Plans underway to shore up ‘mouldering’ Winter Gardens, council insists
PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 February 2020 | UPDATED: 07:00 26 February 2020
Archant Norfolk © 2015
Plans to secure funding for repair works to Great Yarmouth’s iconic Winter Gardens are underway, councillors have insisted, despite schemes being kept under wraps.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council (GYBC) is seeking "significant" cash towards shoring up one the town's most recognisable seafront attractions - which was revealed last year to be at risk of collapse.
But plans for the future upkeep of the site have been kept out of public view, due to concerns it could affect the level of funding offers the council can attract.
And at a meeting of Great Yarmouth's area committee, on Tuesday, February 25, councillors were told immediate works to shore up the structure had begun.
The project update came as a member of the public blasted the "mouldering" building and said: "I'd rather see it dismantled."
Councillors heard a scaffolding tower was being put up, which would allow repairs to the inside, as agreed by the council last year.
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Preparatory work, including surveying, and the procurement process to appoint contractors, have also been carried out. Until funding is secured, the council plans to remove the glazing at risk of collapse, board the building up, and make it wind and watertight.
At the meeting, a member of the public told the committee: "If there's no business plan to sustain it, it could sit there for 20 to 30 years until someone burns it down or it falls down. We're stuck with it as it sits there year after year mouldering away. I'd rather see it dismantled and in a depot."
But committee chairman, Labour councillor Michael Jeal, replied: "We were quoted for dismantling it. It was over £2.5m and we had to find somewhere to put it. English Heritage weren't very happy about that."
And Cathy Cordiner-Achenbach (Lab) added: "There are business plans and things being developed.
"They can't always be discussed publicly because it affects the plan but nobody is just sitting on the council and saying 'well, we'll just see what happens to it'."
She added: "In early March we'll know about the Heritage Lottery funding They wouldn't be giving us money if there didn't think we were going somewhere."
Councillors were also told GYBC continued to "actively explore" all funding opportunities, and the council's national bid in 2019 to find a "suitable partner" to bring the Gardens back into use "did generate interest but nothing could be progressed further until the required funding is secured".