Campus regeneration will give new life to waterfront

The first pictures have been published of a new council and science headquarters in Lowestoft. The £53m Waveney Campus project will house 1,000 staff from the Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences (Cefas), Waveney District Council and part of Suffolk County Council.

The first pictures have been published of a new council and science headquarters in Lowestoft.

The £53m Waveney Campus project will house 1,000 staff from the Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences (Cefas), Waveney District Council and part of Suffolk County Council. It is due to open on Riverside Business Park by 2010, depending on the outcome of a planning inquiry next month.

The building's cost has already risen from £40m to £53m to incorporate more green measures, including low water and energy use, rainwater collection, recovery of waste heat from the ventilation system, and boilers which run on biomass.

The images released yesterday show how the main entrance will lead directly into a shared internal 'street' linking two wings of offices and labs. The two- and three-storey wings are arranged around courtyards which fresh-air loving staff can also work in. A glass-fronted café will overlook Lake Lothing.

The 17,000 sq m building will be set back from Waveney Drive, and in landscaped grounds. There are also plans for an open space with a public footway along the restored waterfront.

Cefas spokesman Anne McClarnon said: "This will mean that local people will be able to have access to Lake Lothing - unlike at present."

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The building will be made mostly from concrete, which will help ventilation, and clad in metal and reconstituted stone panels. No decisions on the colour of materials or which way the building will face have been made.

But organisers yesterday promised "stunning views" from the building and across Lake Lothing.

Stephen Archer, Waveney's corporate director for regeneration and the environ-ment, said: "This makes us all the more determined to ensure this fantastic vision becomes a reality."

County council leader Jeremy Pembroke said: "We hope that this first picture will give everyone an idea of the high-quality building that they could expect to see on the site. Although this is very early days still, it's an important next step for the project."

Everything now hangs on the outcome of a four-day planning inquiry starting on April 17. There has been anger from some local companies who are being forced to move off the business park to make way from the scheme.

Jane Storey, portfolio

holder for resources at the county council, told

Tuesday's cabinet meeting: "We just hope it goes the

way that we want, otherwise

it puts the commitment of Cefas in jeopardy."

Labour leader Julian Swainson said: "This will make a lot of difference to the people who work for the three organisations that will relocate to a more sustainable and user-friendly building.

"That fact has been lost in the fog of debate in Waveney which has been centred on one or two property issues."

Mrs Storey said there were 400 jobs directly linked to Cefas in Lowestoft, as well as a wider economic benefit, which would be lost to the town if the campus project does not go ahead.