King’s Lynn £2m heritage Lottery bid may secure jobs

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Hundreds of jobs could be saved or created if a £2 million bid to regenerate the heart of Lynn succeeds, officers have claimed.

West Norfolk council chiefs are expected to submit their case for support to deal with derelict buildings in the St Margaret’s and St Nicholas conservation area next month.

And a new report, which went before a council committee this week, set out the economic case for pressing ahead with the project.

As previously reported, the authority is seeking £1 million worth of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help bring empty buildngs in the conservation area, which includes High Street, Saturday Market Place, St James Street and Tower Street back into use.

Lead officer Ostap Paparega’s report claims there are currently around 2,250 square metres of vacant commercial floorspace in the conservation area.

It went on: “By bringing this space back into use there is the potential to create in the order of 285 new jobs - 125 in the vacant properties and a further 160 elsewhere in the local economy.”

The document also claims that a further 250 positions would be safeguarded by the project going ahead.

And a survey of business people in the area suggested that 84 per cent of respondents expected a considerable or noticeable improvement in their firms’ performance if the plan went ahead.

The borough council has already committed £500,000 towards the project and members of its regeneration, environment and community panel backed a recommendation to draw the remainder from the borough’s share of additional second homes tax revenues during a meeting on Wednesday. Each year for five years £100,000 will be drawn from the reserve.

Members heard that the jobs figures were based on government calculations of job numbers per unit of commercial floorspace.

The meeting was also told that a number of empty properties in the area had gone on the market after news of the lottery bid was first revealed.

The issue will now go before the council’s ruling cabinet when it meets on Tuesday.