The Lowestoft Town Centre Masterplan is our response to the challenges Lowestoft town centre faces and provides a clear plan and direction to create a prosperous town centre whether as a place in which to live, work or have fun.
It is a plan which considers ways to re-purpose and guide future development and to secure inward investment to revitalise the heart of Lowestoft. This is not just about construction or bringing older buildings back in to use, it is about setting out a clear vision based on market research and what a range of key stakeholders believe will give confidence to businesses, consumers, funders and investors in Lowestoft.
The masterplan is led by East Suffolk Council, working in partnership with Lowestoft Town Council, Lowestoft Vision, Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and was developed through stakeholder workshops with representatives from across Lowestoft. It provides the blueprint for change over the next 10-15 years but also incorporates more short-term activity from the outset which will help bring activity, jobs and business to the town centre.
Set against the backdrop of challenges in the way people spend their leisure time - with new ways of socialising, shopping and entertainment, resulting in the decline of retail from the town centre to the internet - plus the outbreak of COVID-19, it makes a regeneration plan of this nature even more important. COVID-19 has accelerated processes of change that, in many respects, were already underway and the emerging picture of the world after the pandemic has required decision makers to rethink the future role of town centres. A regeneration plan that will help ‘restart’ the town centre is now more crucial than ever. It will set Lowestoft’s existing and new businesses on a trajectory fit for the new economic reality that will now emerge as a result.
Lowestoft town centre, steeped in heritage, culture and civic pride, is not a town without its challenges. But as the most easterly point in Britain, the town is being recognised by industries as a place to invest in, due to its access to the North Sea and lower operating costs to that of its counterparts. With a resident population of 71,374, 69.9% work in Lowestoft itself, fuelling the need for suitable leisure, community and retail provision. To continue investment in the area, businesses need to see the availability of these provisions in order to offer their employees a healthy life/work balance.
The town centre is surrounded by a mix of residential housing and industry including an area designated as the PowerPark, which houses a cluster of Lowestoft’s energy related businesses, comprising of the offshore renewables energy sector, an Enterprise Zone and Lowestoft’s south seafront tourist area. It is also served by a central railway station with direct links to Norwich, Ipswich and London.
The long-term vision for Lowestoft town centre aims to enhance the vitality and viability of the area by positively utilising and transforming derelict buildings / site, whilst enhancing the quality of design and linking to the heritage of the area. Enhancing the public realm by improving accessibility and developing the urban landscape, will act as a catalyst for investment and link the whole Lowestoft area from the south beach to the Heritage Action Zone. Development of the former post office and Battery Green car park will address the need for a central leisure offer, whilst residential developments and the utilisation of vacant properties will develop the area as a community hub, following the aims of the Waveney Local Area Plan.
To achieve this aspiration and vision, East Suffolk Council will continue to work in partnership with the Heritage Action Zone, Lowestoft Town Council and Lowestoft Vision, aligning with the vast programme of economic development and regeneration projects across Lowestoft.
A key part of the delivery of the masterplan is to continue to speak with local organisations, community groups, businesses, landowners and property developers. If you would like further information about the town centre masterplan, please contact us.