Norfolk town's £21m bid for regeneration funds turned down

How the South Gate would look if funding to divert London Road is approved Picture: Wynne-Williams

And artist's impression of how the South Gate would look if the main London Road was diverted - Credit: Wynne-Williams Associates

Plans to transform a town have been dashed after they failed to win government backing.

West Norfolk council applied for £21m from the government's £830m Future High Streets Fund to invest in the future of King's Lynn.

It hoped the money would help pay for a £35m regeneration wish-list, including:

• Diverting London Road around the South Gate, so traffic no longer runs through the monument;

• Refurbishing St George’s Guildhall to provide a new heritage attraction;

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• Building 150 new homes on the Baker Lane car park: 

• A community hub based at a new library, with training and services.

The South Gate in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Plans to divert traffic around the 14th Century South Gate were part of a wider transport strategy to ease congestion in King's Lynn - Credit: Ian Burt

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Hopes were raised in the summer, when the council was asked to submit a more detailed business case to the Department for Communities and Local Government. But now it has emerged Lynn's scheme was not among the 72 bids which were successful. 

Graham Middleton, the council's cabinet member for business development, said: "It's incredibly disappointing, a lot of hard work has gone into it, we put a plan together which was endorsed by the community.

Graham Middleton, West Norfolk council's cabinet member for business in South Clough Lane, King's Ly

Graham Middleton, West Norfolk council's cabinet member for business development - Credit: Chris Bishop

"The projects we had were good projects. If you look at some of the towns that were successful, their projects weren't a million miles from what we were trying to do."

Diverting both lanes of London Road around the South Gate into an adjacent park would help ease congestion around the South Gate roundabout and create space around the 14th Century monument.

St George's Guildhall at King's Lynn. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Guildhall of St George is believed to be the only surviving theatre where Shakespeare performed - Credit: Denise Bradley

The 15th Century Guildhall of St George is the largest surviving medieval guildhall and Britain's oldest working theatre, where Shakespeare is believed to have performed.

Campaigners hope to transform it into a thriving arts venue and heritage centre of national importance. But two previous bids for lottery funding submitted by the council were turned down.

Towns whose bids were not successful can apply for the money from the £4bn levelling up fund announced by the government in November. 

Mr Middleton added: “We are passionate about securing the future of King’s Lynn, for the benefit of the surrounding area, and will continue to seek funding and develop bids in order to do this.”

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