An ambitious masterplan has been unveiled to breathe fresh life into Lowestoft over the next 10 to 15 years, but what does it include, asks The Lowestoft Journal?
The Lowestoft Journal writes:
From a vibrant waterfront to bringing empty buildings back into use, East Suffolk Council’s Lowestoft Town Centre Masterplan includes an array of proposals to reinvigorate the town.
Dividing the town into four quarters – Station Quarter, Heart of Lowestoft, Innovation Axis and Historic Quarter – the ambitious plan aims to achieve the ‘future promise and potential’ of the town.
In a joint statement, East Suffolk Council leader Steve Gallant and Stephen Javes, chair of the Lowestoft Place Board, said: ‘Lowestoft not only enjoys a rich history and heritage, it is also an ambitious town with a future full of promise and potential.
“In order for Lowestoft to thrive, it is essential to have a prosperous town cente with a clear plan for positive change.
“Lowestoft has an exciting future and we are determined to ‘restart’ the town centre, especially in light of Covid-19.”
… Those arriving into Lowestoft town centre will be greeted with an array of ‘vibrant’ food and drink experiences as part of the masterplan.
The Station Quarter focuses on the town’s main arrival points, as well as encouraging visitors outside normal business hours.
“Characterful” Victorian streets around Station Square, including Bevan Street East and Suffolk Road, will also offer opportunities for small-scale, independent businesses, eateries and cafes…
“The diverse, characterful streets and spaces around Station Square will create a strong sense of identity and encourage curiosity, giving this area a well-defined character and charm.”
The masterplan states Station Quarter “should focus on the food and drink offer, ensuring activity outside of business hours and kick-starting the emergence of the evening economy”….
It also includes proposals to ‘rehabilitate’ the Grade II listed Custom House and the creation of a plaza.
Innovation Axis: Plans to bring major empty town centre buildings back into use.
The former Beales store could be transformed into a marine science centre under plans to regenerate Lowestoft town centre…
The ‘Innovation Axis’ area could be defined by its proximity to Lowestoft’s ‘economic powerhouse’ at PowerPark…
… the historic character of the Lowestoft High Street area looks set to be enhanced in the future.
The Historic Quarter focuses on the town’s creative quarter, regeneration of the Town Hall, Scores and Triangle Market and restoration of private historic buildings.
The masterplan states that the regeneration processes and projects will focus on “maintaining and enhancing the historic character of the area”; “promoting new, creative activity in the area” and “creating positive and welcoming links to the PowerPark and Ness.”
It states: “The historic High Street and Triangle Market area is best positioned to become Lowestoft’s creative district, building on the place’s importance to the heritage and identity of Lowestoft.
“Regeneration of the Town Hall, Scores and Triangle Market, as well as restoration of many private historic buildings and shop fronts will breathe new energy into the area and encourage creatives to settle here…”
A new all-weather market and community building, centring around a 430sq m market hall, is earmarked for Triangle Market along with 15 new apartments as part of the “regeneration of Lowestoft’s trading heart.”
Regeneration of the Grade II listed Town Hall building proposes the creation of a “community and creative working hub”, including a public garden and café…
… The Heart of Lowestoft quarter also includes regeneration of the Marina Theatre and the expansion of the Lowestoft Players.
The masterplan also highlights the Battery Green car park as a place to be redeveloped to provide new culture and leisure focussed activities.