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North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone (2018-2023)

The North Lowestoft Heritage Action ZoneLocated within the North Lowestoft Conservation Area boundary, the North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone (2018-2023) primarily focussed on areas within the medieval High Street and Scores.

In recent years, the decline of the historic High Street in Lowestoft has been exacerbated by the economic downturn and national changes in retail, which have had a negative impact on the whole town centre. They have left the historic High Street with significantly reduced footfall and a lack of purpose. This, coupled with high numbers of vacant premises and heritage assets at-risk, poor-quality alterations to buildings, inappropriate modern development, and lack of investment in public areas, led to the North Lowestoft Conservation Area being included on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register (2017).

The Heritage Action Zone strived to revive the town’s historic heart by maximising on the potential of historic assets and kick start regeneration, bringing buildings back into use as housing or retail spaces, enhance the quality and connections of the historic streets and public spaces, and improve the overall natural, historic and built environmental quality, making the area more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors.


Project Outcomes

59 High Street

Partnership Scheme in Conservation Areas (PSiCA) and Buildings At Risk

Through the work of the North Lowestoft HAZ alongside other regeneration initiatives in Lowestoft, the Conservation Area is deemed improving, no longer deteriorating.

The Partnership Scheme in Conservation Areas (PSiCA) focussed on the historic High Street of North Lowestoft, which is the main commercial area of the HAZ. The aim was to repair and refurbish historic buildings along the high street, some of which were suffering from physical degradation, vacancy, neglect and inappropriate/unauthorised use. To date, 15 buildings/retail units equating to £366,536.53 of public funding and £132,613.91 of private investment have been improved.

Using traditional methods, in 2019, working with the Great Places, Making Waves Together programme, Mariners Arch was restored, followed by the restoration of the Grade II listed Crown Score Wall in 2022.

 

North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone Design Guide

The adopted North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) will be used to determine Planning Applications and guide regeneration in the north Lowestoft area, and to help facilitate the delivery of high quality design for the North Lowestoft HAZ area, without unnecessary prescription or detail, particularly relating to the design of individual buildings. It will therefore focus on strategic rules in relation to layout, scale, appearance, landscaping and access.

 

Community Engagement

  • Establishment of the Most Easterly Community Group
  • Poetry People commissioned to create a video poem entitled ‘Right Up Your Street‘ featuring 17 businesses and created through shared memories of the High Street and Scores.
  • Events and resources produced as part of Heritage Open Days including pop up art exhibition with GCSE students from Benjamin Britten Music Academy, and video exploring the relationship between Lowestoft’s High Street and the Denes with local historian David Butcher.
  • Series of videos encouraging people to return to the High Street following the ease of 2020’s Covid-19 lockdown.
  • High Street Histories – Heritage Schools Programme – a series of of ten short ‘film-talks’ exploring Lowestoft’s historic High Street, were launched. Initially created as teaching resources to celebrate the stories behind Lowestoft’s historic High Street, they can also be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in local heritage, and have been created by local historian, Ivan Bunn, and Suffolk Poet-Laureate, Dean Parkin.

 

North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone Scores and Triangle Market Feasibility Study

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Initiated by East Suffolk Council through the North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone, in 2021 the North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone Scores and Triangle Market Feasibility Study was developed to help shape the future development of North Lowestoft, identifying ways to enhance public spaces and improve connectivity with the overall aim of enhancing the area for residents and visitors.

The report, which was prepared by consultants Jon Sheaff and Associates on behalf of East Suffolk Council, provides conceptual design proposals to help support future regeneration plans for the town. Please note that the designs are not final and do incorporate proposals where there are opportunities for us to work in partnership with landowners.

The Council continues to explore key areas identified in the document to enhance the Historic Quarter, and is working with LDA Design to bring detailed designs for the Scores to RIBA stage 3.

 

The Ness

Completed in 2020, The Ness is a family-friendly destination celebrating the unique heritage of the area, and as a wildlife haven to rare flora, fauna, and invertebrates. The project aimed to improve access, knowledge, participation, and enjoyment of the area.

The 13ha site had previously been the location of the old Lowestoft Beach Village, lost to repeated flooding and eventual slum clearances in the 1960’s, and in recent years had become derelict, although the net drying racks still remained symbolising its previous use.

The works saw the transformation of the site into a green space which can now be utilised as a cultural events space for commercial, educational and community activities, with new play and picnic areas.

 

Research Projects

The following reports were commissioned by Historic England and East Suffolk Council as part of the North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone project: