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London Road, Lowestoft High Street Heritage Action Zone and Seafront Masterplan

A blueprint for the regeneration of South Lowestoft and Kirkley

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The London Road, Lowestoft High Street Heritage Action Zone and Seafront Masterplan 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.

The masterplan, prepared by consultants Jon Sheaff and Associates on behalf of East Suffolk Council, provides early design proposals to regenerate the seafront and London Road South over the next ten years.

In March 2021, Lowestoft secured £24.9 million through HM Government’s Towns Fund to invest in the regeneration of the town. £1.3million of this funding has been allocated specifically for seafront projects in addition to £725,000 of funding allocated to the repurposing of East Point Pavilion through the Towns Deal Accelerator Fund.

A series of workshops and interviews were conducted with local businesses, residents and community groups in 2021. The feedback provided was used to inform and shape the initial drafts of the masterplan, which were then presented for public consultation through online and drop-in events. Following these public consultations, the designs were amended to reflect the comments received.

The masterplan is not a final design for South Lowestoft, but instead sets out a vision for the area which acts as a starting point for attracting further inward investment into South Lowestoft and Kirkley. As funding becomes available for further improvements to public spaces, we will develop the proposals and work with the local communities and businesses to ensure that public views inform the detailed designs.

The first phase of delivery of improvements at the seafront includes the provision of 72 new beach chalets and the regeneration of the East Point Pavilion.

A closer look at South Lowestoft

South Lowestoft has a wealth of heritage and is a model of Victorian seafront expansion, stemming from the development of the towns harbour by Sir Samuel Morton Peto, which provided mooring for fishing boats and larger vessels, helping to establish the area as a flourishing resort. The Mincarlo, the last surviving sidewinder fishing trawler of the Lowestoft fishing fleet, is still docked today at the Heritage Quay.

The area also saw activity from the Suffragette movement in the early 20th Century, with the WSPU (Women’s Social Political Union) headquarters based in Kirkley Village.

Kirkley is also the birthplace of world-renowned composer, Benjamin Britten, who was a central figure of 20th-century British music.

The town is also home to the UK marine science agency Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) whose laboratories have been based in Pakefield since 1902. Cefas currently employs 300+ practising marine scientists at their recently regenerated headquarters, which saw an investment of £18.3m.

Culture is also at the heart of South Lowestoft, with First Light Festival celebrating the summer solstice on South Beach as Britain’s most easterly town attracting 30,000 people to the area. Creatives and galleries can also be found in South Lowestoft, with artists commending the natural light in the town.

As well as seaside concessions, hotels and restaurants along the promenade, South Lowestoft also benefits from a thriving independent business community in the heart of Kirkley along London Road South. Shops, salons, cafes, and restaurants are plentiful across the area.

The area also attracts tourists and holiday makers with a golden sandy beach, two piers, bed and breakfast establishments, amusement arcades and the public parks  Kensington Gardens and Wellington Gardens, providing opportunity for leisure across the area.

Although South Lowestoft benefits from a thriving local community and existing cultural, leisure and retail offer, the long-term vision for the area aims to enhance vitality and viability by improving the quality of design of public spaces. By linking to and promoting the heritage of the area and improving the connectivity between the seafront and commercial area of Kirkley Village, this will act as a catalyst for investment, and link South Lowestoft with the ambitions in the wider Lowestoft Town Centre masterplan North of Bascule Bridge.

To achieve this aspiration and vision, East Suffolk Council will continue to work in partnership with the Heritage Action Zones and Lowestoft Town Council, aligning with the vast programme of economic development and regeneration projects across Lowestoft.

How you can play a role in a bright future

A key part of the delivery of the masterplan is to continue to speak with local organisations, community groups, businesses, landowners and property developers. If you would like further information about the town centre masterplan, please contact us.