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King’s Lynn Town Centre: Your Views

The historic King's Lynn waterfront

Published: Friday, 22nd March 2019

People want retail quality and choice, better access, and a thriving, inspiring safe King’s Lynn town centre which makes the most of its attributes.

These are the findings of the Vision King’s Lynn consultation which took place throughout February to understand how people feel about the town centre.

Over 750 people took part in the consultation which was organised by the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk and Discover King’s Lynn, the town centre BID.

Chris Bamfield, Executive Director, said: “This consultation has given us an insight into people’s perceptions of the town centre.

“It is clear that the town as a whole has many good features, but there is a clear desire to make improvements to the High Street and to tackle the negative perceptions that exist.

“We have listened to what people have said and these views have informed our application to the Government’s Future High Streets Fund.”

The Future High Streets Fund has been set up to help local areas to respond to and adapt to changes. It supports local areas to prepare long-term strategies for their high streets and town centres.

Vicky Etheridge, BID Manager with Discover King’s Lynn said: “Whilst there are many things we can be proud of in the town centre, we know that there is a strong need for investment to make it sustainable for future generations.

“We want to create a thriving town centre of which we can all be proud which is why we have made an application to this fund. Should we be successful, we will work with the local community to make our town centre a place we all want to be.”

As a result of the feedback, the partners in Vision King’s Lynn are developing an overall strategic vision for the town centre. 

Key findings

The consultation included an online survey as well as two drop-in sessions and 121 engagement with young people. The key findings were:

Town centre use

  • Shopping (47.3%) is the predominant purpose for visiting the town centre and this is mainly driven by necessity
  • Other reasons for using the town centre are work (24.5% of responses) and using the bank, as well events and eating out

What people would like to see more of in the town centre

  • People want better quality and choice of open shops. They want to see fewer empty shops
  • People are particularly keen to see independent shops and a town centre which makes it easy for small retailers to trade
  • People want better access to the town centre and parking
  • People want to feel safe in the town centre
  • People would like an inclusive town centre which has something for everyone

Perceptions of King’s Lynn town centre

  • The history of the town is clearly a strength as this was quoted frequently and people see the town centre as having potential
  • There were significantly negative perceptions of the town centre as well
  • The top ten most frequently quoted words were:
  1. Historic
  2. Empty
  3. Potential
  4. Tired
  5. Run(down)
  6. Dull
  7. Boring
  8. Shops
  9. Historical
  10. Cheap

What makes King’s Lynn town centre special

  • The heritage is clearly the most significant aspect of King’s Lynn that people perceive as being what makes the town centre special
  • The friendly people and sense of community were highlighted as positives
  • For many, there is nothing which they find special about the town centre

What would make people use the town centre in future

  • People want a better retail offer with quality, varied, independent, open shops alongside high street brands
  • People want better cost/benefit of parking
  • People want to feel safe
  • People want more entertainment and use of the town centre after hours
  • They want a family friendly, inclusive town that has something for everyone

Chris Bamfield added: “We have already delivered a number of successful regeneration projects in the town. But to really make a difference we need a cash injection to create a step-change that will transform our town centre.

“We want it to be a place that people want to come into, to use, to experience, built upon its strengths. It is a significant challenge and it is vital that we secure funding to do this. The competition for this funding is going to be tough.”

An expression of interest has been submitted to the Future High Streets Fund and a decision will be made in spring 2019 if King’s Lynn town centre will go through for consideration.

A summary of the submission document will be available on our website next week.

Updates as they happen will be shared by the social media accounts; Twitter: @vision_lynn Facebook: Vision King’s Lynn and Instagram: visionkingslynn

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