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‘When are we going to give people something they would be proud to live in?’

todayJuly 6, 2021

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Plans for the redevelopment of a major Lynn housing estate have been branded “utilitarian and unattractive” by a senior councillor.

Officials have backed the latest proposals for the rebuilding of Hillington Square ahead of a committee meeting next week.

But ward councillor, and borough deputy mayor, Lesley Bambridge argued the scheme wasn’t suitable for the town’s heritage in reports published ahead of the scheduled debate next Monday, July 12.

Norfolk County Council election candidates 2021 - Lesley Bambridge, Conservative, King's Lynn North and Central division (46433939)
Norfolk County Council election candidates 2021 – Lesley Bambridge, Conservative, King’s Lynn North and Central division (46433939)

She said: “This “new” development could have been sympathetic but instead it is utilitarian and unattractive.

“When are we going to give people something they would be proud to live in? Why don’t they deserve some style and something that reflects the heritage we are so proud of in King’s Lynn?

“Why don’t we consider the residents who keep up that heritage at their own cost?”

The latest application incorporates the final three phases of the multi-million pound renovation of the estate by its owner, Freebridge Community Housing, nearly 10 years on from the initial unveiling of plans for the area by the designer Wayne Hemingway.

Designer Wayne Hemingway at Hillington Square flats complex. (44102758)
Designer Wayne Hemingway at Hillington Square flats complex. (44102758)

The plan would allow for the development of 86 new properties, 11 fewer than are currently provided in five existing blocks around the listed All Saints’ Church.

Freebridge says it has already reduced the scale of its plans in response to concerns about the historic context, following feedback when its revised plans were first submitted last summer.

Its case to the committee said: “This proposal completes the refurbishment of Hillington Square in the spirit of the original planning approval.

“The design is contemporary but sympathetic to the surrounding context, providing holistic regeneration and enhanced social housing provision with particular attention to residents’ future living standards.

The application has also been supported by Historic England, although it did propose some amendments in design.

But Mrs Bambridge claimed there was “no consideration” of local design and previous developments on the estate showed what was possible.

She said: “New properties on All Saints Street fit seamlessly into the vernacular. Allison Court on Stonegate Street won an award for design. It can be done.

“The buildings around All Saints Church could have been designed to complement the church, thought to be the oldest in King’s Lynn.”

But planning officials said the plans blended the old and the new.

They concluded: “The demolition of these outdated flats and the redevelopment with modern, energy efficient dwellings, with improved facilities, reflects local plan policy relating to sustainability and can be supported.

“The aims of the scheme, which include improving the setting of the Grade II* listed All Saints Church, improving the standard of the accommodation and the quality of the external environment and increasing connectivity are supported.”

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