King’s Lynn waterfront regeneration could become reality within 10 years

King's Lynn Waterfront viewed from West Lynn. Picture: Matthew Usher.

King's Lynn Waterfront viewed from West Lynn. Picture: Matthew Usher.

An ambitious blueprint to regenerate King's Lynn's waterfront could become a reality within 10 years.

Star trails above King's Lynn Waterfront as viewed from West Lynn. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Star trails above King's Lynn Waterfront as viewed from West Lynn. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Archant

West Norfolk council's ruling cabinet has agreed to spend £250,000 on developing concrete proposals to revitalise Boal Quay, the Nar Loop and former grain silo site.

If backed by full council, the authority will look to firm up proposals for the land along the Great Ouse and find the funding to develop it.

A development plan for the site has been drawn up by architects Levitate. It includes new residential streets on Boal Quay, with hundreds of homes overlooking the river.

But council leader Brian Long said the brief was just a starting point. He added: 'It's a high-level strategy to look at what we could do with the area. It's an idea of how the space could be used.'

The King's Lynn waterfront seen from the banks of West Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The King's Lynn waterfront seen from the banks of West Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt


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Mr Long said the next stage of what could be a 10-year process would be progressing the development wish-list into a planning application.

'If you look at what Levitate have drawn up you would be talking millions,' he said. 'The other thing we have to work towards is how we might get that funding together if we decide to do a regeneration on that scale.

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'We could look to put a scheme together and get a developer involved or there might be an opportunity for commercial investors looking for a longer term return on their money over 20 or 30 years.'

A report to councillors said agreeing to spend £250,000 would 'enable the transitional riverfront scheme for King's Lynn to be developed and tested further'.

The King's Lynn waterfront seen from the banks of West Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The King's Lynn waterfront seen from the banks of West Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

It added: 'The delivery plan will form a key component of the council's regeneration plans and future development of King's Lynn by providing a high quality redevelopment concept and implementation strategy for the redevelopment of key sites and vacant properties located on the historic quayside.'

It adds the scheme would extend and improve the town's historic street pattern, linking a new waterfront quarter to the town.

Levitate's proposals include flooding the silted-up Nar Loop and building a bridge across it, new homes, retail and leisure units, new moorings and waterside facilities.

One aspect which has already proven controversial is the opening up of Harding's Way, which is currently a bus-only route, to reduce the traffic on London Road and provide an access to the new waterfront quarter.

The pontoons on the King's Lynn quayside. Picture: Ian Burt

The pontoons on the King's Lynn quayside. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Nearly 70pc of the 185 responses to a public consultation over the plans were against it.

More than 80pc wanted fishing boats to remain at Boal Quay, while there was 'overwhelming endorsement' for hotel, food and leisure use of the former Somerfield and Thomas Warehouse and grain silo site.

The latest proposals are not the first to be put forward for the area.

Almost 20 years ago, the council announced plans to build a marina in the Nar Loop, surrounded by new housing and leisure developments.

The King's Lynn quayside. Picture: Ian Burt

The King's Lynn quayside. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

But it was sunk by the cost of connecting the marina to the fast-flowing Ouse, which has one of the highest tidal ranges of any UK river.

There have also been proposals to develop the Somerfield and Thomas site as a mix of appartments and retail, and more recently a sheltered housing complex, but neither has got off the starting blocks.

Levitate's plan says the development will be designed to be delivered in phases, with each stage building towards the whole.

The report to councillors says the first phase includes producing an investment prospectus setting out the opportunities the site offers.

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