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King's Lynn traffic plan alternative to Southgate is 'sensible', Lynn News letters

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This already has currency among many who value this 1437 treasure at the entrance to our town.

Yes, it straddles the main road into town, and it is pleasant to pass through it. But it was designed for people and horses, not for the 10,000 and more vehicles an hour that are now its only traffic.

Unless you are on the top deck of the open bus that is such a welcome part of Heritage Open Day, you cannot see the vaulted underside of the South Gate roof with its intricate carvings, nor the beginnings of the fan tracery in two corners, where the Mayor ordered local builders to undertake a less costly completion of the roof in 1520.

King's Lynn's Southgate
King's Lynn's Southgate

The volunteers who open the South Gate for visitors during the summer have long been promoting an approach for its future where greater use could be made of its amazing interior.

Some of the volunteers like to entertain modern visitors by imagining how important visitors to the town were greeted by the Mayor and Burgesses in the South Gate’s elegant and spacious top room, before accompanying them along Southgate Street to the Town Hall for the welcoming banquet.

Many who have seen the top room agree that it would be an amazing venue for gatherings such as poetry readings, talks and music.

The South Gate is just across the road from the small park to the east. That park needs to be round the South Gate. Then pedestrians, runners and cyclists can use it and appreciate it.

Motor vehicles can go east round the gate, over the old toilets, the hidden watercourse and the buried air raid shelter, to the Savage statue. There should be room for two lanes in each direction.

That would mean a new lease of life for the South Gate, in much the same way as our Hanseatic cousins in Lubeck have surrounded their historic entrance gate with a well-used pedestrian park, and kept vehicles at a distance.

The River Nar runs not far away, and there is already a riverside walk from the South Gate that links into the Nar outfall.

With updating, that would make a pleasant walk from the South Quay to the South Gate. There is an argument that London Road narrows to two lanes soon after it leaves the South Gate.

But it is not logical to disregard improvements to one stretch of a road because improvements have not yet been made to another stretch a bit further on. Lynn sorely needs improvements to its roads and traffic.

It is impractical to rebuild it all again. In my view, the new plan for the South Gate is a sensible adjustment for today’s needs, opening up new possibilities for the future of this historic town.

Ken Hill,

King Staithe Square, Lynn

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