Great Yarmouth Winter Gardens: Repairs ordered to save listed 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

Urgent repairs have been ordered to save one of the country's most endangered building from dilapidation.

Damaged windows at the Winter Gardens in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, will be boarded up and scaffolding erected.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council is seeking an investor for the Grade II* listed seafront building.

Conservative council leader Carl Smith said: "We are determined to fix the Winter Gardens and get it back open as an iconic building on the seafront."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The cast iron and glass structure has been deteriorating rapidly since being closed in 2008

Originally erected in Torquay, the building was transported and reassembled in Norfolk in 1904, reportedly without a single pane of glass breaking.

In 2018 it was named among the Top 10 endangered buildings of the Victorian and Edwardian eras by the Victorian Society and is also on the Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register.

Mr Smith said he was unable to put a figure on the cost of the required repairs, though the council intends to apply for further restoration funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to bring the landmark back into public use.

"We've got to make it secure, replace the glass and look at the structure," he said.

Repairs to the Winter Gardens, which closed in 2008, were discussed in a confidential part of a meeting of the council's policy and resources committee on Tuesday.

Trevor Wainwright, Labour group leader, said: "Whatever repairs we carry out would have had to happen anyway so this money is being spent in advance of any funding that we may receive in the future to bring the building back into life."

Mr Wainwright said there had been expressions of interest from investors and the council was "in talks with various parties".

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

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