Historic seafront attraction reopens following restoration

Great Yarmouth’s historic Venetian Waterways has reopened following a year of major restoration works.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council, working with Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust and dedicated volunteers, has led an ongoing £2.7m restoration of the unique Grade II-listed seafront park and tourist attraction, supported by The National Lottery, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and the Government.

The restoration has been funded by a £1.7m National Lottery grant awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund, plus further funding, including £250,000 from New Anglia LEP’s Growing Places Fund.

First opened in 1928, the park was commissioned by the council as an employment relief programme after the First World War. It was hugely popular with generations of holidaymakers until it declined in the latter 20th century, leading to the loss of historic features and planting in the Waterways, and the draining of the Boating Lake in 2014.

Major conservation works have included repair of seven bridges, rethatching of four historic structures, planting of 19,500 perennials, shrubs and trees, and positioning more than 500 tonnes of rock and stone. In addition, the concrete-lined Boating Lake basin has been repaired and re-filled with 3,600 cubic metres of water via a dedicated borehole.

Cllr Graham Plant, chairman of the economic development committee, said: “The Waterways has regained its magical sparkle. At 91 years old, it remains one of our most beloved and unique community facilities, tourist attractions and heritage assets – a park that’s by the public, for the public, in its construction, usage and now its restoration.”

Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia LEP, said: “I’m delighted to see the restored Venetian Waterways open for locals and visitors to enjoy. Tourism and the visitor economy is one of our region’s key assets so it is important that we invest in projects like this which create new jobs, redevelop seafront sites and offer a fun day out for families.”

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