£1 million rise in King’s Lynn development project costs revealed

Nora plans South Lynn ENGANL00120110414090404
Nora plans South Lynn ENGANL00120110414090404
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Council leaders are being asked to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds more to continue the development of a major project in Lynn, a new report has revealed.

Work on the first phase of the Nar Ouse Regeneration Area (NORA) scheme is expected to be completed by the end of May and officials are now seeking approval to start phase two.

But a report to next Tuesday’s cabinet meeting shows the expected cost of that stage of the project has risen by more than £1 million to almost £10.5 million.

And the council is now being asked to consider spending an extra £425,000 to build nine affordable homes on the land.

Of those, seven would then be made available for sale, with the other two being offered for rent.

The report says the homes that are made available for sale after the work is completed would then be worth at least £320,000 to the authority.

Other options set out in the report include the joint investment of cash by the borough and Norfolk County Council.

However, the document states that the county is not prepared to make a further financial investment in the scheme.

Another alternative would be to halt the project altogether.

But the report says the preferred option of regeneration portfolio holder Alistair Beales is to continue with the project and build the affordable units.

The document also reveals that sales from phase one have gone well, with 42 of the 54 homes built in that stage of the project having already been reserved.

Two sales have been completed and contracts have been exchanged on five more properties.

Lead officer Dale Gagen wrote: “The council, as developer, could also argue the case for the affordable provision to be removed due to the viability of the scheme, in the same way a private developer would.

“However, this scheme has always been considered a regeneration scheme rather than a normal housing development and this is represented in the quality of the scheme and is one of the reasons why the scheme is expensive to deliver.”

The site is being developed through a joint venture enterprise set up in April 2010 through an agreement between the borough and county councils.

Contracts were first signed in October 2013 and contractors began work on the first phase in February 2013.