Kings Lynn ‘Marina’ Plans Scuppered.
A cause for celebration we think…
King’s Lynn could have to wait at least another decade before work begins on its marina, it emerged last night – as opponents claimed the scheme had been kicked into the long grass.
The news is the second major blow for the town in as many weeks, after the College of West Anglia confirmed it would not be building a new campus on the Nar Ouse Regeneration Area.
And it comes days after it was revealed the future of RAF Marham could be under threat from a review of defence spending, in which five of the RAF’s 19 large bases could close.
West Norfolk Council wanted to put a 250-berth marina, along with hundreds of waterfront apartments and a hotel complex, on the town’s Boal Quay.
Consultants said a silted-up bend in the River Nar could be dredged out for a yacht basin, with lock gates separating it from the River Ouse.
East of England Development Agency officials estimated it would create 350 jobs and bring £13m a year to Lynn’s economy.
But regional development funding, which would have helped towards the cost of the scheme, has dried up because of the credit crunch. And now a report to councillors warns a shortfall the council would have to cover has increased from £4.1m to £10.4m.
Work on the scheme should wait until the economy recovers or a partner willing to fund the scheme can be found, the report says.
Council leader Nick Daubney said: “What the report does, from the council’s point of view, is refer to the economic reality. We’re saying we can’t have the marina as quickly as we wanted, because it depends on other developments that depend on housebuilding.
“Originally, we wanted it devel-oped in four years; realistically, we’re now looking at eight or 10.”
Mr Daubney said the council would continue acquiring the land it would need for the marina scheme, such as the grain silos near the Millfleet, so the scheme could eventually go ahead.
But Dr Ian Mack, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat group on the council, said: “Looking at the report the council has issued, it’s very clearly in the deep long grass.
“I have been pressing the leader of the council for months to stop the marina development. We believe there are better ways of doing regeneration in that area than a 250-berth marina.
“It was patently obvious to Liberal Democrats that in the current economic climate it was madness to press ahead and would have cost council tax payers dear to further overstretch the council finances.
“I am angry that it has taken so long to make this decision and that so much staff time and energy has been wasted when it could have been put to better use. The Conservative leader and his cabinet have got a lot of explaining to do.”
Some nearby residents opposed the marina. Proposals to divert the River Nar through Hardings Pits – a doorstep green nature reserve created in 2004 with a £100,000 English Nature grant – brought angry protests from the Hardings Pits Community Association.
Last night, its secretary Roger Turff said: “It rather looks like the marina might now be off the radar for some time to come.
“A lot of people in Lynn are going to be grateful there’s now time for some more careful thought about it.”