Plans for a new community hub in King’s Lynn took a step forward as the results of a recent consultation were released today.
The consultation took place after Norfolk County Council, working with the Town Deal Board and the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, announced plans for a new hub that will have community, library services, learning and skills at its core.
Feedback from the public will help to shape architect plans and the final business case to be submitted to government for a new community hub for King’s Lynn after more than 400 people took part in consultation last December. Local views were collected through an online survey and a series of drop-in events and workshops held in the town.
Councillor Graham Plant, Deputy Leader and cabinet member for Growing the Economy at Norfolk County Council said:
“We had a fantastic response to this consultation and I would like to thank each and every person who took the time to share their thoughts, either online or in person.
“This feedback has given us a depth of insight into the perceptions, sentiment, and needs of the local community for a new hub and, together with the outcomes of the feasibility study, these findings will help to shape the brief for our architects.
“We want the plans to reflect the aspirations of the local community, and we will develop our offer in light of this insight. For example, we are looking at how we develop our training to incorporate life skills which we know people would like to see.”
Throughout December, people were able to give their views on exactly what that offer could be, and the consultation found that accessibility is important for local people in a new hub, both in terms of access and in creating a welcoming, inclusive space. Other key findings were:
- ‘A community space for all to use in the heart of the town’ was the most popular description for the new hub, with 73 per cent of respondents opting for this;
- Access to IT facilities in the new hub was thought to be most useful;
- There was a significant appetite for training to gain skills for the workplace in the new hub;
- Business support advice was also considered to be the most useful business support offer, cited by 69 per cent of respondents;
- People were also keen to see life skills and literacy skills offered in the new hub;
- And, volunteering and work experience opportunities were considered the most useful resources and support offer in the new hub, cited by 68 per cent of respondents;
- Respondents were particularly keen to see activities for adults – such as a book club – in the new hub;
- Other services people would like to see were mental health support, meeting space, café, and toilet facilities, amongst others;
- Over half of those who took part in the consultation expressed their likelihood to use the new hub;
- Around a quarter (26 per cent) of respondents participating in the consultation never use the current library, meaning views were gained from both existing library users and non-users.
The consultation also invited ideas for the future use of the existing library location after Norfolk County Council committed that any future use would recognise and respect the heritage of this important building.
Councillor Plant added:
“This was an early opportunity for the community to put forward ideas for the future use of the Carnegie building and we welcome the engagement we’ve had so far.
“We know the Carnegie building holds significant local and historical value so any future use will need to be supported by the community and be sustainable.”
The new hub is being funded by investment from the Town Deal fund – subject to a successful business case – Norfolk County Council, and the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.
Councillor Graham Middleton Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Business, Culture and Heritage for the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk said:
“It has been really invaluable to hear from the public and understand what people would like to see in the new hub.
“The consultation feedback will allow us to really shape the offer to meet the needs of local people, and bring a space and facilities that add huge value to King’s Lynn. It will give people another reason to visit our town centre.
“We can now take a step forward towards turning this vision into reality with the development of the architect plans that will show what is possible in this flagship new hub.”
The Rt Revd Dr Jane Steen is the Town Deal Board Champion for the community hub project and said:
“It is heartening to see such high levels of engagement in the consultation, which really underlines the clear desire by the community to be involved in shaping the plans for the hub.
“We have heard what people have told us, and we will use this insight to develop the project in the coming months.
“And importantly, we will continue to offer opportunities for people to get involved, have their say, and put forward ideas, including around a name for the space.
“We want the hub to add value to the town as an important community asset offering the educational and skills opportunities we heard about, and so, it is vital that we shape this together with local people.”
Updates and information about opportunities to get involved in the plans for the community hub will be shared on the Vision King’s Lynn website Vision King’s Lynn (visionkingslynn.co.uk) and on the Vision King’s Lynn social media channels.
A summary of the consultation findings can be found here: Document Library – Vision King’s Lynn (visionkingslynn.co.uk)
*Congratulations to Helen Gilbert who was chosen at random as the winner of the survey prize draw, receiving £100 in shopping vouchers.