Published: Friday, 11th September 2020
Work to develop a plan for King’s Lynn that could bring £25M in funding into the town is moving forward.
The Town Investment Plan is being developed by the Town Board, which brings together representatives from the private and public sector, and will set out the vision, priorities, and interventions that could significantly enhance the town.
The plan’s development comes after the government allocated £25m for King’s Lynn in 2019 through the Town’s Fund, which was set up to drive economic regeneration. The plan must include projects focused on the themes of urban regeneration, planning and land use; skills and enterprise infrastructure, and connectivity.
Consultation has been taking place to gain insight to help to shape the plan. This has included business and consumer confidence surveys that ran earlier this summer and a workshop for town centre businesses, taking place on 9 September. The workshop saw themes such as opportunities and challenges and investment in the public realm discussed and also provided an update into progress on the Town Investment Plan.
Further opportunities for people to feedback on the plan and its projects will be offered on a regular basis.
Graham Purkins, Chair of the Town Board and Chief Technology Officer with Merxin Ltd commented: “The consultation which we have been carrying out gives us a really useful insight into some of the needs and priorities for businesses and consumers going forward.
“It is clear that Covid-19 has had an impact in the town, but the resilience and adaptability of businesses and consumers has also been revealed by our research.
“The plan that we are developing will form part of the recovery and renewal of King’s Lynn and so the feedback we have received, at the workshop and in the surveys, is extremely useful. I am really grateful for everyone who took the time to have their say.”
Earlier this summer, the Vision King’s Lynn consumer and business surveys aimed to understand confidence in the town, in light of Covid-19. 276 consumers and 72 businesses gave their views in the consultation which ran just prior to the reopening of non-essential retail. The research found:
Consumer Insight Survey
- At the time of asking, there was a great deal of uncertainty about coming back to the town centre with 46% of consumers feeling confident but 36.8% of respondents stating that they felt unsure.
- The big concern was feeling safe, and the public needed reassurance around social distancing and the measures that have been taken.
- The main purpose people had for coming in was non-essential shopping.
- There has been a big shift in online use in the preceding months, including online banking. This has been through necessity as well as choice.
Business Insight Survey:
- Covid-19 had had a negative impact on most (86.7%) of the businesses who took part in the survey – but 63.5% of respondents said that they are confident that they can recover.
- Businesses have adapted over the last few months, with implementing social distancing measures the main change that has been made.
- The key challenges for businesses in the coming months is retaining and attracting customers, and financial pressures. Businesses would like financial support and help with marketing the town and bringing footfall in.
- There is uncertainty in the future.
The respondents in both surveys stated that they would like to see outdoor seating areas and short-term pop-up shops in the town.
The most recent consultation follows on from previous Vision King’s Lynn surveys which aimed to understand satisfaction with the town as well as needs and ideas. The insight gathered through Vision King’s Lynn consultations will help to inform the plan which will be submitted to government by 31st October with the Town Deal expected to be agreed with government by end of March 2021.
Graham Purkins commented: “This is a once in a generation opportunity for King’s Lynn, to deliver a plan of activity that can bring huge benefits for the town.
“We have much to be proud of in King’s Lynn and with this investment, and through our plan, we can make the most of our very many assets and enhance the town to be a place where people want and aspire to be.”
Through the Town Investment Plan, the aim is for King’s Lynn to be a thriving place where people and businesses want to be, where aspiration is inspired and met, and where potential is fulfilled, now and for generations to come. The plan will enhance the town centre experience for all, providing cultural and leisure opportunities, a new residential offer, and a revived waterfront. The plan will support business innovation and collaboration, and increase access to learning, skills, and employment. The plan will provide for improved and sustainable connections, and will help with the town’s recovery and renewal from the impact of Covid-19, ensuring the long-term success of King’s Lynn.
Follow Vision King’s Lynn on Twitter @vision_lynn Facebook: Vision King’s Lynn or visit www.visionkingslynn.co.uk for updates and further information.
*The winners of the Vision King’s Lynn prize draw were Marc Melton, Adam Knight, and Aga Munns.