Demonstration to be held at 'neglected' Gorleston landmark

White Lion steps Gorleston landslide

The White Lion steps after initial work was done to make them safe following a landslip in 2012. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A demonstration is to be held at landmark steps in Gorleston following claims of a decade of "neglect" in the area.

Around 200 members of The Restore the White Lion Steps Gorleston Facebook group will be holding a "peaceful, yet determined show of solidarity" around the steps on Sunday from 12pm.

On April 11, 2012, bricks and soil cascaded down the White Lion Steps.

Over the next decade, the steps were partially re-opened and checked for safety.

FLASHBACK: The dramatic damage to the wall by the White Lion Steps.

FLASHBACK: The dramatic damage to the wall by the White Lion Steps. - Credit: Archant

However, the steps have remained unrestored.

Chris Smalley, from Restore the White Lion Steps Gorleston, said: "As a group we demand real action to restore these steps. For our enjoyment today and for the heritage of generations to come.

"For this reason we are holding this peaceful, yet determined show of solidarity and intent to get the steps restored to their former glory."

FLASHBACK: The scene of the collapsed wall by the White Lion Steps on Beach Road, Gorleston.

FLASHBACK: The scene of the collapsed wall by the White Lion Steps on Beach Road, Gorleston. - Credit: Archant

The history of the double-sided steps - and the nearby Admiral Duncan's water pump - dates back to the Napoleonic wars.

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Mr Smalley said the group feels the staircase has been "left to rot" and the base of the steps by the water pump remains "uneven, unkempt and neglected".

He added: "We have tried in vain to pressure Norfolk County Council to restore these once magnificent steps to their former glory."

The Facebook group has over 1,300 members since it started in August 2021.

Following the steps' collapse in 2012, a probe ruled a build-up of water behind the wall led to the sudden structural failure.

FLASHBACK: The front page of the Great Yarmouth Mercury from Friday, April 13 2012.

FLASHBACK: The front page of the Great Yarmouth Mercury from Friday, April 13 2012. - Credit: Archant

In 2015, it was reported there was no funding for the restoration and Norfolk County Council confirmed it would be backing away from recovering costs to pay for repairs, as the process itself was becoming too expensive.

In March 2021, Norfolk County Council deputy-leader Graham Plant said new funding pots had become available for the landmark's restoration.

In a new statement Graham Plant said: “We’re continuing to work on a permanent solution to the complex issue.

"And it’s very welcome that funding has been allocated in our 2022-23 highway capital programme.

“While a permanent solution is being determined, the team have been making sure the steps remain open and safe to use, by clearing overgrown vegetation and maintaining the temporary hoardings.

"I’m pleased to say that repairs to the flint wall will begin in the spring.”