Funding bid could help transform part of town
- Credit: Nick Butcher
It is a historic part of Lowestoft that links the town to the original fishing village.
And an area of 'rich architectural heritage' could receive a boost as Waveney District Council is set to submit a funding bid to Historic England.
Members of the council's cabinet approved last week to resubmit a bid as part of an scheme that could see part of north Lowestoft designated as a Heritage Action Zone (HAZ).
A Heritage Action Zone is an initiative created to help transform towns and improve local communities and economies in areas with rich architectural heritage.
If successful, the creation of a HAZ in the area including Lowestoft's historic High Street, the Scores, North Denes and Victorian parks could lead to vacant buildings being brought back into use and the area being transformed.
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A report to the cabinet stated: 'Designating part of north Lowestoft as a Heritage Action Zone will help to strengthen the Area Action Plan's regeneration plans for this area.
'If a bid is successful and accepted as a designated zone, Historic England will work in partnership with the council and the project partnership to develop a delivery plan.'
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Provided this bid is successful, the council is then planning to work with Lowestoft Town Council, Lowestoft Vision, East Suffolk Building Preservation Trust and Historic England to develop a partnership delivery plan. The reports adds: 'This will set out in detail the five year regeneration plans and will be presented back to cabinet for approval in 2018.'
A council spokesman said: 'It was agreed at cabinet to resubmit the funding bid for a Heritage Action Zone around the area on the north end of the town, around the historic High Street and Scores.
'The area surrounding Lowestoft's historic High Street and the Scores has a rich architectural heritage which needs to be preserved and celebrated.
'We are mindful that this is just a funding application at this stage however if successful, the creation of a Heritage Action Zone would enable the council to work with local partners to help transform this area of the town, bringing vacant buildings back into use and giving a boost to the local economy.'
Background to the bid
Last year Waveney submitted a bid to Historic England for funding a scheme for the north end of Lowestoft town centre.
Although this progressed through the regional stages, it was unsuccessful at the national stage.
However, Historic England 'have encouraged the council to reapply.' And after Waveney was successful in bidding under the Coastal Communities Fund earlier this year for the Lowestoft Ness Regeneration Scheme – which aims to regenerate the area of the East of England Park to Ness Point – funding was also secured for the Great Places scheme 'for creating a Lowestoft Cultural Strategy.'
The report to cabinet adds: 'Securing the Great Places funding has ensured the continued interest by Historic England in the proposed HAZ area.
'Therefore bidding in this new round of the Historic England scheme provides a timely opportunity to bring together the different schemes in the area into a single regeneration plan.'
About the scheme
The report to cabinet said: 'There is an opportunity to group existing and proposed projects together into an overall single vision, which will help enhance the vitality and viability of the northern end of Lowestoft town centre.
'It will enable us to work with the local community to engender pride in the area, reduce the number of vacant shops, bring buildings back into use, and to deliver housing that is sensitive in the conservation area.
'It will allow us to harness Historic England's expertise and resources in order to deliver the vision over a five year period.'
The 'preferred option' of the HAZ scheme would allow for a 'more holistic approach to the regeneration of the conservation area,' including community engagement activity to ensure pride in the area and long term sustainability of the projects.