Members of the King’s Lynn Area Consultative Committee have been invited to the Meeting for this item.
The Regeneration and Economic Development Manager and the Regeneration Programmes Manager presented the report which updated Members on progress and development of the final masterplan for the King’s Lynn Riverfront area. A copy of their presentation is attached.
The Regeneration and Economic Development Manager clarified that the masterplan was not a planning application and planning consent would be required at the appropriate time. The Masterplan included design principles, potential land uses and a vision for the site. The Panel was informed that as part of the Local Plan sites were allocated within the development area.
The Panel was informed that a public consultation exercise had been carried out and three options were considered. The Panel were provided with information on the three options and were informed that the preferred option was option three. Option 3 included exploring the use of Hardings Way and potentially opening it up to other vehicles. He acknowledged that there had been some objections and concerns raised to this and explained that many options would be considered. The Regeneration and Economic Development Manager explained that if no changes were made to the traffic arrangements there could be an increase in traffic using the other main routes into the town centre.
The Panel was informed that any changes to the road network would be subject to separate processes with Norfolk County Council and a thorough analysis would be required.
The Panel was informed that the masterplan would be submitted to Cabinet and Full Council for approval. If approved delivery options would be looked at and further consultation would be carried out as appropriate.
The Chairman thanked officers for their presentation and invited questions and comments from the Panel, as summarised below.
In response to questions from Councillor Tyler, the Regeneration and Economic Development Manager explained that funding opportunities were available, however it was competitive and a strong bid would be required. The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership also had routes into funding.
Councillor Crofts informed those present that he supported option three. He acknowledged the concerns about Hardings Way, but felt that the road was underused and consideration needed to be given to the cost benefit of the road. Councillor Crofts referred to air quality issues along London Road and that if traffic was to increase the air quality would reduce. Councillor Crofts also hoped that the riverfront area would be easily accessed to tourists and encourage bus trips to the area.
The Vice Chairman, Councillor Wright referred to the allocation in the local plan for housing and asked if figures were available on how many extra vehicles this could bring into the town centre. The Regeneration and Economic Development Manager explained that the site allocation could be a different figure. The next stage would be to look at what was viable and feasible on the site.
In response to a question from Councillor Mrs Collingham, it was explained the Nar Loop was currently connected to the Ouse but was mainly dry because of reed beds etc. Options could be to keep the Nar Loop as it was or create a barrier to hold water in and create a wetland area.
In response to a further question from Councillor Mrs Collingham it was explained that any ground floor areas of development would need to be looked at in terms of flood risk.
Councillor Bambridge addressed the Panel under Standing Order 34. She explained that car parking was a huge issue in the Friars area. She referred to the Stakeholders meeting and how residents felt that any development in the area needed to be carefully designed and consideration needed to be given to the height of any buildings. She did not think they should be higher than three storeys. Councillor Bambridge also raised concern about the Millfleet and felt building either side of the Milfleet would be a sensitive issue. She acknowledged that Devil’s Alley would be retained as a right of way. The Regeneration and Economic Development Manager explained that design and detail would be looked at as part of the next stage.
The Portfolio Holder for Corporate Projects and Assets, Councillor Beales explained that the regeneration of this part of the town was important and design would be considered carefully. He explained that there would be a balance between commercial and regeneration and all development would need to be high quality. He reminded those present that the Council had a good reputation when it came to developing public realm areas and referred to the Tuesday and Saturday Market Places. He acknowledged the concerns relating to Hardings Way and reminded those present that the project was in its early stages, however the Council needed to take into account the wider benefits of opening up the road. The Portfolio Holder for Corporate Projects and Assets informed the Panel that a pre-Council briefing would be held to update all Members on the Delivery Plan.
In response to a question from Councillor Tyler, the Portfolio Holder for Corporate Projects and Assets explained that before any decision on the future use of Hardings Way was taken careful consideration would be given to any safety issues.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Long commented that the Council would not go ahead with a scheme which could put people at risk. He referred to the air quality in other parts of the town centre and explained that the levels along London Road had hovered on the limit of what was acceptable and the residents in these areas also needed to be considered. Councillor Long explained that it was important for the Riverfront area to be developed as he felt it would improve King’s Lynn’s offer. He reminded those present that some of the Riverfront area which was within the masterplan area had historically had development on it.
Councillor Middleton acknowledged the concerns of residents with regards to Hardings Way. He referred to periods when traffic was congested throughout the rest of the town centre and how opening up Hardings Way could alleviate this. He also asked that consideration be given to restrictions on Hardings Way if required, for example a weight restriction or no HGV access.
Councillor Pope addressed the Panel under Standing Order 34. He referred to the development value and asked if there would be a halt point if investors were not forthcoming. The Portfolio Holder for Corporate Projects and Assets explained that costs and funding opportunities would be scoped and then it would be a Council decision if to proceed further. Detailed costings would also be drawn up. The Panel was reminded that this project was a developer led project. Any profit from development would be a capital receipt and it was hoped that in the future a revenue stream would also be realised which would be a benefit to the Council tax payer.
The Chief Executive referred to previous projects for the site. He explained that this was a commercially led scheme in a sensitive location and would need to be high quality. It would be a Capital scheme and return, but would also have social benefits.
RESOLVED: (i) The Panel supported Option 3 with due consideration to elements of the other two options if required.
(ii) The Panel requested that future consultation be carried out as required and an updated presented to the Panel at the appropriate time.