A multi-million pound redevelopment of Lynn’s historic Town Hall can “realise the potential” of the building and the treasures that stand within it, according to architects.
The claim has been made in a formal planning application for the development, which was submitted by West Norfolk Council just before the Easter break.
If approved, the council would give itself permission to refurbish and extend the Guildhall and Town Hall complex, parts of which date back more than 800 years, as part of the Stories of Lynn project.
The initiative is designed to detail the town’s history, attract more visitors and make it easier for people to access the historic collections held there.
The project, which is expected to cost more than £2 million to complete, is already the subject of a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
And a report prepared by the council’s planning agents, David Trundley Design Services, said: “The project aims to realise the potential of the wonderful historic buildings, archives and collections that comprise the Town Hall complex and create a sustainable, high quality heritage resource central to the life of its local community.”
It is now almost two years since the current plans for the area first became public, following the rejection of an earlier application for lottery cash.
The agent’s report details seven main elements of the project, including the development of an open resource area with the existing wash sink and oven being restored to provide features within it.
The old Gaol House will be integrated into the exhibition space, while an archive collection area, including a flood protection barrier, will also be created.
Part of the existing structure, which is described as “subsiding”, would also be demolished so that a new lift and staircase can be built.
The document added that “limited and sensitive building works” would be carried out to “key parts of the complex” during the scheme.
Conservation officials and experts from English Heritage have been consulted on the plans.
Borough council chiefs maintain that the project will improve the way in which archives and other collections held at the site are maintained, as well as making it easier for the public to see them.
The planning report, which was submitted on Thursday among almost 30 other documents relating to the application, also sets out the authority’s desire to improve links to other heritage sites and attractions around the town.
It goes on: “The aim is to have the Town Hall once again at the centre of town life, engaging with a diverse audience of locals, tourists, schools, young people, volunteers and current non-users.”
After making it through the first phase of the current bid process, the council submitted its full application for lottery support in February of this year.
A decision on the bid is expected to be made by June, at around the same time that officials expect a ruling to be made on the planning application.