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King's Lynn Guildhall sub-groups set up for £25million town bid

Two subgroups have been set up for Lynn's Guildhall ahead of a funding announcement later this month, after the Town Board submitted a £25million bid for a town deal.

The venue has been the subject of debate since a £6million refurbishment bid was submitted in September last year to revamp the prestigious town landmark.

Now the Town Board, known as Vision King's Lynn, is establishing a range of subgroups as part of their plans under the Town Investment Plan.

St George's Guildhall, King's Lynn (45034404)
St George's Guildhall, King's Lynn (45034404)

Cllr Graham Middleton, borough council cabinet member for business development, said: “We have some really exciting opportunities coming up, with several funding streams having been announced, including the Levelling Up and UK Community Renewal Fund which was announced in the budget.

"We want to make sure that we are poised and ready to act on those opportunities to secure investment. This is far and away the most comprehensive plan that we have ever had for the town, bringing several streams of work together, all aimed at making the town a vibrant and thriving place where people want to live, work, visit and invest."

Graham Purkins, chair of the Town's Board, said: "Our Town Investment Plan sets out our high level vision for King's Lynn. The next step is to work up the detailed concepts and plans for individual projects to ensure they are based on robust information and deliver maximum impact.

An audience in the St George's Guildhall in King's Lynn (45034410)
An audience in the St George's Guildhall in King's Lynn (45034410)

"We plan to establish focused sub-groups, chaired by members of the Town Deal Board and with project specific membership, to help progress these plans and ideas. We are currently working up the terms of reference for these groups and will then be enrolling participants."

Already established sub-groups include the Guildhall and Creative Hub Stakeholder and Community Group and Guildhall and Creative Hub Advisory Group which have been set the goal of overseeing the evolution of St George's Guildhall and "creating a permanently sustainable model of operation that is inclusive and accessible."

The groups will be chaired by Michael Baldwin, vice chair of the Town Deal Board, and will include representatives from the borough council, Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Museums Service and the National Trust, along with theatre operation specialists.

The St George's Guildhall in King Street, King's Lynn (45034407)
The St George's Guildhall in King Street, King's Lynn (45034407)

The Guildhall and Creative Hub Stakeholder and Community Group will als have space for representatives from local theatre and arts groups, potential users of the venue and anyone with an interest in the creative industries. Anyone interested in being part of this stakeholder and community group should register their interest using the contact form on the visionkingslynn.co.uk website.

Other sub-groups will include the Skills Working Group which will be led by NCC and will aim to explore what skills and support are needed with support from the College of West Anglia, Department for Work and Pensions and UEA.

Accelerated funding has already been secured for a School of Nursing Studies in partnership with the College of West Anglia, Anglia Ruskin University, and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Construction on which is due to start imminently.

There will also be a Youth Forum which hope to have representation from the Youth Parliament and are seeking interest from anyone aged 16-30.

The Town Centre Repurposing & Public Realm Working Group will explore ideas and opportunities and to look for additional sources of funding to the £153,000 that has already been secured from Government.

The group will be looking at how vacant buildings can be repurposed to support the on-going vibrancy of the town centre with the support of town centre businesses, the Civic Society, Preservation Trust and relevant specialists.

Cllr Graham Middleton added: "We have great representation on the Town Deal Board, but we recognise the need to have broader engagement and involvement from a wider range of specialists and interested parties.

"The plans and projects and under the themes within the Town Investment Plan are all based on public consultation, but as with all plans, these will evolve and develop over time and we want to harness the best minds, the most enthusiastic people and the right skills to ensure that we can absolutely capitalise on the opportunities that may present themselves.

“I would urge any young people to come forward if they want to get involved in the Youth Forum and any arts, creative, digital or theatre groups to come forward if they want to be involved in the Guildhall and Creative Hub Stakeholder and Community Group. It is vital that we demonstrate to funders that we have a plan that the community is behind, and that all parties are working together to achieve the same goal.”

For more information about the Town’s Board or the Town Investment Plan submission visit www.visionkingslynn.co.uk.

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