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New homes could transform vacant town centre site

PUBLISHED: 19:36 04 August 2020 | UPDATED: 19:36 04 August 2020

Plans have been lodged for the demolition of existing buildings and proposed residential development of 31 one-bedroom flats on Alexandra Road, Lowestoft. Picture: Wellington Construction Ltd

Plans have been lodged for the demolition of existing buildings and proposed residential development of 31 one-bedroom flats on Alexandra Road, Lowestoft. Picture: Wellington Construction Ltd

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A vacant town centre site looks set to be given a new lease of life.

The view from the corner of Alexandra Road and St. Peters Street in Lowestoft towards the former tool hire centre site, which is being proposed for a new development. Picture: Google ImagesThe view from the corner of Alexandra Road and St. Peters Street in Lowestoft towards the former tool hire centre site, which is being proposed for a new development. Picture: Google Images

More than 30 affordable homes could be built on land previously used by a tool hire centre business, as a scheme is being recommended for approval by planning officers.

East Suffolk Council’s planning committee North will meet via Zoom next Tuesday, August 11 to vote on a scheme that centres around “the demolition of existing commercial buildings and the construction of a residential development of 31, one bedroom flats over three/four storeys with undercroft parking and associated works” at the former JD Power Tools hire centre site on Alexandra Road in Lowestoft.

Plans have been lodged for the demolition of existing buildings and proposed residential development of 31 one-bedroom flats on Alexandra Road, Lowestoft. Picture: Wellington Construction LtdPlans have been lodged for the demolition of existing buildings and proposed residential development of 31 one-bedroom flats on Alexandra Road, Lowestoft. Picture: Wellington Construction Ltd

A planning report to councillors states the Orwell Homes Ltd application, which was amended last month, “utilises a sustainably located site for affordable housing in a location where there is a high need for affordable homes.”

With the site measuring 0.32 acres in size, of currently “unallocated land”, it states: “The application has been referred to the planning committee (North) by the referral panel, as members of the panel raised concerns with the layout/design of the development in respect of bin storage and presentation areas.

Plans have been lodged for the demolition of existing buildings and proposed residential development of 31 one-bedroom flats on Alexandra Road, Lowestoft. Picture: Wellington Construction LtdPlans have been lodged for the demolition of existing buildings and proposed residential development of 31 one-bedroom flats on Alexandra Road, Lowestoft. Picture: Wellington Construction Ltd

“The applicant has amended the proposals to try and address that feedback, and considerable improvement has been made.”

With the site currently vacant “as the former Tool Hire Centre has moved to another location in Lowestoft,” the report states: “The provision of 31 affordable (one-bedroom) homes is a highly significant public benefit and will make an important contribution to meeting the high local need for this accommodation.

“The proposal brings the benefit of creating a more attractive site compared to the existing brownfield use.”

Suffolk County Council’s highways department issued a holding objection to the plans over “insufficient parking provision,” while Lowestoft Town Council “unanimously agreed” to recommend refusal of the application due to the “density of the proposed development,” but the applicant has since amended plans.

The report concludes: “Officers consider that the proposal represents a sustainable form of development and therefore the application is recommended favourably.”

It recommends: “Authority to approve, subject to signing of a S106 Legal Agreement to secure affordable housing provision, and with conditions.”


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