Great Yarmouth Council ‘more than a little hopeful’ over latest £9.5m lottery bid for Winter Gardens

The Winter Gardens in Great Yarmouth.Picture: James Bass

The Winter Gardens in Great Yarmouth.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

Listed and listing, Great Yarmouth’s once magnificent Winter Gardens are held up by an internal scaffolding frame awaiting some more permanent form of rescue.

The 80-metre long display, surrounding the Grade II-listed Winter Gardens, on South Beach Parade, fe

The 80-metre long display, surrounding the Grade II-listed Winter Gardens, on South Beach Parade, features beautifully-shot historic photographs, tourism posters from different eras and fascinating facts.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

And officials and councillors are hoping that a long-awaited restoration scheme could be just around the corner.

The finishing touches are being made to a £9.5m HLF lottery funding bid to restore the seafront attraction whose sorry state is a source of local frustration after more than 110 years in the town.

A previous bid was sent back because the business case had not been worked up sufficiently to secure grant aid.

MORE: Take a look back at Great Yarmouth Winter Gardens amid concerns over attraction’s futureBorough councillors will be asked to back a new vision at a meeting later this month, after which documents will be handed in aimed at winning the lion’s share of the £12m project.

The Winter Gardens in Great Yarmouth.Picture: James Bass

The Winter Gardens in Great Yarmouth.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

Working group chairman and council leader Graham Plant said commercial sensitivity prevented him from revealing too much about what was planned, the Yarmouth application having to punch its weight amid many other schemes also vying for the same cash.

In the past the vision has revolved around a project modelled on Cornwall’s Eden Project.

This time another £25,000 has been spent employing expert consultants with a 100pc proven track record for successful funding bids.

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The Grade II-listed building has been empty for seven years and finding money to save it has not been easy.

MORE: Great Yarmouth’s seafront to be transformed in the next five yearsAccording to council documents members had looked into knocking down the building but were told by English Heritage that it was not possible.

The charity did say it would allow the council to remove and store the glass but previous figures put the cost at around £2.5m.

At the last working group meeting Trevor Wainwright said the building lent itself to a mini Eden-type project and was told there were no similar types of project in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Mr Plant said: “We have been trying for many years to find grant money for the Winter Gardens. It has never been a cheap project, the council has spent thousands doing it up.

“This time we are more than a little hopeful and more confident than previously. We have answered all the questions that have been asked.”