This June, the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk’s Cabinet will be asked to approve adjustments to the Town Deal programme which the Town Deal Board have made to refine projects set out in the original Towns Fund bid.
Graham Purkins, Chair of the Town Deal Board and Chief Technical Officer of Merxin, said: “The key to effective project management is to be adaptable and flexible. We have been continually monitoring feedback from engagement and needs, prevailing conditions, and deliverability, so that projects we bring forward are of the highest quality and placed to deliver the best outcomes.
“Inevitably this means that you reprioritise as you proceed and there is a government process for this. We are undertaking that process, and we are aware that many of the other towns awarded Towns Fund funding will also be working through this process.
“We have gone through a thorough rescoping of the programme, through which our thinking has further evolved and now crystallised. We plan to enhance two projects, descope two projects, and move one project out of this funding stream but keep it within the Town Investment Plan for future funding. This will see us still achieve, and in some instances exceed, the high-level outcomes we originally set out in our Towns Fund Bid, but in slightly different ways. We hope that Cabinet will approve these changes to enable us to proceed with submitting the business plans this autumn.”
Recommendations within the report include:
Enhancing the scope of the Multi-Use Community Hub to improve the skills offer, multipurpose spaces and commercial opportunities for businesses in addition to the original aim for a one stop shop for library, learning and advice.
Additional works to be added to the St George’s Guildhall and Creative Hub bid and maximising the entire site to create wider benefits for businesses and the local community.
Active and Clean Connectivity and Riverfront regeneration projects to be descoped to ensure more focus on the outcomes most achievable within the Towns Fund. For Active and Clean the focus will be on active travel plan development and improvements to the walking and cycling infrastructure to make it easier for people to make a choice to travel sustainably and live healthier lifestyles. The remaining elements of the scheme will continue to be worked on with a view to becoming part of alternative funding bids.
Riverfront regeneration has been affected by both market forces and a change in local plan allocations. Despite ongoing discussions with interested parties, it has not been possible to secure an operator for the floating restaurant in the Outer Purfleet as originally planned and proposed reductions in local plan allocations for housing mean that putting in flood defences for the protection of life no longer provides the same level of cost benefit as originally envisaged. Savings from these elements will be used to enhance the Guildhall and multi-user community hub projects.
The Town Centre Repurposing project is important, however, there are currently no available premises to house the leisure uses that have been identified through consultation and further feasibility that would be suitable at this time. The Board feels that this important project to support the vibrancy and diversification of the town centre should still happen. It will remain within the Town Investment Plan and will continue to be worked up by council officers, so that when a future funding opportunity arises, it will be in the very best place to succeed. Some of the outcomes from this project will be achieved through the enhancements to the Multi-use Community Hub Project.
These proposals have been recommended by the Town Deal Board following extensive work to review each of the projects that have final Business Cases yet to be submitted to government.
As the accountable body for the Town Deal, the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk will now review the recommendations through the Regeneration & Development Panel (6 June) and the council’s Cabinet (8 June). If approved, the amended project proposals will be submitted to government and work will continue developing the Business Cases for each project.