'Bright future' for Lowestoft as ten-year investment plan outlining ambitions and bidding for £25m from Government's Towns Fund is submitted
A ten-year multi-million pound investment plan, setting out ambitions for the future of a Suffolk town, has been submitted to the Government.
The 'locally-owned' plan for Lowestoft, put together by representatives from public, private and voluntary organisations, also highlights the town's opportunities and challenges.
The plan forms the basis of a £24.9 million application to the Towns Fund, which, it is hoped, will act as a catalyst for future investment.
Officials involved in putting together the Town Investment Plan have said Lowestoft is 'definitely worth investing in'.
It comes after it was chosen as one of 101 towns in the UK to benefit from the Governments £3.6 billion Towns Fund in September 2019.
Each town was invited by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to develop a proposal for a Towns Deal, with up to £25 million available to bid for.
The Lowestoft Place Board, which is managed by East Suffolk Council, has put the Town Investment Plan together.
Cllr Craig Rivett, East Suffolk Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development, said access to this funding will make a 'huge difference' to their 'ability to take the town further forward'.
"There is already a considerable amount of investment taking place, from the Gull Wing crossing, the permanent flood defence scheme, and the growing offshore energy sector," he said.
"Like towns across the country, Lowestoft has struggled in recent times and especially during the pandemic."
Mr Rivett added they are confident they have submitted a 'strong' plan to the Government, and 'optimistic that Lowestoft has a bright future ahead of it'.
The application sets out ambitious plans for future development, while also highlighting challenges the town faces, its strengths and current investment, which include the delivery of £1m worth of investment in Heritage Action Zones, a £1.2m redevelopment of The Ness – the UK's most Easterly park, and a £125m investment in the Gull Wing bridge.
Projects involved in the plan are focused on housing, employment, skills, infrastructure, retail, leisure, culture and heritage.
The multi-million bid seeks funding for the following projects:
- Development of the cultural quarter in the town centre to provide a new leisure and cultural venue and enhancements to the Marina Theatre
- Development of station square – a meeting place and gateway point for the seafront and town centre
- Enhanced public realm throughout the seafront
- Further development of the historic high street as a Historic Quarter for the town which will include refurbishment of the scores and redevelopment of the town hall
- Provision to improve the port area that supports the growth in the clean energy sector and enhance the public realm
The plan will also support the town's wider long-term recovery from Covid-19.
Stephen Javes, chair of the Lowestoft Place Board said, now the application has been submitted to the Government, they will await their response before moving onto the project development phase.
He said: “We have listened to a range of views and ideas from local businesses and the community, including more than 100 project ideas submitted via the My Towns portal.
"These views have enabled us to develop a strong investment plan which will help Lowestoft to thrive.
"We now await the response from Government before moving onto the project development phase and we will continue to work with businesses and the community throughout this process.”
The council and the Lowestoft Place Board are working with local partners and stakeholders, as well as key national organisations and funding partners such as Historic England, Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund, in a bid to maximise and complement the plan and 'unlock the town’s full potential'.
The Town Investment Plan was submitted to the Ministry for Housing, Communities, and Local Government on October 30. The Lowestoft Place Board expect a response early in the new year.
The Investment Plan can be viewed at www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/lowestoft-investment-plan.