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Kings Lynn



King's Lynn Information

King's Lynn - A small Fenland town


 Landscape & location, Sea levels, Crime, Eco energy, Noise and pollution, Employment opportunities, Services

King's Lynn at a glance;


This area was once largely under water and stands on what is reclaimed sea marsh which was drained from the sea about 400 years ago by the Dutch. As a result the landscape surrounding Kings Lynn is completely flat as far as the eye can see. According to official statistics the town remains under threat of flood and like the surrounding area of the Fens it is kept out of the encroaching sea by the constant pumping of water from an intricate series of ditches, man made rivers and pumping stations. Eventually it may sink along with everything around it due to global warming but for the time being the pumps keep the land drained. Sea levels around the coast here can alter significantly due to rise and falls in barometric pressure. However the sea level does not have to rise for a flood event to occur. It would only require a breakdown of the massive pumping system that operates 24 hours every day to prevent natural water levels from rising. This amounts to a multi million pound annual cost to maintain dry land  which to date can be counted into the hundreds of millions.


Kings Lynn was in past times and remains a traditional and colourful travelers area with a long and detailed history. There is an annual event to celebrate this called the 'Lynn Mart'. Historically it was tradition for the travelers to come and pick the fruit from local farms when in season and it is fair to say that without them many of the farms would have never gathered the annual harvest. Around the town and surrounding villages several encampments can be seen. The local councils have done much to assist travelers and help them to settle in the area and the traveling community owes a debt to these forward thinking authorities.


The inhabitants of the many surrounding villages all use King’s Lynn town to shop and use services which are plentiful. The shops are busy but not thriving. Only the big names do well. The rest appear to struggle to afford the council tax bands as is the case in many large towns and accordingly there are a plethora of charity shops and empty business premises which give the town a tired and slightly depressed feel to it. The architecture and appearance is an unfortunate mix of dilapidated buildings from the mid 50s and 60s alongside the historical mixed with the ultra modern. All the approach routes into the town appear to be extremely unattractive and uninviting and period architectural features and buildings are squeezed and lost between fast food outlets and the like. Any points of interest vanish amidst it all. Collectively it makes unpleasant viewing and spoils what could be a much nicer place. There are schemes aimed at regeneration but the plans are unlikely to have any positive impact.



Recorded crime in Kings Lynn is comparable and rising in common with most town centres and certainly not out of step with others. Mostly petty crime involving theft, vandalism and public order offences. Most crime is not serious in nature or large scale although that is beginning to change and has steadily increased year on year and seems to be in line with the general national trend.


Wind energy


The region in general terms is a suggested site for wind energy development due to the flat barren landscape and high uninterrupted winds. Viability studies are numerous and some have been carried out by planning departments of the local planning authorities who appear to have worked very hard to encourage the technology. Coastal views are now peppered with huge plantations containing hundreds of turbines which reports say has had an effect on wildlife both in and out of the sea. There are a number of land based projects in the pipeline across the region.


Air quality

The air around the town at times can contain toxic pollution from surrounding agricultural  activities that spray chemicals on the land to kill weeds, insects and fungus. Spring and summer are the most affected times. An array of potentially dangerous toxins including pesticides and herbicides in highly concentrated commercial strengths are used during these periods. There is a negative impact on wildlife. Burning on open land is also a concern causing a variety of sometimes toxic output and pungent odours.


Although Kings Lynn is a busy sprawling town jobs are in short supply and those that are available tend to be poorly paid. Many people commute into Cambridge ( 1 hour) or London (2 hours).


All major services are available in Kings Lynn. Mainline trains, Buses, taxis. Electricity, gas, telephone. Good mobile phone signals received and fast broadband available. TV reception is reasonable and all satellite services available. There is not a great deal for the tourist and a short day visit will cover just about everything worth seeing.


In a nutshell;

King’s Lynn may not be the best place to come to in order to plan a long term future. Any investment in property is potentially liable to be threatened by flood which means insurance could pose future problems as could lending and property resale values. Coastal erosion is also an issue.


The job market is poor. Lots of opportunities but mostly low key with few prospects of promotion or high salaried positions. Business start ups are a tough prospect too as lenders and business agents have been reported to lack the decision making speed required which make it difficult for forward thinking entrepreneurs from the big cities to strike up business deals.


Transport is available but only between main points but there is a train station with a London Connection to Kings Cross stopping at Cambridge. Fares however are considered to be high.


Hospitals; There is just one called the Queen Elizabeth. Modern and friendly but like all large units it is at bursting point because it serves a massive area. Be prepared for a very long wait if you have to go there.

Tourism; There are a sprinkling of places to visit but they only appear to amount to some very small museums and a few points of historic note. Apart from that there are the usual features found anywhere else such as a Town Hall, weekly market, some old buildings and the odd statue and memorial. Some small hotels and guest houses operate and there are a number of pubs, burger bars and assorted fast food outlets. There are restaurants selling English, Chinese and Indian food. 

The town and approaches to it are not well signposted and it can be a very confusing place to navigate either by car or as a pedestrian. The best way is to be accompanied by someone who knows the area very well.

Recent Flood Events

People in Norfolk urged to prepare for floods
Kate Scotter - Eastern Daily Press
Tuesday, 9 November, 2010

Families in Norfolk are being urged to be prepared in the event of a flood as a new booklet and DVD filled with practical advice is launched.

The 15-page leaflet, Flooding: Practical and Personal Advice on How to Prepare, Act and Recover from a Flood, was launched yesterday on the third anniversary of the tidal surge which led to homes being evacuated and sandbags being made available to residents.
It complements a DVD entitled ‘Flooding...Are you prepared?’, created by Norfolk police and sponsored by Aviva, which is available to borrow from libraries in the county.
More than five million people currently live in areas that are at risk from flooding. The booklet encourages readers to check if they are in a flood risk area and if they are what items are useful for a flood kit and how to create a personal flood plan.
The plan includes knowing how to turn off gas, electricity and mains water supplies, planning an escape route and thinking about what you can move. There is also a contact numbers sheet where people can add their own emergency numbers, such as a friend and the doctors surgery.
The 10-minute DVD, narrated by broadcast meteorologist Martyn Davies, highlights tell-tale signs of flooding, encourages people to register with the Environment Agency to receive flood warnings and explains how to best prepare for a flood.
Alex Fraser, operations director for East Anglia at the British Red Cross, which has produced the booklet, said: "Ensuring that you are prepared for a crisis can make a huge difference in saving the lives of you and your family and in protecting your livelihood.
"Through this guide we want to make sure that everyone learns about the possible effects of flooding in East Anglia and give practical advice to keep people safe from harm should the worst ever happen."

Flood risk: Agency advises precautionary evacuation
Tuesday, 20 March, 2007 EASTERN DAILY PRESS
Families living in parts of the north-west Norfolk coastal region were today urged to evacuate their homes because of the threat of floods.Five flood warnings are now in place along the Norfolk coast, from the Hunstanton, Snettisham and Heacham area in the west to Winterton in the north-east.
Families living in parts of north-west Norfolk coastal region were today urged to evacuate their homes because of the threat of floods.
A Precautionary Evacuation Notice (PEN) was issued by the Environment Agency for caravans and bungalows between Snettisham and Hunstanton. The region is braced for high spring tides at 7.14pm tonight and coupled with strong northerly winds, experts fear that could lead to flooding. People are being advised to leave their caravans and bungalows between 4.14pm and 10.14pm and not return until it is safe to do so.
An agency spokesman said: "The evacuation is a precautionary measure, but should be followed so that if there is a flood, emergency services are not put at risking trying to find people who have stayed in their homes."
The PEN for the area between Snettisham and Hunstanton has been issued by the agency in conjunction with Norfolk police and King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council.
Five flood warnings are now in place along the Norfolk coast, from the Hunstanton, Snettisham and Heacham area in the west to Winterton in the north-east.
The rest of the coastline remains under watch, including the Wash and King's Lynn, the east coast including Yarmouth and Lowestoft.
Areas such as Wells and Blakeney have seen sea water washing on to quaysides and car parks over the past few days due to the spring equinox tides and northerly winds.

Church shows flood levels

There is a church in King’s Lynn called St Margarets and embedded into the wall of that church are a number of high water marks for various years since 1883.

These are marks of increasing heights for some of the flood events such as the years 1883, 1949, 1953, 1961, and the last one was added in 1978. Since then it has been decided not to add further to this list.

These marks show the effect of the level of water on the church itself and do not indicate the effect elsewhere in the town.

The 1953 flood surge was very sudden and within minutes dry streets were filled with sea water and a full flood event occurred.


On Sunday, the Environment Agency (EA) issued flood warnings for large parts of the Norfolk coastline between the river Great Ouse and Winterton.

A spokeswoman said there was particular concern of flooding in west Norfolk including the urban area of King's Lynn.

Closing flood gates

The normal tide is about 3m and all flood gates are being closed around King's Lynn.

Flood alerts as homes evacuated People living in parts of Norfolk have been warned to be prepared for possible floods with some homes being evacuated.


Flood Warning Information 21st October 2010 - Council website

Borough Council King’s Lynn & West Norfolk

The Borough is at most risk from coastal flooding from August through to April. In particular this is most likely to occur when certain bad weather conditions and high tides coincide.

The Environment Agency issues warnings for flooding from major rivers and the sea,

Those living in areas that are liable to flooding should sign up to the free Flood Warning Service offered by the Environment Agency.

A Flood Warning Information booklet is available that gives more information about flooding in West Norfolk. Copies can be picked up from our offices or it can be downloaded.


The day the water struck


It was one of the worst floods of last century and caused chaos across Norfolk. Hundreds of properties were flooded and a landmark pier was swept away in the furious sea during the floods of 1978.

It was one of the worst floods of last century and caused chaos across Norfolk.

Hundreds of properties were flooded and a landmark pier was swept away in the furious sea during the floods of 1978.

Today is exactly 30 years since the storms and the floods ripped across the region in what was the worst flooding incident since 1953.

The sea had battered the coast, causing havoc to hundreds of residents who lived between Wisbech and Walcott.

Now, an exhibition is to be held to mark the 30th anniversary.

The Green Quay Wash Discovery Centre, at King's Lynn, will be hosting the exhibition, which will include old photographs and newspaper cuttings documenting the floods.

Most of Hunstanton Pier was swept away during the floods and hundreds of caravans at Snettisham and Hunstanton were overturned.

There was also extensive flooding at Wisbech, and the hospital had to be closed for weeks.

A large area of Lynn town centre was under three feet of water and many other places around the coast suffered damage.

As part of the exhibition, the Environment Agency will also stage a display about its flood warning system in a bid to raise awareness.

It will also include information about which areas are still at risk of flooding today.

Michael Dennis, centre manager, said: “We have lots of items to put on display, including old prints and pictures and newspaper cuttings.

“The 1978 floods were not bigger than the 1953 floods in terms of the loss of life, but people still remember it and we felt we should mark the event 30 years on.

“It is still very much in people's memories.”

Friday, 11 January, 2008 Local News Report

Getting ready for bigger flood risk

Saturday, 22 July, 2006


Roadshows are being held in three of West Norfolk's coastal communities next month to help house-holders prepare for an increased risk of flooding in the autumn.

Exceptionally high tides are forecast for September and October, which could lead to a higher risk of flooding for Snettisham, Heacham and Hunstanton.

The Environment Agency is joining forces with West Norfolk Council to stage the roadshows, which will enable people to find out about the emergency flooding procedures in place for their area and to register for flood warnings direct from the agency, if they have not already done so.

Staff from both the agency and the council will be on hand to answer queries.

Last year, a new precautionary evacuation notice (PEN) system was launched to give residents and visitors to the Snettisham, Heacham and Hunstanton area better warning of a potential flood.

The roadshows will give more information about how the procedure works and what action should be taken if a PEN is issued.

Peta Denham, from the agency, said: "It's really important that people prepare for flooding before a flood actually happens.

"Although flooding is dreadful, being prepared for it makes it easier to recover afterwards and means you don't lose irreplaceable items like family photos.

"The PEN procedure introduced last year gives even better warning to residents and visitors alike that flooding may occur in the PEN area.

"The roadshows are an ideal opportunity for people to find out more about the PEN and help keep themselves and their loved ones safe."

The roadshows, which all run from 10am to 4pm, are being held at Heacham North Beach car park on Wednesday, August 2, Hunstanton Town Hall on Saturday, August 5, and Harvey's car park at Beach Road, Snettisham, on Tuesday, August 8.

Anyone not able to attend can get details on how to prepare for flooding and register for warnings.


Fenland residents at risk of flooding included in Environment Agency phone warning system

Friday, 5 March, 2010

EVERYONE who lives in areas of Fenland identified as being at risk of flooding is being included in a new telephone warning system introduced by the Environment Agency.

But emergency planners are stressing that people receiving letters informing them about the system should not be alarmed because Fenland is already covered by very effective flood defences.

Letters and explanatory booklets are being sent this month by the Environment Agency to all homes and businesses in the affected areas that have a landline phone. The letters say that those homes will be automatically signed up to the automated Flood Warning Direct (FWD) system that will deliver flood warnings. Anyone who does not want to receive the warnings will have to opt out.

Cllr Kit Owen, Fenland District Council's portfolio holder with responsibility for Shaping Fenland's Future, said: "Nobody who gets one of these letters should be unduly concerned. Their homes have been identified as being within 'at risk' zones according to the Environment Agency's flood risk maps. However, these maps simply show the zones which could theoretically be affected - they do not take account of the unique flood defences in Fenland, which are extremely good."

Over the past six months Fenland District Council's emergency planning team has been working closely with the Environment Agency to promote flood awareness, particularly in parts of Wisbech and Whittlesey, and publicise the steps that homeowners can take to minimise the effects of any flooding.


Floods cut off village

Friday, 18 January, 2008

HEAVY rain has left one village in the Fens cut off on two sides by flooding and a main road elsewhere closed after part of a bank collapsed.

Families in Welney are facing long detours after the main A1101 road has become impassable, while officials warn the road at Forty Foot Bank, between Chatteris and Ramsey, could be closed for months.

Despite a high-profile campaign over the last 18 months, some parents in Welney face 40-mile detours to take their children to school, while businesses in the village claim the closure of the main road from the east and south is crippling trade.

Welney Parish Council chairman, Councillor Ken Goodger, said: "It is quite disappointing. Another year has passed and we are back to square one and nothing has been done.

"The flooding started again on Monday and it is impassable. I think there were around six vehicles which got stuck on Tuesday, and there is about two-feet of water on the road.

"Nothing has been done. So far it has not as bad as last year, but the rainfall could mean it has now started again."

Cllr Goodger,who has lived in the village all his life, said the flooding problems had got increasingly worse over the last decade. Welney residents believe the only way to cure the problem is to raise the A1101.

South-West Norfolk MP Christopher Fraser said he had recently met the Environment Agency to find a suitable solution.

He said: "Work on Denver Sluice was expected to ease the flow of water and so reduce incidents of flooding and I have asked for a progress report.

"We cannot go on like this, and I am determined that residents of the Norfolk fens should not be expected to just put up with the disruption. Like other parts of the country, we urgently need investment in flood relief measures."

Nigel Woonton flood risk management project manager at the Environment Agency, said the organisation was looking at ways to resolve the problem, but warned there was no quick-fix solution.

He said that consultants were currently carrying out a study of the tidal river and as part of this they were producing an interim report on the impact at Welney. This report is expected to be published in a few weeks' time.

Motorists are also facing chaos following the closure of the Forty Foot Bank Road. Engineers are now working round the clock to get it reopened.

Mark Kemp, director of highway access for Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "We are working hard to investigate how this happened and to get the bank repaired as soon as possible, but we expect this could take weeks or months.


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