The minister takes a stroll with, front from left, Sir Henry Bellingham, council leader Brian Long and deputy leader Elizabeth Nockolds, followed by council officers and employees. Pictures: Matthew Usher

Government minister Rishi Sunak visited King’s Lynn on a fact-finding mission covering housing, heritage and regeneration.

The Minister for Local Government had been invited by North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham, who accompanied him with members and officers from the borough and county councils.

Mr Sunak was given a brief tour of St James Park and The Walks, where he heard about initiatives including lottery funded projects and the successful Park Run.

He also visited Tower Gardens to see the memorial display installed last year to remember the end of the First World War.

Mr Sunak discussed the council’s house-building programme, which has seen extensive new developments across the borough.

His visit included a trip to construction sites in Marsh Lane and Lynnsport, where the council was working in partnership with Lovell Homes.

On concerns raised that houses were being built without the necessary infrastructure in place, Mr Sunak highlighted how the council had built or earmarked land at various developments for a new primary school, a doctor’s surgery, a road and a park.

He said housing was about “providing houses that people want and built in a way that is a beautiful design in the right locations with the right infrastructure alongside it.”

He added: “A lot of thought has been taken into making sure the infrastructure is there and if people have concerns they should be reassured by that.”

Mr Sunak spoke about the importance of green spaces during development and said there was now a much greater focus on protecting them.

He concluded his trip with a  visit to Marriott’s Warehouse  to meet Conservative party members, councillors and the party’s prospective candidates for borough council elections in May.

After the visit, Sir Henry said: “It really was a very positive visit as it gave both councils a chance to raise key issues, especially regarding their current funding.”

Brian Long, borough council leader, added: “I was really pleased to hear the very positive comments made by the minister regarding our inspirational approach to make the area a better place.

“He was impressed with the homes we are building, and the events we organise in our towns and parks to encourage people to live, work and visit. He said he hoped that other councils would follow our example.”

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