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Great Yarmouth landmark on at risk register

PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 July 2010 | UPDATED: 21:51 01 August 2010

At risk - the Winter Gardens in Great Yarmouth

At risk - the Winter Gardens in Great Yarmouth

Victoria Leggett

An iconic seaside landmark is one of five listed buildings in Norfolk and two in north Suffolk to be added to an "at risk" register of the country's key heritage sights.

An iconic seaside landmark is one of five listed buildings in Norfolk and two in north Suffolk to be added to an “at risk” register of the country's key heritage sights.

The Winter Gardens has stood on Great Yarmouth's seafront since 1903 but has been unused since 2008 because of structural problems.

Yesterday the cast iron and glass building, used as a family entertainment venue, had its plight officially recognised by being added to English Heritage's At Risk register.

Updated each year, it highlights the important sites across the country which are in urgent need of restoration.

For the 2010 register, nine East Anglian listed buildings - like Mettingham Castle near Bungay and the remains of the parish church at Mannington, near Aylsham - were removed from the list but 10 more were added.

Scheduled monuments, conservation areas and registered parks and gardens are also included.

The Winter Gardens has long been on an “at risk” list for Norfolk County Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council, which owns the site, but could only be included on the English Heritage register after its listed-building status was upgraded to grade II*.

The cast iron elements of the structure are corroding and the bolts holding it together need to be replaced. Wooden frames holding glass panes are also in a poor state.

A £750,000 programme of repairs has been put together by the borough council to bring it back into use and conservation officer Darren Barker said inclusion on the At Risk register could help it attract funding.

“It means we potentially qualify for English Heritage grants. The listing raises its priority and makes people more aware of it.

“It's incredibly significant building. It's important as a structure in its own right as a surviving winter garden but also as part of the area's collection of seaside entertainment architecture.”

Greg Luton, regional director of English Hertiage, said £1m in grants had been offered to sites on the register last year and the organisation was determined to help more places get off the list.

Other listed buildings to be added to the list are St Michael Coslany church in Norwich city centre. The Grade I church is redundant and held by Norwich Historic Churches Trust.

English Heritage has given it an A priority rating which means it is at immediate risk of further deterioration.

All Saints church at Corpusty, near Aylsham, and All Saints at Cockthorpe, Binham, are also new to the list and given top priority.

The ruins of St Peter at Wiggenhall St Germans, Blythburgh Priory, near Southwold, and South Elmham gatehouse near Bungay, are also added.

The Aspire Centre at Great Yarmouth was on the 2009 list of conservation areas at risk but has now been removed after a major project restored the building to be used as a hostel for homeless people.

To view the full register, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk.

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