‘This is another step towards a genuinely promising future:’ £560,000 boost for town
PUBLISHED: 10:58 14 September 2019 | UPDATED: 12:34 14 September 2019
Historic parts of a coastal town’s high street are set to be revived, thanks to a successful funding bid.
South Lowestoft is set to be supported through the High Street's Heritage Action Zone scheme.
It comes following a successful funding bid of more than £500,000 - to support regeneration and improvements in and around London Road.
Following a successful application, East Suffolk Council has been awarded £561,870 through Historic England's High Street Heritage Action Zones (HSHAZ) programme.
Beginning in April 2020, the London Road HSHAZ will 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.
The boundary encompasses the South Lowestoft Conservation Area, the harbour, London Road South and the seafront.
It also includes the key commercial areas of Station Square, a portion of London Road North and London Road South, which each contain a number of historically significant buildings.
With culture secretary Nicky Morgan announcing the locations that will benefit from a £95 million heritage boost for high streets in 69 towns across the country, in the East of England, seven projects have been successful - with £7m set to be allocated to the region.
Alongside Lowestoft in the East of England, projects in Great Yarmouth, King's Lynn, North Walsham, Swaffham, Bedford and Dunstable are set to be supported through the High Streets Heritage Action Zone scheme.
It means that with the five-year Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) scheme already successfully running in north Lowestoft and the historic Scores, the offer will be widened out to the London Road HSHAZ boundary with further funding.
Across the country the funding will be used for a variety of projects, including completing essential repair works in historic buildings and stimulating commercial investment in high streets.
Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: "I welcome the news.
"One of the main constraints that we face today is the revitalisation of our high streets and the town centre.
"We are six months into the HAZ scheme running in north Lowestoft and you can already see that is acting as a catylyst for change.
"This is very welcome funding and it is great that South Lowestoft - which does have its own distinct history - will benefit."
Tony Calladine, regional director for Historic England in the East of England, said: "It's fantastic news for the local people, residents and businesses of Lowestoft that they will receive much needed funding to help support and revitalise their historic High Streets."
East Suffolk Council leader Steve Gallant said: "This is fantastic news for Lowestoft and further underlines the town's great potential.
"As part of a multi-faceted approach to regeneration, we see Lowestoft's cultural and heritage assets as a way of encouraging and unlocking crucial investment.
"Projects such as Making Waves Together, the First Light Festival and the existing North Lowestoft HAZ are creating a sense of pride and aspiration for the area and this funding from Historic England provides an excellent opportunity to extend this work.
"We are acutely aware of the issues facing high streets and Lowestoft is no different.
"In a crowded market place, where funding is needed for towns on a nationwide level, this is reward for a huge amount of work and following the earlier announcement of funding from the Government's New Towns Fund, this is another step towards a genuinely promising future for Lowestoft."
The HSHAZ programme will use some of the existing structures already in place through the North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone (HAZ).
These include a Heritage Action Zone Partnership Board, with representatives from key partners including Lowestoft Town Council, Lowestoft Vision and East Suffolk Building Preservation Trust.
As with the HAZ, the London Road HSHAZ will offer opportunities for closer working between local organisations, joint initiatives and the sharing of resources and knowledge.
A programme of projects will now be fully developed with Historic England and will include:
■ Shop-front conservation grant scheme
■ Community engagement activity
■ Package of business support
■ Connectivity/public realm master planning
■ Conservation area appraisal review
■ Production of a conservation area design guide
■ Capital funding for Lowestoft Post Office regeneration
This funding follows the news last week that Lowestoft had been chosen to benefit from funding as part of the Government's £3.6 billion 'New Towns Fund'. Lowestoft is one of 100 towns which will now have the opportunity to bid for up to £25 million to develop innovative regeneration proposals.
The fund is targeting those towns with proud industrial and economic heritage but who have not necessarily always benefitted from economic growth in the same way as more prosperous areas.
The North Lowestoft HAZ is a five-year programme focusing on some of the oldest parts of the town including the High Street and Scores.
Together with residents and businesses, the project aims to improve the HAZ area by restoring historic buildings and kick-starting regeneration by celebrating the unique character and heritage of this part of the town.
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