Marina rethink 'threat to tourism'

Business leaders have voiced their concerns that King's Lynn could miss out on a unique opportunity to become a major tourist attraction - if plans for a multi-million pound town centre marina are watered down.

Business leaders have voiced their concerns that King's Lynn could miss out on a unique opportunity to become a major tourist attraction - if plans for a multi-million pound town centre marina are watered down.

This was the stark warning issued by West Norfolk Chamber Council members last night after they met to discuss the two options for the new marina, which were unveiled by consultancy firm Llewelyn Davies Yeang, who drew up the plans on behalf of West Norfolk Council.

The first option - which has been backed by the chamber- would see the creation of a 250-berth marina in the town centre.

The second would involve a smaller, 90-berth marina in the town centre plus a subsidiary larger marina.

West Norfolk Chamber Council member Paul Kunes, who is also a member of the consultative committee for the marina project, said he was horrified by the possibility of the town centre marina being fudged to make way for an out-of-town satellite.

“Virtually everyone at our meeting felt that the larger marina in the town centre would be by far the best option,” said Mr Kunes.

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“The whole point of the marina is to stimulate and encourage the town centre economy, and we don't see how having a marina three or four miles outside the town centre is going to do that.

“The idea is to attract visiting boats from all over Europe. During the summer people sail from Germany and Holland across the North Sea and into the Wash where they want somewhere to spend a night or two. A town centre marina will enable them to enjoy King's Lynn and go to the shops, bars and restaurants - it would be ideal.”

A 250-berth town centre marina would involve a larger area of water and less building development. Its supporters say there would be plenty to see, and that the sight of people working on their boats ties in with the town's maritime heritage.

Chamber member Dennis Blackmore said he was wholly opposed to the split site scheme, which would mean fewer people visiting and shopping in the town.

He said: “Creating a split site would drastically dilute this effect and could signal the failure of the project.”

Andrew Robertson, the chamber's business manager, based at King's Lynn added: “The marina is an important part of King's Lynn's economic regeneration plans and so the business community's opinion needs to be heard loud and clear so it can be taken in to account.”

Businesses are being urged to log on to www.west-norfolk.gov.uk and voice their opinions by November 3, when the public consultation ends.