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Do something about this blot on Lowestoft’s landscape

16:19 10 November 2011

Locals are campaigning for the development of the former Tuttles building.

(left to right) Brendan Mortlock, Kevin Bacon, David Mortlock and Jane Bacon

Locals are campaigning for the development of the former Tuttles building. (left to right) Brendan Mortlock, Kevin Bacon, David Mortlock and Jane Bacon

Archant © 2011

IT was once the talk of the town and a landmark to be proud of.

In the late 1880s, the Tuttles store in Station Square became one of Lowestoft’s most distinctive and prominent buildings, and a popular destination for shoppers from across north Suffolk and beyond.

But more than a century on, the former department store is a shadow of its former self: large parts of the block are unoccupied, and many people regard it as an eyesore and a blot on the landscape.

Now, in an effort to secure improvements, a campaign has been launched, calling for action to tackle what organisers claim is now a civic “embarrassment” that hampers efforts to attract visitors and shoppers.

An online petition has been set 
up called “Save a part of 
Lowestoft’s heritage: The old Tuttles building”.

It asks Waveney District Council to force the building’s owners, Elizabeth Holdings, to improve its poor condition. And if this does not happen, it is hoped the council will compulsorily purchase the block and offer it to a developer.

The website petition says: “We consider the state of the building, which has for many years been allowed to fall into an advanced state of disrepair, is to the detriment of the whole town.

“It creates a poor impression on visitors and negated the efforts of the council, inhabitants and traders to present the town centre as a pleasant place to use.”

On Tuesday, some of the petition’s backers, Kevin and Jane Bacon and David and Brendan Mortlock, gathered in Station Square to explain why they felt it was time something was done to improve the building.

As well as demanding something is done to renovate it, the campaigners want local people to be asked by the council what should be done to the site if improvement work ever goes ahead.

Mr Bacon, 62, who lives in Waveney Road and runs the Baconsdozen tool store, said: “I just want to see it as an asset to the town instead of being a liability to the town. It is just a horrid eyesore at the moment.”

David Mortlock, 58, of Normanston Drive, said: “It is just a right awful mess. Something has got to be done about it.”

His son Brendan, 24, said the building was one of the first things people saw if they arrived in Lowestoft by train: “There is a lot that could be done to it and should be done to it. Just leaving it like that is not going to help the area.”

The move to breathe fresh life into the building comes as local shops and businesses throw their weight behind The Journal’s Love Local campaign, which seeks to promote all that is best about where we live.

In response to the petition, Elizabeth Holdings, which has an office in Lowestoft, said it wanted to convert the upper floor of building into flats but was prevented from carrying out any work due to a flood risk assessment.

Chris Trindall, company director, said he shared the campaigners’ frustrations over the state of the building, especially as they had carried out some work on improving the part of the site nearest the Bascule Bridge.

However, he was hopeful there would be “some developments next year” involving businesses moving into the lower tier of the building. Mr Trindall added: “Like everyone, I want to see something done about it.”

The online campaign can be found via Google by searching for “Tuttles petition”. 


Shops and businesses interested in our Local campaign should contact our sales representative, Perry Bartram, by ringing him on 01493 335043 or emailing him at perry.bartram@archant.co.uk

4 comments

  • Casting my mind back a few years, I believe the Wetherspoons chain wished to purchase it, and give it a make over. Guess what? Local publicans complained... on the pretence that the competition from a decent pub serving decent food would've been too much for them.. As usual, they'll talk about it, and then do nowt. Anyone who steps off train is greeted with one of two views - a row of takeaways & flats from one door, or a building covered in bird cr@p and netting from the other. Surely we can do better than that?!?

    Report this comment

    Eddie

    Friday, November 11, 2011

  • I wish this campaign every success. The Tuttles site is in a key area of Lowestoft town centre. It is not only part of the 'gateway' into the town from the Railway Station and the sea front, but also a major feature on Station Square. I wonder whether this building is listed? It looks as if at present Elizabeth Holdings are allowing it to deteriorate to such a degree that demolition and a dreadful 'design and build' redevelopment will be the likely outcome. Wouldn't this be a wonderful location for the Maritime Museum, a Lowestoft collection, and maybe an art gallery? We really need something to mitigate the depressing dominance of McDonalds and Argos in this area. Not to mention the disgraceful appearance of the Railway Station.

    Report this comment

    point du jour

    Friday, November 11, 2011

  • I hope it isn't simply flats especially if Elizabeth Holdings or any of Lowestofts other DHSS specialist rehousers is involved.There is enough low quality,housing in the town centre already. One idea of the petiion was to try and get something done with the present mess that would benefit the town,not just redidstribute Social security payments.EH have had the building for years and have done nothing,they and WDC should be now be out of excuses.

    Report this comment

    baconsdozen

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

  • So Elizabeth Holdings are already considering converting the top floor to flats? Are EH well-known for their architectural innovation? I'm visualising stud-work walls and DSS. Maybe I'm just an old cynic.

    Report this comment

    John Harper

    Friday, November 11, 2011

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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