• Vision King’s Lynn

Vision King’s Lynn

MULTI-USER COMMUNITY HUB

Town Investment Plan theme: Innovative, growing business and skilled workforce

This project aims to create a modern, accessible library, learning, and community hub in the heart of King’s Lynn town centre.

The hub would be a flagship facility for the town, bringing together the library, adult learning, and careers and employability support alongside a range of services that meet the needs of local people.

PROJECT OVERVIEW

The hub will be a state-of-the-art fully accessible community and learning space in the centre of town. It will play host to not only the library and associated facilities, but a range of Norfolk County Council services and programming from Adult Learning and partners – curated specifically to the needs of King’s Lynn residents.

Our vision is to create a place where residents can access a range of public services they value, alongside information and advice they trust, with library and learning at their heart. A welcoming, safe space where a range of partners offer support and people can connect, learn, be inspired and find the resources they need to thrive.

The project aims to:

  • Provide inspiring spaces and facilities for individuals, communities and businesses that encourage connection and innovation
  • Deliver flexible layouts and resources that adapt to the needs of different people and purposes
  • Create a strong base for outreach and community support work and support smaller community groups and partners to have a local presence
  • Transform the landscape of the town centre with an aspirational building and associated public realm to encourage a sense of identity and pride in a local place
  • Attract more people to town centres as a cultural anchor, helping to strengthen communities
  • Create a new town centre one-stop shop for a range of services and skills development opportunities for King’s Lynn residents, with close access to public transport.
  • Drive skills progression for the workforce – encouraging lifelong professional development, upskilling and reskilling
  • Equip young people for success by unlocking their abilities, confidence and potential

PROJECT TIMELINE

  • December to January 2022:

    Stage 1

    Consultation for the project

  • Early 2022:

    Stage 2

    Consultation findings published
  • Autumn 2022:

    Stage 3

    Business case submitted for Town Deal Board review

  • December 2022:

    Stage 4

    Project Manager appointed

  • Spring 2023:

    Stage 5

    Design works continue:

    • Public consultation to co-design the programmes and services that will be based at the hub.
    • Public consultation to shape the designs and branding as they develop.
  • Summer 2023

    Stage 6

    Concept design works

  • Autumn 2023

    Stage 7

    Public feedback sought on design of building

  • Spring 2024

    Stage 8

    Partial demolition of Argos building

  • Spring 2024

    Stage 9

    Final design works

  • Winter 2024

    Stage 10

    Construction begins

  • Autumn 2025

    Stage 10

    Building opens

DOCUMENTS

Multi-User Community Hub

There is a lot of data to evidence that people in King’s Lynn do not have enough opportunities to benefit as much as they could from skills and learning. There is also a lot of evidence that the current Library does not offer the size and scale needed in a town the size of King’s Lynn.

When compared to towns of similar sizes in the County people in King’s Lynn are unable to access the breadth of help support and skills development that is available elsewhere. Norwich, Great Yarmouth, even Attleborough have bigger learning and community offers and we don’t feel King’s Lynn should miss out any longer.

The original costs were estimated in 2019, prior to Covid, and we are now in a post-pandemic world in which much has changed. The new budget has factored in an additional £1m for a sprinkler system (a new regulation) and – given the current costs of living crisis around inflation we have budgeted for  just under £2.5 million for contingency and risks costs to give a realistic picture of the budget needed.

To check the investment still made sense, we commissioned a totally independent assessor to conduct a ‘benefits cost analysis’: this is an economic indicator that summarizes the overall value for money of a project or proposal. The independent assessment concluded that even with the cost increase the project value for money was classed as ‘high’ given it’s impact on the lives of people in King’s Lynn.

We assessed 4 buildings when looking for the home for the hub. The Argos building provided the space, flexibility and location needed to support the proposals for this project.

This space also gives us the opportunity to transform an eyesore building into something modern and attractive, and pull back the front to reveal the beautiful Majestic Cinema, creating a town centre space for all to enjoy and hopefully increasing the number of visitors to the town and associated economic impacts of this.

Community feedback has asked for a modern, light and airy space that fits in with its surroundings.

We’ve taken this as our base, and will engage with residents, local groups and stakeholders to understand what this truly means to you and use this in the design process. The building will also be subject to the full planning process locally, which means that it will need to be in keeping with, and complimentary to, the wider town centre.

A large number of surveys have been conducted to ensure the building is safe and sustainable, including investigations into the quality and lifespan of the concrete and steel frame.

Working closely with architects we reviewed the different options available including demolition and rebuilding. Our architects highlighted that the frame that sits within the core of the building is the optimum size, shape, and construction of any frame that they would rebuild. Therefore, when considering value for money, the environmental impact of the project and its deliverability, retaining the current structure was the preferred option.

We began initial engagement with residents through surveys (online, on paper, and in person) and workshops in December-January 21/22 and based on what you’ve told us we’ve changed some of the plans – making sure the new hub includes facilities such as meeting rooms for businesses, and that a programming stream is dedicated to young people.

We’re planning engagement throughout the next year and a half: from what it will look like, what it will be called, which services, training and events will be based at the space.

Community groups and local leads have told us that they would like:

  • a mix of 1-1 type spaces for meeting with clients and more confidential discussions
  • some larger flexible rooms  to meet and deliver their services and activity
  • access to more open spaces in the building to run activities such as craft sessions/hobby clubs

We have been able to work all of these suggestions into our latest layouts and have a good variety of spaces that will be available.

Norfolk Library services work collaboratively with a range of community groups across all of our Library sites in Norfolk. You can find out more about what we offer in terms of our space here Library service room hire – Norfolk County Council. We know this will be new for Kings Lynn partners as we are not able to offer such spaces and arrangements at the current Library building. So we are keen to speak to as many partners as possible to see how we can do it well.

In addition to specific room hire, we also work closely with some organisations who use our space as offices or as their permanent base. We are in conversation with key partners about what this could look like for King’s Lynn, but if there are any organisations who would like to speak to us please contact us: communities@norfolk.gov.uk.

Of course, any group or partner can come and use any of our open space whether this is to meet a service user, or hobby group, or to hot desk/work at any of our desks or in some comfy chairs. We are very excited to have a dedicated ‘Business section’ of the MUCH (BIPC) which will feel professional to enable this sort of activity.

Initial feedback from the King’s Lynn Community Hub consultation activity held in December 2021 and January 2022 indicated that there is a desire for a community space in the heart of the town offering a variety of services, facilities, and training. Residents expressed notable interest in access to learning and training opportunities, such as;

  • Life skills (e.g. accessing a mortgage)
  • Literacy skills
  • Digital skills
  • Career and employment support

We will continue to work with the community to get a better understanding about which services and training events you would like to see in the new hub to ensure interest levels are high for the launch.

No.

Norfolk County Council are currently working on a process whereby community groups can apply to take on the Carnegie building to ensure continued community access. We don’t want to rush this, as we’re keen to ensure the building is taken on by the best possible group.

We are engaging with the community in Autumn 2023 to better understand residents’ views about the future use of the building and capture any new ideas and opportunities.

We are also finalising an information pack so that any group or organisation who wishes to express an interest will do so in possession of the full facts about the costs of running the building and any repair and maintenance liabilities. This pack will include all of the information about the site, so organisations are able to consider whether it offers them the space and flexibility they need to operate there.

Expressions of interest from organisations or groups will be invited towards the end of the year, and we will review and evaluate applications in Spring 2024 in partnership with the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk. We plan to announce the successful organisation in Autumn 2024.

If your group or organisation is interested in finding out more, please email communities@norfolk.gov.uk to register your interest and our team will send out more information later this year.

The Carnegie made a wonderful 20th century library but has a number of constraints which mean that we can’t use the building in the way we need to for the future.

The current library does not meet the statutory floor space requirements for a library given the population of King’s Lynn, multiple classes or events cannot be offered simultaneously, and we are missing out on partnerships as new partners cannot secure preferred timeslots. Any additions to the space would mean sacrificing the car park, further reducing access, and the main reason given by those who do not use the space is its location.

It is time for it to make a home for another exciting function, and Norfolk County Council are working on a process and engagement schedule to support community groups in applying to take it on. Several have already enquired to lodge interest, but we want to ensure the best fit for the needs of the community, and that compliments wider activity in the Town.

Whilst Chloe’s Burgers will need to relocate when the building opens owing to the location of the new front doors, we believe it will be beneficial for both the trader and the construction workforce for Chloe’s Burgers to remain in their current location until the building work has completed, this is likely to be 2025.

The BCKLWN are working to find a solution for the local business once the building has opened.

FEEDBACK

We held our initial consultation in 2021 – you can read the findings here.

We gave your feedback to our architects to help them shape the early design work.

We’re now at a stage where our architects have some ideas around the design of the outside of the building and would like some more feedback on what you think it should like.

Find out more and have your say on the King’s Lynn community hub consultation page.