What now for the Winter Gardens after £12m bid is turned down?
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016
A commercial operator and investor is needed to secure the future of Great Yarmouth’s iconic Winter Gardens after lottery funders turned down a £12m rescue bid - for now.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council had pinned all hopes of salvation on the award but said it was encouraged by feedback which indicated the project could still qualify if someone was found to run it.
The borough council is working to bring back into use the Grade II* listed landmark, which has dominated the famous Golden Mile since 1904 and is of national significance as the UK’s last surviving Victorian seaside cast iron and glass winter gardens.
The council submitted a bid to the HLF in December and has continued discussions with the body, which says it would first need to see a commercial investor-operator on board before any new bid could be made.
MORE: Opening date proposed for ‘temperate plant house’ in iconic Winter GardensThe council is now looking to identify and discuss the possibilities with organisations which might be interested in helping to bring the iconic seafront building back into use as a temperate plant house or other suitable use - with the prospect of lottery funding making the venture more appealing.
In a statement from the council Cllr Graham Plant and Cllr Trevor Wainwright, said: “This is really welcome news, and reflects confidence in the proactive and valuable work undertaken by this council towards achieving our ambition – and the wider community’s ambition – of bringing this national heritage gem back into use as a viable and unique year-round tourist attraction that supports our economy and cultural status.
“The Winter Gardens represents an exciting and rare opportunity to get involved in breathing new life into a rare-surviving historic icon of the British seaside, and we would love to hear from representatives of any organisations interested in visiting and investing in the building and discussing the possibilities.”
Mr Plant said competition from other schemes across the country could be a factor. He said that while the project didn’t get the money in this round the lottery said it would welcome another bid.
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He said the authority had a good track record looking after its heritage assets.
Organisations interested in visiting are asked to contact Stacy Cosham on 01493 846153 or email firstname.lastname@example.org