£25million masterplan to help King's Lynn thrive is close to completion
A masterplan on how £25million of funding would be used to enhance Lynn is expected to be submitted to the government by the end of next month.
The plan promises to provide more cultural and leisure opportunities, new homes and a revived waterfront.
It would utilise £25m allocated to King’s Lynn in 2019 through the Towns Fund, which was set up to drive economic regeneration. The plan must include projects focused on the themes of urban regeneration, planning and land use, skills and enterprise infrastructure, and connectivity.
The hope is that a deal on the proposals can be agreed with the government by the end of next March.
Graham Purkins, chairman of the Town Board developing the plan through Vision King's Lynn, said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity for King’s Lynn, to deliver a plan of activity that can bring huge benefits for the town.
“We have much to be proud of in King’s Lynn and with this investment, and through our plan, we can make the most of our very many assets and enhance the town to be a place where people want and
aspire to be.”
The most recent part of consultation to help shape the plan was a workshop for town centre businesses last Wednesday, including a discussion on opportunities and challenges, and investment in the public realm.
Vision King's Lynn surveys this summer helped the board understand business and consumer confidence in the town in light of Covid-19. Respondents said they would like to see outdoor seating areas and short-term pop-up shops in the town.
Mr Purkins said: “The consultation which we have been carrying out gives us a really useful insight into some of the needs and priorities for businesses and consumers going forward.
“It is clear that Covid-19 has had an impact in the town, but the resilience and adaptability of businesses and consumers has also been revealed by our research.
“The plan that we are developing will form part of the recovery and renewal of King’s Lynn and so the feedback we have received, at the workshop and in the surveys, is extremely useful. I am really grateful for everyone who took the time to have their say.”
This summer's surveys were held just prior to the reopening of non-essential retail and engaged 276 consumers and 72 businesses. The research found:
The consumer insight survey found that the main purpose people had for coming in was non-essential shopping and there had been a big shift in online reliance, including banking.
Some 87 per cent of businesses who took part in the survey said that the pandemic had had a negative impact upon them but 64 per cent were confident they could recover. Respondents said they would like financial support and help with marketing the town and bringing footfall in.
Further opportunities for people to give feedback on the plan and its projects will be offered.
Meanwhile, in a separate move, West Norfolk Council has made a submission for £21.6m in grant funding to the Future High Streets Fund.
If successful in the competitive funding process, with match funding, the total investment in King’s Lynn town centre through the Future High Streets programme could be in the region of £35.5m.
The proposed projects are:
- community hub - a modern, shared space in the heart of the town with a range of services including a relocated library. An artist's impression shows it to be at Baxter's Plain, where the former Argos store was.
- town centre housing - more than 150 homes over a ten-year period, using existing car parking space
- St George’s Guildhall refurbishment (estimated £6million) - creating a new heritage and cultural attraction
- South Gate gateway - to improve traffic flow around the town and to protect the historic entrance at South Gate as a visitor attraction
In September 2019 the government invited 100 places to develop proposals for a Town Deal, as part of the £3.6billion Towns Fund.
West Norfolk Council was given a grant of £162,019 to to support the development of a Town Deal Board and Investment Plan.