Through High Streets Heritage Action Zones (HSHAZ) designation, conservation-led regeneration will make the South Lowestoft and Kirkley a vibrant place to live, work and visit. The HSHAZ will champion the value of heritage within the high street, using that heritage for positive change to address the current decline facing the area. It will encourage sympathetic and sustainable improvements to the built environment, where communities have pride in place and are actively engaged in the area’s protection and presentation through a programme of events and training.
The London Road boundary encompasses a significant portion of the South Lowestoft and Kirkley Conservation Area, in the character areas of the Harbour, London Road South and the Seafront. The built heritage is predominantly 19th century Victorian architecture, much of it being developed under Morton Peto’s development of the town, as a Victorian pleasure resort. It includes the key commercial areas of London Road North, Station Square and London Road South, and contains several listed buildings including the Grade II* Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club, the Grade II listed Post Office, National Westminster Bank, and Port House.
The London Road, Lowestoft High Street Heritage Action Zone is a four-year programme that began in 2020. It is a partnership scheme between Historic England, East Suffolk Council, Lowestoft Town Council and the East Suffolk Building Preservation Trust, working closely with Community Action Suffolk Community Enablers.
The London Road High Street Heritage Action Zone will:
The aim of the Conservation Grant Scheme is to repair and refurbish historic buildings within the HSHAZ boundary, some of which are suffering from physical degradation, vacancy, neglect and inappropriate/unauthorised use. The scheme will fund repairs to the structure and external fabric of buildings contributing to the historic interest of the area and the reinstatement of architectural features that have been lost from historic buildings.
In May 2021, the HSHAZ was awarded £90,000 to develop a three-year programme of cultural opportunities for residents to explore the histories of the shops and buildings in the zones and showcasing the shops that are currently providing services to our local communities through running a shop local campaign to help drive footfall in Kirkley, Station Square, Bevan Street and bottom of London Road North.
The cultural programme, entitled ‘Wish you were here!’, will deliver an exemplar cultural programme covering both the London Road, Lowestoft High Street Heritage Action Zone, and the North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone to showcase the character, heritage, and distinctiveness of both areas. East Suffolk Council will work with a range of innovative cultural providers to deliver a variety of different art forms that will help connect local residents and young people to the heritage of the high street.
Commencing Summer 2021, communities will uncover stories such as Lowestoft’s long tradition as a seaside resort, commemorating the 1953 and 2013 floods, celebrating the 175th anniversary of the train station, looking at the development of the Post Office, as well as exploring the history of shopkeepers in the town.