New vision proposed for empty high street store

PUBLISHED: 12:04 14 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:04 14 May 2020

The former Lowestoft Electrical store building. Pictures: Mick Howes

The former Lowestoft Electrical store building. Pictures: Mick Howes


New retail units and eight flats are set to be built in a prime town centre location after plans were given the go-ahead.

The former Lowestoft Electrical store building. Pictures: Mick HowesThe former Lowestoft Electrical store building. Pictures: Mick Howes

A scheme was lodged in February to convert the former Lowestoft Electrical store into eight new flats and three retail units for small businesses.

With an application submitted to East Suffolk Council centring around the “conversion of retail unit to three smaller ground floor retail units and eight flats” at 127 London Road North and 1 Regent Road in Lowestoft, the scheme has been approved by the council under delegated powers.

The Lowestoft Electrical store was forced to shut its doors on London Road North in October 2018 after 65 years of trading, as the owners said at the time that they were “unable to continue trading in these tough economic conditions.”

The property at 1 Regent Road used to be occupied by Lowestoft Fireplaces. With both having remained empty since its closure, a scheme submitted by agent Ian Garrett Building Design Ltd on behalf of the applicant, which is listed as 127 LRN Ltd, said the site area is 237m sq.

In recommending approval with the “application permitted”, the delegated officer report states: “This planning application seeks the subdivision of two large town centre buildings that are currently used for retail.

“This proposal seeks to divide the ground floors into three separate smaller retail units. Residential units will be located on the upper floors, with one unit on the ground floor.”

With concerns raised from Suffolk County Council’s Highways department over a lack of parking and information regarding deliveries to the retail units to be created, the reports states: “Officers consider that the site is sustainably located with non-car modes of transportation available.

“The proposal will support the vitality and viability of the town centre and the benefits of the proposal indicate in favour of a grant of planning permission.

“There are a high proportion of empty shops in London Road North which is the primary shopping area of the town and is suffering from problems typically found in high streets across the country, and smaller units with residential premises above is one way of tackling the issues and is reflective of the origins of retail units where there was traditional living above the shop.”

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