'A gift to everyone': Work to start on new £1m park for town
PUBLISHED: 11:43 07 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:47 07 November 2019
Major works to transform Britain's most easterly point and turn it into a landmark destination are set to begin this month.
The plans to turn Ness Point in Lowestoft into a true visitor attraction - making it a tourist destination to rival Land's End and John O'Groats - will see a new park and gateway unveiled.
The Ness - the most easterly park in the UK - will celebrate Lowestoft's unique position with the development of a new park in the north of the town.
Work is due to start on The Ness at the site of the park, next to Birds Eye on Whapload Road, on November 18.
The park will be regenerated after £1m was secured from the Coastal Community Fund in 2017.
The Ness, which is being delivered by Lowestoft Town Council, East Suffolk Council and Concertas Design and Property Consultants, aims to secure the future of the net drying racks, which were once used by the fishing industry in the heyday of the herring trade, to create a play and picnic area and celebrate the history of the Denes.
The site also includes the seafront walkway and the most easterly point in the UK, Ness Point.
The Ness will improve access, knowledge, participation and enjoyment of North Lowestoft and its unique maritime heritage, with the park being naturally landscaped to maintain these features with cycling and pedestrian access to the seawall and the coastal path.
Alice Taylor, Mayor of Lowestoft, said: "The councillors and staff of Lowestoft Town Council are thrilled to see The Ness park project move from an aspiration to shovels in the ground.
"The Ness is a gift to everyone, but mostly it's a gift to our children.
"It will benefit generations of Lowestoft residents as it gives focus to an improved tourism offer, celebrates our unique Lowestoft heritage and improves the entire town environmentally and socially."
Craig Rivett, East Suffolk's deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development and regeneration, said: "It is wonderful to see work beginning at The Ness, which will help to define the most easterly point and provide a new space for residents and visitors to enjoy.
"The Ness is just one of a range of exciting projects, including Making Waves Together, the North Lowestoft Heritage Action Zone, the High Street Heritage Action Zone, the First Light Festival and more, which are further strengthening pride in Lowestoft, as well as encouraging investment and growth."
Back in 2017, Lowestoft faced fierce competition as bids were made for the funding - with 248 applications from across the country made to the Government's Coastal Communities Fund.
Projects worth a total of £80 million were competing for £38.1m of funding and yet the strength of the Lowestoft bid, put forward by the town's Coastal Community Team, has ensured that the full sum will be delivered for The Ness - The UK's most easterly park.
An events programme has already been developed to include festivals and heritage/educational events along with markets arranged by both community groups and professional organisations.
Project activities for sports and leisure will be developed alongside the cultural offer.
The park, which is scheduled to be completed by Spring 2020, will not see the site overdeveloped as the area is a haven for wildlife with some unique flora and fauna.
During the construction, the area will not be accessible to the public for safety reasons.
Access to the seawall will still be available via Ness Point and Tingdene.
The contractor, Blakedown Landscapes, is a multi award-winning landscaping company who have overseen projects include Hunstanton Park in North Norfolk.
An events programme for The Ness has been running throughout the year with a photography competition, Children's Fun Run, Chalk Fest, art exhibitions and workshops, Beach Schools, Waves & Wheels and much more.
The final event of 2019 is a Christmas fair on November 24 in Sparrows Nest from noon to 4pm which will include carol singing, brass bands, gifts and craft stalls, entertainment, food and drink and Ukulele Elves!
The Friends of The Ness group, with council support, are looking forward to delivering an opening event in Spring 2020 which is the expected completion date for the park.