‘A town on the up’: Funding bid can ‘drive forward regeneration’
PUBLISHED: 17:41 09 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:42 09 March 2020
Leaders from a range of key organisations have joined forces to prepare a bid that could secure considerable investment for a coastal town.
People are being told it's time to 'think Lowestoft' as a plan is being developed to bid for a funding pot of up to £25 million to regenerate and re-energise the town - and locals are being asked for their views.
Following a Government announcement last year of a £3.6billion Towns Fund, 101 UK places - including Lowestoft - are aiming to negotiate a 'Towns Deal' which would drive economic regeneration and help them become thriving places for people to live and work.
Led by East Suffolk Council, a multi-organisation Place Board for Lowestoft has been formed to develop a 'Town Investment Plan' setting out an ambitious vision for the future of Lowestoft.
The amount of investment that Lowestoft receives from the Towns Fund will be determined by the strength of the Investment Plan presented to the Government.
With the Lowestoft Place Board created to 'think Lowestoft' and drive forward the town's growth and regeneration ambitions, it will be the vehicle through which the vision and strategy for Lowestoft is defined.
Work to develop the plan will focus on the southern Lake Lothing, inner and outer harbour, town centre, the Northern Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone and South Beach, with key themes for improvement focusing on housing, employment, town centre and leisure, infrastructure and heritage and culture.
The plan will capitalise on recent developments including the delivery with Historic England of the £506,000 Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone, the First Light Festival, the £1m development of the Lowestoft Ness, £30m investment from Scottish Power and Renewables and the £12m East Coast College development.
Work on the Town Investment Plan has begun ahead of the delivery of a final plan in Summer 2020.
Information about the investment scheme and how local people can take part can be found via www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/lowestoft-investment-plan/
People can provide their ideas via https://mytown.communities.gov.uk/town/lowestoft/
Among the partner organisations involved are Anglian Water, Associated British Ports, Cefas, East Coast College, Environment Agency, Department of Work & Pensions, Marina Theatre, Lowestoft Rising, Flipside Festival, Discover Lowestoft, Lowestoft Town Council, Waveney MP Peter Aldous, Suffolk County Council, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Scottish Power, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, JobCentrePlus and Suffolk Coast DMO.
A 'fantastic opportunity'
Having lived in Lowestoft all his life, Stephen Javes, former chief executive of Orwell Housing Group, has been appointed chairman of the Place Board.
He said: 'We have been given a fantastic opportunity to secure considerable investment for Lowestoft.
'As someone from the town, I am very proud of our amazing communities and the people who deserve a town to be proud of.
'I know that a wide range of organisations are committed to making this happen and I am genuinely excited about working with them all.'
Craig Rivett, deputy leader of East Suffolk Council and cabinet member for economic development, said: 'A huge amount of work is already under way, with considerable investment already committed to infrastructure projects such as the third crossing, flood protection schemes and the offshore energy sector. 'Lowestoft is definitely a town on the up and access to this funding will make a huge difference to our ability to take the town further forward.
'We will be pulling out all the stops to make this happen.'