Resorts reveal ambitious plans

PUBLISHED: 09:30 22 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:04 22 October 2010

About 1,200 high-class homes are to be built and 112,000 acres of run-down land redeveloped under ambitious proposals released yesterday for the regeneration of Lowestoft.

About 1,200 high-class homes are to be built and 112,000 acres of run-down land redeveloped under ambitious proposals released yesterday for the regeneration of Lowestoft.

After a three-month consultation the urban regeneration company 1st East yesterday revealed long-term plans for both Yarmouth and Lowestoft, described as a “once in a 30-year opportunity”.

Lowestoft has been designated the centre for maritime development, with work concentrated in six zones, most of which are along the seafront. Most prestigious will be on the site of Brooke Marine, where developers are already showing an interest in the 400 high quality waterfront homes 1st East earmarked for the site.

But controversial plans to move the railway station 400 yards west, freeing up ten acres of town centre for retail development, are still incorporated into plans despite opposition from Network Rail and train operators One, who say the station is ideally placed at the moment.

At Yarmouth, about 1,800 high-class homes are to be built and about 187,000 acres of run-down land redeveloped including an area on the port-side of Southtown, where industrial units will be removed and replaced with high-quality homes, and at Runham where a new broad will be created area for use for water sports and tourism, complete with new hotel and prestigious waterside homes.

The Lowestoft action plan was released to Waveney District Council and the media concurrently yesterday, with councillors voting on whether to accept the scheme on July 26.

Six key areas have been identified for development. They are:

Unilever factory to Ness Point, which will become the East of England Park concentrating on a maritime theme, perhaps with links to Holland.

The west side of the outer harbour, which will become Fishers' Wharf, where traffic will be calmed, and new fish restaurants and speciality maritime shops introduced, along with further marina development.

Station Square becomes Peto Square, an extended town centre with more retail units, less traffic - and the relocated train station.

The southern area of Lake Lothing transforms into Kirkley Waterfront, the main business area containing the new Waveney campus revealed in the EDP yesterday.

Brooke Marine turns into Brooke Peninsula, with 400 new homes each promising “high quality waterfront living”.

And a third river crossing will be built - although developers have so far only been able to narrow down the five original options to two, either west of Bascule Bridge or west of Brooke Marine.

Philip Watkins, 1st East chief executive, said: “We are all about creating jobs and broadening economic activity. We have a waterfront we will use wherever we can to create value.

“Lowestoft is in an ideal position to be Europe's next major marine development. This is a once in a 30-year opportunity for the town.”

And Mr Watkins said he was not scared to court public controversy with the plans to move the railway station.

“If we go for moving it we'll do it because it's the right thing to do,” he said. “It's a real asset having it in the town centre but moving it 400 metres to the west will free up a lot of land that can be used for Peto Square.

“National Rail in London see it as a really attractive proposition and are willing to engage in conversation. Yes it's controversial but we think it's right and we are fully prepared to argue our case.”

Last night, Peter Meades, public relations manager for One, was unavailable for comment, but the EDP believes the company is still very much against the move.

“We don't want to see it (the station) in a position which would worsen its location as far as the public is concerned,” he said earlier this month.

“There has been some discussion between 1st East, Network Rail and ourselves and further talks are planned. But if you were to build a new station 200 yards up the line, you are talking about significant sums of money.”

Waveney councillors will decide whether to accept the plans on July 26. It will then become the draft masterplan, having planning status and allowing developers to invest with confidence.

But it will then have to go before public consultation again and the government before being adopted officially as the final plan.

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