Council accepts £10m boost to save Winter Gardens

Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader, Carl Smith, by the Winter Gardens which has been awarded £10

Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader, Carl Smith, by the Winter Gardens which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

A funding boost of £10m to save an iconic seaside building has been accepted by the borough council.

More than a decade after Great Yarmouth's Winter Gardens closed amid safety fears, its revival was finally secured earlier this month thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Horizon awards.

At a meeting of Great Yarmouth Borough Council on Thursday evening, July 22, councillors accepted the funding grant, which will allow the Grade II* building to be restored and celebrated.

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

An artist's impression of the refurbishment inside the iconic building, dubbed an eyesore by many over the last decade, show people of all ages relaxing in a sunlit space surrounded by palm trees, greenery, and tumbling blue blooms.

Speaking at the meeting, council leader Carl Smith said: "Last week we got the absolutely fantastic news that our bid for the grant for the Winter Gardens had been accepted by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, for the full £9.7m.

"I'm sure I speak for every member of this council when I congratulate the officers who put the work in the work on this, to get this bid and get this building restored to its former glory."

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

After announcing the grant, Ros Kerslake, chief executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, hailed it as an exciting day for the UK's heritage.

She said: “I am delighted that we are announcing almost £10m of support to Great Yarmouth’s irreplaceable Winter Gardens, just one of five Heritage Horizon Awards to back big ideas and unlock enormous possibilities, following a year in which we have been focused on supporting heritage through the Covid emergency."

Originally built in Torquay in 1878, the failed business venture was dismantled, shipped around the coast, and reassembled on the Golden Mile in 1904, having been bought for just £1.

Over the years it has been a ballroom, roller-skating rink, and an amusement arcade, but closed in 2008, before a council report in 2019 revealed it was in danger of collapse.

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In 2020 hopes received a boost when it was named on a shortlist of 12 projects being considered for a share of the fund, before the welcome announcement was made earlier this month.

Borough council papers say the total cost will be around £16m with the authority contributing £4m from its Town Deal funding.

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