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Hardings Way village green scheme in King's Lynn does not go far enough say critics as they plan protest

A row between councillors following discussions about creating Norfolk’s newest village green has sparked plans for a protest by locals.

West Norfolk Council cabinet members have agreed to push forward with a £29,000 scheme to designate land at Harding’s Pits in Lynn as a protected outdoor space.

But critics say it does not go far enough and want the scope of the project to be expanded to prevent any future development in the area, which was once the heart of the town’s whaling industry.

In the local plan, a section of land next to Hardings Way has been earmarked for 43 homes.

This makes it legally exempt from being included in the village green project, leaving it open for development in the future.

However, Alexandra Kemp, councillor for South Lynn, says residents don’t want this area built on and worry the new builds would be at high risk of flooding.

Cllr Alex Kemp
Cllr Alex Kemp

She said: “We are taking a stand against the council’s failure to listen to residents and take all development in the area out of the local plan.

“Residents want Harding’s Pit safe, quiet and free from traffic. They do not want housing.

“The council should not put the public at risk by building houses in the rapid flood zone.”

The protest is set to be held on Saturday, February 3 at 11am at the Hardings Way bus gate and will demand that the 43 houses be removed from the local plan.

Cllr Jo Rust
Cllr Jo Rust

The village green scheme hopes to protect the Harding’s Pits area from future development, ensuring it remains an open space for the community.

The patch of land, also known as the Door Step Green, was created in 2004 through Countryside Agency (now Natural England) funding which has kept it as natural space for 25 years.

A new community orchard could also be created and a further parcel of land may be used as part of a tree-growing art project in the South Lynn part of the town if approved by the full council later this month.

Cllr Alistair Beales
Cllr Alistair Beales

Cabinet members agreed to proceed with the bid at a meeting this week but they took a different view to Ms Kemp and were supportive of the brownfield land being used for housing.

Jo Rust, cabinet member for people and communities, highlighted that building on the brownfield site could create much-needed affordable housing for the area.

Alistair Beales, cabinet member for business, was in support of the village green bid but did not think further land should be included.

This is not the first time locals in this part of Lynn have decided to protest. In fact, it will be the eighth time residents have demonstrated against plans to change the area.

In 2017, a campaign was launched to prevent a proposal to open up the Hardings Way bus and cycle route to cars.

Since then, there have been numerous protests calling for the area to remain free from traffic and to protect the green space.


Harding’s Pits was once the centre of the county’s booming whaling industry.

From the 16th to the 19th century, ships built and supplied here would venture into the icy seas surrounding Greenland and elsewhere in the Atlantic Ocean in search of bowhead whales.

Whale oil became a lucrative commodity during the Industrial Revolution and was used as a lubricant for machinery as well as lamp fuel for street lighting.

But overfishing eventually led to the collapse of the industry and it was abandoned in the 20th century.

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