As a coastal town with an active, commercial port, Lowestoft is faced with the challenge of ensuring ease of movement for its residents and visitors whilst attracting sufficient footfall given its limited 180 degree catchment.
Lowestoft has recently been the recipient of over £200m investment to improve transport links and infrastructure. This includes the long-awaited third Crossing, Gull Wing, which will stimulate further regeneration opportunities and significantly alleviate congestion issues in central Lowestoft, opening up enhanced connectivity opportunities for green, active travel, and regeneration.
The Lowestoft Flood Protection project will improve the overall resilience of the town, and improved digital infrastructure through the Full Fibre project which will make Lowestoft an attractive location for businesses who operate at the cutting edge of digital technology.
By addressing our existing barriers, these projects will allow us to unlock future investment. By thinking bigger, wider, and collaborating and building relationships with places that will help drive Lowestoft’s prosperity such as the Broads, Great Yarmouth, Norwich, and London, we will become an exciting place to invest in, work in, live in and visit.
Led by: Suffolk County Council and Farrans Construction
Project cost: £146m
Expected completion date: 2024
The Gull Wing river crossing is a major infrastructure project of national importance which will bring a step change for the town of Lowestoft and the wider region. The construction of the bridge is essential to reduce traffic congestion in the town, support the regeneration of the area, and attract new investment for the local economy.
The provision of the crossing will remove a barrier to much needed growth in Lowestoft by reducing congestion around the town and improving the reliability of journey times, particularly across Lake Lothing.
Public demand for a third river crossing spans back over 125 years according to local newspaper records. Through consultation undertaken, there is near-unanimous support in the town for a third crossing.
Work on site began March 2021.
For more information on the project please visit gullwingbridge.co.uk
Led by: Coastal Partnership East
Project Cost: £67m
Funding: £43m HM Government Green Recovery Fund 2020. Additional funding from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Flood Defence Grant in Aid, Local Levy contributions, the Department for Education and contributions from Suffolk County Council and East Suffolk Council enabled construction on some schemes to get underway.
Expected completion date: 2026
The flood protection scheme seeks to develop a way forward to reduce the risk of tidal flooding, caused by a tidal surge that develops in the North Sea along the eastern coastline of the UK as demonstrated by the events in 1953 and most recently in December 2013.
Lowestoft has, until recently, had very limited existing tidal flood defences. To date, Property Level Resilience measures and tidal walls have been completed by Coastal Partnership East, and make up part of the town’s permanent flood defences, however without further investment in a tidal barrier, the town remains at significant risk.
When complete, the Lowestoft Flood Protection scheme will reduce the risk of flooding to more than 1,500 homes and 825 businesses in the town.
Properties in Velda Close and Aldwyck Way were at very significant risk of further flooding, following a number of incidents. The most serious occurred in 2015 and 2019 when 20+ homes flooded up to 600mm deep. Construction of a new floodwall and pumping station was completed in summer 2021, significantly reducing the risk of flooding occurring in the future.
123 properties at risk from surface water flooding but not protected by a community defence, such as alongside Kirkley Stream, have been provided with Property Level Resilience measures. The measures include flood doors, non-return valves in external pipe work and self-sealing airbrick covers, designed to reduce the risk of water entering the property. We have prioritised systems which work without active intervention by the homeowner, such as flood doors which are watertight when closed normally without the need to fit an additional barrier or tighten brackets. This ensures that homes are resilient to flooding that may occur without warning or when residents are away.
Tidal Floodwalls have been built along Hamilton Road and Waveney Road to the North and around the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club and South Pier to the South. The defences are made up of a mixture of solid floodwalls, demountable defences, floodgates and glass floodwalls. The glass floodwalls will run around the Yacht Club and the South Pier to maintain views of the marina and Port.
Construction of the flood walls began in May 2021 and were completed in October 2023.
A tidal barrier will be built across the channel entrance to Lake Lothing on the seaward side of the Bascule Bridge.
A 28m mitre gate was originally designed, however navigation simulations for this option, which took place in April 2021, showed significant challenges for the navigation of vessels entering the Port. A decision has been made to extend the size of the mitre gate to 40m, which will maintain the current width of the navigation channel.
Delivered by CityFibre and Suffolk County Council
Expanding upon the Suffolk Cloud Project, providing ultrafast broadband to 41,609 households and 2,227 businesses in Lowestoft. In the future it will provide download speeds up to 330mbps up from the current speed of 80mbps and upload speeds up to 30mbps from the current 20mbps.
Residential premises will have their connection from the main fibre run into their home provided free of charge as a result of an exclusive partnership agreed between CityFibre and Vodafone. Once the connection is in place customers will then pay a monthly fee as they currently do for their existing broadband package.
This investment will create a state-of-the-art fibre communications network, which will address and potentially overcome some of the key constraints to economic growth and regeneration in the town, namely its geographical remoteness and poor transport connectivity. The project will benefit existing businesses and can be utilised as a tool to attract inward investment. The town will also become an attractive location for those businesses who operate at the cutting edge of digital technology and require very secure, resilient, and fast connections.
(Formerly known as Smart Towns).
Launched in May 2022, the East Suffolk Digital Towns programme aims to digitally transform market towns through the installation of free public Wi-Fi, digital footfall counters and town marketing platforms alongside a business support programme.
Footfall data is vital in analysing visitor movement around the town to measure the success of projects and schemes within the investment plan. It also provides data for effective planning for future events and interventions.
The system will also provide additional support to new and existing businesses within the town who will be able to share offers, promotions, and events through the platform.
Visit East Suffolk Council for further information, or email email@example.com.