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Waterfront could be closed to traffic for eating and entertainment

PUBLISHED: 18:46 17 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:17 18 June 2020

Crowds pack the waterfront after it was closed for the 2019 Hanse Festival Picture: Matthew Usher / BCKLWN.

Crowds pack the waterfront after it was closed for the 2019 Hanse Festival Picture: Matthew Usher / BCKLWN.

Matthew Usher Photography

King’s Lynn’s waterfront could be closed to traffic on some days of the year to provide an open air entertaining and hospitality space, while a closed department store could become an indoor market.

Debenhams on the High Street  in King's Lynn, which councillors believe could house an indoor market  Picture: Chris BishopDebenhams on the High Street in King's Lynn, which councillors believe could house an indoor market Picture: Chris Bishop

Both ideas were revealed during a discussion on how to attract more people into the town.

West Norfolk council’s regeneration and development panel met virtually on Wednesday afternoon.

Chair Judy Collingham said informal discussions had been held on how to bring the public back into Lynn as lockdown eases and over the longer term.

She said towns would have to focus on becoming destinations rather than simply retail.

Work under way on the Corn Exchange before lockdwn  Picture: Chris BishopWork under way on the Corn Exchange before lockdwn Picture: Chris Bishop

She added Lynn had “magnificent destination possibilities”.

Councillors agreed the waterfront had potential for pop-up cafes and other food offerings if it could be closed to traffic on certain days.

It was also agreed Debenhams’ former department store on the High Street could house an indoor market.

Mrs Collingham said both proposals would be fed onto a wider discussion about how the council saw the town evolving in future.

An artist's impression of the new cinema at King's Lynn Corn Exchange  Picture: McFarlane Latter ArchitectsAn artist's impression of the new cinema at King's Lynn Corn Exchange Picture: McFarlane Latter Architects

Councillors expressed concerns about queues in the town centre ignoring social distancing measures now many traders have reopened.

Graham Middleton, the council’s portfolio holder for business, said some of the busier shops might need to have barricades outside.

“I’m sure this will be an evolving process,” he said. “We’re not going to get it right on the first day or in the first week.”

He added the public also needed to play its part by following guidance.

Councillor Vivienne Spikings said more signs were needed in the Vancouver Quarter.

Councillors heard the coronavirus pandemic is delaying the installation of a cinema at King’s Lynn Corn Exchange.

The council is carrying out a £1.6m refurb of the upper floor of the 170-year-old listed building, which includes two new 50-seat screens.

Since late March, contractors have had to furlough staff and reduce the numbers on site for social distancing.

Mark Fuller, the council’s principal surveyor said work was originally expected to have been completed in May, but this had now been put back until August. The cinema could open in September depending on lockdown restrictions in force later in the year.


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