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Historic jetty demolition planned

PUBLISHED: 10:19 27 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:46 03 July 2010

A heritage group is to make an emergency application to English Heritage to have Great Yarmouth's historic jetty listed after plans were revealed for its demolition.

A heritage group is to make an emergency application to English Heritage to have Great Yarmouth's historic jetty listed after plans were revealed for its demolition.

Earlier this year, the borough 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 council's head of regeneration, Tim Howard, admitted: “Every time we look at the jetty its condition gets worse and we are struggling to find the money to deal with it.

“The end platform is derelict and the steelwork is rotting away. Part of the structure is buried beneath the sand but engineers are not confident about its condition.”

He said the cost of even partial restoration had soared to an unrealistic level so a new proposal to demolish the entire jetty - which gained fame as the place from which Nelson left for the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801 and landed victorious afterwards - would be taken to the next meeting of the council's development control committee.

He said: “We have got to look for a window of opportunity. We can't leave the structure in that condition for another season and we can't undertake the demolition during the summer.”

Despite it having been closed to the public on safety grounds, people were still putting themselves in danger climbing over barriers to fish on the jetty and clamber underneath, he added.

Andrew Fakes, chairman of Great Yarmouth Archaeological Society, said his group had already voted 11-1 in favour of trying to save the jetty and, in response to the council's latest move, was writing to English Heritage to call for it to be listed.

He said: “It has been described by one councillor as a pile of scrap but it is its historical associations as the town's first outer harbour and the place Horatio Nelson landed that make it important.”

While it was true that most of the structure had been rebuilt after the 1953 floods, it was equally true that few of the planks on HMS Victory were originals, he added.

Peter Jay, owner of several historic buildings in the town, including the Hippodrome Circus, vowed to join the campaign to save the jetty.

He said: “To demolish it would be totally ridiculous. The council is just messing with our heritage to try to save a few quid. The jetty is not much to look at but it is a magical place to walk along.”

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