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Social housing now occupies ex-video store in King's Lynn


By Lynn News Reporter


Residents are set to move into the new Freebridge Community Housing flats built on the site of the former Blockbusters video store in Railway Road, Lynn.

On Wednesday, the Lynn News was given a guided tour around the property, which we have carefully followed since work began last year.

Freebridge chief executive Tony Hall and the housing association’s chairman Andy Walder were among the guides and all of us were impressed by what had been achieved by builders and architects in what has proved a challenging project.

Freebridge Community Housing New Housing and Shop Units Project nearing Completion on Railway Road King's Lynn (Former Blockbusters Site) ..(LtoR) Andy Walder (Freebridge Community Housing Board Chairman) and Tony Hall (Freebridge Community Housing Chief Executive) in one of the rooms.
Freebridge Community Housing New Housing and Shop Units Project nearing Completion on Railway Road King's Lynn (Former Blockbusters Site) ..(LtoR) Andy Walder (Freebridge Community Housing Board Chairman) and Tony Hall (Freebridge Community Housing Chief Executive) in one of the rooms.

The building now has seven one-bedroom flats and one two-bedroom flat on the first and second floor.

On the ground floor there is space for a retail unit (a non- takeaway restaurant one) on the Railway Road side and an office unit, such as an estate agency, on the Albion Road side, looking towards the bus station.

One of the Shop Units
One of the Shop Units

The height of the building has been extended so that it now stands proud of the neighbouring properties and there is a neat “wrap-around” brick feature on the front, echoing other premises in the town.

(LtoR) Tony Hall (Freebridge Community Housing Chief Executive) and Andy Walder (Freebridge Community Housing Board Chairman) in a Roof Space Room
(LtoR) Tony Hall (Freebridge Community Housing Chief Executive) and Andy Walder (Freebridge Community Housing Board Chairman) in a Roof Space Room

The rent for the two-bedroom apartment works out at £90 per week and £110 for the single-bedroom flats.

It was hoped that tenants would begin collecting their keys for flats on Wednesday, but work on the concierge system put that back a few days.

Those lucky enough to be moving in have been on the Freebridge waiting list.

Work was also still continuing this week on the shop site at the front and landscaping the front of the area on the Albion Road side.

Tenants will also need to install their own cooker and fridges on the all-electric site.

A Bathroom within the property
A Bathroom within the property

Among the problems encountered on the site was the discovery of old petrol tanks, a legacy of when it was a garage. That meant the ground had to be detoxified.

Mr Hall said: “It’s been complicated. We’ve had to do an awful lot of problem solving. It is always more of a challenge than with a clear site when you take on something of this nature.

“But has it put us off, no, I absolutely love it. This is what we want to be doing more of. This is much more rewarding – it is building a story around the fabric of the town, it has enhanced it and is bringing life into the town centre.”

Freebridge Community Housing New Housing and Shop Units Project nearing Completion on Railway Road King's Lynn (Former Blockbusters Site).
Freebridge Community Housing New Housing and Shop Units Project nearing Completion on Railway Road King's Lynn (Former Blockbusters Site).

Mr Walder said he was inspired by places such as Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire that had reinvigorated its town centre and introduced a cafe society vibe. He said: “In 20 years I’m convinced King’s Lynn will be very different and housing becomes very important in that.”



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