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New lease of life for neglected gem

PUBLISHED: 14:46 28 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:47 03 July 2010

AFTER years of neglect, restoration work is soon to begin on one of Great Yarmouth's finest buildings.

The former art college has been empty and forlorn for more than a decade, but is now set to enjoy a new lease of life providing social housing.

AFTER years of neglect, restoration work is soon to begin on one of Great Yarmouth's finest buildings.

The former art college has been empty and forlorn for more than a decade, but is now set to enjoy a new lease of life providing social housing. Grade 2 listed, it stands prominently on Trafalgar Road and is one of several fine Edwardian era buildings in the town.

The art college will house 11 one bedroom and seven two bedroom rented flats and is being restored by Wellington Construction on behalf of Flagship Housing.

Designed by the then borough architect John William Cockrill in 1912, it is an impressive example of the Edwardian baroque style.

The return of the building to its former glory will complement the multi-million pound refurbishment of St George's Park and the planned restoration of St George's Chapel.

Borough council conservation officer Darren Barker said: “The art college is a landmark building that makes a very important contribution to the conservation area.

“It is a very impressive piece of design and a local landmark building linking the town centre and seafront that needed to be repaired. The construction involved very early use of concrete within a steel frame and the notable features include fine brick cladding and terracotta details, columns and an arch entrance.

“The flats are providing a loose fit within the historic fabric with the design avoiding dividing the studios and using mezzanine floors.”

The art college had been put on the buildings at risk register before being purchased by Flagship Housing last year.

Planning permission was granted in July and funding made available from the Homes and Community Agency for the £2m re-development of the property.

The work is expected to be completed by spring 2011.

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