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New plans for £25 million King's Lynn Town Deal cash injection outlined



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Millions of pounds more are set to be committed to two major Lynn town centre projects under proposals to go before councillors next week.

Updated investment plans have been drawn up for the planned redevelopment of the St George's Guildhall and a new multi-user community hub which would replace the town's library.

But the measures would also see investment in the town's riverfront and new transport schemes reduced.

The St George's Guildhall in King's Lynn (17566172)
The St George's Guildhall in King's Lynn (17566172)

The plans have emerged within final business cases for projects earmarked for investment in the long-awaited £25 million Town Deal allocation to Lynn from the government.

Although the money was first earmarked for the town nearly a year ago, final signoff is still required for the schemes put forward to benefit from it.

A new report, outlining how the money is intended to be used, has now been published ahead of two special West Norfolk Council sessions which are due to take place next week.

King's Lynn library (44887268)
King's Lynn library (44887268)

The main changes see the amounts earmarked for the Guildhall and hub projects increased to around £8.1 million and £7.4 million respectively, from around £4.8 million and £4.3 million previously.

The total planned to be spent on regeneration of the town's riverfront has been cut from £6.4 million to £4.2 million, while plans for active and clean connectivity will also have their investment reduced from £6.7 million to around £4.2 million.

A further £1.7 million, previously set aside for repurposing empty retail units has also been reallocated.

A council report said a new masterplan for the Guildhall site "provides the facilities required to service a creative hub for businesses, and visitor attraction by day, and performing arts theatre by night."

It continued: "Updated costings were completed to reflect the change in scope and also factored in the current market conditions and cost uncertainty due to supply chain constraints on raw materials, particularly for specialist materials required for works to listed buildings.

"This has resulted in increased outputs and project costs."

On the hub, the council said consultations held late last year had called for greater emphasis to be placed on job creation work and the development of "sustainable" commercial activities.

The report said the facility, which has been controversial because of the plan to move the library from its current home on London Road, would also offer health support and increase town centre footfall.

It added that plans to convert empty shops into housing and leisure spaces were "unlikely" to be delivered within the Town Deal project.

The report said some of the envisaged benefits could be delivered through the multi-user community hub project instead.

It added: "As a building has not been able to be found / secured, it was increasingly clear that the project was not deliverable within the Town Deal timescales."

Officials also said changes to the borough's local plan were one of the factors that led to investment in riverfront regeneration being reduced.

The papers said proposals to reduce the number of homes envisaged in the Boal Quay area to 50, from as many as 400, had "created uncertainty" about the potential value for money of the scheme.

Meanwhile, the council says investment in active connectivity will now focus on improvements to the walking and cycling bridge over the railway line, a travel hub on the Nar Ouse Enterprise Zone and work to support six town organisations in developing travel plans.

The new proposals are due to be discussed at a special meeting of the borough council's regeneration and development panel next Monday, June 6, and a cabinet meeting two days later.



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