Exciting new era for Lowestoft Railway Station after £100,000 in funding is secured

The Lowestoft station frontage. Picture: Courtesy of East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership

The Lowestoft station frontage. Picture: Courtesy of East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership - Credit: Archant

A scheme to restore part of Lowestoft Railway Station and create a new public space has received a major funding boost.

The former parcel office building at Lowestoft Railway Station, which will be restored. Picture: Cou

The former parcel office building at Lowestoft Railway Station, which will be restored. Picture: Courtesy of East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership - Credit: Archant

For the past 18 months, the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership (CRP) has been working on plans to transform the former parcels office on the station's north eastern corner into a innovative public space – which could host a variety of events including produce markets, antiques fairs and exhibitions.

And now the project has been given the green light after more than £100,000 was secured.

The doors leading from the station concourse are also set to be restored, enabling the site to be reconnected with Station Square and the town centre.

The Lowestoft Central project is spearheaded by the East Suffolk Lines CRP who, together with Waveney MP Peter Aldous, unveiled a station working group comprising representatives from Lowestoft Vision, Waveney District and Suffolk County Councils, East Suffolk Lines and Wherry Lines CRP, Network Rail and train operator Greater Anglia.

The entrance to Lowestoft Railway Station: Courtesy of East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership

The entrance to Lowestoft Railway Station: Courtesy of East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership - Credit: Archant


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Martin Halliday, community rail officer for the CRP, said: 'We are delighted that we have now received funding to restore and bring back into use a substantial part of Lowestoft's iconic railway station.

'Our plans include the creation of new indoor and outdoor public spaces, which will enable the hosting of a variety of activities and help preserve the station heritage. We very much hope this important step forward will act as a catalyst in securing further enhancements to the station and the surrounding area.'

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Last November the group had a meeting with Rail Minister Paul Maynard to discuss their aspirations for the station site.

Funding for the £100,000 project has come from the Designated Community Rail Development Fund, the Railway Heritage Trust, the East Suffolk Lines and Wherry Lines CRP and the business community.

Improvement works will be made to the Lowestoft Railway Station concourse as part of the project. Pi

Improvement works will be made to the Lowestoft Railway Station concourse as part of the project. Picture: Courtesy of East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership - Credit: Archant

Equipment has also been gifted by the district council and additional work on the site has been undertaken by Network Rail.

It is anticipated building and restoration works will start this autumn with the new facilities open by next spring.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: 'Securing funding for this project is great news as it is an important step in the full restoration of Lowestoft Station and its surrounding area.'

Martin Halliday, community rail officer for the East Suffolk Lines CRP, said: 'We are delighted that to confirm that following some 18 months of planning, we have now received funding to restore and bring back into use a substantial part of Lowestoft's iconic railway station.

'Our plans include the creation of new indoor and outdoor public spaces, which will enable the hosting of a variety of activities and help preserve the station heritage. We very much hope this important step forward will act as a catalyst in securing further enhancements to the station and the surrounding area.'

ABOUT THE SCHEME

As part of the project, work was recently undertaken to secure and clear land to the south of the station, which has seen several tonnes of rubbish and abandoned vehicles removed enhancing the approach by rail into the town and addressing issues of trespass and anti-social behaviour.

Stabilisation works have also been undertaken on the former station buffet buildings and the plans include making more use of the station's substantial concourse area, which will be enhanced by creating a Victorian Courtyard able to host a variety of public events.

The scheme will also see further improvements including new planting and landscaping, new concourse lighting and enhanced visitor information, complimenting the recent works that have seen a visitor information and community rail office open and community artwork installed within the brick arches opposite platform four.

WHAT THEY SAID

Lowestoft Station opened in 1847 and current services run to Norwich and Ipswich.

Chairman of the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership, Aaron Taffera, said: 'Lowestoft Station is one of the best located transport hubs in the UK, situated in the very heart of the town. We believe our plans for the site will help provide a much improved first impression to those visiting Lowestoft and create an opportunity to make the station a visitor attraction in its own right. The East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership are grateful to the funding bodies and our partners from the Station Working Group who are supporting our exciting plans.'

Paul Oxley, stakeholder manager for Greater Anglia, said: 'We are very pleased to support this superb Community Rail initiative which will see major improvements at Lowestoft Station. We have been working with the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership and the Lowestoft Station Working Group to help facilitate their plans and with the forthcoming replacement of our entire fleet with brand new trains together with resumption of direct London services from the town in late 2019, we are looking forward to being part of an exciting new era for Lowestoft Station.'

Brian Barnsley, senior operations manager at the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, said: 'The partners of the Designated Community Rail Development Fund are delighted to be able to support the Lowestoft Central project. The rehabilitation of disused and underused station buildings is a priority of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships and the Fund and we look forward to visiting the completed project.'

Waveney MP Peter Aldous added: 'The station which is an historic building and Britain's most easterly railway station occupies a strategic location close to the town centre and is readily accessible to the beach. Its restoration will help attract more people to the town and follows on from the reintroduction of the hourly service to Ipswich and the forthcoming reintroduction of a through service to London in 2019/20 when new trains will also be running. It is important that other improvements follow including further enhancements to the East Suffolk Line and the Wherry Line to Norwich and I look forward to continuing to work with the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership and all other interested parties to secure this.'

Andy Savage, executive director of the Railway Heritage Trust, said: 'Bringing Network Rail's disused historic buildings back into use is a key objective of the Trust, so we are delighted to support this project. We hope that this new facility will help open up the link between the town and the station, and be a precursor to restoring the adjacent, Peto-built building. We congratulate the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership on putting this project together.'

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