The Artful Codger, April 17, 2015: Hopes on a King’s Lynn eyesore

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One by one, the properties on my list of Lynn eyesores are gradually being ticked off, so you can imagine how excited I was to see a planning application for the redevelopment into town houses of the former Courts store in St James Street.

This has been hovering near the top of my list for longer than I, a sprightly pensioner of 69 years, can clearly remember, so I really hope this latest proposal is the one that finally solves the problem.

Above all, I hope it is sorted for the sake of the long-suffering traders in neighbouring buildings, who have had to put up with its off-putting presence for far longer than is reasonably bearable.

To their credit, many of the traders have hung in there and established thriving businesses, rather than trying their luck elsewhere.

With the major refurbishment of the nearby Saturday Market Place now complete, the provision of new town houses at the west end entrance to St James Street would, provided they fit in with the historic ambience of the street, form a welcoming approach to what is otherwise an attractive street.

While on the subject of town centre improvements, I was heartened to read the approving comments from proud residents of the flats that have been refurbished in the first phase of the work at Hillington Square.

You only have to walk down the Millfleet and gaze at the two sides of Hillington Square to appreciate the incredible transformation taking place there.

At first glance, one could be forgiven for thinking the redeveloped flats are a new-build – they are light years away from the dated, run-down dwellings that they once were.

It’s most uplifting for the whole town, when you consider the size of Hillington Square and its proximity to the town centre. Well done to all concerned.

Rail travellers from Lynn may also be interested in the latest news from Govia Thameslink, the operator of services from London into Lynn and Cambridge, concerning their services to Gatwick Airport and Brighton, due to be in operation by 2018.

The new services from Cambridge will be going into St Pancras Station (rather than Kings Cross) via a new tunnel and will then proceed to Farringdon and London Bridge on the way south.

Farringdon is due to become a major terminus as it will be at a point where north-south services link into Crossrail, the new underground rail linking Reading in the west to London Docklands, Essex and North Kent in the east.

It will link Lynn directly into the country’s main international rail hub as well as arguably the most crucial rail hub for travel around London.