Town within reach of £25m investment boost
- Credit: Archant
A historic town is within reach of £25m to fund a regeneration wish-list.
King’s Lynn is one of 100 towns across the country which have been allocated part of the government’s £3.6bn future towns fund.
A final bid drawn up by a town board of business leaders and politicians has now been submitted to Whitehall for approval. Officials hope the deal can be signed by March.
West Norfolk council leader Brian Long said it was “a once in a generation opportunity”.
The plan includes refurbishing the Guildhall of St George and Ouse waterfront, new homes in a “repurposed” town centre, a school of nursing at the College of West Anglia which has already been awarded £597,000 and an “incubation hub” for new businesses.
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There are also plans for new walking and cycling routes, along with diverting London Road around the South Gate.
The plan also includes support for youth skills and adult retraining to focus on the immediate and short-term impact of Covid-19.
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A number of surveys were carried out before the plan was drawn up. One revealed that 38pc of 16 - 25-year-olds don’t believe they can fulfil their aspirations in King’s Lynn and 35pc intend to leave west Norfolk in the next five years because of lack of opportunities.
Empty shops along the High Street will be converted into business or living spaces.
Larger units will house multiple businesses in a “market hall” style, along with new leisure uses. Flood defences will be improved as part of a waterfront regeneration which includes improvements to the Customs House and new exhibition space.
There are also plans to convert the former Argos store in the Vancouver Quarter into a community hub.
The town’s one-way system will also be re-arranged to encourage public transport and cycling.
There are also proposals for 150 new homes on land currently used for car parking in the town centre.
North West Norfolk MP James Wild said: “This is an ambitious plan to support skills and young people, innovative businesses, an enhanced town centre with better cycling and walking routes, as well as maximising the waterfront. By playing to King’s Lynn strengths, this is a great opportunity to make our town an even better place to live, work, and visit.”