Delight at £25m boost for King's Lynn
Town Deal Board members were delighted to hear today's Government announcement, that King's Lynn's Town Deal Board had been allocated the maximum amount of £25 million to press ahead with a range of projects.
Graham Purkins, chief technical officer of Merxin, and chairman of the Town Deal Board, said: "We are delighted to receive notification that our King’s Lynn’s Town Investment Plan submission has been successful.
"The collaborative working between the Town Deal Board and borough council in conjunction with valuable and constructive engagement with the local community enabled us to submit a strong proposal through which we have secured the maximum possible amount of funding.
"This is a significant achievement, and I would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and commitment that has made it possible.
"Last year we received a smaller amount through the Accelerated Towns Deal Funding which has enabled us to start improvements to our town centre and the initiation of a new School of Nursing in partnership with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the College of West Anglia. We are already making a difference.
"Receiving the Towns Fund money will now enable us to start the process of delivering the broader range of projects identified in our plan and help us all work towards a brighter and more prosperous future for King’s Lynn.”
The projects are split into four general themes: - economic productivity through urban regeneration, planning and land use; skills and enterprise; and infrastructure and connectivity.
Stuart Dark, leader of West Norfolk Council and borough’s lead representative on the Town Deal Board, added: "This announcement is really great news for the town, as it brings significant external investment to a range of priority projects that combine to deliver major improvement. All the projects submitted in the bid were developed through consultation with the public and engagement with stakeholders and local businesses through the Town Deal Board we established as part of the required process.
"I am delighted that central government has recognised the need for this funding in King's Lynn and can see, through the strength of our bid and board, the clear benefit that can be realised here.
"We are awaiting the exact details of the next steps but are so pleased the exciting work of bringing the projects to fruition with partners, in consultation with stakeholders and the wider community, can now begin to start in earnest.
Commenting on today's announcement from the government’s Towns Fund, North West Norfolk MP James Wild, said: “I’m delighted to have helped secure this major investment to boost skills, improve the town centre, promote our strong Shakespeare links and heritage, and support new and growing businesses.
“With funding already secured for a new School of Nursing Studies, North West Norfolk is really benefitting from the government’s commitment to spread opportunity and level up.
“I now look forward to helping deliver these ambitious plans as part of the Towns Fund board and making Lynn an even better place to live, work, and visit."
Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for growing the economy, said: “This investment is great news for King’s Lynn, and for Norfolk.
"The funding will not only help revitalise the historic heart of one of our major towns, but provide a kick-start for new jobs, training offers and improving skills that will all help to boost the economy of King’s Lynn and underpin the growth plans for decades to come.
“It’s a real opportunity to level up the town and deliver new opportunities for the people of West Norfolk and I look forward to seeing the plans for King’s Lynn develop, and to working with the borough council to make those plans a reality.”
Vicky Etheridge, BID manager of Discover King's Lynn, said the delivery of the grant should prove a game-changer for Lynn, where key buildings such as Debenhams and Argos need to be given a use going forward.
"I think you have to concentrate on key buildings."
She said: "There are various things it will go towards, skills, reshaping the town centre, changing the public realm and reusing empty units. But also we have to make sure that what we have stays."
It was important to see the riverside better connected to the town centre. "We have to be aspirational and bold, to take that change that is happening that bit further," she said.
Further details about the Town Investment Plan and Town Deal Fund projects can be viewed at www.visionkingslynn.co.uk.