Heritage guerillas take action in King’s Lynn over vacant buildings

Large red posters seen across the town as civic society members demand empty buildings are brought back into use.

A demonstration was held by 'heritage guerillas' at the weekend to highlight the amount of long-term empty buildings there are in a historic market town.

This saw members of the King's Lynn Civic Society put up large red posters on empty properties in the town, including Purfleet House and the former Post Office on Saturday morning, which explained how many people they could house.

The society has calculated that 427 people could be housed from the 10 long-term vacant properties and potential housing sites it targeted.

Members also said they hoped their demonstration would encourage West Norfolk council to try to persuade the owners of these buildings to bring them back into housing use.

Ken Hill, the society's assistant secretary, said: 'King's Lynn is short of housing and the government says we should try to fit 4,500 more homes into the town over the next decade. Greenfield sites have been suggested for new housing on the outskirts of town, but these will lead to fewer open spaces and more traffic jams.

'Right now there are plenty of long-term empty buildings here in town - surely it makes good sense to get them occupied?

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'These properties are all in central King's Lynn and could increase Lynn's housing stock by more than the number of homes needed for the most urgent cases on the housing waiting list.

'We need to maximise what we have got before we start building new homes and I am sure people will be attracted to the possibility of living in a town centre with everything on their doorstep.'

He added: 'Some of these long-term vacant properties are prominent, historic buildings which if brought back into use would not only benefit the owners, but the town as a whole.'

Some of the other sites identified by the society include 3 Priory Lane, 51 London Road, 11 Valingers Road, and 9-11 St James Street, which combined could house 17 people.

Mr Hill said The Sommerfeld and Thomas warehouse, in South Quay, and The Stables, north of 1 Blackfriars Road, could house 110 people.

He also believes the former Corona site, situated on the corner of The Friars and All Saints Street, and possible flats above High Street shops could be used to house 210 people.