Saturday Market Place in King’s Lynn is closed for revamp on historical quarter

PUBLISHED: 18:29 18 August 2014 | UPDATED: 18:30 18 August 2014

The roadworks on the Saturday Market Place in King's Lynn have started. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The roadworks on the Saturday Market Place in King's Lynn have started. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

King’s Lynn’s Saturday Market Place has now closed to drivers for three months, for a £650,000 facelift.

An artist's impression of what King's Lynn's Saturday Market Place could look like. An artist's impression of what King's Lynn's Saturday Market Place could look like.

Officials hope the project will be completed by the time the Christmas lights are switched on towards the end of November.

Norfolk County Council area engineer Quentin Brogdale, whose previous credits include re-arranging the town’s Tuesday Market Place and new roads around the Hardwick and Morston Point developments, said: “The road will be closed to give us room to work. Also with Anglia Water here at the same time it will minimise disruption to the public.

“I am sure it will transform the market place and will attract more people. It will be similar to the Tuesday Market Place, which has been received well.”

Footpaths around the centuries-old square, in the shadow of Lynn Minster, will be widened to make the area more pedestrian friendly. The work will also create room for outside seated areas.

History of the Saturday Market Place

The oldest recorded reference to a market in King’s Lynn is the Sand Market on the Saturday Market Place in 1104. But it was officially sanctioned by the Bishop of Norwich around 1100.

The Tuesday Market Place came around 300 years later as the town expanded.

In 1435, a licence was granted to the town for 999 years to hold a market on the land now known as the Saturday Market Place.

In the 15th century, the street opposite the King’s Lynn Minster, was known as Butcher’s Row due to the high number of butcher’s shops.

The Minster is situated in the historic surroundings of the Saturday Market Place. It was founded by the first Bishop of Norwich, Herbert de Losinga, in 1101.

Opposite the market place stands the Town Hall, with its chequered facing of stone and flint dating back from 1421.

Mr Brogdale said the team of 14 construction workers would also be levelling the ground around the square. He explained: “This will be for the new draining pipes and we then we have the new quality curbs and slabs to lay.”

Norfolk County Council said materials used would enhance the West Norfolk council leader Nick Daubney said: “We’re excited as what we see is an important enhancement for the historical area of king’s Lynn.

“When it’s finished it will be a fantastic facility for people to enjoy and it will give businesses an opportunity to maximise their potential too.”

But Lesley Bambridge, ward councillor for St Nicholas ward, which includes the market place, said: “It is huge amounts of money and a lot of residents think it is unnecessary.”

Mrs Bambridge said she did not agree with the removal of the cobbles and the market place being made one-way.

“Why should towns all look the same? If you go to France they all look different. And by having the road two-way, it slows traffic down.”

To minimise disruption, there are diversions set in place.

Drivers will find it will be a one-way system in a southbound direction.

Car drivers will be able to travel south along Queen Street then turn right into College Lane then head south along South Quay.

There will be a set of temporary traffic lights to reach Boal Street and Millfleet.

There will be access granted for deliveries from Church Street but large vehicles will be diverted via the Tuesday Market Place.

Further traffic lights will also be at the Baker Lane car park entrance to allow vehicles to head north along Queen Street into King Street.

Additional cycle parking areas are being installed as part of the project.

Additionally, a consultation will shortly begin regarding contra-flow cycling in market place and on surrounding side roads, including South Quay.

The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, West Norfolk Council and the Norfolk County Council.

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