‘A slice of heaven’: What is it like to live in the most deprived place in Norfolk and Waveney?
- Credit: Archant
Sue Jackson glows with pride as she recalls the last 32 years living on Marine Parade.
The Lowestoft street has been revealed to be one of the most deprived areas in the country, but Mrs Jackson says it does not feel that way.
"I think we'll retire here," she says as she gazes out of her window onto the beach, "it is perfect, it has been very good to us."
Her road is lined with well-kept terrace houses which overlook the glistening sea and are mostly converted flats or bed and breakfasts which welcome guests throughout the year.
However, according to figures by the Ministry of Housing and Communities and Local Government, the seaside town was ranked among the 10pc most deprived areas in the country.
Indeed, the 10 most deprived areas in Norfolk and Waveney are all in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, and the area around London Road South and Marine Parade was ranked at number 25 of 32,844 neighbourhoods in England which suffers from high levels of deprivation.
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Great Yarmouth's Middlegate neighbourhood was ranked the second most deprived area in the county and 39th in England, followed by Lowestoft's Whapload Road at 64th.
Despite the high levels of deprivation, Mrs Jackson, 62, who owns a bed and breakfast on the road, was lured back to the seaside town for its laid-back lifestyle.
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She said: "We did move to Norwich for years two years to retire, but we returned in 2017 because I missed it so much.
"I think Lowestoft is up and coming, well, I'm not sure about the high street - the shops come and go. There used to be some very dodgy areas in Lowestoft, but they seem better.
"Maybe I am seeing through rose-tinted specs."
Mark Banham, who lives in one of the converted terrace flats in Marine Parade agreed with Mrs Jackson, and said: "I think a lot of people here live on benefits, but that's not a bad thing.
"I don't think it is deprived - I think that is a stereotype because some people here live on benefits.
"My next door neighbour had his window put in, which isn't very nice, but that's the only crime I've seen here," he said.
Alan Nichols, who has lived on London Road South for 20 years described the area as "safe".
"I like living here, I am near to the shops - everything I need is here. If they didn't build the main road here, it would be like living in the country.
"I don't know about it being a deprived area. I think it is safe if you keep to yourself."
North of the Bascule Bridge in the town and just a stone's throw away from the roaring sea, residents of the Homeport estate on Whapload Road, also disagreed with the government figures.
Jacklyn Hill described Lowestoft as her own "slice of heaven".
"I came from Germany originally. I love it here, I am right on the sea where I can watch some amazing thunderstorms. It is so quiet," the 32-year-old said.
Malcolm Horton, who also lives in the Homeport estate on the street, said: "Sometimes people let their gardens grow and the buildings need paint, but I don't think it's deprived."
Dan Poitras, chairman of Lowestoft Vision BID, said he was hopeful that major projects planned for the town will improve high deprivation levels.
He pointed to the £500,000 funding by Historic England's High Street Heritage Action Zones (HSHAZ) programme and the offshore wind farm maintenance contract.
"This is going to bring revenue and jobs to the area," he said. "It won't be an overnight change but it's going to get people educated and give them something to aspire to."
The statistics combined levels of low income, unemployment, education, health, crime, barriers to housing and the quality of the local environment.
The least deprived neighbourhood was identified in the south of Taverham, which includes Shakespeare Way, Taverham Road, Macks Lane and Cameron Green.
To show how deprived your area is compared with the rest of England, try our interactive map and postcode tool.