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Works start on seaside building where wind blows through the walls

PUBLISHED: 07:59 27 August 2020 | UPDATED: 07:59 27 August 2020

Works are being carried on the North Lodge building in Cromer. Picture: Supplied by David Pritchard

Works are being carried on the North Lodge building in Cromer. Picture: Supplied by David Pritchard

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Urgent restoration works are underway on an historic seaside building.

David Pritchard, wearing the Cromer mayor's chain of office in 2019. He is now chairman of the town councils works and general purposes committee. 
Photo: ANDREAS YIASIMIDavid Pritchard, wearing the Cromer mayor's chain of office in 2019. He is now chairman of the town councils works and general purposes committee. Photo: ANDREAS YIASIMI

The west side of North Lodge in North Lodge Park in Cromer has been covered in scaffolding for the works, which are being carried out by Houghton-based Cliveden Conservation.

Cromer Town Council, which owns the building, is paying more than £23,000 for the project.

Councillor David Pritchard, chairman of the council’s works and general purposes committee, said: “Not only leaks had started but in one or two points, visitors could actually feel the outside wind penetrating the wall and into the interior of the building.

“This not only created an uncomfortable working environment, but it is likely to be the prelude to something potentially quite dangerous and expensive.

Works are being carried on the North Lodge building in Cromer. Picture: Supplied by David PritchardWorks are being carried on the North Lodge building in Cromer. Picture: Supplied by David Pritchard

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“The process to award the work took longer than expected as the officers had difficulty in sourcing companies who were able to conduct the work and were willing to quote for the work.”

Mr Pritchard said the original contract was for just over £22,000, but more work was needed when gaps in the mortar were discovered.

He said: “It appears that work from over 50 years ago shows the mortar has completely failed with nothing more holding the flints in place, other than dust. This means that the flints and ‘mortar’ are being removed by hand rather than necessitating any tools or machinery.”

Works are being carried on the North Lodge building in Cromer. Picture: Supplied by David PritchardWorks are being carried on the North Lodge building in Cromer. Picture: Supplied by David Pritchard

But not everyone is happy with the project.

Russell Wright, who runs a landscaping and garden design business in Cromer, wrote a strongly letter of objection to the works, saying: “Not only do I care very much about the built and natural environment but my tax pounds are being spent here to diminish something intrinsically unique, the skill, craftmanship and dedication of the original builders is unsurpassed in modern times.”

Mr Pritchard responded by saying: “I understand and appreciate that to the unqualified eye, the work on North Lodge may be of concern but please be assured, Cromer Town Council as the custodians of this local asset, take their responsibility seriously. In fact, it is fair to say that in conducting this work we are confident that it was essential and of the most urgent nature.”

North Lodge, the venue for town council meetings, was built in 1837, as the only one of an originally planned 13 impressive dwellings at the site.


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