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Jetty demolition plans may get go-ahead

PUBLISHED: 17:58 13 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:43 03 July 2010

CONTROVERSIAL plans to demolish the end platform of Great Yarmouth's jetty look set to be approved by councillors next week.

In a report to Tuesday's development control committee, Yarmouth Borough Council describes the existing structure as dangerous and unsafe.

CONTROVERSIAL plans to demolish the end platform of Great Yarmouth's jetty look set to be approved by councillors next week.

In a report to Tuesday's development control committee, Yarmouth Borough Council describes the existing structure as dangerous and unsafe.

Following a structural survey, a complete refurbishment of the jetty would cost in the region of £350,000, and £90,000 for holding repairs - costs which the borough council says it cannot justify in the current economic climate.

The report states: “Despite its historical importance and given the current uncertain economic climate it is considered that the application for partial demolition of the jetty should be approved on public safety grounds.”

In a letter to the committee Peter Jones, from Great Yarmouth and District Archaeological Society, says: “I find it regrettable that part of the jetty has been allowed to deteriorate to such an extent from lack of investment over the years that demolition is the only answer.

“I hope therefore that every effort is made to find a way of saving the structure,” he adds.

Last month local historian Colin Tooke added his concerns over the plans, saying the jetty acted as the town's first outer harbour, and said the council should to everything in its power to save the jetty.

He said: “I along with a lot of other people think it should be preserved. The jetty acted like an outer harbour because it was where all the goods were unloaded from ships. It has been restored many times in the past so I can't see any reason why they can't restore it again.”

Heritage guide co-ordinator Dona Watson said she was “absolutely appalled” by the plans. She said: “The jetty is what Yarmouth is all about and after the medieval wall, it is if one of the town's oldest heritage sites.”

The 450-year-old jetty has been off-limits to the public since October last year after a health and safety inspection revealed the structure was unsafe.

It is a popular tourist attraction and in recent years has been a favourite spot for anglers. The jetty has also played a significant role in the town's history, playing a central role in the mackerel and herring fishing industry. It was also used for disembarking passengers from pleasure and paddle steamers.

And it also reputed that in 1801 Horatio Nelson landed at the jetty.

Mrs Watson added: “The money it would cost to repair the jetty amount to peanuts when you compare it other projects in the borough. We have done so well in recent years restoring heritage buildings, I would be devastated if we lost the jetty.”

Committee members have been recommended to approve the plans on the grounds of health and safety.

The meeting takes place at the Town Hall on Tuesday at 6pm.

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