Norfolk

Great Yarmouth Winter Gardens: Search on to save building

Aerial view of the Winter Gardens, Great Yarmouth Image copyright PA
Image caption The Winter Gardens was erected in Great Yarmouth after being first used in Torquay

A fresh search has been launched to find an investor to help save a seaside town's iconic Victorian glass building.

The Grade II*-listed Winter Gardens in Great Yarmouth has been closed for 10 years, and was named as one of the UK's most endangered buildings last month.

One councillor said the building was "deteriorating daily".

The borough council said lottery money could be used for repairs, but only if a suitable business was found to run it.

"It is a unique building we want to save and get into use," said Conservative councillor Barry Coleman.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Victorian cast iron and glass structure is said to be "deteriorating daily"

The cast iron and glass structure is believed to be the last of its kind in the UK and appeared on the Victorian Society's 2018 "endangered buildings" list.

The Winter Gardens opened on the resort's Golden Mile in 1904 after being moved from Torquay, where it was built between 1878 and 1881.

Despite its lengthy closure, the council believes there could be some interesting uses for the building.

"Somebody out there may have an idea," said Mr Coleman, chairman of the council's economic committee.

"The Eden Project may have been a long shot at one time, but you never know what is out there."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The building has been variously used as a roller skating rink, nightclub and children's amusement centre

The council's Labour group leader Trevor Wainwright said it was vital a new operator was found as it was "deteriorating daily".

"None of us in a million years want to pull this building down... but ultimately we have got to find an end user," he said.

In the past, the Winter Gardens has housed a roller skating rink, German beer garden, nightclub and children's play area.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has recognised the Winter Gardens as an iconic building at risk and has indicated that funds would be available for repairs with a suitable operator on board.

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