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What about George? Row breaks out over name of King’s Lynn quay project

Purfleet Quay - Capt Vancouver statue.
Purfleet Quay - Capt Vancouver statue.

A row has broken out over a decision to name the project to redevelop Lynn’s riverfront after Lord Nelson.

A town community group has called on West Norfolk Council to reconsider their proposed name for the project, Nelson Quay, warning the plan would lead to “puzzlement, if not risibility” if it is not changed.

But council chiefs have rejected the claim as “fatuous”, pointing out a Lynn street name was changed in the naval hero’s honour after one of his most famous victories.

The row has developed from a report presented to a recent council meeting on the issue.

In it, Alistair Beales, the borough council’s cabinet member for corporate projects and assets, said it had been chosen “in celebration of the great British naval hero born in the area and the town’s maritime heritage.”

But the move has now been criticised by members of the St Margeret’s with St Nicholas ward forum, which covers the area.

They argue that, although Nelson visited the town during his life, his links to the area are historically insufficient to justify the move and instead suggested Lynn-born naval hero George Vancouver or Samuel Cresswell, who was also born in Lynn and was the first naval officer to cross the North West Passage in the 19th century.

In a letter to Mr Beales, the group’s chairman, Dr Julian Litten, wrote: “We feel it will make those who know the area and its history question the borough council’s erudition and knowledge of the town.

“By jumping onto the Nelson bandwagon Lynn will be in direct competition with all those other schemes whose promoters are too indolent or lacking in inventiveness to devise a more compelling name, just another Nelson product, along with mugs, postcards, tea towels and oven gloves.”

He also claimed the authority might “As well call the project John Glenn Quay – he must have flown over the borough at some stage of his space exploration.”

And he claimed local people and businesses had not been properly consulted during the process.

Mr Beales yesterday confirmed he was aware of the forum’s letter, but said of the John Gleen comparison: “Given that Nelson is one of the most famous sons of Norfolk and widely celebrated across King’s Lynn that is, frankly, fatuous.

“The ward forum should perhaps reflect on the renaming of adjacent Lath Street to Nelson Street after the battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

“It is also worth reflecting that members of the ward forum and certainly its chairman voted against the Townscape Heritage Initiative which has brought millions into the town to restore architecturally significant buildings in Saturday Market Place, St. James Street and elsewhere.

“He is now an enthusiastic and valued supporter of that Initiative and I think would accept he was wrong on that earlier occasion. In my view, this is another of those occasions.”

- What do you think? Would you name the development after Nelson, Vancouver or someone else? Email newsdesk@lynnnews.co.uk to have your say


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