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 Change of Use Approved in King's Lynn, Norfolk. En-Plan: Planning Consultants for Birmingham Walsall Shrewsbury and Shropshire. Planning Consultants serving Birmingham Planning Consultants King's Lynn, Norfolk



St. James Street, King's Lynn, Norfolk.


Planning Application submitted and approved for the change of use of a vacant art gallery to a restaurant use with a new two bedroom flat created above.  The property is located in the heart of the King's Lynn Conservation Area.



Following an initial consultation with the applicants En-Plan drafted a scheme that was subsequently submitted to by King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council  for the proposed change of use and the creation of a new C3 residential unit within the building.

Site Context

King's Lynn, located in the county of Norfolk, England, has a rich and varied history dating back over a thousand years. The area around King's Lynn has been inhabited since prehistoric times, with evidence of settlements dating back to the Bronze Age. The Romans also established a presence in the region, building a fort near present-day King's Lynn known as 'Lavodunum. The town began to flourish during the medieval period, primarily due to its strategic location as a port on the River Great Ouse. It became an essential trading center, especially for the export of wool, which was a vital commodity during this time. In 1101, King Henry I granted King's Lynn its first charter, formalizing its status as a town. The town's name was changed from 'Bishop's Lynn' to 'King's Lynn' in 1537 by King Henry VIII, following the dissolution of the monasteries. This change reflected the town's loyalty to the crown during the English Reformation. King's Lynn continued to grow in importance as a port and was granted additional charters by successive monarchs. During the 16th and 17th centuries, King's Lynn became one of England's most significant ports, trading goods such as grain, salt, wine, and cloth. The town's prosperity was evident in its fine medieval architecture, including buildings like the Custom House and the Guildhall. Like many English towns, King's Lynn was affected by the English Civil War in the mid-17th century. The town initially supported the Parliamentarians but was later captured by Royalist forces. Following the war, King's Lynn's prosperity declined due to changes in trade routes and the silting of the river, making it less accessible to larger vessels. The arrival of the railway in the 19th century brought renewed prosperity to King's Lynn, facilitating the transportation of goods and passengers. The town experienced some industrialization during this period, with the establishment of breweries, engineering works, and other industries. In the 20th century, King's Lynn continued to evolve, with the expansion of its port facilities and the development of new industries. Today, it remains an important regional center with a diverse economy, including agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. Throughout its history, King's Lynn has retained much of its medieval charm, with many historic buildings still standing and a rich cultural heritage that continues to attract visitors from around the world.

The historic character of King's Lynn is deeply rooted in its rich history, evident in its architecture, layout, and cultural heritage. King's Lynn boasts a wealth of well-preserved medieval buildings, including merchant houses, guildhalls, churches, and marketplaces. The town's medieval street plan, with narrow winding lanes and historic market squares, provides a glimpse into its past as a bustling medieval port. King's Lynn was a member of the Hanseatic League, a powerful trading alliance of medieval European cities. This connection influenced the town's architecture and trade practices, with the Hanse merchants leaving their mark on buildings such as the Hanse House, which served as their trading depot. As a historic market town, King's Lynn has a long tradition of commerce and trade. The town's marketplaces, such as Tuesday Market Place and Saturday Market Place, have been central to its economic and social life for centuries, offering a variety of goods and services to residents and visitors alike. The town's location on the River Great Ouse made it a thriving port during the medieval period and beyond. Its maritime heritage is reflected in landmarks such as the Custom House, which served as the headquarters for customs and excise officials overseeing the town's trade activities.  King's Lynn's royal connections, including its renaming by King Henry VIII in 1537, add to its historic character. The town's loyalty to the crown during the English Reformation and its association with various monarchs throughout history are commemorated in monuments, street names, and historical events.

Efforts to preserve and protect King's Lynn's historic character have been ongoing for many years. Organizations such as the King's Lynn Preservation Trust and Historic England work to safeguard the town's heritage buildings and promote awareness of its historical significance. Overall, the historic character of King's Lynn is a testament to its rich and diverse past as a medieval port, market town, and royal borough. Its well-preserved architecture, maritime heritage, and royal connections continue to attract visitors and residents who appreciate its unique sense of history and identity.

This application relates to a two and half storey terrace property on the northern side of St James Street, King's Lynn and is locatyed in the King's Lynn Conservation Area is subject to special planning controls aimed at preserving its historic buildings and streetscapes. These controls may include restrictions on alterations to listed buildings, guidelines for new development, and the requirement for conservation area consent for certain types of work.


At the time of the application the unit was vacant but had been previously used as a hair and beauty salon; The Erica Jane. The building is constructed in red/brown bricks with a natural slate roof. The building had an existing shop front with fascia sign which is non illuminated. Windows to the ground and first floor are UPVC. To either side of this unit are commercial operations, Sandringham Windows and The India Gate. Opposite the site is the Greyfriars Tower. The site is located within the King's Lynn Conservation Area.


The proposed uses (restaurant and residential) are appropriate for this town centre location. The Change of Use was therefore acceptable subject to other relevant planning policy and guidance. The site lies within a Conservation Area and it is therefore important that the operational development either preserves or enhances the character of this protected designated heritage asset.


The proposed extraction ducting proved problematic as the site is adjacent to a Listed Building but the creative use of cladding has allowed the scheme to progress towards approval. A flood risk assessment also accompanied the application and gave the Planning Department the information required to demonstrate the proposal was acceptable in this respect. En-Plan produced amended plans introducing a brick clad chimney enclosing the flue has satisfied the Conservation Officer, subject to the details of the brick slips that can be suitably conditioned if permission is granted, that the development will not be of detriment to the Conservation Area. The Conservation Officer raised no issues in relation to other operational development.
The main concerns with regard to the proposed development in relation to residential amenity was from the flue and hours of operation. The former is now of a height to ensure that emissions will be satisfactorily dispersed and the latter can be suitably conditioned if permission is granted.

Given the location of the site and the available public car parks the Local Highway Authority raises no objection on the grounds of parking provision or highway safety.

The ground-floor element is in the same vulnerability rating as the existing use (Low). However the first and second floor elements (residential) are now at a higher risk (More Vulnerable). Notwithstanding this, given their height well above predicted flood levels in a flood event (1 m) neither the Environment Agency or Emergency Planning Officer raises an objection to the proposed development but recommend a condition relating to flood warning and evacuation

We are currently working with the applicant in discharging a planning condition relating to materials nd also submitting a building regulations application in order that the change of use and associated building works are completed. correctly.

If you would like to find out more about how our Planning Consultancy and Architectural Design Services can work in perfect sync to achieve a successful outcome in the planning system please CONTACT US and we will be only too happy to talk through any questions or development proposals you may have.


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Shropshire Office


Back Lane

Bomere Heath



Norfolk Office

34 Queen Elizabeth Avenue

Kings Lynn


PE30 4BX

En-Plan: Planning & Architectue Chartered Planning Consultants Chartered Town Planning Consultants


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