Winter Gardens: Seafront traders react to £10m lottery rescue

The Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Lana Parr of Mer

The Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Lana Parr of Merrivale Treats. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

There's no doubt the Winter Gardens is a blot on an otherwise cheerful landscape - spoiling the bright and breezy seafront with its worn out looks.

And for people trading in the shadow of the giant rusting hulk of metal and glass it's reinvention cannot come soon enough.

The Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Frances and Fran

The Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Frances and Frank Newsome owners of the Merrivale Model Village. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Towering head and shoulders over the Merrivale Model Village with its neatly trimmed gardens and blooming flower beds the empty building has been a source of frustration for owners Frank and Frances Newsome.

The couple who took over the gardens and its pint-sized population four years ago said they were delighted it was set for a new lease of life following the National Lottery's £10m award to guarantee its future.

Mr Newsome said it had the potential to enhance the whole seafront as long as it was properly thought out and the money spent wisely.

"The first thing people say is 'what's happening to that building next door?', he said.

"We haven't been able to say and last winter the whole back end collapsed.


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"What will be good is to have another attraction open in the winter because at the moment it is just us and the Sea Life Centre."

The Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. David Spaul, sea

The Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. David Spaul, seafront artist. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Caricature artist David Spaul dashes off a quick turnaround portrait on the seafront - but the Winter Gardens is likely to be a long haul with work not due to start until 2023 ahead of a 2026 re-opening to the public.

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In the 1980s he recalled climbing ladders to touch up the mountain peaks while roller skaters carried on whizzing around the rink below.

He hailed the funding announcement as "great news" adding: "The general feeling is 'what a waste'."

The Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Andrew Hives of

The Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Andrew Hives of the Cookie Company. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Meanwhile Andrew Hive at The Cookie Company also signalled his approval.

"It is part of Yarmouth and there is no way there will ever be a building like that again.

"People are always asking why it can't open and I tell them it will come back again.

"It is a fabulous space."

Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Steven Phillips of C

Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Steven Phillips of Coastal Gifts. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Steven Phillips at Coastal Gifts said when it was open the Winter Gardens helped to drive footfall at the south end of the seafront.

"It is good news," he said. "It has been wasting away.

"When it was open it bought a lot of trade. It is one of those buildings people are intrigued to go in, now it is the only eyesore on the seafront."

The Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Lana Parr of Mer

The Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Lana Parr of Merrivale Treats. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Lana Parr of Merrivale Treats said she had fond memories of the Winter Gardens as a night club and of taking her children there to the play area when it reinvented itself again. She said she was happy to hear it would be welcoming the public inside once more.

"It has been a shame to see it like that," she said. "It was lovely in its day."

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

One woman sunning herself outside her beach hut said it was especially pleasing for her because she moved up from Torquay, just like the Winter Gardens.

As a former member of the town's heritage society in Devon she was familiar with its history.

"I am absolutely delighted," she said. "I used to live in Torquay and I remember seeing pictures of it with all the men gathered there in top hats.

"People often ask what is happening with it and I always tell them that progress is being made because I want them to see Yarmouth in a good light."

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money

The dilapidated Winter Gardens at Great Yarmouth which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader, Carl Smith, by the Winter Gardens which has been awarded £10

Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader, Carl Smith, by the Winter Gardens which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

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