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Transforming Our Town Centre; Retail & Leisure

LowestoftLowestoft celebrates being the most easterly point in the UK where the sun rises first. It has a beautiful seafront with big skies, beautiful light and an unspoilt sense of place not often found by the sea. Our vision is to make more people aware of this asset and to open it up for different experiences and different age groups.

We will achieve this by repurposing the town centre and creating four distinct but connected quarters; Station Quarter, the Heart of Lowestoft, Innovation Axis and the Historic Quarter, which are complimented by the traditional Victorian seafront. Visitors and residents will be able to experience our fast-developing independent retail offer that boasts an eclectic mix of boutiques, art galleries and artisan coffee, with the historic High Street providing a fascinating backdrop. We will also refresh our existing assets, developing the surrounding space with more leisure opportunities, dining and drinking experiences, and event programming which includes multi-arts experiences creating a vibrant, artisan feel to Lowestoft.

By reimagining our historic assets through the renovation and repurposing of buildings, and storytelling through a new public realm, we will encourage a healthier, active lifestyle. An active seafront will feature gym equipment along the promenade which can be used as part of a workout, or as a warmup or cooldown to the most easterly Park Run, which can be complimented by water-based activities such as paddle boarding or sailing, will help us tackle social isolation and improve overall fitness and confidence.

Station Quarter concept

Station Quarter concept

Station Quarter

Station Quarter is Lowestoft’s most important arrival space by rail, road and sea, and should therefore provide a welcoming experience that sets the tone for the rest of the town centre.

The continued decline of the town centre has been accelerated due to Covid-19. This project will build upon the recommendations set out within the Town Centre Masterplan, to repurpose the town centre and introduce uses away from traditional retail. The project will complement the Seafront Vision and Cultural Quarter as it provides key connectivity to both areas.

Improved public realm will provide a destination landing point and will encourage increased dwell time, increasing footfall and spend. The ambition is to grow and sustain an evening economy through enhanced leisure use and make the place more attractive to live and work.

Cultural Quarter concept

Cultural Quarter concept

Cultural Quarter

The continued decline of the town centre has been accelerated due to Covid-19, with a prevalence of vacant buildings and business closures. This project will build upon the recommendations as set out in the town centre masterplan, complementing planned development at the Station Quarter and Historic Quarter to repurpose the town centre for the future.

A recent viability study assessed the demand / capacity for an enhanced leisure and culture development in the heart of the town. The study recommended a largescale pop-up, flexible space(s), which could accommodate a wide variety of activities along with potential occupiers including leisure management companies. These operators provide space for a host of leisure and cultural uses including music performances, music production space, children’s activities and temporary play installations, VR gaming, pop up golf, large scale art installation, theatre stage production, set building and immersive art exhibitions.

The study recommended that a food and drink offer should be located centrally inside the current Council Customer Services building which sits at the heart of the planned development, to provide a day and night-time offer.

This project also supports redevelopment of the Marina Theatre to extend the offer and support the theatre’s recovery post Covid-19.

Jubilee Chalets concept

Eastern Edge beach hut concept

Seafront Vision

Whilst the seafront is rightly considered the jewel in the town’s crown, it is in an area of deprivation including low household income, obesity, and poor health determinants. It is important to uplift this area to enhance the lives of our community and radically improve footfall and spend in order to grow the tourism economy.

In 2021, East Suffolk Council commissioned Jon Sheaff & Associates to create a masterplan for the seafront and London Road South which provides early design proposals for regeneration over the next ten years. The London Road, Lowestoft High Street Heritage Action Zone and Seafront Masterplan, led by ESC’s Economic Regeneration team, is an initial concept proposal for how changes to public spaces and the urban environment can help regenerate South Lowestoft and Kirkley. The proposals include improved connections to the seafront with the shopfronts, providing more leisure and tourist offers to make the area more prosperous with the overall aim of improving experiences for visitors and residents. To find out more about the proposals for the seafront, please click  here.

The seafront falls within the boundary of the London Road, Lowestoft High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ), which provides a unique opportunity to enable the redevelopment of historic buildings and the creation of a cultural programme within this area.

Projects outlined under the Seafront Vision include:

East Point Pavilion

Work is underway to transform the East Point Pavilion, a Victorian-style glass pavilion situated on Royal Plain, into a cultural and community space for the town. Once complete, the venue will be the perfect spot to enjoy the Easterly sea view whilst tasting delicious food from an assortment of independent street food traders, alongside barista coffee, craft beer, wine and cocktails from our house bar and café. Managed by the team behind First Light Festival, East Point Pavilion will also develop a trading space for small entrepreneurial ‘pop-up’ businesses, and curate a year-round cultural and community programme including live music, DJs and performances, artisan markets, community-led workshops, and seasonal and private hire events.

To find out more, visit First Light Festival’s website.

Due to open Spring 2022

Eastern Edge Beach Huts and Jubilee Parade

Designed by Norwich-based architects Chaplin Farrant, the £2.6m project will create split level beach huts which will replace the former Jubilee Chalets, and will face partially south to ensure maximum sunshine throughout the day. The tips of the structures will face eastwards, reflecting Lowestoft’s position as the most easterly location in the country. A raised decking promenade will also be created to enable people to sit in front of the new huts without restricting access to those using the promenade. Ten of the most central huts will be designed to be more easily accessible. Beach huts can be hired through Lowestoft Beach Hut Hire.

Phase 1 due for completion Spring 2022