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 180o catchment.
Lowestoft has recently been the recipient of over £206m 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 Risk Management Project which 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.
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 get the local economy moving as Lowestoft emerges from the Covid-19 crisis.
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.
The predicted reduction in traffic levels on the existing Bascule Bridge, will enable further regeneration and improvements to Station Quarter, the seafront and the port.
482 homes and 373 commercial properties are currently situated in the tidal flood zone in Lowestoft. With sea level rise, this increases to 1,465 homes and 936 commercial premises at risk of flooding. In addition, over 250 homes are at risk of river and rain flooding in the town.
Lowestoft’s unique location and legacy infrastructure places it at risk of flooding from the sea, rivers and heavy rainfall. In recent years, several severe weather and storm events have resulted in extensive flooding, impacting lives and livelihoods.
Key brownfield sites are ideally placed for redevelopment however, land remains derelict partly due to the scale of investment required at site-level to address the flood risk. Therefore, the ongoing risk of flooding is acting as an ‘economic brake’, constraining growth.
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.
The project supports the wider aspirations of the investment plan and the town centre masterplan by complementing the other key projects. The Cultural Quarter, Station Quarter, Historic Quarter, and the seafront will all be able to benefit from customers being able to access free, public Wi-Fi that creates and promotes a sense of place.
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.