Topping out has been held at the £17 million library and learning hub in Great Yarmouth to be known as The Place.

The topping out ceremony saw beer, donated by Great Yarmouth brewery Lacons, poured on to the roof by the High Steward of Great Yarmouth, Henry Cator.

The High Steward was assisted by East Norfolk Sixth Form students Amber Wells and Olivia Speed-Andrew, who are completing industrial placements at the building.

The top-to-bottom refurbishment of the former Palmers department store in the Market Place has been recognised as particularly complex, but work is on track for completion in the first half of 2025.

Speaking at the topping out, Cllr Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: ”The transformation of this well-loved and iconic building is a key component of our regeneration plans for the town.”

”Seeing the progress that has been made as work continues towards creating a major new library and learning centre for the people of the borough is extremely inspiring. In less than a year, the doors to this amazing new facility will be open and welcoming people on to a wide range of superb courses.

“Our residents will also be able to enjoy a state-of-the-art new library and other facilities.

”Raising the aspirations of those in our borough via educational opportunities is absolutely vital and I’d like to thank all of our partners and the construction team at Morgan Sindall for the progress made thus far.”

The project has been being funded by £8.1m from the Government’s Town Deal, with a further £3.4m from the Future High Streets Fund. East Coast College and the University of Suffolk are contributing £3.5m and Norfolk County Council £2m.

Norfolk County Council leader, Councillor Kay Mason Billig, said: “The Place will become a centrepiece of Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s regeneration to create a thriving town centre in Great Yarmouth.

”Our much-loved library is relocating to become the heart of that. The library will help to create a learning hub with East Coast College and the University of Suffolk, helping local people to improve their skills.”

The development will replace the current library Tolhouse Road and offer adult learning, a registry office and other community services such as Citizens Advice.

East Coast College and the University of Suffolk will offer degree and diploma courses at The Place, as well as access to higher education and adult learning courses.

The 5,300 sq m, five-storey building in the Market Place first opened as a drapers in 1837 and its transformation is part of a wider ambition to locate all relevant learning and training functions in a single, high-profile building in central Great Yarmouth.

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