Pop-up shops and Christmas taskforce mooted to boost Lynn high street

Protestors outside the QEH hospital in Kings Lynn, organised by Kings Lynn Trades Council.
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Independent councillor Jo Rust said the council should do more to try to support traders in the town. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A pop-up shop scheme and festive shopping taskforce could form part of plans to revitalise the King's Lynn high street.

At a meeting of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council’s regeneration and development panel on Tuesday, independent councillor Jo Rust pointed to the success of Holt’s Sunday market, which returned on a regular basis in June after a 60-year absence.

Ms Rust said: “I really do think that a pop-up shop scheme would allow new and small start-up retailers and entrepreneurs to test the market.”

She added: “I fully appreciate that Holt is successful for a different load of reasons to King’s Lynn… However, what is successful there can be emulated here, taking on board our differences." 

The councillor said she counted 48 empty shops in the town centre on a walk on Monday. 

Ms Rust suggested: “We could offer free rental for a six-month to a year period to a new business that might have started online during Covid and give them a chance to be nurtured.

King's Lynn town centre in lockdown. Picture: Ian Burt

King's Lynn town centre, pictured during the lockdown of November 2020 - Credit: Archant


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“We could also offer subsidised space in a larger market-type environment, where we bring lots of small traders together under one roof and also provide opportunities for established businesses to try new things.”

She later said: “Imagine the scenario of a thriving market-type shop the size of Debenhams and the people it would draw into the town to trial all the wares it offered, as well as an outlet mall idea, transforming our dying and stagnant town into something vibrant and exciting.” 

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Several variations of the ideas listed by Ms Rust for how the council could help traders were suggested by the other panel members. 

Panel chairman Judith Collingham said: “I think we have to be very careful that we don’t spend too long thinking about things instead of seizing the initiative.

“I sometimes get a bit frustrated that we ‘talk the talk’ and we have such brilliant ideas coming out of this panel and it never translates into anything.”

Duncan Hall, the council’s assistant director for regeneration, housing and place, thanked councillors for the “really unified set of messages”, which he would bring to council cabinet members.

Ms Collingham said she supported the suggestion of assembling a task force in time for Christmas, to see how the town’s festive market offering could be supported.

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