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New lottery bid planned for historic King’s Lynn theatre

todayAugust 20, 2021 1

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A fresh bid for lottery funding towards the renovation of a historic Lynn arts complex is set to be submitted before the end of the year.

The move has been outlined after the St George’s Guildhall site was named as a priority for Town Deal funding.

But a new report has also warned that the project is now likely to cost far more than previously thought.

The St George's Guildhall in King's Lynn (17566172)
The St George’s Guildhall in King’s Lynn (17566172)

Nearly £5 million of the anticipated £25 million Government funding package is set to be invested into the King Street complex where Shakespeare is known to have performed.

The centre’s long-term future has been in doubt ever since an earlier application for Heritage Lottery support was turned down more than four years ago.

And a report to be presented to West Norfolk Council’s cabinet at a special meeting on Tuesday said the total cost of refurbishing the hall and developing a new Creative Hub there is now estimated to be nearly £9 million, including promotional activity.

It is anticipated that more than half of that total – £4.85 million – will come from the Town Deal pot.

But the paper also proposes the submission of a new application for around £3.3 million of Heritage Lottery funding, which would need to be in by late November.

That deadline would enable a decision to be reached by next spring.

The council is also committing £750,000 towards the scheme in a move which officials say is intended “to put the project in the strongest position to attract” lottery support.

The report added: “Officers will continue to secure external funding where possible for the project but confirmation of a fall back position, should this not come to fruition, is required in order to complete the business case and secure the release of the Town Deal funds for the project.”

Cabinet members are being asked to delegate the authority to senior figures to commission surveys and studies for the project, as well as recruiting a project manager to oversee the work.

And the report also revealed that proposals for the future management of the site are likely to be outlined this autumn.

It said: “In creating a sustainable business model for the HLF and Towns Fund Business case there will be the need for trading operations and a mechanism for receiving benevolent donations/ investments.

“It is recognised that in order to do so a separate entity from the council (arm’s length) would be appropriate.”

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