Jetty gets nine-month reprieve
GREAT Yarmouth's deteriorating jetty has been handed a nine-month stay of execution with councillors deferring a decision to demolish it. The balance of whether to preserve the structure on historical grounds or to demolish part of the jetty over public safety fears weighed in favour of the heritage cause.
GREAT Yarmouth's deteriorating jetty has been handed a nine-month stay of execution with councillors deferring a decision to demolish it.
The balance of whether to preserve the structure on historical grounds or to demolish part of the jetty over public safety fears weighed in favour of the heritage cause. Now a rallying cry has gone out for history and heritage champions to set up a charitable trust to raise funds to get the jetty fully restored - a project tipped to cost in the region of �350,000.
Proposals to demolish 24 metres of the jetty and restore the remaining structure - costing �90,000 - were considered by the borough council's development control committee on Tuesday.
A structural survey uncovered health and safety concerns with cracking and corrosion of supporting steelwork and rotting timber leading to the deterioration of the jetty. It has been off-limits to the public since October last year.
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Tim Howard, the borough's head of regeneration, said the council had explored the possibility of securing a grant to refurbish the structure. However, because the jetty is not listed he said it would not qualify for any grant.
Mr Howard said: “Although the heritage argument is a compelling one, given the public safety concerns it has been decided to remove the platform but I stress we will try to retain as much of the jetty as possible.”
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When questioned by committee chairman Conservative Charles Reynolds, about whether a trust could be established with a view to preserving the structure, Mr Howard said “anything is possible”.
He said: “It will of course be possible to raise funds through public subscription and I think this would be a wonderful thing. The other option would be to use the present budget to refurbish as much of the structure as we could and hope we can generate money in the coming years to restore it.
“However there are two problems: first being the continued deterioration of the structure, frankly it could fall into the sea before we do anything with it. Secondly, we have to reduce the public access.”
Speaking in favour of the planning officers' recommendation for approval of the plans, Labour leader Mick Castle said: “Regrettably what is being proposed I think is what we will have to do.”
But fellow Labour councillor Michael Jeal said: “I will be very sad to see it go and I wish we could do something to preserve it. If we really want to save it then get it listed.”
Referring to local historians and heritage guides who have spoken out in the Mercury against demolition plans, Tory George Jermany said he was surprised that “none of the noisy people” were at the meeting.
He said: “Is there any way we could give the ones who are shouting a chance; all those ones saying this is terrible and the council is horrible. Let them set up a jetty fund trust. I suggest a stay of execution and if it doesn't work we revert back to this application.”
Labour's Dick Barker raised concerns of the jetty becoming “just another derelict pier” adding “you only have to travel to Lowestoft to see what a derelict pier looks like.”
Councillors voted seven to three to defer plans to demolish the jetty for nine months, in the hope a trust can be set up to secure funds to refurbish the structure.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Should, and can, a trust be set up to save the jetty? Write to editor Anne Edwards at The Mercury, 169 King Street, Great Yarmouth, NR30 2PA, or email email@example.com.