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Plans for King’s Lynn to seize ‘once in generation’ investment opportunity outlined

todayNovember 4, 2020 2

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Political and business leaders have today set out their vision for a multi-million pound transformation of Lynn over the next decade.

Projects including a new multi-use community hub and library, plus long-sought regeneration of the town’s riverfront have been included in the King’s Lynn Town Investment Plan.

The document aims to secure up to £25 million of Government money from its Towns Fund. A decision on the bid is expected by the spring.

Regeneration of the riverfront is one of the bid's goals. Pictures: Matthew Usher (42988686)
Regeneration of the riverfront is one of the bid’s goals. Pictures: Matthew Usher (42988686)

Speaking during a media briefing this morning, West Norfolk Council leader Brian Long said it represented a “once in a generation” chance for the town.

North West Norfolk MP James Wild added: “This plan is an opportunity, by looking to the strengths of King’s Lynn, to make it an even better place to live, work and visit.”

And borough council chief executive Lorraine Gore said the town was still the subject of significant interest from private sector investors.

This is where a new Innovation and Collaboration Incubator for businesses could be built in the Nar Ouse Enterprise Zone (42988570)
This is where a new Innovation and Collaboration Incubator for businesses could be built in the Nar Ouse Enterprise Zone (42988570)

She added: “The Towns Fund will help to bring some of that investment forward.”

Many of the schemes included in the paper have already been made public, such as the new School of Nursing which secured nearly £600,000 of funding last month and the proposed creation of a multi-use community hub, including a relocated library.

Officials have now confirmed it is intended that facility will be sited at the former Argos building .

The plan also includes the long-sought aspiration of re-developing the waterfront, including improved flood defences and new housing, plus the proposal to divert road traffic around the historic South Gate .

But, among the new schemes is a Youth and Retraining Pledge, which aims to help people expand their skills and return to employment, plus a plan to develop an Innovation and Collaboration Incubator for businesses in the Nar Ouse Enterprise Zone.

And Mr Long insisted lessons learnt from the problems faced by the King’s Lynn Innovation Centre (KLIC) would be applied to that project, which will remain under direct council control.

He said: “The difference will be that we won’t have a partner that can’t deliver on what they were asked to do.”

Graham Middleton, the council’s cabinet member for business development, said officials were “quite sure” the funding would not be lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But he said the pandemic had given the board set up to lead the bid an opportunity to re-shape the proposals through substantial consultation with businesses and residents.

More than 1,500 responses have been received during various surveys carried out in recent months.

And Town Board chairman Graham Purkins said: “The level of responses has been truly inspiring. It’s clear people truly care about our town.”

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