Floating restaurant could sail into Norfolk

The Custom House is reflected in the Purfleet, where it is hoped a floating restaurant could be moor

The Custom House is reflected in the Purfleet, where it is hoped a floating restaurant could be moored. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A floating restaurant could be set to moor near King's Lynn Custom House.

Businessman Roger Clarke-Payton has been in talks with West Norfolk council for two years about bringing the 50m Merchant Adventurer to Lynn.

The Outer Purfleet was drained last spring for survey work, to check it would be a suitable berth for the three-masted vessel.

Now West Norfolk council has revealed plans to sink pilings into the historic dock for the ship to tie up to, and convert part of the quayside to an outdoor seating area.

A report to councillors from the authority's conservation officer says: 'I have been involved with early discussions about this scheme and I do see potential for making better use of our wonderful water front. There were ships in the Outer Purfleet until the early 1960s and I think that mooring a vessel there as an attraction could work very well.'

King's Lynn Civic Society says it is 'cautiously supportive' of the plan. But its response adds: 'We are somewhat concerned about the size of the proposed craft – which at 50m long and 30m high will certainly become a dominant feature in the Square.

'We had anticipated a smaller ship and we note that one letter of objection has indicated the BCKLWN tender for the vessel specifies a maximum size of 100ft long. With a 150ft ship in the basin there will certainly be little or no space for other visiting craft at Purfleet in future.'

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Seven letters of objection have been received. One states: 'The Custom house is a beautiful, Grade 1 listed building. I think this proposal will detract from the natural beauty of the building and surroundings.

'There are plenty of other areas of town which could benefit from redevelopment however the Purfleet and surrounding areas are not in need of this kind of 'gimmicky' floating restaurant.'

A report to councillors recommends they approve the moorings when they meet on Tuesday, May 7.

It adds: 'The proposal would preserve and enhance the character and appearance of this part of the King's Lynn Conservation Area,support the existing tourist and visitor economy and would not result in any significant harm to the setting of adjacent heritage assets.' It adds there would not be 'significant detrimental impact' to residents.