Riverbank erosion leads to fears over future of Gorleston’s medieval ice house

The old Gorleston Ice House on Riverside road is in danger due to crumbling sea defences.PHOTO: Nick

The old Gorleston Ice House on Riverside road is in danger due to crumbling sea defences.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

There are concerns a historic building could be at risk because of erosion to the river bank.

The old Gorleston Ice House on Riverside road is in danger due to crumbling sea defences.PHOTO: Nick

The old Gorleston Ice House on Riverside road is in danger due to crumbling sea defences.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

The Icehouse on the West Bank in Gorleston is a structure dating back to medieval times.

It was used to store ice from ships coming into the port. The neighbouring quay is visibly crumbling into the river and there are no immediate plans to repair it.

Stretches of the riverbank are in private ownership which means it is not the responsibility of the Great Yarmouth Borough Council to carry out repairs.

In the longer term, the Environment Agency (EA) is consulting with landowners about improving flood defences along that part of the river.


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There are currently 12km (7.5 miles) of flood defences in Great Yarmouth that help reduce the risk of tidal flooding to over 6,000 properties from the River Yare.

A five-phase project over the next 50 years is under way to manage the flood defences and quaysides in Yarmouth and Gorleston, including North Quay, South Denes, Newtown, Runham, Southtown and Cobholm.

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The first five years of work have just been completed and are considering the options for the next phase of work from this year up to 2021.

The condition of the Gorleston defences is regularly inspected by the agency's Flood Risk Management team and the section of flood defences north of the lifeboat station is not likely to need refurbishment or replacement until 2026 at the earliest according to EA.

The borough council and the EA, with the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, are committed to work in partnership to find funding for future works.

So far they have secured £28m for the second phase of works to 2.65km (1.6 miles) of defences over the next five years, but further funding is required.

Open days are being held on Monday, December 12 and Wednesday, January 11 for businesses to find out how they can be involved with the Tidal Defence Business Partnership. Please contact bernard.harris@great-yarmouth.gov.uk to find out more, or go to: www.great-yarmouth.gov.uk/tidal-defences.

Voids beneath Bollard Quay in Gorleston were repaired by Peel Ports and further to there investigatory work there are no further known voids.

A spokesperson for Peel Ports Group said: 'The activities undertaken at Peel Ports Great Yarmouth are part of normal repair and maintenance works. These are carried out regularly throughout our network for safety and efficiency.'

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis said: 'I am pleased that Peel Ports have undertaken maintenance work on Bollard Quay and have confirmed that there are no further voids following their investigation works.

'Maintaining our historic quays is an important part of our cultural heritage and I'm delighted that Peel Ports continue to invest in our local area.'

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