King's Lynn Innovation Centre to be handed back to council after loan talks
A business hub on the edge of Lynn is set to go back into council control following talks over a multi-million pound loan for the site.
Questions have been raised over the King's Lynn Innovation Centre (KLIC) in recent weeks after its operators, Norfolk and Waveney Enterprise Services (NWES) failed to repay loans due last month.
And one councillor has called for an independent inquiry into the matter.
But now, West Norfolk Council leaders say a series of measures have been agreed following discussions between them and NWES bosses.
The authority says business activity and support services will continue as normal "while the formal handover of the building is effected" and agreement has also been reached over loan interest payments and moves to seek an independent commercial valuation of the building.
Alistair Beales, the borough council's cabinet member for corporate projects and assets, said today: “When the King’s Lynn Innovation Centre scheme was first put forward, we wanted to secure a high calibre, iconic building in King’s Lynn. The premises would become an anchor building and a business investment and development hub within the Nar Ouse Regeneration Area and more specifically within the Nar Ouse Business Park Enterprise Zone.
“Our outcomes have been achieved. The building is now home to numerous businesses – start-ups and expanding businesses, and is currently 94 per cent occupied.
"Planning permission for commercial units has been granted elsewhere on the Nar Ouse Regeneration Area as well as for a new car dealership and servicing centre. This area is really starting to develop. None of these developments would happen without public sector intervention.
“We are pleased that by working in partnership with the New Anglia LEP and NWES that we have been able to achieve these outcomes.
"Our focus now is to continue to work collaboratively with NWES to secure repayment of the loan and finalise the financial arrangements with NWES which will achieve the best outcome for our taxpayers.”
NWES chief executive Jo Clarke said: "We are proud of the huge endeavour which has resulted in the successful development and ongoing management of the KLIC building. The economic impact KLIC has delivered in respect of both business support and as a catalyst for future development of the Nar Ouse site cannot be underestimated.
"We look forward to our continued partnership with the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk as we complete arrangements for the handover, while the valued support services we deliver from Klic to clients and tenants continue uninterrupted.”