Great Yarmouth jetty ‘not worth listing’

HOPES that English Heritage would save Great Yarmouth’s threatened jetty were dealt a blow this week when experts from the conservation watchdog said it was not worth listing.

Their report, received by the borough council on Thursday, concluded the 130m seaside structure which has served the town in a variety of guises since 1560, had been rebuilt too many times to meet criteria for designation – its links with Nelson not deemed significant enough to compensate for its lack of original fabric.

The report states: “Although there has been a jetty in this location since the mid 16th century it has been rebuilt approximately every 50 years. The jetty that exists today dates from 1964 and therefore none of its fabric is original or historic. The materials and construction methods are standard and the jetty does not display accomplished architectural design or innovative engineering techniques. Overall this is a very modest structure of limited importance.”

This week Margaret Gooch, secretary of Great Yarmouth Archaelogical Society, who is leading the fight to save the jetty, said she was undeterred in her battle to save it from the breaker’s ball and was fielding a range of ideas.

Although disappointed at the set-back she said there was still plenty of momentum to find a solution that would save the structure, built for landing fish but also enjoying a spell as a pleasure pier, a war-time gun emplacement and a popular spot for hobby fisherman.

Most significanlty it is recorded as the place where Nelson landed in 1800 on his return from the Battle of the Nile and also in 1801 following the Battle of Copenhagen.

Mrs Gooch said it might be possible to raise the �300,000 for a full restoration through individuals and institutions and suggested diverting the �40,000 it would cost to knock it down to carrying out safety improvements while its future is finally decided.

Most Read

She stressed that despite the snub at national level, the jetty was of great importance locally and had plenty of support from people in the town.

However, senior conservative Charles Reynolds said it was the site not the structure that was significant, and that it was “time to say goodbye”.

The borough had enough to contend with looking after the buildings that were listed, he said, adding that it was always the intention to mark the historical spot with some sort of display or interpretation.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s development control committee deferred making a decision on plans to demolish the jetty in December last year.

This week, senior planner Dean Minns said letters had been sent out on Monday to people who had made comments, notifying them of English Heritage’s decision.

Committee members would be asked to look again at the jetty by the end of the year, but it was too early to say what officers would be recommending.

The first jetty on the site was built in 1560 and rebuilt many times, including in 1767 after 100ft of it was swept away by a storm. Despite suggestions that there could be original fabric buried beneath the sand, English Heritage concluded there probably wasn’t adding that it wouldn’t change its mind if there was. It concluded: “Notwithstanding the association of the site with Lord Admiral Nelson the historic interest of the jetty’s site does not compensate for the extent of alteration to the structure.”