A bid to "preserve and enhance" a historic Grade II listed building has moved a step closer to reality.

With work to restore the exterior and repair the historic character of Lowestoft's former Post Office now complete, plans have been lodged to transform the prominent building into a visual arts space.

Repairs to the stonework, roof and sash windows of the old post office on London Road North - funded by Historic England and the Towns Fund - were carried out last year.

Lowestoft Journal: Work to restore the historic former post office has been completed.Work to restore the historic former post office has been completed. (Image: Mick Howes)

Having been closed and vacant since 2018, restoration work at the building owned by East Suffolk Council has been completed - with two applications currently "awaiting decision".

A scheme centring around: "Adaptive reuse of grade II listed post office and auxiliary buildings for multifunctional art based centre" has been submitted to East Suffolk Council, along with an application for "listed building" consent works.

With the building bought by the former Waveney District Council in 2018 to boost regeneration in the town centre, approval was given for a mixed-use commercial and residential development in March 2021.

Creative hub plans were unveiled in January this year, with the arts space - including a studio and cafe - to be run by Messums Galleries and known as Messums East.

Now, a design and access statement for the two schemes lodged by agents Feilden & Mawson LLP on behalf of the applicant Guy Butler, states: "The project is an adaptive reuse of the grade II listed Post Office and auxiliary buildings for a multi-functional art-based centre to promote long term economic growth and community involvement through its flexible use.

"The plan incorporates galleries, cafés, sculpture gardens, artists’ studios and commercial program within the existing fabric and introduces new circulation with the addition of a new stair and lift core.

"The proposals seek to preserve, and enhance the listed building by putting it back into long term beneficial use, as well as allowing for the adaptive re-use of other buildings on the site."