Council urged to lead West Norfolk’s economic resurgence

Business news from the Lynn News,, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
Business news from the Lynn News,, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
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Council chiefs must be at the forefront of efforts to bring increased trade and tourism to West Norfolk, two committees have warned.

The plea was made as reports of the economic and heritage task groups set up by West Norfolk Council were presented to the authority’s ruling cabinet on Tuesday.

Members accepted a recommendation to prioritise early action to develop more of the Nar Ouse Regeneration Area (NORA) land, which the council says has the potential to generate around 1,000 new jobs.

The authority’s commercial portfolio will also be reviewed, while location maps will be provided at the rail and bus stations.

And environmental improvements, such as tree planting, will be carried out at key gateway sites, such as Nar Ouse Way and the area around the Southgates roundabout.

They also agreed that the council should focus on four common areas of concern – regeneration of the waterfront, improvements to town entrances including the Southgates roundabout, improved marketing of the town and enhancing the town’s heritage and core retail areas.

However, the economic group, who made 28 separate recommendations, determined that the long-proposed marina project for Lynn should no longer be a regeneration priority as it will be “commercially unviable” in the short and medium term, up to the year 2030.

They said that assets which were currently allocated to the marina project should be used elsewhere.

But committee chairman Tom de Winton said the growing interest in his own business indicated that the years of recession were now over.

He said: “This is the time for King’s Lynn to ride the crest of the wave, rather than chasing behind in the trough.”

Mr de Winton, who represents the Brancaster ward, said business leaders in the borough were looking to the council to support their endeavours to sustain economic growth.

He added: “We can’t do it all on our own but I think they expect the borough council to take a positive lead.”

As first reported in the Lynn News in January, the heritage task group made 16 separate recommendations for enhancing, promoting and protecting the town’s historic sites.

But the group’s chairman, Zipha Christopher, said there were other buildings which were in a “terrible state”, adding: “We need a lot more time to survey them properly.”

She suggested that a second task group should be appointed to continue their work and a dedicated cabinet portfolio for heritage should be created.

A suggestion of a cabinet portfolio for marketing the borough in other parts of the country was also made, though the meeting felt that one portfolio encompassing both roles was more sensible.

Alistair Beales, cabinet member for regeneration, paid tribute to the “passion” of the two task groups and the range of ideas they put forward.

But he cautioned that measures to promote the borough more widely had to provide value for money for the area’s taxpayers.

He said: “We have to be extremely careful. This is about marketing and PR, not just getting the cheque book out.”