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'Unassuming concrete block building' on popular promenade set for new lease of life

PUBLISHED: 15:43 01 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:43 01 July 2019

An application has been lodged for the Grand Hotel coastal defences ammunition bunker at Kensington Gardens in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick Howes

An application has been lodged for the Grand Hotel coastal defences ammunition bunker at Kensington Gardens in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick Howes

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It is believed to be one of the last usable Second World War coastal defence structures remaining in a coastal town.

An application has been lodged for the Grand Hotel coastal defences ammunition bunker at Kensington Gardens in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick Howes
An application has been lodged for the Grand Hotel coastal defences ammunition bunker at Kensington Gardens in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick Howes

And now an historic ammunition bunker looks set to be given a new lease of life.

Change of use plans to turn The Grand Hotel coastal defences ammunition bunker at Kensington Gardens in Lowestoft into an art and craft gallery or a pop-up market stall have been given the go-ahead.

An application has been lodged for the Grand Hotel coastal defences ammunition bunker at Kensington Gardens in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick Howes
An application has been lodged for the Grand Hotel coastal defences ammunition bunker at Kensington Gardens in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick Howes

The application, which states: "Change of use from sui generis (garden shed) to d1 (non residential institutional) (art gallery)," was approved by East Suffolk Council last week.

The building - owned by Lowestoft Town Council - consists of a former ammunition store access point that served coastal artillery during the Second World War.

An application has been lodged for the Grand Hotel coastal defences ammunition bunker at Kensington Gardens in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick Howes
An application has been lodged for the Grand Hotel coastal defences ammunition bunker at Kensington Gardens in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick Howes

The ammunition battery was built in 1941 as back then coastal defences were heightened along the east coast due to the immediate threat of invasion from across the North Sea.

In lodging the plans, a design and access statement, written by mayor Alice Taylor on behalf of applicants Lowestoft Town Council, said: "Lowestoft Town Council owns one of the last usable Second World War coastal defence structures left in town.

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"The building is the remains of a major coast artillery battery on the edge of Kensington Gardens.

"It's an unassuming concrete block building that sits in a premier location on the Promenade.

"The present day building is the north entrance to a large underground ammunition store and shelter area for the military personnel. The structure is now used as a storage shed and break area.

"There are opportunities to use this structure in a positive way to promote tourism.

"The present structure seems to be in good order and can be used for pop-up market stalls, art and craft gallery, display area."

The council's case officer report states: "The building is of utilitarian wartime design, increasingly interesting historically as more of these humble structures disappear and with this disappearance the appreciation of the linked nature of the 20th century military landscape, of which the East Anglian

coast was a major part.

"The proposal is to use the space for the display of art."

Recommending approval of the scheme, it concludes: "The proposal is policy compliant and should be approved noting that it is a change of use with no building works proposed of a nature that would require planning permission."



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