During the year the Trust has concentrated on the management of the properties that it has retained or of which it remains the freeholder. We have investigated a number of properties as potential restoration projects but so far have no immediate prospect of a suitable building. There are some potential candidates but the current high price, even of semi derelict properties, precludes our purchase.
In the spring we embarked on the external redecoration of Thoresby College. This was a major operation and involved a number of window and sill repairs.
There have been some changes to the tenants in the building and this has presented us with the opportunity to re-furbish and improve the insulation of the upper flats in the South Wing. Proposals for works to these flats have been commissioned and the work will be carried out in 2018.
Early in the year one of our retained flats became vacant. Inspection of the property showed that it was in need of refurbishment with some deterioration of important stonework as a result of damp. The central heating boiler was also condemned and a modern system will have to be installed. Plans are being prepared for this work, which should take place in 2018.
In recent years it has become apparent that the use of a single leaseholder owned management company by 77 London Road, Priory Cottages and Hampton Court presents significant problems in the management. In response to the request of the leaseholders KLPT has been working towards a way of involving the leaseholders of the separate blocks more directly in their management. KLPT decided to take action to improve the situation by establishing separate leaseholder-owned management companies for each block.
As a first step the Trust has bought back two of the flats in 77 London Road with the aim to acquire sufficient properties to make it feasible to restructure the leases without involving too many different parties. The leaseholders of the Priory Cottages properties have all expressed interest in having their leases modified to create a new management company that will be exclusive to those properties. It is hoped to make substantive progress with this in the next year.
At the AGM we said farewell to David Woodcock who has been a staunch supporter and member of the Trust for very many years. His experience and knowledge will be much missed.
We made an exceptional grant of £20,000 to The North End Trust for True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum to enable it to complete repairs to the buildings which are an important part of the heritage of King’s Lynn. The Trust does not normally make grants to other bodies but believed that the importance of the museum and the buildings merited an exception to normal policy.
In July we launched a short film about King’s Lynn and the work of the Trust. This was very well received and is available to view via our website. Edward Glover was instrumental in producing the film and wrote the script. The film was made by media students at the College of West Anglia working with the College’s own film unit, Springboard TV.
The Trust’s representatives continued to attend the Borough Council’s Conservation Area Advisory panel and the Trust has commented on development proposals within the town.
In the early part of 2017 David Cowling retired from his role as Director. It was decided not to replace him immediately but to review the requirement for staff to support the Trust. It has been agreed that our Office Administrator Doreen Leventhall should expand her responsibilities and should be formally recognised as Secretary to the Board. We are very grateful that she has accepted this post and she has proved of exceptional value to the Trust.
We must also thank our Thoresby College Site Manager Josie Johnston has given invaluable support to the Trust and the Thoresby tenants over many years.