Yarmouth seafront gets lively response

STEPHEN PULLINGER An invitation to leisure developers to come and transform a massive stretch of Yarmouth seafront and give it the "Eden Project effect" has attracted more than 50 responses in a matter of days.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

An invitation to leisure developers to come and transform a massive stretch of Yarmouth seafront and give it the "Eden Project effect" has attracted more than 50 responses in a matter of days.

And borough council economic director Mark Barrow confirmed last night that interest had already been shown by firms at home and abroad involved in developing large-scale water parks and theme parks.

He said the whole council was heartened by the "hugely positive" response to an advert placed by the council less than two weeks ago in a range of key publications, including the official journal of the European Union.

The council is keen to tie up a deal to transform the stretch of prime seafront land it owns from Sealife Gardens in the south as far as, but not including, Pirate's Cove crazy golf in the north.

Any scheme - likely to cost more than £100m - would involve the demolition of the resort's ageing Marina Centre and the replacement of sports facilities elsewhere in the borough.

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In anticipation of the outer harbour, the council has commissioned a study, with the East of England Development Agency, to gauge what potential north European visitors would find attractive on the seafront.

Developers, who have been set a September 18 deadline to send in outline proposals, are to be sent a colour brochure entitled Golden Development Opportunity, the final draft of which was agreed this week.

Council leader Barry Coleman says in a preface: "We believe this is a unique opportunity to work with a successful, traditional seaside resort that is aiming to secure its future as a leading 21st-century destination".

Mr Barrow writes: "The effect we are after is similar to that achieved by the truly inspirational Eden Project.

"We want this project to encourage families at any time of the year to jump on the train, bus or car to come to Yarmouth."