Arson-hit shelter rebuilt after two years
- Credit: Neil Henderson
A well-used park shelter that was destroyed by fire more than two years ago has been rebuilt.
The shelter at the sunken gardens entrance to Nicholas Everitt Park in Oulton Broad, Lowestoft was gutted by a blaze in the early hours of April 13, 2019.
Police launched an arson investigation after the well-used shelter - which was one of two identical shelters in the park on the land of the Nicholas Everitt Park Trust, for which Oulton Broad Parish Council is the sole trustee - was destroyed beyond repair.
This week, the Nicholas Everitt Park Trust said it was "delighted" to see the shelter at the park finally rebuilt.
A spokesman said: "Whilst the rebuilding of the shelter unfortunately was delayed by pandemic, the newly completed construction is looking splendid at the entrance of the green flag award winning park."
Sandra Keller, chairman of the parish council, said: “How wonderful it is to see the shelter rebuilt and now restoring the sunken gardens to their former glory.
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"The new shelter has been finished to an exceptional standard. It is a perfect match to the one lost to the fire: it is absolutely identical to existing shelter on the opposite side of the gardens."
While Lowestoft College had originally planned to support the rebuild, the disruption to the students' schedules and Covid rules caused by the pandemic proved too difficult to allow this to happen.
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So local company Cleveland Joinery, of Lake View Road, Oulton Broad, stepped forward and has undertaken the complete construction of the shelter, with timber supplied by Smith Bros.
A spokesman said: "The shelters have been a much loved feature of the park for generations and it is hoped now they can once again be enjoyed to their fullest.
"They are often the chosen backdrop for wedding photos and family gatherings."
The park continues to be very busy with the summer season under way, which follows on from an equally busy period over the lockdowns, when many people enjoyed the space the park offered for their exercise and daily walks.
Estimates put the footfall of visitors to the park during the lockdowns at two to three times the usual number.