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King’s Lynn residents have their say on what should happen to Carnegie library building





With the future of Lynn’s Carnegie library up in the air, residents have had their say on what they think should be done with the historic building.

Norfolk County Council told the Lynn News that it has effectively ruled out turning the premises into flats – but there remain concerns that a lack of quick action could lead them lying empty.

Cllr Alex Kemp, who has been vocal in her criticism of Lynn Town Deal plans to re-house the services in the old Argos store on New Conduit Street, is worried that history could repeat itself – with the library lying empty just like the town’s Post Office.

Lynn residents have had their say on what they think should happen to the Carnegie library building
Lynn residents have had their say on what they think should happen to the Carnegie library building

But with the county council set to invite community groups to apply to take on the building, which has operated as a library since opening in 1905, there lies an opportunity to keep it up and running come 2025.

We asked our readers what they think should happen to the Carnegie building when the library services are moved, and they came up with a range of ideas.

However, many slammed the decision to change its use at all.

Readers Josephine Abbott, Julie Bush and Helen Vickerstaff were among those who called for it to stay as a library – backing Cllr Kemp’s idea.

Jacqueline Wright said: “It should stay as a library. It is part of the town’s history, opposite The Walks which is also part of the town.

“People like to come to Lynn and visit all the historical parts. We have a lot of history in Lynn and once it is gone it can never be replaced.”

Dawn Payne argued that the Carnegie is “one of the few buildings in Lynn that is being used for its original purpose and should be preserved as such”, while Afton Cochran said: “Carnegie intended it as a library. Leave it alone.”

However, there were other suggestions – with James Mann suggesting that it would make “lovely flats” in a desirable location due to its close proximity to the town centre.

Jan Jackson said it could be used as a wedding venue, registrar's office or tourist information point while keeping its interior features intact, but that converting it into properties would be “disrespectful”.

Marlene Hyland suggested transforming it into a heritage centre, with Teresa Bayford touting a wellbeing centre for women and children in need.

The vast majority, however, made their view clear – they think the library services should stay in the Carnegie building.

Jill Richardson said: “Carnegie came to Lynn to open this library. It is a fine building, full of history and suits its original purpose.

“Who would want to move the contents leaving this lovely structure with an uncertain future? I am so surprised this has been allowed to happen.”

Angie Ranshaw said the library was a part of her childhood and should be kept as it is, while Shelly Porter-Good said it is “stunning and should be preserved as it is”.

Norfolk County Council and West Norfolk Council have told the Lynn News that they are set to kick-start a process that will allow community groups to apply to take on the historic library.

It is hoped a suitor can be found by 2024, giving them at least a year to join in with the planning process before services make the switch.

A spokesperson from the county council said: “Norfolk County Council and West Norfolk Council are committed to finding the right option for the future of the Carnegie building that fits with the interests of the community and the council’s overall plans for the town and its heritage assets.”



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