Work on the regeneration of Lynn’s Saturday Market Place could carry on into December, more than a month longer than originally scheduled, officials have warned.
The square has been closed to traffic since mid-August to enable work on the £650,000 project, which will make the road one way for drivers, to take place.
But delays in delivering the Yorkstone required for the paving and the discovery of the remains of a medieval chapel below the surface of the square have set the project back.
And, in a report to councillors, Lord Howard, West Norfolk Council’s cabinet member for special projects, said the roadway, adjacent parking area and paving to the east of the square would now only be completed by the end of this month.
He added: “The remainder of the car park and Yorkstone to the north west may slip into December.”
When the project was first announced, officials said they expected it would be completed by the end of October, before revising that schedule to mid-November. The road closure has already been extended until the end of this month.
Norfolk County Council resident engineer, Quentin Brogdale, said: “Progress has been limited by difficulties in securing delivery of Yorkstone slabs, for which there is a high demand nationally at the moment, and the need to properly address requirements to deal with the archaeological remains.”
Work was halted last month after the remains of a 14th century charnel chapel were discovered below the surface of the market place.
The area was refilled by contractors last week, following a dispute between the borough council and a leading expert over the way the discovery was handled.
But Mr Brogdale said: “The main reason it has survived in such good condition is the protection it has enjoyed by being buried.”
He said the area was refilled with sand held inside a separation membrane, which is designed to prevent further damage to the remains and make future excavation work easier, should any be needed.
Last month, borough council chiefs announced plans to install information boards about the chapel as part of the regeneration project. The outline of the building will also be marked in the stone.
But, during Thursday’s full council meeting, Labour group leader John Collop said he was disappointed the remains could not be left open to public view.
He said: “I would have thought there would be a chance of some funding to protect it.”
Leader Nick Daubney replied: “The idea of viewing it was something I’d have loved to have seen, but what you have to do is take the very best advice available and we’ve done that. What I think is the most appropriate decision has been made.”