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Restoration work to Venetian Waterways is progressing well

PUBLISHED: 20:18 11 October 2018

Richard Kelly (pictured) and Alex Kelly from A&R Thatchers who are have re-thatched the cafe island, model boat club hut, and two weather shelters on the site.  Picture: Neil Didsbury

Richard Kelly (pictured) and Alex Kelly from A&R Thatchers who are have re-thatched the cafe island, model boat club hut, and two weather shelters on the site. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Archant

In its heyday, it was an elegant meeting place for Great Yarmouth’s upper crust.

But in recent years, the town’s Venetian Waterways have become a tragic example of faded seaside glamour.

Now, a £2.75m project, led by Great Yarmouth Borough Council, is hoping to restore the lustre to the Grade II seafront attraction, including its historic boating lake which first opened in 1928.

The tiled weather shelter at the Venetian waterway gets a beautiful thatched roof. Picture: Neil DidsburyThe tiled weather shelter at the Venetian waterway gets a beautiful thatched roof. Picture: Neil Didsbury

The restoration work is well under way, including the reinstatement of the thatched roofs of the Georgian weather shelter.

Council leader, Graham Plant, described it as a “crucial phase” of work.

A serene scene in the North Drive boating lake in Yarmouth pre-war. Picture: MIDDLETON LTDA serene scene in the North Drive boating lake in Yarmouth pre-war. Picture: MIDDLETON LTD

He said: “Anyone passing the Waterways site will have noticed that the council is progressing really well with the restoration.

“The thatching is a crucial phase of this work as the structures are an important part of the special character of the Waterways.”

Great Yarmouth's historic Venetian Waterway is undergoing a £2.7m transformation. Picture: Neil DidsburyGreat Yarmouth's historic Venetian Waterway is undergoing a £2.7m transformation. Picture: Neil Didsbury

The Cafe Island, model boat club hut and one weather shelter have already been re-thatched.

Thatcher, Alex Kelly, who has been working on the site believes the work will help to “maintain the tradition” of the Waterways once it reopens.

He said: “Work has gone really well because the weather has been great. It is a lovely site and I hope once work is completed it will return to being as busy as it once was.

“One of the great things about thatching is that it is sustainable and doesn’t contribute towards pollution. We’re using Norfolk water reeds to carry out the work.”

In total it takes one month for the thatchers to complete their intricate work on the weather shelters.

Robin Harrons, 57, has been volunteering at the site having been unemployed for over a year.

He said: “I use to love this place because it is so different to the hustle and bustle of places like the arcade.

“It will be a great place for families to come and relax.”

The project is being funded by a £1.7m National Lottery grant awarded through the Heritage Lottery fund and Big Lottery 
fund.

The overall £2.75m costs do not include additional repair work for the Boating Lake basin which could cost an additional £25,000.

Work is expected to be completed by May 2019.

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