After seven years, Vancouver Quarter manager Abbie Panks is moving on to pastures new
PUBLISHED: 15:54 30 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:17 30 January 2019
King's Lynn is a "doing town" where people make things happen, according to the woman who has run its main shopping centre for the last seven years.
Abbie Panks is moving on from the Vancouver Quarter to become centre manager of The Arc in Bury St Edmunds.
“King’s Lynn is an example of a ‘doing town’,” she said, “the sheer volume of things going on can’t be undersold”.
She added: “It’s the work of a lot of people, doing incredible work.
“Not many other towns can boast a calendar of events as broad as what King’s Lynn has. Come May to October, there is something nearly every single weekend, no other towns have that, and that is a real selling point.”
Ms Panks admits that during these times of economic and political unrest, Lynn town centre is in one of the most difficult periods that she has known, but wants people to remember falling footfall is a national issue.
She said: “I think we haven’t seen the worst of it yet, but go back to 2011, that was a pretty challenging period and we got through that. When people know where we are going economically and politically I hope that will ease things a little.”
During her tenure as centre manager, Ms Panks was instrumental in setting up King’s Lynn’s Business Improvement District (BID), now known as Discover King’s Lynn, and thinks that it has made great strides in turning the town centre into a ‘multiuse’ centre, while the arrival of fashion chain H&M is going to be extremely positive. “There has not been any new big fashion retailers since 2011 when Primark opened,” she said. “If we continue on this path of events and activities going on, I think it will be a great boost, we just need to tell the rest of the world about it.”
Ms Panks may be moving on to work in Suffolk but she will not be leaving completely.
“I’m still on the Festival Too committee,” she said. “I’m emotionally invested in King’s Lynn.”