March 10 2014 Latest news:
NEW VENTURE: Marking the official opening of the new shop at Lowestoft Train station are, left to right, town centre manager Emma King, leaseholder Henry Nimmo, Waveney MP Peter Aldous and Danny Steel, of Lowestoft Vision. Below, the view inside the shop. pictures: NICK BUTCHER
By MARK BOGGIS
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
A new shop has opened its doors to customers at Lowestoft Railway station – with Waveney MP Peter Aldous hailing it “a step in the right direction” in efforts to regenerate a key gateway to the town.
Lowestoft Central: The Station Shop has been unveiled when its leaseholder Henry Nimmo was joined by Mr Aldous and representatives from Lowestoft Vision and rail operator Greater Anglia.
Mr Nimmo has refurbished the premises as a newsagent’s, off-licence and convenience store, and will be fully open from next week.
Mr Aldous said: “This station shop opening is another step in the right direction... Hopefully it’s the beginning of a renaissance at Lowestoft station. It’s another piece in the regeneration of the station and the whole of the Peto Square area.
“With the new transport interchange unveiled this year and the better service on the East Suffolk Line, this is really good and fits in so well here. This is an iconic railway station in a unique location and hopefully this will be the first of many.”
In July, The Journal reported that senior officers at Waveney District Council had met representatives from Network Rail and Greater Anglia and members of Lowestoft Vision to discuss bringing redundant buildings at the eastern end of the station back into use.
Since then the Lowestoft Station Renovation Project Working Group (LSRPWG) has been established, and talks have been held to breathe new life into the main concourse.
Danny Steel, chairman of Lowestoft Vision, which represents local businesses, said: “As part of a joint project between Lowestoft Vision and Waveney District Council we’ve submitted a Heritage Lottery Fund bid. If that is accepted we can develop the project.”
Mr Steel said that with the Joseph Conrad pub opening in Station Square, there was growing interest in the vacant units nearby – with a Greek restaurant opening this week in the former Age Concern shop.
Colin Law, leader of Waveney council said: “The existing railway station is in an unacceptable condition and this is a positive move towards improving the station and the surrounding area.
“Working with partners we’re aiming to bring back a vibrant mix of retail and commercial businesses with the long-term objective of making the whole building more attractive and welcoming.
“We are part of a partnership group with Network Rail, Greater Anglia and Lowestoft Vision developing a major project to renovate the station building as identified in the Area Action Plan. It will be the catalyst for further investment in the location and forms part of a wider programme to improve connections between the town centre, the railway station, the quayside and the beach.”
Pleased to be open for business, Mr Nimmo said: “It took a couple of years to sort the lease and a lot of people have helped us. This is all mainly for the traveller to grab and go. We will be open from 5am for the first train in the New Year, and will stay open to 7pm,”
Peter Meades, Greater Anglia spokesman, said: “We are really pleased as it’s an additional service for customers. This was the old parcels office and it is great to bring it up to date and the building back into use.”
James Reeve, head of customer service at Abellio Greater Anglia, added: “We are very keen to encourage enterprising local businesses to provide our customers with good quality retail facilities at our stations and I’d like to wish Henry Nimmo every success.”