Arts boss confident King’s Lynn Guildhall bid will go on, despite lottery snub

Alison Croose is taking over from Alan Pask as chairman of the festival committee.
Alison Croose is taking over from Alan Pask as chairman of the festival committee.
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Plans to renovate Lynn’s St George’s Guildhall will continue, despite the rejection of a lottery funding bid, a leading figure in the town’s arts community says.

Earlier this week, West Norfolk Council confirmed its bid for a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant to the scheme had been turned down.

The authority had been seeking around £2.7 million to help fund development plans which it says would enable a wider range of events to take place there.

A review is not set to take place to decide how the project should move forward.

But King’s Lynn Festival chairman Alison Croose is confident the setback will not halt the scheme for good.

She said: “It is a great shame that the borough’s bid for HLF support has not been successful, especially as the council had built up a great head of steam in its determination to improve facilities at the nationally significant historic building and its associated buildings.

“Money is obviously key and I’m sure everyone involved will want to press on and investigate other ways of funding the project.”

The renovation plans were designed to enable a wider range of events, such as weddings and conferences, to be held in the hall, as well as theatre shows and concerts.

Mrs Croose said: “The proposals would have enabled the Guildhall to continue to be enjoyed as a delightful theatre and concert venue, new seating would increase its comfort and versatility and there would be a much-needed lift for the disabled.

“King’s Lynn Festival was born out of a celebration of the restoration of the Guildhall and remains a key venue for the Festival.

“Nine events are being staged there during the 67th Festival in July - and the festival exhibition is always staged in the adjoining Fermoy Art Gallery, which was also due to be updated.”

The box office for this year’s festival is due to open next month.