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Cefas planning approval secures 500 jobs and £1bn for region

PUBLISHED: 09:03 13 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:17 13 October 2017

The proposed design for Cefas' new £16m Lowestoft base. Image courtesy of Cefas.

The proposed design for Cefas' new £16m Lowestoft base. Image courtesy of Cefas.

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Plans for the £16m redevelopment of a world leading marine science agency have been unanimously approved, securing 500 jobs in the process.

An aerial view of the proposed design for Cefas' new £16m Lowestoft base. Image courtesy of Cefas. An aerial view of the proposed design for Cefas' new £16m Lowestoft base. Image courtesy of Cefas.

Cefas will build a modern facility and demolish its current site at the locally listed Grand Hotel, in Pakefield Road, Lowestoft.

The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science will also refurbish its North Extension building as part of a project they say represents the world leading research it carries out.

Excessive running costs at the agency’s current base at the old Victorian hotel landmark will be lost as they stand to save £2m per year.

Tim Green, deputy CEO, said: “It will create a modern and innovation orientated workspace and a market image which we believe will attract more customers and even better scientists.”

Cefas will be demolishing its current site at the Grand Hotel. Picture: James Bass Cefas will be demolishing its current site at the Grand Hotel. Picture: James Bass

The approval has secured 500 jobs worth £1bn to the regional economy over the next 20 years.

It will also provide an environmental step change equivalent to planting a 300,000 tree forest.

Tom Karsten, CEO, said: “This project represents a vital step in realising our vision to deliver world class science for the marine and freshwater environment.”

The approval granted by Waveney District Council’s planning committee is being welcomed by community leaders.

Peter Aldous, Waveney MP said: “This investment is excellent news and is a major endorsement of Cefas.

“This decision consolidates its position in the town and enables them to continue to play a vitally important role in the management of the global marine environment.

“This will be increasingly important in the years to come and it is great news that such cutting edge and pioneering research will be carried out locally.”

Waveney District Council leader Mark Bee added: “This is absolutely fantastic news for staff and for Lowestoft.

“These exciting proposals secure up to 500 jobs in the town and they send out a real statement about the viability of Lowestoft and Waveney as a home for world-class scientific research and industry.”

Refurbishment of the North Extension is due to begin in November with the demolition of the Grand Hotel and building of the new facility to start in January.

Partial closure of Kensington Road

The early stages of the building process will see the closure of a nearby road for just under seven months to allow site access for cranes and other large machinery.

Kensington Road will be closed between November 6 and June 4, 2018.

A Cefas spokesman said: “Our contractors are working to minimise disruption to users of the road and surrounding area.

“It is anticipated that the bulk of cranage will be carried out early in the closure to minimise disruption in the later months.”

The closure will be in the area of the road immediately adjacent to the North Extension, in the east half of Kensington Road, with a no parking zone outside the Cefas Raceways facility.

There will be parking spaces available in the road, north side of the east half of the road, and a temporary cycle way will ensure continued access. The footpath on the north side of the road will remain open.

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