Lowestoft’s former town hall building to be turned into £10 million multi-use hub
Planning permission has been granted for Lowestoft’s former town hall to be turned into a £10m multi-use hub.
The building, which was finished in 1860, has been vacant since 2015 after then-Waveney District Council moved out.
Yesterday, East Suffolk Council’s planning committee unanimously granted planning permission for the empty hall to be turned into a multi-use hub.
This will see the building accommodate a heritage hub, café, gallery, community event space, the Town Council’s office and registrar’s offices.
Sarah Foote, deputy town clerk in Lowestoft Town Council, said the plans would bring a social and economic benefit to the town.
She added: “There will be a council presence back in the town and people will be coming to there for a purpose.”
The proposal also stresses the cultural importance of the works which, the town council believes, will ‘contribute significantly to the revitalisation of the historic core of Lowestoft’.
To achieve the plans, the building will also see a new events hall being built adjacent to Mariners Street, as well as the existing archive building being replaced with a new gallery extension.
To pay for the £10m necessary to carry out the extensive works, the town council has already secured much of the funding, including over £3.2m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, over £1.8m from the Town Fund, £900,000 from the district council, and £170,000 from volunteer time.
Additionally, the town council has committed to take out a £4m Public Works Loan, which has not yet been secured.
With that said, assurances have been made that council tax would not be increased as a direct result of this project, and no public service cuts or closure of amenities would be carried out.
Currently, the new hall is proposed to reopen in late 2025, with the main contractor starting the building work in April 2024.