Winter Gardens project successfully shortlisted to apply to The National Lottery Heritage Fund
The project to save Great Yarmouth's unique Winter Gardens has been successfully shortlisted to apply to The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with the borough council now working closely with a preferred operator to develop the funding application.
The Grade II*-listed at-risk landmark, which has dominated the famous Golden Mile since 1904, is a heritage gem of national significance as the UK's last surviving Victorian seaside cast iron and glass winter gardens.
Following significant and ongoing project redevelopment, Great Yarmouth Borough Council submitted a successful Expression of Interest to the National Lottery Heritage Fund's Heritage Horizons Awards scheme and is through the initial stage of the process.
This is a hugely competitive national funding pot, with the Winter Gardens among one of only 12 projects successfully shortlisted, out of 146 proposals received, to compete for a share of £50m. The council is seeking £9.9m towards the cost of repair and restoration.
As the next stage of the process, the 12 projects have until November 2020 to apply for development funding. Decisions will be made in early 2021, with around half the shortlisted projects expected to be awarded funding to develop their proposals further.
The council is working closely with a preferred operator to develop the application, including business case development, heritage activity planning, further architectural work and continuing to explore further opportunities for project funding.
The overall ambition is to repair and revive the Winter Gardens as a year-round visitor attraction that makes the most of the unique building, its seafront location and its horticultural heritage.
Cllr Carl Smith and Cllr Trevor Wainwright, leaders of the council's main political groups, said: "This hugely exciting news reflects the national importance of the Winter Gardens as well as significant and ongoing work to realise the dream of bringing the unique Winter Gardens back into viable and suitable use as a year-round attraction.
"As part of the council's seafront regeneration programme, the council has been working hard behind the scenes to drive forward our ambitions for the Winter Gardens, alongside restoring the Venetian Waterways and investing in the Marina Centre redevelopment for the benefit of the visitor economy and communities across the whole borough.
"The Winter Gardens is a nationally-important at-risk heritage gem, requiring significant national funding. We are so pleased that the National Lottery Heritage Fund is excited with our project and that we are working with a preferred operator. The ambition is to save, restore and reimagine the Winter Gardens at the heart of Great Yarmouth's regeneration and daily life.
"The council has done incredibly well to get the project into the last 12 nationally and we thank everyone involved. The Heritage Horizons Awards scheme is a hugely competitive national funding pot. We have a strong case, but there is still much work to do with our preferred operator, and further stages to get through, so nothing is definite at this stage and we ask for the community's patience, support and positive-thinking. We want to see people keeping their fingers crossed right across the borough."