Owner to sell Great Yarmouth’s Merrivale Model Village to the “right people” only

Peter Williamson at the Merrivale Model VillagePicture: James Bass

Peter Williamson at the Merrivale Model VillagePicture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

One of the retiring owners of Great Yarmouth's Merrivale Model Village said it will be heartbreaking to move away from the facility once it is sold.

Peter Williamson and Shirley Whelan took over the facility in 2004 and helped it become one of the seaside resort's most popular attractions.

But now the owners have decided to call it a day and the village has been listed for the asking price of £495,000 on online property website Rightmove by EM&F East Anglia.

Mr Williamson said: 'We decided that we would call it a day last year to spend more time with the grandchildren.

'There has been a lot of interest from around the country from people both in the attraction business and looking to enter it.

'Once the day comes when we move out it will be heartbreaking. Merrivale has really been the love of our lives.'

Purchasing the site would include four units which are rented out; an amusement arcade, tea room, nine- hole crazy golf and a film and TV location.

The advert on Rightmove states that it would be a 'perfect business for new, younger owners to take on to the next stage'.

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And while some locals might be concerned that new owners might have different plans for the site, Mr Williamson said they are looking for the right people only. He said: 'No way do we want someone to come in and turn the site into something else.

'We want to find the right people to help continue this succesful business and allow it to grow even further.' Mr Williamson added that the sale would not affect the future of any of the site's tenants and staff.

Those interested in purchasing the site should contact EM&F East Anglia on 01603 950250.

More than half a century of memories at Merrivale

The site of the model village was originally part of the Wellington Gardens and in 1954 it was turned into children's park Pixieland which featured rides and entertainment.

The village was built seven years later by the Dobins family.

The vast collection of tiny models has been one of the town's best loved family attractions since it opened in the 1961.

It was later sold to Lenny Baron and Francis Holmes, who were the facility's only other owners until Peter Williamson and Shirley Whelan took over the site in 2004.

Since then the site has gone on to become one of the most succesful attractions in Great Yarmouth, with an evergrowing village of miniature models.

About half a million pounds was invested to improve the attraction which went on to become one of the town's most succesful and most loved along the seafront.

New years would bring in new miniature structures at the site.

Just this year, a 12ft high wheel was introduced as well as a model of the X Factor stage.

Other favourite models include the Majestic Theatre, an airship, railway, Merrivale Gardens, castle and stadium.

Just this year it won the 2016 Greater Yarmouth Business of the Year, in the leisure industry.

The award-winning gardens are open daily between dates in March and October every year.