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King's Lynn Corn Exchange works may clash with the Mart, organisers say, as potential for alternative location raised




Concerns have been raised over works to a Lynn theatre potentially disrupting the organisers of a historic fair.

Officials from The Showmen’s Guild, who run the Mart in the Tuesday Market Place every February, claim there could be a potential clash next year.

Speaking during a full council meeting on Thursday, Andrew Nixon of the Guild said works to the Corn Exchange could interfere with the Mart.

The King's Lynn Mart at night as seen from above. Picture: Matthew Usher
The King's Lynn Mart at night as seen from above. Picture: Matthew Usher

Six days of council works have been disputed by Guild as it could clash with them packing up funfair equipment and leaving.

In response, deputy leader of the council Elizabeth Nockolds said: “The dates had already been specified for when the work needed to be done. You had enough chance and we are happy to assist if there are any problems when you are known to be leaving.”

She added that the potential for an alternative location has been offered to the Guild but there had previously been no reply.

The King's Lynn Corn Exchange on the Tuesday Market Place where significant restoration work will be taking place
The King's Lynn Corn Exchange on the Tuesday Market Place where significant restoration work will be taking place

Mrs Nockolds added: “I have always supported the Showmen’s Guild and have attended the Mart since 1960.

“You stated that you feel we have ignored you during the last eight months, but as far I understand, we have been corresponding with you through several letters, one of which took you no less than eight weeks to reply to.

“Unfortunately you held a meeting in Yaxley in late July which we could not attend. A letter of explanation was given, with the reasons that we were evaluating the implications of your request.”

Substantial works will be undertaken to refurbish the Corn Exchange after being passed by the council’s planning committee in July.

Both internal and external changes have been scheduled to take place including a new roof structure and the development of an access stair and lift inside.

Mrs Nockolds said that West Norfolk Council’s cabinet recommended a rolling six-year agreement between the Guild and council in June 2014.

“This was agreed and we have both been working within that programme,” Mrs Nockolds added.

She also stated that the number of operational days for the period of 2018 to 2022 were discussed during a further meeting in November 2017.

Following this, a letter was reportedly sent in October this year informing the Guild that the council was unable to vary from the contract for the 2020 Mart.

Mrs Nockolds said: “We have reviewed the notes of our meeting with the Guild Solicitor during the drafting of the contract and they show that the dates were scrutinised as part of the meeting before the agreement was signed.

“It is unfortunate this anomaly was not recognised at the time. We have worked in good faith in planning other projects.”

Donald Gray and Jane Brown of the Guild both said they are unable to comment at present.


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