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‘An exciting step in the right direction’ for historic Town Hall site

PUBLISHED: 09:42 27 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:42 27 November 2018

Lowestoft town hall. Picture: Mick Howes

Lowestoft town hall. Picture: Mick Howes

Archant

A council is “continuing to explore ways” of bringing a historic town hall back into use.

Lowestoft town hall. Picture: Mick HowesLowestoft town hall. Picture: Mick Howes

The 161-year-old Lowestoft Town Hall building previously served as the headquarters for Waveney District Council up until staff vacated the site in 2015 as part of a £13m accommodation programme that led to the creation of the Riverside building on Canning Road.

Last year the Grade II, mid-19th Century listed building was transferred over to Lowestoft Town Council – which has since held heritage open days, submitted funding bids and sought views on future uses of the vacant site.

With the successful North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone announcement late last year – which saw Lowestoft’s historic High Street and Scores unveiled as one of eight new HAZs as part of a five-year scheme run by Waveney District Council and Historic England – the town council has now been successful with a funding bid.

Shona Bendix, Lowestoft Town Council town clerk, said: “We are delighted that we have secured funding, working with the Heritage Action Zone, for a condition survey and emergency repairs on the town hall.

“Another part of the work will be establishing how to secure the main repairs to the building.

“In parallel we are continuing to explore ways to bring the Town Hall back into use. Given the state the building was in when it was transferred to the town council, this is not an easy process.

“We have conducted a community survey and have received lots of ideas from people about how they would like to see the Town Hall used.”

A fortnight ago the town council issued a tender notice, for “conservation-accredited professionals” to submit fee tenders “to manage a repair and conversion project” for the town hall.

Mrs Bendix said: “We are out to tender on this initial work and see this as an exciting step in the right direction.

“Having put ourselves in a good position to deal with the urgent works, we will be deciding at the next council meeting on November 27 how to take forward a feasibility study for the site which should establish our reasonable range of options for use of the site.

“The public are always welcome to attend our meetings, other than during any confidential matters, and we have a public forum for anyone who wishes to say anything about any items under consideration at the meeting at Hamilton House.”

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