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Homeowners were offered help

PUBLISHED: 18:15 24 June 2010 | UPDATED: 18:06 30 June 2010

RESIDENTS in a Grade II listed Great Yarmouth seafront terrace were offered financial help to improve their properties, despite claims they had been neglected by the borough council.

RESIDENTS in a Grade II listed Great Yarmouth seafront terrace were offered financial help to improve their properties, despite claims they had been neglected by the borough council.

Owners of properties in Victorian-built Britannia Terrace said they had been overlooked by the borough council when it was sharing out the regeneration cash pot, believing they should be helped in a similar way to homes behind the seafront which qualify for grants under the borough council's Secondary Holiday Area Regeneration Project (SHARP).

However, Darren Barker, the borough council's conservation officer, said homeowners in Britannia Terrace had been offered grant money as part of the council's InteGREAT scheme, which provided money to refurbish buildings in conservation areas.

He said in 2003 he had written to property owners in the terrace offering to pay up to 60pc of the total bill for repairs and improvements to their homes through the scheme, with the residents paying the rest, but had a poor response so the offer was scrapped.

The grant money was part of InteGREAT's Townscape Heritage Initiative, which provided funding for repairs to 100 historic building projects in the town, including in Market Row and the Wellington Pier.

The aim of the Britannia Terrace offer was to renew the colour scheme and remove unauthorised stone cladding put up by the residents, as well as carry out other repairs, such as to the roof. Residents had three years in which to take up the offer as the work had to be completed within five years.

Mr Barker said: “I do realise that if there are £100,000 worth of repairs to be carried out, finding £40,000 was going to be difficult, especially in deprived parts of Yarmouth.

“However, the fact is that we have written to the residents and been down to see them and we did not have a very positive response at all.”

The terrace's listing, made in 1985, means owners have to be careful about alterations or face the wrath of heritage experts.

Earlier this month, fish and chip shop owner Chris Symeou, who lives in the terrace with wife Effie, called for residents to be given more of the regeneration cash to help them with renovation projects, such as repairs to the roof and sash windows.

He sympathised with other property owners in the terrace, who had installed uPVC windows without the consent of the council risking possible legal action.

On Friday, Mr Symeou said homeowners eligible for the SHARP scheme had been given favourable treatment because the council provided contractors to do the work for them.

However, he added under the InteGREAT scheme the homeowners had to arrange their own contractors, who refused to do the work because of the restrictions imposed by the listed building status.

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