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Wall of silence over future of Guildhall of St George in King's Lynn

Ivor Rowlands outside the Guildhall. Picture: Chris Bishop

Ivor Rowlands outside the Guildhall. Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

A campaign group claims it is being met with a wall of silence regarding the future of a medieval guildhall.

The Guildhall of St George in King's Lynn. Picture: Chris BishopThe Guildhall of St George in King's Lynn. Picture: Chris Bishop

West Norfolk council set up an informal working group (IWG) to consider options for the Guildhall of St George last year.

It was chaired by Avril Wright, borough councillor for Snettisham. Mrs Wright has resigned from the council and the five-strong working group. She said she had left for “personal reasons”.

In February, Mrs Wright told councillors the group had a made a positive start, including constructive meeting with users of the building.

Four other councillors were elected onto the IWG - Judy Collingham, Colin Manning, Graham Middleton and Andy Tyler. Mr Middleton is now chair and councillor Peter Gidney has joined the group. Members could not be contacted for comment.

The Queen Mother at Guildhall of St George from July 1951. Picture: Walsingham Shrine Archives / Claude Fisher.The Queen Mother at Guildhall of St George from July 1951. Picture: Walsingham Shrine Archives / Claude Fisher.

West Norfolk council said: “We are still looking at sustainable proposals for the St George’s Guildhall complex. As soon as there is anything to report we will of course keep you up to date”.

MORE - fears for future of historic guildhall



The 15th Century building housed the King’s Lynn Arts Centre until it closed in early 2016.

Since then it has operated as a hall for hire. But campaigners claim the building is deteriorating. They want it re-furbished and re-opened as an arts hub.

The Queen Mother visiting the guildhall in 1957. Picture: ArchantThe Queen Mother visiting the guildhall in 1957. Picture: Archant

A bid for lottery funding by West Norfolk council to regenerate the building was turned down last year.

Afterwards representatives from LArCH - Lynn Arts, Culture and Heritage - met Elizabeth Nockolds, the cohncil’s deputy leader to ask if it could work with the council on a revised bid.

But Ivor Rowlands, one of LArCH’s founders, said: “A number of representatives were invited to talk to the IWG to share their ideas. “This turned out to be a one-way affair, in which the invitee was allowed to speak for 10 or 15 minutes to an assortment of councillors and council officials, without any questions, comments or feedback being given. The IWG fed back its findings to a council meeting in April from which the public and press were excluded.

“Despite several attempts to create a dialogue with the council and to establish a two-way discussion about the guildhall’s future, the council has steadfastly refused to do this or to provide any details as to what they are planning to do with the guildhall.”



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