Waveney District Council finalising details of multi-storey car park demolition in Lowestoft after meeting
- Credit: Archant
The future of Lowestoft's Battery Green car park site has moved a step closer to being secured, though it still remains unclear what this will actually entail.
The car park has been closed to the public for more than two months and is scheduled for demolition, but no firm date has been set for this to be carried out.
However, a spokesman for Waveney District Council has confirmed a meeting has taken place between council representatives and consultants regarding the development of the site moving forward.
The spokesman said: 'We are finalising the details of the demolition programme with a view to returning part of the site to a public car park in the short term.
'Working with our consultants, we are also evaluating a range of longer term development options which would deliver best value to the site.'
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The car park was originally scheduled to close on January 6, however this date was later pushed back, with the eventual closure coming into effect on March 31.
The closure has been particularly unpopular with adjoining Wilko shop, which relied on the site for its customer parking.
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Dawn Impey, assistant manager of the store, said the closure had caused a huge impact on the shop, particularly in shopping trends.
She said: 'We have noticed that far fewer customers are buying larger or heavier items as they are worried about getting them back to the car.
'We have a installed collection area to the rear of the store, but people are either reluctant to use it or are unaware of it, so are only buying things they can carry back to their cars.'
Mrs Impey added that in future she would like to see the site transformed into an entertainment facility, adding she feels this option would be good for the surrounding area in the town.
Waveney District Council is yet to confirm exactly what plans are being considered for the multi-storey car park, though councillors have said they would entertain retail, commercial and residential opportunities.
On closing the four-storey car park, councillors said the decision was based on lack of demand for it and the building being in a state of disrepair.
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History of the site
The Battery Green car park was officially opened to the public on November 5, 1982.
However, this was far from the first time vehicles have parked on site – as the land previously homed another car park and coach station.
Ivan Bunn of the Lowestoft branch of Suffolk Record Office said: 'The building of the multi-storey car park was part of a completele regeneration of the area, including a new roundabout being put in.
'The station was also where grey-green coaches left off from - the only direct services to London at the time.'
In 1782 a gun battery was built on the site, before the Admiralty handed the land back to the council in the 1930s.
It was first made into a coach park in June 1936.
Mr Bunn added: 'When the multi-storey car park was built, the windows were designed to give it to look of a gun battery as a salute to what was previously stood in its place.'
A cinema, big name shops and even another version of what was there to begin with. These were suggestions by people when asked what they would like to see built in place of the car park.
Sylvia Cooper, 59, of Lowestoft, said: 'I don't know why it has not just been kept as a car park.'
Another call for a car park came from 44-year-old Vanessa Wild-Smith of Belton, who said it would make life
easier for people shopping at Wilko.
Becky Saye, 19, of Lowestoft, said: 'Every time I look at it I find it depressing so I would like something more
cheerful. Primark would be good.'
Kayleigh, 24, of Lowestoft, also said she wants to see a Primark, adding 'a new shopping centre would be great'.
Darren, 46, of Lowestoft, said: 'I think we need a new cinema – that would be great to see there.'
Sam Beach, 44, of Lowestoft, added: 'I think it needs to be something to bring in more tourists.'