Parts of historic Lowestoft added to national ‘at risk’ register after poor alterations
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A historic part of Lowestoft that links the town to the original fishing village has been added to a national 'at risk' register.
Historic England's heritage at risk register was published yesterday, with the Lowestoft North Conservation Area added 'because of poor quality alterations to individual buildings, which have harmed the character of the historic streetscape.'
However, plans are in the pipeline to revive the area – as revealed last month – as Waveney District Council submits a funding bid to Historic England. This forms part of a scheme that could see an area of north Lowestoft designated as a Heritage Action Zone (HAZ).
If the bid is successful, it could lead to the creation of a HAZ in the area around Lowestoft's historic High Street, the Scores, North Denes and Victorian parks. This could see vacant buildings being brought back into use, improvements being made and the area transformed.
Michael Ladd, Waveney's cabinet member for economic development and recently appointed Heritage Champion for the council, said: 'We are aware of the issues in North Lowestoft, which has a rich architectural heritage and which needs to be preserved and celebrated.
'This is why we recently applied to Historic England for the area to become a Heritage Action Zone and we eagerly anticipate the outcome of this application which we hope to receive in the next few weeks.
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'We are working with partners, including the town council, Lowestoft Vision, East Suffolk Building Preservation Trust and Historic England to find solutions which will help transform and revitalise this area of the town, bringing vacant buildings back into use.'
The register provides an annual snapshot of the condition of England's historic sites to help target resources to those most threatened historic buildings.
Natalie Gates, historic places principal adviser for the East of England at Historic England, said: 'In the year that conservation areas celebrate their 50th anniversary, Lowestoft highlights how the changing nature of the High Street is affecting the heart of our historic towns and cities. What is particularly special about this conservation area are the lanes, known locally as 'Scores', which link the High Street to their seafront warehouses – a reminder of Lowestoft's rich maritime heritage.
'Historic England will continue to work with Waveney and Lowestoft councils to increase appreciation of and care for this mercantile legacy.'
What the register said
According to the heritage at risk register 2017, the Lowestoft North Conservation Area – which has been added to the register – describes the area as 'primarily focused on the old High Street in the historic core of Lowestoft, which enjoys a diverse and interesting streetscape character.
'The area also incorporates the late 19th century registered park and garden of Belle Vue Park, another park known as Sparrows Nest, and the cliff top residential areas to the north. The street contains many fine historic buildings dating from the late medieval period onwards, with the oldest dating from the 15th century. An interesting feature of the historic old town is the steeply sloping alleyways that extend downhill between the burgage plots to the east, known locally as 'Scores'.
'These alleyways connected the commercial buildings fronting the High Street with their warehouses and net stores towards the seafront. This area has been added to the register because of poor quality alterations to individual buildings which have harmed the character of the historic streetscape. The changing retail economy has also affected the vitality of the High Street, which has led to a lack of investment and the neglect of many of the buildings.'