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Reviewing progress on £25million deal for King’s Lynn

In his weekly column, MP James Wild discusses the King’s Lynn Town Deal Board and the £25million agreed with the government...

On Friday, King’s Lynn Town Deal Board holds it latest meeting to review progress on the projects to be delivered as part of the £25million deal agreed with the government. These exciting projects will boost skills, enhance our cultural heritage and opportunities in the creative sector at St George’s Guildhall, provide a new community hub, enhance the riverfront area, and improve travel around town.

The Board brings together private sector, public sector, council representatives and officers to drive progress in these projects. They were shaped by public consultation with residents, businesses, and charitable organisations and then agreed with government based on individual business cases. £25 million is an unprecedented investment in the town – Lynn was identified as a priority area for funding by the government.

St George’s Guildhall in Lynn
St George’s Guildhall in Lynn

This is real funding that is already making a positive difference. Just look at the School of Nursing Studies at the College of West Anglia which was our first project. £600,000 of funding along with additional funds from the CWA and partnership with QEH has created level 5 nursing apprenticeship training to provide a pipeline of local people to move into the NHS.

In addition to the Town Deal, there is the £24million Southgate levelling up fund bid led by Norfolk County Council to improve traffic flows and the entrance to our historic town.

Therefore, it was disappointing to read comments by the new Leader of the Borough Council in the Lynn News that the government was throwing out “funny money” and stating some of the projects shouldn’t have been started – rather than welcoming major investments for Lynn. Positive collaborative working has been central to realising our vision, so it was surprising to see this process referred to negatively as having “soaked” up officer time instead of recognising the hard work of the many people involved to deliver projects with the potential to make a huge difference to the town.

Of course, the focus is not just on Lynn. When there was the opportunity for the borough to bid for levelling up funding, I worked with then Council Leader Stuart Dark to prioritise a bid for the Oasis centre in Hunstanton. While ultimately unsuccessful, through the Hunstanton Advisory Group that was established based on the Town Deal Board model much work has been done to progress ideas there.

At last week’s meeting, I was pleased to hear about progress on potential measures to improve the town, looking at the leisure offer, signposting, facilities for young people and more. As other funding opportunities arise, we will be better prepared to bid for projects.

Levelling up is about spreading opportunities. Lynn is benefiting from this agenda and this Conservative government has also committed to build a new QEH by 2030 – which the National Audit Office estimates could be a £1billion investment – as well as a new diagnostic assessment centre and health hub in South Lynn.

My commitment is to continue working constructively through the Town Deal Board – with representatives of different parties, with the borough, and private and public sector partners to make Lynn an even better place to live, work, and visit.

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