Heritage housing project wins national recognition
Work to rescue a historic Great Yarmouth building has been praised by a national housing awards scheme.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust teamed up to save 160 King Street, a 17th century Grade II listed building and the only remaining example of a timber-framed building in the town centre.
The dilapidated building had been vacant for nearly 10 years before being compulsorily purchased by the Council and sold to the specialist team at the Preservation Trust, which is a developer of last resort, to repair and conserve.
The Preservation Trust obtained £350,000 from the Architectural Heritage Fund for the 2021 project, which has now won praise with a Highly Commended citation at the Empty Home Network Awards.
160 King Street is the last remaining timber framed building in the urban area of Great Yarmouth. Behind later additions is a complete jettied timber frame, which Historic England has dated to 1642. Before the work, the building was in a severe state of deterioration and on the Buildings At Risk Register.
Following the Trust taking ownership it was painstaking restored by specialist contractors Medieval Masonry under the guidance and supervision of the Trust and architect Jeremy Stacey. It was formally opened in June 2021 by the minister for heritage Caroline Dinenage.
The citation in the Partnership Award category praises the two organisations for tackling the tricky project, which has seen a commercial unit created on the ground floor and a flat on the top two floors.
The upstairs flat is now let and work is ongoing to open the ground floor commercial unit as a restaurant, with a kitchen currently being fitted out ahead of an expected opening later this summer.
"Whilst empty homes work is challenging at the best of times, dealing with listed buildings or those in conservation areas provides an additional layer of difficulty in the respect of providing advice, guidance, and support to owners," it said.
"Great Yarmouth Borough Council's relationship with the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust has ensured that not only are the council best placed and prepared to provide such support and advice to owners, but their work to restore, renovate and maintain prominent buildings within the Borough will provide lasting benefit to the local residents.
"At a time of difficulty for the high street, the work done through this partnership continues to ensure that buildings that could potentially be at risk are monitored, maintained and supported in being brought back into use."
Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust chairman Bernard Williamson said: "160 King Street holds enormous historic and architectural value. The design is characteristic of Great Yarmouth's medieval Row houses and being able to bring the building back into use creates a significant and tangible connection with the town's past."
Chair of the Council's economic development committee Cllr Daniel Candon said: "Our heritage is really important to us. Our partnership with the Preservation Trust has saved many historic buildings around the Borough and helped find creative new uses for them. It is great to have that work recognised by the Empty Home Network Awards."
Architectural Heritage Fund chief executive Matthew Mckeague said: "Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust is one of the Architectural Heritage Trust's pioneering Heritage Development Trusts. 160 King Street is an exemplar of the type of project we try to support: in this case, providing affordable homes through the regeneration of a significant heritage asset. This is the type of project we see as critical to the future of towns like Great Yarmouth."