West Norfolk Council purchases waterfront site in King’s Lynn

CAPTION; Photos of Grain Silos on the South Quay, which has had one of its buildings stolen, brick b

CAPTION; Photos of Grain Silos on the South Quay, which has had one of its buildings stolen, brick by brick, without the develpers knowledge.; PHOTO; Matthew Usher; COPY; Chris Hill; FOR; EDP NEWS; COPYRIGHT; EDP pics © 2008; TEL; (01603) 772434 - Credit: Matthew Usher

West Norfolk Council has bought the former silo site on the waterfront in King's Lynn for £350,000.

Discussions had been taking place with the site's former owners – developers McCarthy and Stone – over recent months and it was announced yesterday the purchase was official.

Alistair Beales, cabinet member for regeneration and industrial assets at West Norfolk Council, said: 'It has been a long-held ambition of the council to see progress on this important but increasingly derelict site and we had hoped that the private sector would bring forward development of the area.

'Given this has not happened and the site has languished for some 10 years, the council has bought the site and will develop it in due course.'

West Norfolk Council says funds for the sale have come from reserves earmarked for 'capital projects'.

Various private sector developers have owned the brownfield site on the South Quay since it first appeared on the market.

McCarthy and Stone were the most recent developers prepared to invest in the site and battled to obtain planning permission for 37 retirement apartments and commercial units.

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In November last year, the site was refused planning permission, but developers later won their appeal against the decision.

Now the site belongs to the council, Mr Beales has revealed a similar development, but on a smaller scale, could be in the pipeline.

He said: 'The site does have planning permission and whilst it is still far from certain, I envisage smaller- scale development than previously planned and possibly a mix of ground floor commercial use and upper storey residential.

'The next steps for us are to tidy up the site and take some time to really consider our development options and to view these in line with strategic plans for the area.' The news has been welcomed 'as very good news' by the King's Lynn Civic Society.

Chairman Alison Gifford said: 'We were always concerned by the McCarthy and Stone designs because they were quite massive, and the Nelson Street residents found them to be quite oppressive over their property.'

Miss Gifford added: 'The designs were never wonderful, they were acceptable for what they were trying to achieve, but not wonderful.

'We'd be much happier for there to be a mix of retail and residential, with shops, bars and offices as well, that's much more sensitive and less intensive to the area.

'And we are very pleased with this announcement because we think the council will be more sensitive to the local character and needs.'

The original silos, which were built in 1973, stored grain which had been brought to Lynn by ship. They were demolished and the site was cleared six years ago.

- What do you think should happen to the site? Email louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk