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Town's one-way system is destroying historic buildings, experts claim

PUBLISHED: 16:23 17 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:23 17 October 2019

Alison Gifford. Picture: Ian Burt

Alison Gifford. Picture: Ian Burt

Historic buildings in the heart of King's Lynn are at risk of being ruined by the town's one-way system, experts fear.

The Glendavon Hotel on Railway Road in King's Lynn  Picture: Chris BishopThe Glendavon Hotel on Railway Road in King's Lynn Picture: Chris Bishop

And now calls are being made for swift action to change the traffic system, which has led to buildings being damaged by vibration, pollution and even collisions.

As revealed earlier this week, Historic England placed King's Lynn's conservation area on its Heritage at Risk Register after it said it was in "a poor state of repair" as a result of the negative impact of the town's one-way system.

The conservation group said that the likely future for the area was "deterioration unless successful measures are put in place".

Recent damage to the town's buildings has included a bus crashing into Camilo's Bar on the corner of Railway Road, and the wall of the former Samaritans building on Queen Street being knocked down after it was hit by a passing vehicle.

The Glendavon Hotel on Railway Road in King's Lynn  Picture: Chris BishopThe Glendavon Hotel on Railway Road in King's Lynn Picture: Chris Bishop

King's Lynn Civic Society chairman Alison Gifford criticised West Norfolk Council for not making changes to the town's one-way traffic system, particularly on Railway Road where she said a lack of environmental cushioning had caused a slow decay of its historic locations.

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Ms Gifford said: "I don't think it's individual things that are being damaged, it's a slow process and it needs a wholesale solution: you're putting 21st-century traffic into a Victorian and medieval townscape."

She also questioned the purpose of Historic England's list from which she said "nothing ever gets done".

The Glendavon Hotel on Railway Road in King's Lynn  Picture: Chris BishopThe Glendavon Hotel on Railway Road in King's Lynn Picture: Chris Bishop

Ms Gifford proposed that a compulsory council purchase would help to put buildings such as the Glendavon Hotel back into use, which she claimed the council was "legally able to do".

She added: "It's [the Glendavon Hotel] ugly, it's falling down, it keeps going to auction and people buy it and then do nothing with it. It needs a compulsory purchase."

A West Norfolk Council spokesperson said: "We understand the constraints of the current one-way system and options for this are being considered as part of a suite of short-, medium- and long-term actions in the King's Lynn Area Transport Strategy.

"National recognition that funding is required to address these complex issues will help us to access the money this area deserves."

The former Samaritans building in King's Lynn being repaired with red brick it was damaged by a passing vehicle. Photo: Google MapsThe former Samaritans building in King's Lynn being repaired with red brick it was damaged by a passing vehicle. Photo: Google Maps



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