New ideas for future of King’s Lynn Guildhall of St George revealed

Ivor Rowlands outside the Guildhall. Picture: Chris Bishop

Ivor Rowlands outside the Guildhall. Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

A new gallery, cinema and flexible performance space are some of the things which could be in store for a Norfolk arts venue.

The Guildhall of St George in King's Lynn. Picture: Chris Bishop

The Guildhall of St George in King's Lynn. Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

An informal working group set up by the council have been working to breathe new life into the 15th Century King's Lynn Guildhall of St George.

Over a series of eight meetings the group gathered comments and feedback from interested parties to improve the town's cultural offering.

Councillor Elizabeth Nockolds the King's Lynn and West Norfolk borough council cabinet member for culture, heritage and health, said: 'We have a strong track record of investing in the culture and heritage of our town.

'This work fits into our overall vision for town as a place to live, work and visit.'

A meeting took place behind closed doors on Tuesday to discuss the plans for the Guildhall's future and have today announced the ideas they are working on.

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Building a small cinema hopes to attract a range of foreign language films as well as more main stream productions while a creative hub would also be in development.

Ivor Rowlands from LArCH (Lynn Arts, Culture and Heritage) said: 'King's Lynn town centre is currently served by a vibrant independent three-screen cinema, itself housed in a significant historic building, that shows mainstream releases and live screenings, as well as a Community Cinema Club that shows films at the Guildhall. The cinema club screens less well-known films and foreign language films and is currently the single biggest user of the Guildhall, accounting for one third of all bookings.

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'What discussion or consideration has been had with these two organisations in putting together plans for new cinema?'

A performing arts space in the hall would be opened up by including 300 retractable seats and would be complemented by food and drinks being offered on site.

Another proposal is to increase the security and environmental control technology in the building to attract national and international art work to be put on display.

Councillor Avril Wright, the council's heritage champion who headed up the working group, said: 'What has become clear from our discussions is that whatever we come up with has to be commercially viable and sustainable in the long term.

'Each element has to be complementary to the other elements within the complex which meant looking at the complex as a whole and not just at each individual building.

'We are very excited about the ideas that we have come up with and now want to start testing out the viability of these by looking at potential business plans, investment or funding requirements and potential layouts.'

The next stage is for the working group to complete a report of their findings and present it to the council for consideration.

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