White Lion Steps in Gorleston still no closer to fully re-opening five years after collapse of wall

Work is soon to be started on White Lion Steps, Gorleston after the embankment collapsed.

Work is soon to be started on White Lion Steps, Gorleston after the embankment collapsed. - Credit: Picture: Nick Butcher

Five years after a wall collapsed, narrowly avoiding a schoolboy, a stairwell has still not been repaired.

The scene of a collapsed wall by Beach Road, Gorleston. Picture by Emma Tibble.

The scene of a collapsed wall by Beach Road, Gorleston. Picture by Emma Tibble. - Credit: Archant

The White Lion Steps in Gorleston collapsed on April 11, 2012 after torrential rain led to a build up of water behind a retainer wall which subsequently collapse.

A torrent of mud and masonry cascaded down the stairwell connecting Cliff Road to Beach Road and narrowly missed a 12-year-old boy.

The route has been partially blocked since then although the public can still access the short cut and full repairs have never been carried out.

The flight of stairs was divided into two, and one side remains passable.

The scene of a collapsed wall by Beach Road, Gorleston. Picture by Emma Tibble.

The scene of a collapsed wall by Beach Road, Gorleston. Picture by Emma Tibble. - Credit: Archant


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Detailed costings work have not been undertaken to establish what the cost of repair work, as that would incur further costs to Norfolk County Council, who own the steps. However it is estimated to be in the order of £250,000.

A county council spokesman said the steps would continue to be maintained in their reduced state, and there was no plans for any further repairs.

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Norfolk County Council confirmed in September 2015 it would be backing away from recovering costs to pay for repairs, as the process itself was becoming too expensive.

The spokesman added the authority had decided not to push ahead with 'complex and lengthy' legal action having spent in the order of £10,000 already.

The front page of the Great Yarmouth Mercury from Friday, April 13 2012. Photo: Archant Library

The front page of the Great Yarmouth Mercury from Friday, April 13 2012. Photo: Archant Library - Credit: Archant

They said that the council had 'exhausted all realistic possibilities of recovering money' from the developer of the nearby housing as it tried to agree responsibility for the collapse.

The spokesman said: 'The steps belong to the county council but the land alongside is privately owned and had been subject to recent building work by a local development company.

'Unfortunately it became increasingly apparent to the Authority that restoration of the steps was unlikely to be settled without formal action.

'In the meantime, we erected a timber hoarding to segregate the collapse and ensure that safe use of the steps was maintained.

'Reluctantly, the decision has been taken to no longer actively pursue the development company as this will simply incur further legal costs with little or no prospect of recovery.'

An earlier probe ruled a build up of water behind the wall lead to the sudden structural failure.

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