Further harsh criticism of council's concept for traffic scheme at King's Lynn's South Gate
King's Lynn Preservation Trust says it has "very serious concerns" about the proposals for road changes at the South Gate.
The trust has warned West Norfolk Council that re-routing traffic to bypass the gateway would erode the significance of the South Gate and insists that the town's historic assets should not be "sidelined".
In a letter to council chief executive Lorraine Gore, trust chairman Nicholas Balaam says: "Entrance to the town through the gates and along London Road is a spectacular introduction to the town. These proposals will deprive visitors of that very special sense of arrival that is given by passing through a major historic gateway.
"Setting it to one side of the carriageway will take it out of the direct public view and assign it a purely decorative role. King’s Lynn’s historic assets should be centre stage in proposals to revitalise the town – not sidelined in this way."
Mr Balaam, who was writing on behalf of the trust, suggested that the best way of preserving the South Gate and its significance to the town was to divert larger vehicles via alternative routes or to limit their size.
"It is completely unrealistic to imagine that the proposed new road layout will significantly improve traffic flow and aid the economic well-being of the town," he wrote. "We should not be repeating the mistakes of the 1960s and 70s when so much of the historic environment was sacrificed to make way for the motor car."
He added: "We urge you to make much better use of any new funds that you receive to improve the town’s heritage offer – including refurbishment and re-use of existing town centre buildings to restore the community to the town centre."
The trust's comments follow stinging criticism from a former chief executive of Heritage England , Lynn resident Simon Thurley.
He said the council's submission for funding from the Future High Street Fund was an important opportunity but its idea for a new three-lane highway through Southgates Park was not the way forward.
Mr Thurley said the park is a "treasured local amenity" and must not be lost under a "concrete flyover".
He added: "People want better quality, more accessible open spaces, not more roads.”
Under the council's scheme, there would be a paved carriageway through the South Gate.
The local authority said last week that it was a concept for the purpose of a funding submission and should funding be approved, the design would be refined after talks with stakeholders and a public consultation.