Officers from Norfolk County Council presented information on the Multi User Community Hub (MUCH) Town Deal Project and RIBA Stage 1 process, a copy of the presentation is attached.
The presentation included the vision and purpose of the MUCH, indicative designs and the services that could be provided.
The Chair thanked officers for the presentation and invited questions and comments from the Panel, as summarised below.
Councillor Bone made reference to the size of the building and asked if it was realistic that all the services would be able to be provided. He also did not like the design of the exterior of the building. Ceri Sumner explained that programming would be looked at to maximise the services available and the design of the buildings were indicative at this stage.
Councillor Manning commented on opening times, and it was explained that details would be developed, and access would be looked including out of hours services and ‘open library’ access, whilst considering safety of staff and users.
Councillor Nockolds commented that the design of the building should complement other buildings in the High Street, and suggested rounded edges and the use of large glass windows.
Councillor Nockolds also asked if there would be a provision for visitors, such as an information desk and links to the Tourist Information Centre. It was explained that tourists would be welcomed into the space, and it was hoped that touring library exhibitions could be brought in as well.
The Vice Chair, Councillor Gidney asked questions relating to the use of local materials and photovoltaic panels. He was also concerned with the position of the building as he did not feel it had good links with other parts of the town centre. He asked about staffing and running costs and if Norfolk County Council representatives would be based in the building. It was explained that all materials and designs were indicative at this stage and energy efficient measures would be incorporated into the building and roof as appropriate. It was also confirmed that Norfolk County Council would be responsible for the building and its operation.
In response to a question from Councillor Hudson, it was explained that most of the existing building would be demolished, with the exception of the floor plate and some concrete columns.
Councillor Morley was concerned with the sustainability of the MUCH and he felt that a strategy was needed on how the project would benefit the socio-economic levels in the town centre, and how projects in the town centre would complement each other. It was explained that the next stage of the process would be to put together the Business Case which would require Town Deal Board sign off and be brought back to the Council for consideration.
The Chair commented that she thought the facility would be of benefit to the people of King’s Lynn and it was important that it had extensive evening opening hours.
RESOLVED: That the update was noted and the comments of the Panel would be taken into consideration as appropriate.