The Artful Codger, May 15, 2015: Now no need to Bolt

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One of the more promising aspects of the refurbishment work at Lynn Bus Station is the provision of additional free short term car parking.

In particular, the one-hour stay parking area at the top of Railway Road, next to the Blackfriars Road junction, should prove popular with people wanting to make a swift trip into the centre.

Not everyone visiting the town centre has the sprinting ability of Usain Bolt, especially us older citizens, and the 30 minute stay parking areas around the old Post Office or in King Street, or outside St Nicholas Chapel, are hardly sufficient for anything but the most cursory of visits.

As for the 20 minute parking slots on the Tuesday Market Place, I am at a loss to think what you could usefully do in that time, and get back to your car, without running the risk of a parking ticket.

I would have thought such a mean-minded approach would actually put people off using the town centre, rather than encouraging them to bring their custom to Lynn.

Fortunately, the numbers of people in the town centre always appear to be quite healthy whenever I visit, and the Vancouver Quarter management assure us that “footfall” is always on the rise.

Whether footfall equates to people actually spending on a generous scale is more difficult to gauge. And does the increase in people living in or near the town centre, in all the recent in-fill developments, also mean that there are more people around the centre at any given time?

The only real barometer for the economic health of the town centre is the number of businesses either opening or closing, and in recent times there have been more new arrivals than closures, which is a positive sign.

Now that the General Election is behind us, we can only hope that economic activity picks up and that West Norfolk benefits – certainly it is well placed to be part of any surge in the East of England.

While I have been banging on about the jobs potential created by the boom city of Cambridge, our other not-so-distant neighbour, Norwich, has also been making big strides in the field of technology and is, potentially, another careers powerhouse.

Now that it is linked into the national dual carriageway network via the A11, its prospects for a rosy future have been considerable enhanced, and its pull may be drawing in more and more people from mid and west Norfolk.

It’s a shame we don’t have a better rail link to Norwich, other than going via Ely. But who knows what the future might bring if the demand is there?

After all, as the crow flies, Norwich is probably as close to Lynn as Cambridge.