Businessman issues warning over future of former King’s Lynn post office site

Alfie Rake had hoped to re-develop the former Lynn Post Office
Alfie Rake had hoped to re-develop the former Lynn Post Office
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The company which owns Lynn’s former Post Office says it hopes to sell the site this year, despite criticism from a local businessman who wanted to buy the building.

Telereal Trillium was granted planning permission in December 2013 for a £9 million project to turn the vacant building in Baxter’s Plain into flats, offices, shops, and a medical centre.

But nothing has happened in the 16 months since West Norfolk Council approved the plan and the building has remained closed.

The site has stood empty since the Post Office moved into the WH Smith store in 2007.

A spokesman said: “The combined BT property and Old Post Office remains on the market with agent Bidwells. There has been a steady flow of interest, albeit not at a viable sale price to date.

“Telereal Trillium hopes to achieve a sale of the property in 2015, bringing this important building back into use in the short-to-medium term.

“We will continue to review other viable options for the property, including developing out the property ourselves in conjunction with a local partner, if interest from a commercial occupier materialises.”

Hunstanton entrepreneur Alfie Rake had hoped to buy the building to create offices, a restaurant and flats.

He had put in two offers of £350,000 and £450,000 which were not accepted, but has now backed away from the plan. He estimates the site will need between £1.5 million and £2 million worth of work. He also paid for a £6,000 structural survey of the building.

Mr Rake, who is unhappy with his treatment, said: “One of the reasons I looked at this building is that I’m from Lynn.

“The Post Office was always a focal point for shopping in Lynn. It is a beautiful building which has been allowed to decay for seven years.

“The wood panels in the Post Office area came from a bridge in London.

“The panels are still in there. If it is not sorted soon, all the damp is going to get into the wood.”

He added: “The whole building is in such a sad state. In seven years time, there won’t be a building there. It will be a pile of rubble.”

Leader of West Norfolk Council Nick Daubney said the building is important to the people of Lynn.

He said: “It would be really good to get something happening with that building and whatever the council can do to help to make that happen should be done.

“The building means a lot to the people of Lynn.

“There are possibilities to protect that building and that should be something the next council administration should investigate.”

Telereal Trillium’s original plans included 27 flats along with shops, a cafe and medical centre.