Asda bosses deny 'blighting' land

Ambitious plans to revitalise a derelict Lowestoft business park are still on the table as supermarket bosses denied claims they were deliberately “blighting” the land.

Ambitious plans to revitalise a derelict Lowestoft business park are still on the table as supermarket bosses angrily refuted claims they were deliberately "blighting" the land.

District regeneration chiefs were asked what had happened to the proposals, published last year, to develop the Lothing Park area which surrounds the Asda store on Belvedere Road.

An urban centre including a cinema, themed factory shops, a boat museum and restaurants was earmarked for the waterside as part of the second phase of the South Quay development.

Landowners Asda are working with planners at Waveney District Council and urban regeneration company 1st East to bring the plans to life, which also include the renovation of factory units which have stood empty since the £30m store was opened in 2005.

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Waveney councillors were told the plans had stalled while assessments were finalised on flood risks and the impact of roads which could accompany any future third crossing across Lake Lothing. They also heard the scheme had not been forgotten and all three partners had met during the last two weeks to "resolve issues and progress some very major comprehensive development on the site".

Councillor Terry Kelly said: "What has happened to the masterplan?

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"The dereliction around Asda does not help the regeneration of Lowestoft and if, as I suspect, that Asda had bought the land to blight it, cannot pressure be put on them to release the land for purposes for which it was intended?"

Cllr Wendy Mawer, portfolio holder for regeneration, said: "This is part of the 1st East masterplan area and therefore all this tract of land will be within the option for redevelopment.

"However I would like to refute the suggestion that a blight has been put on this land by Asda. This authority is working in partnership with Asda to bring more suitable development than is presently there."

A spokesman for Asda dismissed the suggestion the company was deliberately hoarding the land for future development as "ridiculous".

"We don't like having redundant land around our stores, but these things take time," he said. "We are working very hard with the council to bring forward plans in the New Year. What we are doing is looking at every option to continue the regeneration of the area and continue our investment in the town."

Asda inspectors will visit the site in January to assess the potential of the land.

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