Steps being taken for community hub plans as contractor selected

New steps have been taken towards a “multi-use community hub” in Lynn’s former Argos building as the main contractor has been announced.

The building at 46 New Conduit Street is set to become the town’s community hub, which will also house the library currently in the Carnegie building.

Mace, the international consultancy and construction firm that has previously worked on other County Council projects, has been appointed to bring the vision of the central hub to life.

A sketch showing plans for the multi-use community hub in Lynn. Picture: Norfolk County Council
A sketch showing plans for the multi-use community hub in Lynn. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Norfolk County Council say sustainability is a key theme for the design team working with Mace, who are keen on using certain elements of the existing structure of the former Argos building.

The new hub will house the library, adult learning facilities, and offer the right services and support in a single, accessible venue that is due to open in September 2025.

The £12m project now also enters RIBA Stage 2, which will see more detailed concept designs drawn up for the building and will start to bring the future community hub to life by exploring the project vision, testing out layouts and starting to consider the practicalities of how the new building will function.

The building was formerly Argos in Lynn
The building was formerly Argos in Lynn

Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities and partnerships, said: “The appointment of a contractor is a key step which will allow the project to progress quickly to enable us to better serve the residents of Lynn.

“It follows a successful purchase of the building by the County Council, where the new hub will be located, and leads us nicely into the next stage of design.

“Mace has delivered modern projects for us recently, including some of the refurbishment of County Hall, and we are looking forward to working with them on this transformative project.”

Stewart Ward, managing director for Mace Interiors, said: “Following the success of our last project with Norfolk County Council, we are looking forward to working together again to bring to life the vision of a new multi-use hub.

“Sustainability is at the heart of this low-carbon project, meaning we are able to drive forward our ambition to pursue a sustainable world – while also delivering a new facility to support the local community.”

Revd Dr Jane Steen, Bishop of Lynn, member of the Lynn Town Deal Board and project champion for the Multi-User Community Hub, said: “A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to bring forward this exciting project.

“It will bring state-of-the-art facilities to the town, with welcoming community spaces, new and improved educational opportunities, and a fit-for-the-future library, all designed to help enable everyone in Lynn and the wider area to flourish.

“I am looking forward to seeing the next phase of design as we work towards delivery of this wonderful facility.”

Cllr Jim Moriarty, deputy leader of West Norfolk Council and cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Regeneration of this unused and unsightly building in a prime location in town is desperately needed.

“This project will create a space that will facilitate learning and help improve people’s skills, provide a modern and accessible library, and offer opportunities to support our West Norfolk communities.

“A lot of hard work has gone into securing the funding for this project and purchasing the building. I’d like to thank all the officers involved at both the borough council and the county council, and also the Lynn Town Deal Board members for their input.

“We are now moving into a really exciting phase, which will include further community engagement, as the contractor develops their designs for the building.”

Cllr Lesley Bambridge, Norfolk County Council member for Lynn North and Central, said: “The Library Service will be able to offer much more in the new location.

“There will still be a large selection of books but, in addition, more space for community activities, adult learning, IT availability and opportunities for both young people and older people to come together to learn new skills or to enjoy just meeting up.”