Boost in coastal town’s bid to revitalise high street

East Suffolk Council's cabinet will meet next week. Picture: Thomas Chapman

East Suffolk Council's cabinet will meet next week. Picture: Thomas Chapman - Credit: Archant

A scheme to revitalise parts of a coastal town looks set to move a further step forward next week.

It comes after a bid was made for more than £550,000 of funding to support regeneration and improvements in and around London Road in Lowestoft.

Next Tuesday, December 3 East Suffolk Council's cabinet is expected to approve the submission of a delivery plan to Historic England.

A report entitled 'London Road' High Street, Lowestoft - Heritage Action Zone will be discussed by councillors, with approval being sought for "the Heritage Action Zone Delivery Plan and the council's match-funding contribution."

Following a successful bid for funding in September, London Road Lowestoft was announced as one of 69 successful high streets to move onto the next stage of Historic England's High Street Heritage Action Zone Programme.

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The report states: "The confirmation and funding is on an 'in principal' basis following the successful design and submission of a Delivery Plan to Historic England by December 20, 2019."

With the London Road HSHAZ aiming to deliver a four-year programme of physical improvements, community engagement and cultural activities to regenerate Lowestoft's high street and town centre, the London Road HSHAZ boundary runs from the Surrey Street junction with London Road North to just north of the Carlton Road junction on London Road South in Kirkley.

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With "key objectives" and "project interventions" set out in the delivery plan, among the project interventions listed in the report are a HSHAZ Shopfront Grant Scheme for owners of individual properties to invest and undertake heritage restoration works; community engagement; business support; a conservation area appraisal and management plan; connectivity and public realm; a shopfront design guide and Lowestoft Post Office heritage restoration.

The report adds: "Designating the area highlighted within the 'London Road' boundary as a HSHAZ will help address the chronic issues currently facing the high street, which include high vacancy rates, over-reliance on traditional retail, poor condition of the streetscape/buildings and levels of severe deprivation."

The report recommends that cabinet agrees the "submission of the 'London Road' High Street Heritage Action Zone Delivery Plan" and recommends to full council "approval of the requested match-funding contribution for the programme."

Key objectives

Among the key objectives set out in the 'London Road' High Street Heritage Action Delivery Plan are to:

? Improve the natural, historic and built environmental quality of the area.

? Enhance the vitality and viability of the high street through improvements in the high street offer, including bring back long-term vacant properties into use and the restoration of historic shopfronts.

? Enhance the cultural offer of the area to ensure sustainable economic growth.

? Improve connections and permeability within the area.

? Build capacity amongst partners and the community, engendering pride in place through a programme of heritage, cultural and community events.

? Promote and raise the profile of the HSHAZ and the area's heritage within the community and wider area.

The report states: "This will be achieved through East Suffolk Council working in partnership with Historic England, Lowestoft Town Council, Lowestoft Vision and East Suffolk Buildings Preservation Trust to deliver a four year programme of co-ordinated and connected interventions."

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