Norfolk

King's Lynn's Klic business hub to be given back to council

Klic
Image caption Norfolk and Waveney Enterprise Services (NWES) missed a deadline to repay £2.75m at the end of last month

A flagship business centre is to be handed back to a local authority after an enterprise agency missed a deadline to repay a £2.75m council loan.

Norfolk and Waveney Enterprise Services (NWES), which runs the King's Lynn Innovation Centre (Klic), was due to repay the money last month.

King's Lynn Borough Council said it was "the best outcome for our taxpayers".

NWES said it would continue to work with the council and support firms.

The Conservative-led authority said an agreement had been reached on the repayment of interest in a meeting with NWES on Friday.

Cabinet member for assets, Alastair Beales, said: "We are pleased that by working in partnership with the New Anglia LEP and NWES that we have been able to achieve these outcomes.

Our focus now is to continue to work collaboratively with NWES to secure repayment of the loan and finalise the financial arrangements with NWES."

Image caption Norfolk and Waveney Enterprise Services' new management, which took over in March, has made 14 staff redundant in a bid to turn around its finances

Norwich-based NWES, which is not-for-profit, provides loans, workspaces and advice to businesses. It borrowed from the council to build Klic which is now 90% occupied by businesses.

NWES chief executive Jo Clarke said: "We look forward to our continued partnership with [the council] as we complete arrangements for the handover, while the valued support services we deliver from Klic to clients and tenants continue uninterrupted."

Independent councillor Charles Joyce said: "Questions have been asked of the Tory administration about the possibility of loan default several times over many years.

"They have prevaricated and kicked the can down the road. No internal investigation by West Norfolk Council will satisfy."

A spokeswoman for the council said: "Both parties remain in full agreement to work collaboratively to secure the best value for West Norfolk council taxpayers and in the best interests of the tenants at the King's Lynn Innovation Centre (Klic) building."

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