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‘We won’t take your parking away’, council chiefs pledge to King’s Lynn businesses

todayJune 19, 2021 1

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Parking spaces for businesses on one of the main routes into Lynn will not be removed as part of future regeneration of the area, a meeting heard this week.

Borough council leaders have hailed what one described as the “fantastic opportunity” offered by the Southgates area project.

Officials say the programme is intended to improve perceptions of the town among visitors, employers and would-be investors.

London Road Shops parking issues..Shop owners (LtoR), Mandy Bahar (The Daily Grind), Siva Nadarajan (Stop N Go), Robin Talbot (Tranquility).. (48034315)
London Road Shops parking issues..Shop owners (LtoR), Mandy Bahar (The Daily Grind), Siva Nadarajan (Stop N Go), Robin Talbot (Tranquility).. (48034315)

But nearby traders on London Road are worried that any future schemes could see the parking spaces available outside their businesses removed and their livelihoods decimated as a result.

They launched a petition on the matter, which was also raised during a committee debate on the issue last week.

However, speaking during a cabinet session on the subject at Lynn Town Hall on Tuesday afternoon, development portfolio holder Richard Blunt said: “There is no intention to do that.”

The South Gate in King's Lynn.. (48017715)
The South Gate in King’s Lynn.. (48017715)

And Springwood councillor Jo Rust said she was “really reassured” by the commitment.

The project seeks to develop a masterplan for the area, as part of the town’s Heritage Action Zone programme, as well as clearing key sites that are seen as having a detrimental impact on the wider area.

The council has acquired several sites in the area over many years.

And cabinet members backed recommendations to give senior officers the power both to develop the masterplan and seek the consents necessary for site clearance work to take place.

One of the biggest questions that the project will have to consider is whether the road layout, which currently sees most traffic heading into town pass under the 16th century South Gate, should be changed.

A transport strategy for the town, which was published last year, said officials would look at whether the road should be diverted around the monument.

The proposal was among dozens of schemes which were listed in the plan drawn up by borough and county council officials.

And, while Mr Blunt said all of the available options would be considered going forward, several cabinet members indicated their support for a new route.

Former leader Brian Long highlighted the fatal collision which happened at the site earlier this year and said the building was being damaged by traffic.

Environment portfolio holder Paul Kunes pointed out that large lorries already drive around the gate rather than through it.

He said: “Let’s take the traffic round it, close it off and use it as a historic monument.”

And property portfolio holder Adrian Lawrence said: “What a fantastic opportunity there is with all the history attached to it.

“We need to do something to preserve it and enjoy it, not just for us but the generations to follow.”

But, following publication of the transport strategy in January 2020, the former English Heritage chief executive Simon Thurley, who lives in Lynn, said diverting traffic in the manner that was envisaged at that point would be a “disaster.”

Other heritage campaigners have argued that the historic location would effectively be “sidelined” if the road was moved around it, although supporters believe it would help to revitalise the area.

However, following his election last month, the new council leader Stuart Dark said the strategy would be reviewed in the wake of the coronavirus crisis to ensure that proposed measures were still appropriate for now and the future.

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todayJune 19, 2021