Plans go on show for market place in King’s Lynn

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Ambitious plans to revamp Lynn’s Saturday Market Place have been welcomed by civic leaders and residents – but a proposed one-way system could lead to “rat-runs”.

The concern was raised when plans for the £500,000 scheme went on display at the Town Hall at the start of a four-week public consultation on Friday.

Several people went along to have their say on the plans, which would introduce a one-way system with traffic flowing through Saturday Market Place towards St James Street and Church Street.

West Norfolk Council and Norfolk County Council also want to create wider pavements and outside eating areas, while reducing car parking spaces, to not only create a safer and more attractive environment, but also improve pedestrian links between the High Street and St Margaret’s Church.

The authorities also want to improve access to the town hall and give the venue a larger archive facility. The overall response to the plans was positive, but local historian and chair of Lynn Civic Society, Alison Gifford, expressed some concern about the one-way system.

She wondered whether motorists, no longer able to drive west from the Saturday Market Place to College Lane to get to South Quay, would dart along narrower roads such as Priory Lane and Nelson Street, to avoid a longer drive via Boal Street.

She said: “What looks good on paper can sometimes be problematic in the real world. Traffic could be displaced and it could lead to rat-running.”

She said the Civic Society was in favour of the scheme as a whole, as it would help make the most of an historic part of town and put the needs of the pedestrian first.

She also said the proposed new surfacing work and loss of 11 car parking spaces to provide a better link between the High Street and the church was a “considerable improvement”.

A retired Lynn resident, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s a very good step forward in the presentation of the town. All we need now is for the town’s two historic car parks (Baker Lane and Church Street) to be turned into flats so we have the residents to be able to make the Saturday Market Place what it used to be.”

David Wardale, Norfolk County Council project engineer, said response to the plans had been “pretty positive”.

He added: “One-way systems can be tough to get right and the devil will be in the detail. People have been quite positive about it though and I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to show case the buildings and the whole area.”