Work got under way on clearing the former Sanyo television factory in Lowestoft ahead of the finalisation of a major deal to build hundreds of homes on the site.

Contractors from Norfolk-based Tim Philpot Demolition have moved onto the site off School Road to install security fencing and clear an access road on behalf of Sanyo which still owns the land.

The work is being carried out ahead of the proposed hand-over of the former factory to Waveney District Council, which is purchasing the land for about £2.4m for redevelopment with up to 350 new homes.

The arrival of the contractors comes as Sanyo prepares to exchange contracts with the council for the 20-acre site.

Once the final contracts are signed and Waveney pays a deposit, Sanyo will then give the go-ahead for the demolition of buildings which were once home to its television production lines.

A Sanyo spokesman said the extra fencing was being put up after several break-ins and raves at the site, and to also separate a large area of greenery from buildings which are due to be knocked down once the contract has been signed.

The Sanyo spokesman added: 'We are at the stage where the contract is being prepared. We are doing it (the hand-over contract process) as quickly as we can.'

The workmen from Tim Philpot Demolition have also cleared an overgrown double-width access road.

This follows an ecological survey of the site and a check for any unexploded bombs or munitions from the Second World War.

Last September, Waveney and Sanyo had struck a preliminary deal over the land, which had been earmarked for homes under the council's Area Action Plan that seeks to regenerate the area around Lake Lothing.

As part of the deal, Sanyo has agreed to clear the site and demolish the old factory buildings.

News of that deal drew strong criticism from businessman Peter Colby, who had submitted a failed bid of £2.4m to buy the land so he could set up industrial units for fledgling firms by converting the old buildings to create new jobs, and also building some new homes.

Speaking this week, Mr Colby said: 'Demolishing the buildings on that site is destroying the industrial integrity of Lowestoft.'

Sanyo closed its television factory in February 2009 with the loss of 60 jobs. At its height, the factory had a total workforce of 350 and produced about 300,000 televisions a year.