Published: Wednesday, 10th March 2021
A bid for a town deal of up to £25million has been submitted by the Town's Board and while a funding announcement is expected towards the end of this month.
The board, which operates under the banner of Vision King's Lynn continues to develop its ideas and plans under the Town Investment Plan, will establish a range of additional sub groups to help explore ideas, priorities, develop plans against available funding, or secure additional input to help the board deliver projects. Some of the sub groups are made up of specialists and council officers, others require input from a wider range of stakeholders and other interested parties.
Graham Purkins, Chair of the Town's Board, said: "Our Town Investment Plan sets out our high level vision for King's Lynn. The next step is to work up the detailed concepts and plans for individual projects to ensure they are based on robust information and deliver maximum impact. In addition to supporting the Towns Fund opportunity, this will also help put us in the best position for possible future funding opportunities. To this end, we plan to establish focussed sub groups, chaired by members of the Town Deal Board and with project specific membership, to help progress these plans and ideas. We are currently working up the terms of reference for these groups and will then be enrolling participants."
The first of these sub groups are as follows:
Skills Working Group: This group will be led by Norfolk County Council and include representatives from the College of West Anglia, Department for Work & Pensions, UEA and organisations involved in the delivery of education and training. Its aim will be to explore what skills and support are needed and how they could be provided. Accelerated funding has already been secured which is being used to establish a School of Nursing Studies in partnership with the College of West Anglia, Anglia Ruskin University, and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Construction on which is due to start imminently.
Youth Forum: Following a Youth Survey conducted by the Town Deal Board in September, there was strong support from the Board to ensure that young people continued to have a voice as the plans and projects develop as we recognise that they will ultimately be the ones to benefit from the plans long term. We hope to have representation from the Youth Parliament and are seeking interest from anyone aged 16-30. The Youth Forum will be to ensure we get young people's input and perspective into plans and ideas. Anyone interested in being involved in this Youth Forum should register their interest through the contact form on the visionkingslynn.co.uk website.
Town Centre Repurposing & Public Realm Working Group: This will be chaired by Vicky Etheridge, of Discover King’s Lynn (the King’s Lynn BID). Its purpose will be to explore ideas and opportunities and to look for additional sources of funding. £153,000 of accelerated funding has already been secured from Government. The group will be looking at prioritising the projects within the recently prepared public realm action plan for King’s Lynn and look at how vacant buildings can be repurposed to support the on going vibrancy of the town centre. Parties invited to take part in this working group will include representatives from retail, leisure, hospitality, town centre businesses, along with Civic Society, Preservation Trust and relevant specialist council officers and specialist advisors as required.
Guildhall and Creative Hub Stakeholder and Community Group: This will be chaired by Michael Baldwin (Vice Chair of the Town Deal Board). It is envisaged that members of this group will include users such as King's Lynn Festival, King’s Lynn Operatic and Dramatic Society, Shakespeare Guildhall Trust and Collusion, along with any potential users of the venue and those with an interest in creative industries. Anyone interested in being part of this stakeholder and community group should register their interest using the contact form on the visionkingslynn.co.uk website.
Guildhall and Creative Hub Advisory Group: This will also be chaired by Michael Baldwin, and invited members will include amongst others Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Museums Services, specialists with theatre operation backgrounds and the National Trust who own the building and lease it to the council.
The two Guildhall and Creative Hub groups will each have a different role but their overall purpose will be the same. They will contribute to the evolution of all aspects of the complex - the theatre, exhibition space and creative hub space. They will help create a permanently sustainable model of operation that is resilient to changes in tastes, technologies, and that is inclusive and accessible. They will help ensure that whatever plans are developed, that the space is financially sustainable and has a genuine impact on the area’s cultural health and economic prosperity.
Cllr Graham Middleton, Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Cabinet Member for Business Development, added: “We have some really exciting opportunities coming up, with several funding streams having been announced, including the Levelling Up and UK Community Renewal Fund which was announced in the budget. We want to make sure that we are poised and ready to act on those opportunities to secure investment. This is far and away the most comprehensive plan that we have ever had for the town, bringing several streams of work together, all aimed at making the town a vibrant and thriving place where people want to live, work, visit and invest. We have great representation on the Town Deal Board, but we recognise the need to have broader engagement and involvement from a wider range of specialists and interested parties. The plans and projects and under the themes within the Town Investment Plan are all based on public consultation, but as with all plans, these will evolve and develop over time and we want to harness the best minds, the most enthusiastic people and the right skills to ensure that we can absolutely capitalise on the opportunities that may present themselves.
“I would urge any young people to come forward if they want to get involved in the Youth Forum and any arts, creative, digital or theatre groups to come forward if they want to be involved in the Guildhall and Creative Hub Stakeholder and Community Group. It is vital that we demonstrate to funders that we have a plan that the community is behind, and that all parties are working together to achieve the same goal.”
For more information about the Town’s Board or the Town Investment Plan submission visit www.visionkingslynn.co.uk.