Town wall tower heritage holiday let talks fall through

The South East Tower along Yarmouth's mediaeval town wall has been converted in holiday accomodation

The South East Tower along Yarmouth's mediaeval town wall has been converted in holiday accomodation. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A converted Medieval tower has yet to welcome its first paying guests after a deal with a heritage holiday specialist fell through.

South East Tower, part of Great Yarmouth’s old town wall, had hoped to be busy with bookings this summer following a £100,000 makeover.

But Great Yarmouth Borough Council, which owns the building, has not been able to market the unusual letting or find a partner to help it reach its target audience.

Talks had reached an advanced stage with The Landmark Trust, a specialist in historic buildings, and had the deal gone ahead the organisation would have added the tower to its portfolio of some 200 properties, furnished it, and included it in its brochure.

However, the conservation charity has reportedly passed on the opportunity, sending the project back to square one.

David Wiles, spokesman for Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said it was still very much the council’s ambition for it to be available to holidaymakers as soon as possible.

“At the moment we are exploring options,” he said. “When we had the Landmark Trust interested the idea was that they would take on the building and furnish it in a way that would appeal to their market. We were waiting on the outcome of discussions before we looked at other options. We have only recently had the response back from them.

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“The question is does the council do it directly and furnish it itself, or does it look at getting a partner on board to do the job?

“We are exploring who is out there. Whether it is the council renting it out to holiday makers directly or whether we find a tenant to do that rests on the outcome.

“It will be rented out to holiday makers as soon as possible, it is just a question of making sure it is done in the right way.”

Mr Wiles stressed that the council was very much committed to bringing the asset back into use and that it would be looking at more locally-based partners as well to make sure that happened.

Darren Barker, the council’s principal conservation officer, said: “The conversion of the South East Tower aims to bring some of the borough’s medieval heritage back into use, broaden the borough’s tourism offer, attract more heritage tourists and thus support the local economy, while raising extra funds to help maintain the town wall.

“Last year, the borough council received an expression of interest from the Landmark Trust to rent the building, furnish it appropriately and promote it to holiday-makers. “While the trust has indicated in recent weeks that it is not currently able to take on the project, the trust was very supportive of the council’s vision, praised the quality of the conversion, and has offered advice on managing and marketing.

“The borough council remains committed to making the tower available to holiday-makers as soon as possible and is currently exploring alternative options to make this happen.”

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