Town's historic High Street benefitting from six-figure restoration funding
- Credit: Mick Howes
More than £350,000 of funding has been awarded to a series of renovation projects in Lowestoft this year.
Work is currently under way on 11 properties within the North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone (HAZ).
The HAZ includes the town's historic High Street and the original main medieval settlement.
The projects are part of the five-year scheme which began in 2018 and is jointly funded by Historic England and East Suffolk Council, which runs in partnership with Lowestoft Town Council, Lowestoft Vision and East Suffolk Building Preservation Trust.
At 136 and 137 High Street, work has begun to remove modern shopfronts to be replaced with timber frame façade to bring the building in line with the style of the adjoining 138.
Kay Balls, whose family have owned the building for more than 60 years, said: "We very much enjoyed doing the historical research on the building and would like to thank the many people who helped us.
“We were able to get back to the 1860s – and the design reflects this and the adjoining shop.
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"We are very pleased that MS Oakes has taken on the project, providing their expertise and knowledge, exceeding our expectations.
"We look forward to the finished shopfronts."
Nearby, at 127-130 High Street, funding has been provided to repair and replace the original sash windows, following planning approval, to the first and second floor, as well as stonework repairs, at the former Devereux Stores building.
Work is also under way further along High Street, at number 108, to repair windows, doors and facias at the former Wheatsheaf, which is expected to be complete in early August.
Other ongoing projects include at the Grade II listed former Wesleyan Chapel at 147 High Street, as well as at the former Maypole Dairy, at 73 High Street, where the timber frame shopfront will be reinstated, complete with ornate detailing and mirrored pilasters.
Meanwhile, a planning application has been submitted for listed building consent to improve the roof and rainwater drainage system at Grade II listed Arnold House.
The re-build of the Grade II listed Crown Score wall has also almost been completed by Medieval Masonry and Alan Wright Consulting.
As part of the works, Suffolk Highways have cleared the drains and will be repairing the handrail.
Funding for the projects came through two grant giving programmes, Partnership Schemes in Conservation Area and Buildings At Risk.
East Suffolk Council's deputy leader councillor Craig Rivett, cabinet member for economic development and heritage champion, said: “It is remarkable to see the scale and quality of restoration work already underway and planned for this part of Lowestoft.
“By fostering both the historic importance and development potential of these buildings, we can secure their economic and cultural worth to the community for generations to come.
“The HAZ programme is allowing us to revitalise our high streets through careful conservation and by putting deteriorating buildings back into use.”
Tony Calladine, east of England regional director for Historic England, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many building improvements taking place in the North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone.
“This is going to make such a difference to the High Street, bringing the unique historic character of these buildings back to life and making a very special destination for people to shop, visit, work and live.
“It’s great news that the Crown Score Wall has been repaired, which is such an important part of North Lowestoft’s story.”