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'Theme park exhibit' warning over King's Lynn restaurant railings plan

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The historic home of a Lynn waterfront restaurant was at risk of becoming a "theme park exhibit" amid disagreement over plans for glazed railings, it was claimed yesterday.

Heritage and planning officials had both opposed proposals for a glazed balustrade at the Marriotts Warehouse site on the South Quay.

But that was overturned as West Norfolk Council's planning committee approved the plan during a meeting yesterday.

Marriotts Warehouse on Lynn's South Quay.. (52819714)
Marriotts Warehouse on Lynn's South Quay.. (52819714)

One of its members, Francis Bone, said it was "absurd" the application had been recommended for refusal.

Widespread concerns had been raised about the use of glass and steel in the scheme.

The meeting was also told that consultees had been concerned about maintaining the "industrial character" of the site.

But Mr Bone said: "The alternative proposals make a mockery of the heritage asset and turns it into something like a theme park exhibit, which is something we should avoid."

Sandra Squire said the scheme reflected the area's mixture of old and new architecture.

And the borough's deputy mayor Lesley Bambridge, who called for the scheme to be examined by the committee, said she could not see how it could be considered harmful.

Earlier, trustees of the site told the committee they relied on the restaurant for as much as 90 per cent of the site's income.

One of them, Tricia Rowlands, said the proposed installation was identical to one which is already in place outside the Corn Exchange.

And councillor Peter Gidney said the installation would protect diners from the wind, as well as preventing children from potentially running out into the road.

Committee member Brian Long told colleagues: "The only way you can have heritage buildings that are maintained is to have a use for them and without a use for them, they rapidly become dilapidated."

However, vice-chairman Geoff Hipperson, who abstained in the vote, highlighted the concerns raised by groups including the Civic Society and Historic England, as well as the council's own conservation officials.

He said: "It's such a shame that one of our best places in the town is having something that a lot of people don't like. I would have thought this was something we could come to an agreement on."

But committee chairman Vivienne Spikings argued the development would enhance the area, and called for wooden pallets which are currently on the front of the site to be removed.

She said: "If you want to take Lynn forward, you can't keep putting objection after objection in as to why we can't. Let's find reasons why we can.

"This is a business. It needs to go forward, it needs to carry on.

"Get rid of the pallets, for goodness sake. They don't make anything except splinters."

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