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Proposed priorities for £25 million King’s Lynn Town Deal funding outlined

todayAugust 17, 2021 1

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Plans for a new library, plus renovating a historic arts complex, are among the schemes on which council chiefs hope to use a long-awaited multi-million funding package for Lynn.

A new report has today set out the proposed priority projects for a £25 million Town Deal package from the Government.

And council leaders will discuss the proposals, which officials say could also lead to the development of an “informal” park and ride site, next week.

King's Court, Borough Council of West Norfolk.. (49900631)
King’s Court, Borough Council of West Norfolk.. (49900631)

Lynn was allocated the maximum amount permitted under the Town Deal programme when the investment was announced by ministers in June.

But West Norfolk Council, as the accountable local authority for the scheme, has to submit details of the schemes which it intends to use the cash on by the end of this month.

Seven priority areas have been outlined in a report published by the authority this morning.

King's Lynn library (49043541)
King’s Lynn library (49043541)

They include the proposed development of a multi-user community hub (MUCH) facility, which would replace the town’s current Carnegie library.

Around £4.4 million of the pot would be used on the project, which already has a £2 million funding commitment from Norfolk County Council.

But the idea of moving the library has already proved controversial, because of fears over what might happen to the existing building at the corner of London Road and Millfleet.

However, the report said the project would provide a “modern and flexible space” for both the library and other providers to offer skills and training support.

Scenic images from around Kings Lynn by Lynn News Photographer Paul Tibbs. Looking along the South Quay and out to the Wash. (2192148)
Scenic images from around Kings Lynn by Lynn News Photographer Paul Tibbs. Looking along the South Quay and out to the Wash. (2192148)

It added: “Options will also be explored to provide an enhanced cultural offer from the building and surrounding public realm space.

“Site options for the MUCH are subject to further detailed feasibility and public consultation to be completed by NCC and will include in depth consideration of the existing library site as an important community and heritage asset for the town.”

Elsewhere, nearly £5 million is envisaged for investment in redevelopment of the St George’s Guildhall complex in King Street.

The St George's Guildhall in King Street, King's Lynn (50112356)
The St George’s Guildhall in King Street, King’s Lynn (50112356)

The future of the site, where Shakespeare is known to have performed, has been high on the political agenda for many years.

And the report says the total cost of refurbishing the hall and developing a new Creative Hub there is now estimated to be nearly £9 million.

But officials say they hope to submit a fresh application for Heritage Lottery funding by late November, while the council has also committed £750,000 of capital investment in the scheme.

Officials say an "informal park and ride" could be developed along Lynn's Nar Ouse Way.
Officials say an “informal park and ride” could be developed along Lynn’s Nar Ouse Way.

The largest portion of the fund, £6.8 million, is proposed to be used on Active and Clean Connectivity, including potential junction and road layout changes, greater priority for pedestrians and cyclists, plus the development of an active travel hub in the Nar Ouse Enterprise Zone.

The report said the scheme was intended to encourage walking and cycling from outside the town centre, and offered the potential for “complementary bus stop services on Nar Ouse Way to provide an ‘infomal’ park and ride facility, particularly to access the town centre at peak times”.

A further £6.5 million is proposed to be used on riverfront regeneration, including improved facilities for sailors using the South Quay pontoons, progression of development on sites such as the former grain silo and the provision of a floating restaurant in the Outer Purfleet.

The remaining funds would be used on work to turn vacant units into leisure, business or living spaces (£1.75 million), a post-Covid skills and retraining programme (£450k) plus public realm works such as additional seating and tree planting in the town centre (£250k).

Officer recommendations, to be considered at a special cabinet meeting next Tuesday, August 24, seek approval to progress each of those areas.

The deadline for submission of priority schemes to the Government is August 31.

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