Officials back plan to demolish former Beales store in King’s Lynn

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Heritage campaigners have hit out at what they claim is the “dereliction” around the site of a Lynn department store, which is set for demolition.

Officials have recommended that plans to replace the former Beales store with four new retail units are approved when councillors debate them next week.

But the Lynn Civic Society says more needs to be done to make the nearby Paradise Parade a more attractive prospect for developers.

The group said: “The application ignores the great picture and does nothing to counter the dereliction that now suffocates Paradise Parade.

“Building into St Dominic’s Square but not upgrading Paradise Parade is not acceptable.”

However, planners say that would require a separate guidance document to be produced for the area.

Their report to the West Norfolk Council planning committee, which will consider the plan next Monday, said: “At present no document exists.

“This sort of application is strongly supported in national guidance and local plan policy, as it seeks new and improved retail facilities and investment in the town centre.”

Applicants Vancouver GP are seeking to demolish the Broad Street premises, which closed in August, to accommodate the new units.

Documents submitted to the council as part of the application said: “The proposals are the redevelopment on the site of 2-10 Broad Street to create new retail units that meet the demands of current multiple store users.

“It is envisaged that the redeveloped site will be divided into one two-storey 20,000sq.ft. unit on the corner of St Dominic Square and New Conduit Street, and connected to 12-14 St Dominic Square, by three smaller two-storey retail units.

“Because of the existing configuration of the units and the lack of architectural merit of the existing buildings, the intention is to demolish the existing buildings and provide notable retail units that fulfil the requirements of multiple store users and have merit architecturally.”

The plan proposes a similar service yard to the current arrangement, though the applicants say ramped access would be provided in order to improve unloading capacity.

But the society said: “The large unsightly service area highlights the isolation of the Post Office from the retail area and makes it a less attractive prospect for developers.

“There needs to be an overall plan for Paradise Parade.”

Planners say an existing retail kiosk would have to be moved to make way for the new development and a maple tree would also have to be removed.

The Civic Society has called for the tree to be replaced, insisting the town centre “can’t afford” the loss of the tree.

It has also demanded that existing seating in the area is replaced if the development is allowed to proceed.

But, despite environment officials calling for a new planting arrangement as another possible alternative, planners say they do not believe such provision is necessary.