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Cefas redevelopment could provide tourism boost for Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 16:11 26 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:11 26 October 2017

An aerial view of the proposed design for Cefas' new £16m Lowestoft base. Image courtesy of Cefas.

An aerial view of the proposed design for Cefas' new £16m Lowestoft base. Image courtesy of Cefas.

Archant

The £16m redevelopment of a marine science agency could include a new visitor centre to support the regeneration of Lowestoft’s seafront.

Cefas will be demolishing its current site at the Grand Hotel. Picture: James Bass Cefas will be demolishing its current site at the Grand Hotel. Picture: James Bass

Cefas’ new modern facility will provide land for a potential visitor centre at the south end of the promenade.

The proposal is currently only the subject of outline planning permission, as such no plans or funding exist.

However, Cefas have expressed a keen interest to make the visitor centre a reality in direct support of Waveney District Council’s (WDC) Lowestoft Seafront regeneration initiative.

A Cefas spokesman said: “Waveney District Council’s strategy for the seafront is to develop a number of exciting, high impact visitor attractions that will increase the number of visitors to the beach by appealing to an audience from a wider geography.

Stuart Rogers, Cefas' chief scientist. Photo courtesy of Cefas. Stuart Rogers, Cefas' chief scientist. Photo courtesy of Cefas.

“The council are very excited about the possibilities presented by the redevelopment of the Cefas building itself and its potential to attract visitors.

He added: “The potential centre is a pavilion of exceptional design on the site which houses a visitor centre relating to marine science and its relevance to humanity.

”Cefas wishes to work with Waveney District Council to find ideas and partners to realise a suitable opportunity, that is supported by the local community and supports the wider economy of the town.”

Cllr Mark Bee, leader of WDC, praised the proposed visitor centre for “offering people the opportunity to learn more about marine science”.

Cefas has been carrying out world-leading research from lowestoft for ovber 100 years. Photo courtesy of Cefas. Cefas has been carrying out world-leading research from lowestoft for ovber 100 years. Photo courtesy of Cefas.

He added: “These ideas will transform this part of the promenade and the project forms a key part of the wider and exciting vision we are driving for the south beach seafront.

“With preparations for the construction of the third river crossing underway and with work to start on the multi-million pound flood defence scheme next year, these are genuinely exciting times for the area and once again shows this is very much a town on the up.”

The redevelopment of the Pakefield Road site will see the agency shrink the floor area used by 50pc and as previously reported will secure 500 jobs for the area.

Work on the site is set to begin next month and is expected to be completed by March 2019.

RV Cefas Endeavour. Photo courtesy of Cefas. RV Cefas Endeavour. Photo courtesy of Cefas.

Cefas Timeline

Cefas, under various guises, has operated in Lowestoft for 115 years.

And according to Stuart Rogers, chief scientist, the world leading scientific organisation “has benefited greatly from the skills and knowledge of decades of local people”.

Mr Rogers provides a brief history of the organisation and the town.

1902: the Marine Biological Association of the UK (MBA) opens a research station in Lowestoft to study the North Sea plaice fishery.

1907: Roas Lee joins the station as MBA’s first female fisheries scientist.

1921: the station becomes a laboratory with experimental facilities

1920s and 30s: studies carried out in Lowestoft influence colleagues in the rest of Europe

1940s and 50s: Beverton and Holt, two of the most influential figures in the history of fisheries science, develop ground-breaking theories and cement Lowestoft’s international reputation.

1997: The organisation becomes Cefas.

2003: RV Cefas Endeavour arrives in Lowestoft for naming ceremony.

2016:Partners with the University of East Anglia to establish the Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Use of Seas.

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