Town could ‘thrive’ with 10-year investment plan in bid for £25m
- Credit: Archant
A coastal town’s “bright future” has taken a step closer to becoming a reality with a 10-year investment plan.
The Lowestoft Place Board have submitted the plan to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government as part of a bid for £24.9 million in funding for a range of major plans.
In September 2019, Lowestoft was chosen as one of 101 towns in the UK to benefit from the Government’s £3.6 billion Towns Fund, with each town invited to develop a proposal.
The board, which comprises of representatives from public, private and voluntary organisations and is managed by East Suffolk Council, announced the plan, which could could see a total investment of more than £540 million by 2030.
The Towns Fund bid comprises of £14.7 million on projects in the Cultural Quarter, which includes demolition of the Battery Green car park for a “vibrant” new building to support performing arts and development of the Marina Theatre, £2.9 million on the Station Quarter to redevelop and improve the key entry point to the town, and £3.3 million on the Historic Quarter as part of a conservation-led approach.
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The bid also includes £2.7 million on improvements to the port to create new, high value jobs, and £1.3 million on seafront improvement projects.
More than £206 million has already been secured for the Flood Risk Management Project, the Gull Wing bridge, the Full Fibre project and the Lowestoft Smarter Towns project.
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A number of future plans are also in development, including the return of the First Light Festival, improvements to CEFAS’ Marine Science campus and the Eastern Energy Hub and Power Park.
The Kirkley sustainable urban neighbourhood plan will also see the area transformed into a “vibrant community” which “maximises the opportunities presented by the waterfront location,” at a cost of £250 million.
The scheme would create new homes, a primary school, employment opportunities and improved access to water-based leisure pursuits.
Councillor Craig Rivett, deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development, said: “Lowestoft is definitely a town worth investing in and access to this funding will make a huge difference to our ability to take the town further forward.
“There is already a considerable amount of investment taking place, from the Gull Wing crossing, the permanent flood defence scheme, and the growing offshore energy sector.
“Like towns across the country, Lowestoft has struggled in recent times and especially during the pandemic.
“As we enter a new round of coronavirus restrictions, we are confident we have submitted a strong plan to government and are optimistic that Lowestoft has a bright future ahead of it.”A government response to the plan is expected early in the new year.
Stephen Javes, chair of the Lowestoft Place Board, said: “We listened to a range of views and ideas from local businesses and the community, including more than 100 project ideas submitted via the My Towns portal.
“These views have enabled us to develop a strong investment plan which will help Lowestoft to thrive.
“We now await the response from government before moving onto the project development phase and we will continue to work with businesses and the community throughout this process.”
East Suffolk Council and the Lowestoft Place Board are working closely with local partners and stakeholders, as well as key national organisations and funding partners such as Historic England, Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to complement the plan.