Blueprint for regeneration of south Lowestoft unveiled

The South Lowestoft and Kirkley regeneration masterplan has been unveiled.

The South Lowestoft and Kirkley regeneration masterplan has been unveiled. Inset, East Suffolk Councillor Craig Rivett - Credit: Denise Bradley/East Suffolk Council

The future of an iconic seafront could see a range of public spaces, al-fresco dining and water features installed as part of a regeneration bid.

The Lowestoft Seafront and High Street Heritage Action Zone Masterplan has been developed to enhance public spaces and improve connectivity between the seafront, Kirkley and the town centre for residents and visitors, a spokesperson for East Suffolk Council said.

It comes after Lowestoft secured £24.9 million from the government's Towns Fund for the regeneration of the town.

Directors of the First Light Festival CIC team with staff at the East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft as

Directors of the First Light Festival CIC team with staff at the East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft as work continues. - Credit: Mick Howes

Of this, £1.3 million has been allocated for seafront projects, while £725,000 has been ringfenced for the East Point Pavilion through the Town Deal Accelerator fund.

The masterplan was initiated by the council through the London Road, Lowestoft High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) - a four-year regeneration project funded by Historic England in partnership with the council.

Craig Rivett, East Suffolk’ Council's cabinet member for Economic Development.

East Suffolk Councillor Craig Rivett - Credit: Mick Howes

Councillor Craig Rivett, East Suffolk Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development, said: “We are pleased to be able to share the final masterplan document, which gives an overview of how Kirkley Village and the seafront areas could look in future.

"The masterplan is part of much wider regeneration work already underway to enhance Lowestoft for residents and visitors; this includes the construction of 72 contemporary beach huts on the South Beach and the renovations to the East Point Pavilion."

Most Read

A series of workshops and interviews were conducted with local businesses, residents and community groups last year, with feedback used to shape the initial drafts of the masterplan.

A public consultation was then held with further amendments made. 

The masterplan is not a final design for the area, 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.

The masterplan states: "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 the bascule bridge."

To view the masterplan in full, go to: thinklowestoft.co.uk/seafront-masterplan/

A visual of Royal Plain in Lowestoft. 

A visual of Royal Plain in Lowestoft. - Credit: Jon Sheaff and Associates

Royal Plain gateway

The masterplan states Royal Plain: "has great potential to function as a year-round multi-functional space for events, markets, social gatherings and play."

It highlights the on-going refurbishment of the East Point Pavilion to act as a seasonal food hall, year-round cafe and events space.

Nearby public spaces on Royal Plain and Royal Green can be used to provide "spill-out" spaces for the pavilion's events.

The refurbished pavilion will be operated by the First Light Festival Community Interest Company, while a public consultation is planned to consider relaxing street trading rules around the seafront.

The masterplan adds: "As Royal Plain is a gateway space, it provides a perfect opportunity to start to explore the heritage of south Lowestoft.

"It can mark the beginning of a number of trails across the masterplan area using lighting and public art to tell the town's story.

"Royal Plain itself is quite flat and featureless. This could be addressed through the introduction of new tree and ground-level planting that could soften its character and provide shade."

Royal Plain Fountains, Lowestoft

Royal Plain Fountains, Lowestoft - Credit: Archant

Proposed new water feature and South Pier

The fountains outside East Point Pavilion have been a popular spot for families over the years, and the masterplan proposes a newly positioned waterplay feature could become the focal point of the Royal Plain area.

The masterplan states: "The newly positioned waterplay feature could become the focal point of Royal Plain area to create an enhanced play feature for children during daylight hours and colour and animation could be incorporated at night time to bring the area to life.

"The water feature would relate visually to the East Point Pavilion and South Pier Family Entertainment Centre and the design would provide accessible routes along the feathered steps, with an accessible ramp along the planter which will have seating combined."

South Pier, meanwhile, could see better surfacing installed to encourage greater use, as well as better signage to tell the history of the pier, market stalls, gym stations and outdoor dining spots.

It adds: "The lighting on the pier cannot interfere with the port operations, but there are opportunities to install soft, atmospheric lighting to create a welcoming environment and to accentuate the new glazing wall that will be installed as part of the flood defence work."

Claremont Pier, Lowestoft.Picture: Nick Butcher

Claremont Pier, Lowestoft.Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Belvedere Road and Claremont Pier

The masterplan notes Associated British Ports plan to bring South Quay Wharf, the parcel of land behind Belvedere Road, into greater use to support the port of Lowestoft.

It also highlights the impact of the Gull Wing crossing, which is expected to alleviate traffic on the bascule bridge.

The masterplan also highlights the land around Claremont Pier, with small events and al fresco dining proposed.

A section of the Claremont Pier car park could also be changed into greenspace, which could support leisure uses while encouraging walking and cycling, and use of car parks at Kirkley Rise and Belvedere Road.

The masterplan adds: "The condition of the sea-end of the Pier is such that access is restricted to the part of the building closest to the Upper Promenade.

"While a general repair of the structure is possible, this might prove to be prohibitively expensive.

"An option would be to attach a viewing platform to the sides of the structure as an extension of the existing outdoor eating area that could provide sea views."

London Road South in Kirkley, South Lowestoft.

London Road South in Kirkley, South Lowestoft. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Connectivity

Key to achieving the masterplan's goals, improvements to public spaces around London Road South and connecting streets is proposed.

It states: "The masterplan proposes making London Road South and the surrounding streets more attractive as pedestrian-friendly public spaces with better paving, street furniture, lighting, public art and planting.

"These changes could help to draw people into this part of Kirkley, encouraging them to stay longer and to make more use of local shops and businesses.

"To encourage parking away from the seafront, the streets connecting Kirkley Rise and Belvedere Road car parks need to be designed to encourage pedestrians and cyclists."