Since Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust acquired the building earlier this year, we have made it wind and weather tight, undertaken emergency repairs and secured the building against unlawful ingress and vandalism. We have employed an architect, surveyor, and an architectural historian to produce a heritage statement, have undertaken a full measured survey and topographic survey and have produced a 3D scan of some of the site. Additionally, we have undertaken clearance of the grounds, removed accumulated waste from the building and carried out an asbestos and drains survey: all crucial work pre-restoration.
The Trust has appointed a heritage consultant who is carrying out an options appraisal and feasibility study to understand and consider viable and sustainable end uses which will support the long-term future of the building. This is a key part of the process to secure future funding, as no funding organisation will accept a grant application without evidence of this vital piece of work.
We have been approached by three businesses interested in using the Iron Duke. These have been put in contact with our consultant for further discussion and assessment of their respective business cases. There have been some allegations and misinformation circulating on social media regarding the Trust being approached with plans for substantial investment. This is incorrect and we must reiterate that any bona fide businesses which approach the Trust are welcome to enter into discussions regarding the sustainable end use of the Iron Duke. The Trust does not conduct business planning via social media.
It is important to make clear that GYPT is a developer of the last resort, designed to restore buildings to an active use in the community when the free market has failed to intervene. The Iron Duke after renovation will have a negative equity. This means that the cost of purchase plus restoration is greater than the final value of the building; with this project the difference will be hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Funding organisations are fully aware of this approach and will require a detailed, sustainable business case before considering the project for funding. Without this it will be impossible to access the finance necessary to renovate and restore the Iron Duke.
Chair of Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust