Revamp of 650-year-old Hanse House in King’s Lynn nears completion
The regeneration of King's Lynn's medieval Hanse House could be completed by the spring, it emerged last night.
It is also hoped the bar, covered market, shops and offices in the complex, which stands between the River Ouse and Lynn Minster, could be officially opened by the Prince of Wales in April.
It comes after the plans for the Hanse House revamp were approved by West Norfolk councillors in August last year.
Kirsty Gauntley, general manager at Hanse House, hopes the market will be open seven days a week and will be packed with locally produced items.
She said: 'The work is ongoing but everything is moving along, progressing different elements at different times.
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'We've got some office space office already occupied and currently there is a lot of work going on in the bistro area.
'Everything is being done in stages but we hope once everything is up and running we will have an official opening.
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'It would be great if Prince Charles could do it and we hope it will be officially open in April but we aren't 100pc sure yet.'
She added: 'We are looking for people to come in and run the market and we are hoping for a broad spectrum of traders with local produce.'
Mark and Lindsay Abel, who are currently based at Denver Mill, hope to move to the historic King's Lynn building to run a caf� when their lease runs out on the landmark south of Downham Market in May.
Mrs Abel said: 'We need to be out of here at the end of May but we are hoping to move to King's Lynn in April. Nothing has been signed and we don't have a moving in date because the building work hasn't finished, but we would be delighted to move to there.'
Hanse House, which was converted into offices by Norfolk County Council in the 1970s, is the only surviving Hanseatic building in Britain. Medieval merchants built it in 1475 to establish a trading base in the then bustling port of King's Lynn.
Norfolk County Council bought the building in the 1970s to establish a base in West Norfolk. Renamed St Margaret's House, it also became a register office until 2009, when the last officials moved out and the building was put up for sale.
Developer James Lee bought the building after Prince Charles visited the Grade I listed property to discuss its future with councillors.
The Prince's Regeneration Trust, of whom the Prince of Wales is president, and English Heritage endorsed the decision to sell the building to Mr Lee, who lives in Lynn and has worked on a number of development projects in the town in recent years.