Act now to save King’s Lynn treasures

Custom House on Purfleet Quay, King's Lynn
Custom House on Purfleet Quay, King's Lynn

Much more needs to be done to protect and promote Lynn’s cultural assets for the future, a new report has warned.

The document, which will be considered by councillors tomorrow, makes 16 separate recommendations of how key landmarks should be enhanced over the coming years.

South Quay King's Lynn.

South Quay King's Lynn.

The most ambitious proposal from the Heritage Task Group, a committee of West Norfolk councillors, officers, business leaders and heritage campaigners, is the call for an investigation into whether the road around the South Gate could be re-routed.

The group, which was set up by the council last year, accepted that the scheme would be an aspiration over the next 10 to 20 years, but argues that it is needed to help preserve the monument for the long term.

The report said: “There was concern that one of the premier historic buildings associated with the town was inaccessible because of its location at the centre of a busy road.”

The paper also recommends that the authority should consider buying other sites around the area if they become available in the future.

All but four of the recommendations contained in the report, which will be examined by the borough council’s regeneration, environment and community panel tomorrow, are described as short term aims, which should be prioritised over the next five years.

The task group said an urgent priority should be to do more to promote Lynn nationally through media campaigns and promotional work at bus and railway stations.

The report said: “It is felt that too many people are unaware of the historic quality of King’s Lynn and a campaign to raise the national profile of the historic heritage of King’s Lynn should be undertaken as a particular priority.”

More information about Lynn should also be sent to its fellow Hanse towns and cities across Europe, the report said.

Meanwhile, the task group also proposed reducing the amount of car parking available along the South Quay, which they argue undermines its ability to attract visitors.

Parking provision in the town is currently being reviewed by Norfolk County Council, though they say the project is in its early stages.

A spokesman said: “There’s a long way to go before the review generates any proposals and they’d need to take account of the views and contributions of very many people and organisations including, of course, West Norfolk’s councillors, residents, businesses and for example, the heritage task group – before a full consultation and before any decisions are taken.”

The panel’s other short-term recommendations include:

1 Consideration of environmental enhancement programmes, particularly tree planting, in the South Gate, Nar Ouse Way and Edward Benefer Way areas.

1 Building a new water feature in the Outer Purfleet and providing better lighting for the Custom House.

1 Setting up a small fund to help property owners to carry out improvements to their premises on Railway Road, which the panel described as looking “particularly run down”.

1 Encouraging, and if possible forcing, the owners of unsightly properties in historic areas to carry out improvements.

1 Improved signs from key routes, including the A47, A10 and A148 to direct drivers to the town’s historic sites.

1 New location maps to be placed at car park exits and other town centre sites showing tourist information and key buildings.

Meanwhile, three medium-term projects listed in the report, which the committee said should be pursued as priorities over the next decade, include clearing the Millfleet part of the town’s waterfront to improve the quality of the environment in the area and opening talks with the owners of high-profile buildings on the waterfront with a view to the council either agreeing with the owners to buy them or using compulsory purchase powers.

The panel also said investigation work should be done into the possibility of either redeveloping the Boal Quay area or improving the car park if that was not likely.

All the recommendations are set to go before the council’s ruling cabinet in March, when they are expected to be urged to accept them.