Multi-million-pound revamp of town centre

Construction work in the Vancouver Quarter – Photo by Nick Downey, Highpics

An exciting multi-million-pound revamp is taking place in in the heart of King’s Lynn.

A vibrant new shopping area will be opened up on a site formerly occupied by Beales department store, helping to further improve the shopping experience in the historic market town.

Following the demise of the Beales store, the Vancouver centre’s owners (a consortium led by retail specialist LAP in joint partnership with the Borough council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk) engaged leading retail architects The Colman Partnership to design a modern replacement of the Beales store to raise the profile of the Vancouver Quarter.

The existing building did not meet with current design requirements for national store users and so the decision was taken to completely demolish the existing ’70s building and design two-storey retail units with a main 1,867m² unit.

H&M visual by Colman Architects

H&M has taken the lease for the large unit and the two-storey curtain walling entrance promotes both floors of retail space onto Baxter’s Plain. As well as H&M, the £3.8m project will also create four smaller retail units, ranging between 149m² and 533m². To lead shoppers towards Baxter’s plain, a projecting crown over sails the elevations of the principle unit.

Following a tendering process, Lynn-based company Chalcroft was appointed to bring this much needed addition to the Vancouver Quarter to fruition.

Work commenced with the demolition of the former Beales building soon after the site hoardings were erected. The bricks from the former store were regraded and recycled. The close proximity of the site to neighbouring businesses and the public meant that Chalcroft’s expertise in live site working came to the fore and close liaison has been vital. A section of floor connecting to the adjacent Iceland store will be incorporated into the new building for structural reasons.

Once the site was cleared, a number of investigations were carried out on the existing utility services and underground structures, with some services, including water, gas, electricity, sewerage and high-speed cables, being diverted. The drainage diversion had to be done at night so as not to disrupt the town centre and a temporary roadway through the construction site enabled emergency services to access the shopping precinct, should it be necessary. When the pedestrian area was re-opened by 5am each morning, the area had been resurfaced and normal service resumed during the day.

Chalcroft has now moved on to the piling, foundations and steelwork phase. The continuous flight auger piling system has been used so as to minimise vibration through the ground and keep noise to a minimum. This type of piling is when a special drill is driven into the ground and then, as it is removed, concrete is injected into the hole. Steel is then inserted to reinforce the concrete.

Chalcroft Operations Director, Andrew Hardy commented: “We’ve worked on a number of retail projects before but the location of this site within a pedestrianised precinct means that careful planning has gone into managing access to the area. A dedicated site supervisor controls pre-arranged material delivery to site, and communication with the public and our neighbours is key.”

He added: “We’re proud to be playing our part in an important project that will help to bring more people into King’s Lynn, where our Head Office is based.”

Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Cabinet Member for Corporate Projects and Assets, Cllr Alistair Beales, said: “Having a vibrant town centre, is vital for the local economy. This development is something we were keen to support as it will be the catalyst to regenerate this part of the town centre, building on our investments in the bus station, car parks and heritage assets. We are pleased that a local company is bringing this project to life and look forward to welcoming H & M to town.”

H&M is due to open Spring 2019.


Deepdale Christmas Market 2017

Deepdale Christmas Market is a wonderful celebration of the festive season on the beautiful North Norfolk Coast. Dalegate Market, Deepdale Backpackers & Camping and St Mary’s Church welcome over 120 local artisans and producers to the little coastal village of Burnham Deepdale, creating one of the East of England’s largest festive markets in a tiny village of just 30 permanent residents.

Old favourites like Candi’s Chutney, James Buttifant’s penguins, Marsh Pig, Nelson & Norfolk Tea Company, Breckland Orchard, Cushion Cottage, Gourmet Brownies, Ollands Farm Foods, Boo Boutique, Norfolk Brewhouse, Bringing The Outside In, Holkham Forge, Lilac Nuseries and Reclaimed Time will be returning with their wonderful produce.

“I’m looking forward to welcoming many new additions this year, artisans like Oak & Antler, pud’Eng, Ferndale Cheeses, Marshes & Flint, Saffire Handmade Chocolates, Molten Aqua, St Elvan Mead and Unsimply Stitched. The full list of the 120+ stalls can be found on the website –”, said Estelle Townshend.

“Visitors will recognise the usual setup with a few major improvements for this ninth annual market. Regulars will know we adjust the stalls each year, so no tent is ever quite the same.” said Jason Borthwick

The Dalegate Tent in front of the shops, with various outside stalls around it, will remain as it has been in previous years. There’s plenty of space to sit, have a drink and recharge, and enjoy the live music.

St Mary’s Church will offer some high quality stalls, hot drinks and cakes in aid of the church building fund, and there will be live entertainment there too.

All the stalls have been booked for a few months, giving the artisans and producers time to prepare for the market. The entertainment programme is forming at the moment, as Jason Borthwick and Chris Haycock gather performers for the weekend.

Parking is free and as usual the Coasthopper buses will be stopping outside the door, so you can always leave the car at home.

The ninth Deepdale Christmas Market takes place on Friday 1st, Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd December, open from 10am to 5pm each day.

Full details of the whole event are available on the website:

Local retailer donates £20,000 to East Anglian Air Ambulance

Discount retailer B&M has donated £20,000 to East Anglian Air Ambulance to help them be able to operate and provide care for people across the East of England, 365 days a year.

The Charity currently operates two ambulances to provide lifesaving rapid response emergency care and since they launched in 2000 they have attended over 19,000 missions, touching the lives of many thousands of people.

Alastair Wilson, Medical Director at East Anglian Air Ambulance, said: “This year we have to raise over 11 million pounds to keep our crew in the air. B&M’s donation will help fuel and equip our helicopters to provide A&E level care to critically ill patients at the scene of their accident. We are very grateful for their generous gift.”

The funds were raised from carrier bag charges in local stores throughout East Anglia, since the mandatory carrier bag charging was introduced in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland last year B&M stores across the country have raised more than £650,000 in total – with a whopping £100,000 of the fund is being donated to the Association of Air Ambulances alone.

B&M’s Area Manager, Jeremy Robins, said: “My team chose East Anglian Air Ambulance because they’re a fantastic charity who deserve this cash boost. They rely on the generosity of the public and what better way to help out than with how great is it that local shoppers can give back to the community by helping saving the lives of others.”

Christmas comes early for Aiden

from L to R Leo Jones, Youngsters World’s Paul Sanderson, Aiden Jones, and Vancouver Quarter Centre Manager Abbie Panks. Photo by Paul Tibbs

Eight-year-old Aiden Jones got an early Christmas present last week when he was given £250 to spend on toys in King’s Lynn town centre.

The Whitefriars Church Of England Primary Academy pupil was the winner of the Town Centre Halloween trail prize draw after he visited all 20 stamp stations around town during the annual event on October 31.

With the season of goodwill upon us, the Stoke Ferry youngster decided to split his prize with brother Leo, nine, and with his and his sibling’s classmates before they visited Youngsters World, in Norfolk Street, to choose their toys and games.

His mum, Mandy, said: “We really enjoyed the Halloween trail – Aiden and Leo particularly liked the stilt-walking bats and the band – and most of all, they felt like they’d got something out of taking part in this event, which is so important.

“It was a bit of a surprise when I got the call to say Aiden had won £250 to spend on toys, and he straight away decided that he was going to share this prize with his brother and also his classmates.

“He got board games for his class and Leo’s so they’d have something new to play with during wet play times at Whitefriars and so the other kids didn’t feel left out.

“He then let Leo choose a couple of bits for himself and he also got a board game for his Nan before he decided what he wanted for himself. He’s always been selfless.”

Aiden added: “I also liked going on the Halloween Trail because we visited lots of shops and I had my map stamped at everyone we went to. I was really happy when my mum told me I had won lots of toys.”

Vancouver Quarter centre manager Abbie Panks was pleased to meet and hear of Aiden’s selflessness.

“Aiden was such a lovely boy and it was very touching to see that he not only got a present for his class but also for Leo and his brother’s class,” she said. “I was also pleased to hear how much Aiden and Leo had enjoyed taking part in this year’s Halloween event.

“Free town-wide events, like Halloween, really encourage people to take in parts of the town they perhaps haven’t visited before so to hear Aiden and his family being so complimentary about all the retailers was great to hear.”

She added: “I’d also like to thank everyone who took part in our Halloween event this year. We’re still receiving plenty of positive feedback from parents and we’re already looking to make next year’s event bigger and better than ever.”

*Late Night Shopping continues tomorrow with performances from pupils at West Lynn Primary and Glebe House on Baxter’s Plain (near Argos and Costa Coffee). Then on Thursday December 15, Elfish Pressie and the Christmas Crackers are returning, by popular demand, to perform in the centre from 3.30pm.

There’s also a Christmas Fairies workshop which is being run from 3pm to 6pm as well as carol singing on Baxter’s Plain from pupils at King’s Lynn Academy, Reffley School, and West Lynn Primary and people from the Church in the Woottons, the Gateway Church and the King’s Lynn Christian Fellowship Church.

The final Late Night Shopping evening on December 22 will see the Ukulele Elves perform in the shopping centre from 3.30pm with the King’s Lynn Town Band playing on Baxter’s Plain from 6pm.

The following retailers will also remain open until 8pm during the final three Thursday evenings: Argos, Bargain Buys, Blue Inc, Card Factory, Cards Direct, Claire’s, Costa, Ikon, Lavitta, New Look, Peacocks, Poundland, Select, Sports Direct, Superdrug, The Perfume Shop, Tiger, TK Maxx, Trespass, Warren James, Wilko, Wimpy, Yours, Sainsbury’s. Ann Summers will remain open each Late Night Shopping evening until 6.30pm.

New B&M Store opening Friday

bm-bargains-becktonFriday 25 November at 9am will see the long awaited opening of the new B&M Kings Lynn store, on the Pierpoint Retail Park.

Local representatives from Hospital Radio Lynn will be taking centre stage as they officially unveil the new B&M store alongside the local mayor, Cllr David Whitby.

Hospital Radio Lynn’s aim is to help relieve the boredom and isolation a stay in hospital can cause. Patients not only hear a favourite piece of music but also benefit from the company of one of our ward visitors and enjoy a laugh with some of our presenters. A nationwide study has proven that the feeling of emotional wellbeing created by the services it provides, relieves sickness and infirmity and helps patients to heal faster.

The new store manager, Tracy Shippam, said: “The team from Hospital Radio Lynn really stood out for us as they go the extra mile for the community, we wanted to give them some VIP treatment as a thank you for all the hard work they do.

“We hope that our donation can help them to continue the great work they do.”
She also commented: “The new team have been working really hard to get the store ready for opening day and we can’t wait to get the doors open on Friday and show customers their new B&M Kings Lynn.”

On Saturday 26 November there will also be a facepainter in store to transform customers into their favourite super heroes, animals or characters.
The store has undergone a comprehensive internal and external refurbishment programme and created more than 60 new jobs for local people.

B&M is one of the UK’s fastest growing retailers and customers can expect to find a wide variety of branded products including toys, food & drink, home ware, pet products, health & beauty and seasonal ranges.

Sports Direct opens new store in Lynn

sports-directSports Direct has relocated from its old store on the High Street to the Vancouver Shopping Centre.

The new and improved 11,000 sq ft store opened to the public on Tuesday 25th October, with dedicated areas for Football, Running, Fashion, Outdoor, Golf and more.

A spokesperson for Sports Direct said: “We offer something for everybody and we’re very proud to open a new store in a great location like King’s Lynn.

“The store is part of our commitment to developing elevated sports and lifestyle retail space, catering for greater integration of key brands.”

Established in 1982, Sports Direct now has over 400 stores nationwide and a thriving digital platform.

New Next store set to open on Tuesday

next logoA brand new Next clothing store is coming to King’s Lynn and it’s going to be more than double the size of the current one.

Opening tomorrow (Tuesday 21st June) at 10am, the new store, just a stone throws away from the current Next on Pier Point Retail Park, will stand an ample 25,000sq.ft.

Store manager, Holly Marshall, said: “The home department is bigger than my current store! We’ve got lots of newness and lots more to offer our customers. We’re still on the same retail park, we’ve just replaced the former Homebase and because of the size we’ve recruited an extra 22 staff!”

The newest features to the store include shoe rooms for men and women, a home design consultant, a better fashion offering, plus a Costa Coffee. The biggest pull will be the size of the home department, which means local customer will have the best of Next Home on their doorstep.

Next are hosting some big giveaways to celebrate. There are two free design visits and £100 Next gift cards up for grabs, if shoppers’ fill out an entry leaflet in-store. Plus they’ll be a £250 shopping spree people can win too.

The new Next on Pier Point Retail Park will be open Monday to Friday 9am to 8.30pm, Saturday 9am to 7pm and Sunday 10am to 4.30pm.

Huge increase in visitors to town centre

Vancouver Quarter Night 2King’s Lynn town centre once again bucked the national trend with a huge increase in visitors in the run up to Christmas.

While footfall to high streets across the country ​dropped by an average 4 per cent in December compared to the year before, King’s Lynn saw an increase of 5.2 per cent on December 2014 and 6.9 per cent on the same period in 2013.

The town centre also saw an increase of 7.6 per cent in visitors in 2015 compared to 2014 with 11 out of 12 months seeing an increase on 2014. This is a stark contrast to the national scene with the British Retail Consortium reporting shopping visits fell for ninth months in a row from April to December.

Abbie Panks, manager of the Vancouver Quarter shopping centre, which monitors the footfall figures, said: “The increase in online spending in December may have had a heavy impact on retail destinations across the country but I’m delighted to see that King’s Lynn once again saw a surge in visitors to the town

“Whilst the economy is still relatively fragile, it’s heartening to see so many people heading into the town centre. Town centres have long ceased to be strictly retail spaces with people often choosing to spend their leisure time there. The strong programme of events in the town during 2015 undoubtedly helped attract more visitors and we look forward to continuing our work alongside the borough council on events in 2016.”

Borough Councillor David Pope, Cabinet Member for ICT, Leisure and Public Space, added: “We are keen to support activities in the town centre which encourage people to come here. We know that the light shows and the many events we have organised have really helped to bring people to King’s Lynn and the footfall figures are very pleasing when the rest of the country seems to be struggling. We are just putting the finishing touches to the events programme for 2016 which we hope will once again support town centre retailers and eateries as people come into town to enjoy what’s on offer.”

Win 14 Festive Films

vancouver quarter dvdsIt’s an age old question, what IS the greatest Christmas film? Maybe you are a fan of Elf? Maybe you love Miracle on 34th Street.

The Vancouver Quarter are offering the chance to win 14 great festive films.

Films in the bundle are:

A Christmas Carol (PG)
It’s a Wonderful Life (Original and Colour Versions) (U)
Nativity (U)
Santa Claus The Movie (Celebrating 30 Years) (U)
Holiday Inn (2 Disc Special Edition) (U)
Arthur Christmas (U)
The Holiday (12)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947 and 1994 versions) (U)
The Grinch (PG)
The Polar Express (U)
The Snowman (30th Anniversary Edition) (PG)
The Muppets Christmas Carol (U)
Home Alone (PG)

To be in with a chance visit

Black Friday sales come to Lynn

BlackFridayTagThis week sees the Black Friday sales, an idea imported into the UK from the US designed to kick-start the Christmas spending frenzy.

Shoppers in town can expect big discounts on offer from stores such as Argos, Beales, Boots, The Body Shop, Bonmarché, Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Matalan, River Island and Sainsburys.

Beales are offering up to 50% off Menswear, Ladieswear, Linens, Towels and Homewear.

Boots are running a Black Friday Weekend, with up to 60% off perfumes, aftershaves and Christmas beauty gifts.

The Body Shop are offering up 40% off their products for the whole of this week.

Bonmarché will be offering up to 50% on key lines, with special price cuts available across dresses, knitwear and outerwear alongside pieces from the David Emanuel for Bonmarché collection.

Debenhams has offers from across all departments, including home and furniture, fashion and beauty.

Marks & Spencer will offer up to 30% on their fashion collections, homewares and food range.

Matalan are running a Black Friday Half Price Sale Week, with 50% off hundreds of items for the whole family.

River Island are offering up to 40% off all week on clothing, shoes and accessories.

Outside of town, on the Hardwick Retail Park, Currys PC World have already kicked off their ’10 day Black Tag’ event, with an estimated 3,000 discounts on Nespresso, Dyson and HP products in the run up to Black Friday.

Tesco Extra will be closing at midnight on Thursday and will re-open on Friday at 5am for Black Friday customers.

Online spending alone on Friday is expected to top £1billion, making it the busiest web shopping day in the UK on record.

Argos and Amazon are offering same-day delivery on millions of online purchases, mostly to home addresses.

Elsewhere in the town, several so called “pop up shops” have appeared offering seasonal gifts, cards and wrapping paper.

We have a full list of shops on our Shops Page.

Nominations wanted for Best Christmas Window Display

KLXmasDisplay 300It’s that time of year again, when all the festive window displays start to appear around the town centre.

So this year we are announcing our first ever Best Christmas Window Display Award. We invite you to nominate any King’s Lynn shop you consider has the ‘Xmas Factor’.

The winner will be judged independently and receive 6 months of free banner advertising with us.

So start looking around and nominate your shop now. Either send us an email or tweet us using the hashtag #KLXmasDisplay with your nomination. If you can add a picture, even better!

Nominations So Far

Window Forgotten Treasures

window deck of cards 3

window great presents

window norfolk hospice

Lynn companies show off their talent in town centre

vancouver quarter Crazy Golf 2935Companies from around King’s Lynn showed off their best dance moves and golfing talent on Wednesday (October 28) in the final Vancouver Quarter Business Challenge of 2015.

The double challenge was held in the former Country Casuals store on New Conduit Street and saw members from five business teams complete nine holes of crazy golf, as others competed on an arcade-style dance machine.

This event, the fourth and final business challenge of 2015, kicked off at 1pm with the team from Ward Gethin Archer storming to victory in the dance off challenge, and Primark winning the crazy golf competition.

With bonus points awarded to the best three dancers and top three putters, the overall competition winners for 2015 were Ward Gethin Archer and Primark who both finished on level points after the four challenges.

Wilko finished third, Sainsbury’s ended in fourth place and Burger King and KLFM were tied in fifth place. Alive Leisure, New Look, Beales, and Studio 20a completed the table.

The other challenges held in the Vancouver Quarter this year included pancake racing in February, egg and spoon racing in April, and beat the goalie in August. The shopping centre will give a donation to the chosen charities of both Ward Gethin Archer and Primark.

Abbie Panks, Vancouver Quarter Centre Manager, said: “I’d like to congratulate Ward Gethin Archer and Primark for topping our business challenge table this year. Both have been huge supporters of our challenges this year, and were both competitive.
“A huge thank you also to every business that has taken part this year. We really hope all the businesses enjoyed taking part, and went some way to helping their staff bonding and networking with fellow companies in the town.”

Details of the Vancouver Quarter’s 2016 challenges will be released early next year. Any businesses interested in taking part are asked to email

New coffee & muffins shop opens

bbs coffee and muffinsA new Coffee and Muffins shop is set to open in King’s Lynn tomorrow, Wednesday 12th August.

The opening of BB’s Coffee and Muffins in Broad Street is part of a plan for the business to expand and add a further 40 company and franchise shops over the coming years.

Abbie Panks, Vancouver Quarter Centre Manager, said: “BB’s is a fantastic company known for its great products, design and customer interaction. We are delighted to be showcasing one of their newly styled cafes, they will be a welcome addition to the town.”

“To celebrate their arrival in King’s Lynn, BB’s will be giving away 100 free muffins every Tuesday for four weeks, starting on August 18. Vancouver Quarter Discount Card holders will also be able to get two regular hot drinks for the price of one.”

As well as serving coffee and muffins, the firm sells baguettes, breakfast rolls and bloomer sandwiches as well as a range of pastries and pasties.

Andrew Moyes, BB’s group CEO, added: “We pride ourselves in being different, and we are not afraid to show our personality. Our stores are full of unique, quirky touches – we don’t always try to fit in, but we always welcome everyone.

“All the muffins you find were made and baked on site that same day. We would never sell you a muffin that was made yesterday.”

BB’s coffee and muffins began in a bakery in Australia. When muffins started outselling every other item at “Bakers Bun”, the owners realised they’d hit on a recipe for success and began focusing solely on muffins.

Before long they were serving fresh coffee too, which led to the name of BB’s Coffee and Muffins. They now have over 50 coffee shops across Ireland and the UK.

At the heart of all BB’s stores is a kitchen where all the muffins are freshly baked every morning on site by its master bakers. BB’s has more than 200 unique muffin recipes to choose from.

Free activities in the Vancouver Quarter on Easter Saturday


Children can decorate ceramic egg cups and wooden bird boxes as part of free activities being held in the Vancouver Quarter on Easter Saturday.

The shopping centre has teamed up with Paint Me Ceramics and Craft Studio to host the workshops on April 4 next to Costa Coffee and opposite Wilkinson on New Conduit Street.

There will be four egg cup decorating sessions, starting at 10.30am, 11.30am, 1pm 2pm, but centre manager Abbie Panks has stated that places need to be booked in advance as there are only limited places available.

“Our workshops on Easter Saturday will be ensure kids have a cracking time in the heart of King’s Lynn,” she said. “They are designed to bring some fun to the town centre but will also give parents some free activities to do with their children whilst also supporting the town centre.

“Please don’t delay in making your booking for the ceramic egg cup workshop as we anticipate these four sessions being fully booked up in the days leading up to Easter. No booking is needed for the wooden bird box workshop, which will run from 10.30am to 4pm, but there are only a limited number of boxes available so it’ll be first come, first served on the day.”

For more details and to reserve your child’s place for the egg cup workshops, visit

Alive Leisure storm to victory in Vancouver Quarter pancake racing challenge

The winning team:  Alive Leisure

The winning team: Alive Leisure Photos: Paul Tibbs

Eight teams from businesses and organisations around King’s Lynn battled it out to be crowned the best flippers in town today.

pancake race 300 2

The annual event was the first Vancouver Quarter Business Challenge of 2015 and drew a large crowd in St Dominic’s square after the flipping action began at 1pm.

The team from Alive Leisure, which runs the King’s Lynn Corn Exchange, Lynnsport, St James Pool, Downham Leisure Centre, and the Oasis at Hunstanton, beat a youthful team from Ward Gethin Archer in the grand final to take the crown – or in this case, an engraved frying pan.

Wilkinson and Primark finished third and fourth respectively. Sainsbury’s, west Norfolk radio station KLFM, Beales and Burger King completed the list of participants and also competed in a “wooden spoon” competition, which was won by Burger King.

“A huge thank you to everyone who took part in our Pancake Racing challenge and to Sainsbury’s for providing the frying pans and pancakes,” said Vancouver Quarter marketing and events assistant David Blackmore. “It was a brilliant event – despite the overcast and chilly conditions – and I was pleased to see so many members of the public line the course to cheer on the teams.”

Abbie Panks, Vancouver Quarter centre manager, added: “We started the business challenges in 2013 as a way for, not only businesses in the Vancouver quarter to get out and meet other retailers, but also other businesses in the wider town. As a retailer it’s often difficult to get out during the day, so these challenges offer light relief as well as the chance to talk to one another.”

pancake race 300 1

Despite narrowly missing out on winning the challenge by a matter of seconds, Ward Gethin Archer could take some consolation from the fact their team secured the quickest time overall with 47 seconds in their semi final against Primark. Alive Leisure and Burger King also clocked impressive times of 48 seconds during the course of the challenge.

To commemorate their success, Alive Leisure will soon be presented with an engraved frying pan thanks to Timpson, located within Sainsbury’s in the Vancouver Quarter.

The businesses will compete in their next challenge – egg and spoon racing – in April. This will be followed by a beat the goalie competition in August and a mystery challenge in October. The team with the most points after these four challenges will be crowned Vancouver Quarter Business Challenge 2015 champions and a donation will be made to a charity of the winner’s choice.