It has been dubbed "the Las Vegas of the East" but now Great Yarmouth is set to have something in common with Tinseltown.
Under plans already well-advanced giant letters will be put up along the Golden Mile in the style of the iconic Hollywood sign.
But instead of being embedded on a hillside they will be suspended on 9m poles in Pleasure Beach gardens, providing a new fun attraction for "selfie" fans.
Signs to spell out the names of Gorleston and Hemsby are also in the pipeline with Great Yarmouth Borough Council asking itself for planning permission to install the supports.
In Gorleston the letters will be at the bandstand, and in Hemsby they will tower over the Oasis amusements.
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In all cases they will be lit up by LED bulbs and be around 2.4m tall and 1.5m across. The total cost is £25,349.
Borough and county councillor James Bensly, who runs the Beach Cafe in Hemsby, said the letters had been purchased and were "ready to go" for the summer season.
He said they would help to "reignite the passion" for the trio of seaside resorts - with Yarmouth, in particular, basking in the national spotlight with a flurry of positive coverage including from comic Susan Calman for Channel 5.
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Originally, he said, there had been talk of putting the Hemsby sign on the dunes - imitating the iconic Hollywood hills advertisement.
But concerns around erosion and environmental damage meant a new location had to be found.
Mr Bensly said the resorts were proud to put their names up in lights and that it was hoped the signs would create a "selfie" opportunity with images being shared using a suggested hashtag.
"It is about time we felt proud of where we live," he said. "Our beaches are second to none. It is a special county."
Council leader Carl Smith said the letters would go up as soon as planning permission was granted.
He said the signs were part of a package of decorative lighting including Regent Road and King Street, paid for by the Government's Towns Fund, as part of a winter festival to "See Great Yarmouth in a Different Light."
As well as being eye-catching the signs would help cast a glow over "dark spots", he added.
Caroline Graham of the Darling Darlings Cat Cafe on Yarmouth's seafront hailed the Hollywood idea as a great way to get people snapping and uploading photos to social media.
"Its a good way to show Great Yarmouth off and probably did not cost too much," she said, adding: "I think it is a lovely idea."
Pictures submitted alongside a planning application show metal framed letters filled in with a mesh of lights.
The Hollywood sign
The iconic letters have come to represent all the glamour and glitz associated with the movie industry.
But they were first put up as an outdoor ad campaign for a suburban housing development called “Hollywoodland.”
According to the official website for the sign hollywoodsign.org it's basic aspirational message remains the same: This is a place where magic is possible, where dreams can come true.
It says: "Back then, the dream was a beautiful home and lifestyle. Today, the sign’s promise is more subtle – and can only be described as the parade of images, desires and ideas conjured by the word 'Hollywood.'
Contribution to film industry
Hollywood is the biggest and most influential movie industry in the world, as well as the oldest, releasing more than 700 English language films a year.
Great Yarmouth however has enjoyed its moment in the cinema spotlight.
Most recently Gorleston was the location for the Danny Boyle/Richard Curtis rom com Yesterday (2019), Stephen Merchant's Fighting with my Family (2019) Malice in Wonderland (2009) and I've Gotta Horse (1965).
Golden Walk of Fame
Hollywood may have its 1.3mile Walk of Fame studded with nearly 2,700 stars attracting 10m visitors a year, but Great Yarmouth has its Golden Mile.
The colourful strip, which has been dubbed the "Las Vegas of the East" is a big draw for families looking to sample the arcades, attractions and seaside treats.
A bite to eat?
While you can don oversized sunglasses and pay through the nose to eat at any number of restaurants on Sunset Boulevard, in Hemsby you can visit the actual Hollywood Diner in Beach Road.
The eatery gets four stars for its food on Trip Advisor and is known for its retro American-themed decor and large portions.
To view the plans visit the borough council's planning portal on its website and search using 06/21/0523/F (Gorleston), 06/21/0524/F (Hemsby), and 06/21/0526/F (Great Yarmouth).