A parking strategy must be included in any future plans to regenerate Lynn’s riverfront area, council leaders have admitted.
Officials announced plans for a feasibility study to look at potential development ideas on three sites in the town in July.
Talks with residents’ groups, business leaders and other key stakeholders are also expected to take place next week as part of the project.
But concerns were raised about ensuring adequate parking provision in the area during a presentation to the council’s regeneration and development panel this week.
The key concern relates to the status of the nearby Boal Quay car park, part of which has been allocated for future development in a council blueprint for the future.
Panel member Chris Crofts suggested it would be “sacrilege” if the area was built on and said parking spaces near the waterfront were crucial, particularly for tourist buses.
He said: “We’ve got a heritage area in King’s Lynn that’s second to none and, in my opinion, we do not promote it.
“What I would like to see is something where tourists’ buses can park very close to site.
“It’s important we look at this. Austin Fields is the wrong end of town.”
The authority’s deputy leader Alistair Beales admitted: “If Boal Quay is developed, there will need to be a car parking strategy.”
But Elizabeth Nockolds, cabinet member for culture, heritage and health, insisted more was now being done to sell the town to visitors.
She said: “King’s Lynn is now becoming known as a festival town, always having something on in the summer.
“Of course we can always do more and the West Norfolk Tourism Forum is made up of business people. They want people to use their businesses.
“There’s a lot more to do but we’re doing a lot.”
The current study is examining the area around the Purfleet, Custom House and King Staithe Square, as well as the parking spaces on the South Quay and the visitor pontoons plus the Nar Loop, which leads up to Hardings Pits.
The work follows a number of land purchases by the council in recent months.
Panel chairman Peter Gidney said he welcomed efforts to continue development of the waterfront.
But he warned: “There have been places where they’ve overdeveloped their quayfront and lost it.”
Ostap Paparega, the authority’s regeneration and economic development manager, said access to the area was part of the feasibility study’s brief and a request had been made for a presentation on issues relating to the potential opening of the Hardings Way bus lane to additional traffic.
He said: “Implicitly we have to look at movement of people and cars in and out of the area. We have to understand the potential impact in terms of capacity and parking for visitors and residents.
“We’re trying to maximise the econ potential of the riverfront, something that will transform the area into a buzzing, vibrant place, a mini-destination that can attract more people and businesses to the area.”
Mr Beales added: “I do think overall there’s a real opportunity and we have to consider all the aspects.”