Norfolk and Suffolk’s at-risk heritage sites given cash boost

Work begins to make St Margaret's Church in Hopton a safe ruin. Surveyors are going up in a cherry p

Work begins to make St Margaret's Church in Hopton a safe ruin. Surveyors are going up in a cherry picker to take a look at the structure before work begins to make it safe.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

A medieval church, an art deco chalet block and a grade II listed maltings building are among those set to benefit from tens of thousands of pounds worth of funding to preserve the region's heritage.

An artist's impression of the completed Maltings

An artist's impression of the completed Maltings - Credit: Archant

Five projects have been given grants of up to £50,000 from the government's £3m Coastal Revival Fund pot, to help kick start the revival of at-risk heritage sites in coastal communities.

One of these locations is Hopton Church, the ruins of which are currently a dangerous structure and are hidden behind a security fence.

Funding of £22,000 will allow volunteers and trainees, under the guidance of experts, to continue work on its conservation, meaning it can be enjoyed by the community and visitors.

Two awards of £25,000 have been given in Lowestoft, to create a vision for south Lowestoft's seafront area and to develop the town's historic scores, small paths which once connected the fishing village to the main town.

The 20th Lowestoft Scores Race.September 2015.Picture: James Bass

The 20th Lowestoft Scores Race.September 2015.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

In Cromer, £50,000 was given to support the rejuvenation of the Cromer West promenade art deco chalet block which was severely damaged in the storms which ravaged the North Norfolk coast back in December 2013.

And another £50,000 was awarded in Wells to transform a former maltings building into a community hub and heritage centre.

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Communities minister and MP for Great Yarmouth, Brandon Lewis, said the coastal revival funding will help secure these key seaside attractions 'for generations to come'.

Nationwide, there has been funding awarded for 77 projects, which it is hoped will attract £30m in private and public investment and could support up to 1,500 jobs.

• Cromer's West Promenade

Cromer's West Promenade art deco chalet block suffered during the storm surge of December 2013.

Crashing waves swept away beach huts and damaged

the historic 1930s building on the quieter end of the sea front.

New art work, toilets, play area, larger cafe, lighting and a heritage trail are part of the draft plans.

North Norfolk District Council wants to use repairs as an opportunity to revitalise the area, encouraging families to make the most of the sandy beach and zig zag slope from the clifftop.

• Hopton Church

Hopton's ruined church, also known as St Margaret's Church, dates back to medieval times. Earlier this year two limestone heads were found at the site. The first head was removed from the top of the church's tower.

It had been well-preserved in the fabric of the wall and is believed to date from the 11th century. It was used as a decorative water spout, which may have come from the original early church. The second stone head was spotted upside down in the wall by stonemason John Briggs when he was removing scaffolding on the building. Both heads are Normanesque in style. Darren Barker, project director for the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, said: 'This is the final piece of funding we needed to finish.'

• Lowestoft Scores

They are a part of a coastal resort's heritage which many residents feel have been forgotten and undervalued.

But now, thanks to a grant from the government's Coastal Revival Fund, it is hoped the Lowestoft Scores will be an important part of the town's future, as well as its past. The £25,000 boost will allow the Lowestoft Coastal Communities Team to compile a detailed plan of what would need to be done to each Score, how much it would cost and how they can be promoted.

Phil Aves, from Lowestoft Rising, said: 'It's part of the town's heritage. There's some fascinating history to the Scores.'

Lowestoft has also won £25,000 from the CRF for the South Lowestoft seafront, with the money similarly being used to develop more detailed plans on how to improve the area.

• Wells Maltings

Work on the next phase of the £4.5m redevelopment of Wells Maltings gets under way in the new year, with help from a £50,000 grant given yesterday from the government's Coastal Revival Fund.

Project development manager Becky Jefcoate said the money would be put towards converting and extending the early 19th-century building, off Staithe Street.

'It's progressing really well,' she said. 'We're just preparing the ground at the moment for the archaeology, which will happen in the new year.'

The project is expected to create or safeguard up to 95 jobs, which will make it one of the biggest single employers in Wells when it is finished.

It hopes to turn the Maltings into one of the town's largest attractions, which will draw visitors and offer entertainment all year round.

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