Marina plans gather speed

Major plans for a new marina and hundreds of new homes in the centre of King's Lynn by 2011 look set to be approved next week, despite large costs facing the council and a possible battle over land.

Major plans for a new marina and hundreds of new homes in the centre of King's Lynn by 2011 look set to be approved next week, despite large costs facing the council and a possible battle over land.

West Norfolk Council's cabinet is due to give the thumbs up to a masterplan for the scheme on Tuesday and to agree to forge ahead with plans to compulsorily purchase the land needed for it.

A report to Tuesday's cabinet meeting says that the scheme will cost the council a minimum of £20m but that it will bring huge benefits to the town - including between 166 and 307 local jobs and a further 127 to 268 regional ones.

Plans include a seagoing marina, 900 flats and homes, a hotel, restaurants, bars and a public transport route.

The report asks the cabinet to bring forward £1.7m in the budget for the scheme to this year so that the compulsory purchase process can start.

However, it adds: "It is unlikely that this sum will be sufficient to cover the full cost of providing the land necessary to allow the development to go ahead. The council already owns a large part of the proposed development area and is negotiating the acquisition of parcels of land, which are fundamental to the scheme."

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Land affected will be that which is not already in the council's ownership in the vicinity of Boal Quay.

A proposed timeline set for the project plans to see land needed for the scheme bought by April 2008, the planning permission granted a month later and work on the site starting in August that year.

A finish date has been set for June 2011. It is estimated that the scheme would bring £13m a year into the economy.

It is hoped the cost of the scheme will be offset by 'significant' contributions from the Regional Development Agency and English Partnerships.

Major issues facing the project will include surface water drainage, which will be looked at by the Nar Ouse regeneration Area programme manager, who will also provide an environmental impact and traffic impact statement.

Another will be the disposal of soil, which needs to be removed from the site.

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