An initiative which will hope to “breathe life” into Lynn and its neglected historic buildings was launched yesterday.
Lynn was chosen by Historic England as one of 10 Heritage Action Zones around the country which will look to use the town’s past as a ‘catalyst’ for economic growth in the coming years.
The five-year scheme will revitalise buildings and areas, and new homes and jobs are also on the agenda.
Elizabeth Nockolds, deputy leader of West Norfolk Council and cabinet member for culture, heritage and health, said: “I think we are so fortunate that Historic England have chosen Lynn for one of the 10 zones.
“We are excited about what’s going to happen for Lynn in the future.”
Historic England’s planning director John Neale said: “From Historic England’s point of view, Lynn is a fabulous historic town. We are engaging this partnership because we believe that together, by looking hard at the history and interest of the place, and by getting investment, we can capitalise on the value of Lynn and its potential.
“People like to live and work in historic places, and Lynn hasn’t yet realised its full potential.”
The project is a partnership which includes: Historic England, West Norfolk Council, the Town Centre Partnership and the Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
West Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, King’s Lynn Business Improvement District (BID) and Norfolk County Council are all involved, too.
The town’s new status will come into effect on April 1, for which £425,000 of grant funding will be allocated.
Over the next five years, the scheme will encourage the development of affordable well-designed homes reinforcing the town’s character, find new uses for underutilised space in the town centre and provide a programme of community events to get people involved in caring for and enjoying Lynn’s heritage.
Chairman of the Town Centre Partnership Darren Taylor said: “It’s about what’s best for Lynn, as it is a real undiscovered gem.
“We can all work together for the good of our town. We haven’t been shouting loud enough about Lynn for a long time.”
Officials suggested one key area could be the waterfront, but that the development boundary extended to South Wootton, North Wootton and West Lynn.
Chief executive of the LEP Neil Darwin said: “We are really excited for you to have won the zone. Recognising the historic value of the town is so important. It’s about how the past can help the future.”
Dr Natalie Gates, principal adviser for Historic England, said: “ We want to make sure people know how special Lynn is.”
Lynn, which is the only Heritage Action Zone in the East of England, joins Coventry, Nottingham and Sunderland as one of the 10 areas selected for the first year of the national scheme.