A business leader has welcomed plans that could see a national retailer opening in a coastal town centre.

Having remained empty in a prime town centre site for more than three years, a new lease of life has been mooted for the former Palmers Department store in Lowestoft.

Lowestoft Journal: The former Palmers department store in Lowestoft town centre. Picture: Mick HowesThe former Palmers department store in Lowestoft town centre. Picture: Mick Howes (Image: Mick Howes)

Plans for "alterations to existing shopfront and rear elevation" of the substantial former department store at 66 to 76 London Road North, Lowestoft have been given the green light.

A scheme submitted to East Suffolk Council in May by Tetrick Planning Limited on behalf of the applicant Panther (VAT) Properties Limited - a property investment company, based in Potters Bar - was permitted under delegated powers.

With some works having already understood to have been carried out inside the property, which was recently listed as 'under offer', Lowestoft Vision - the Business Improvement District (BID) for the town - welcomed the latest developments.

Lowestoft Journal: Danny Steel, chairman of Lowestoft VisionDanny Steel, chairman of Lowestoft Vision (Image: Lowestoft Vision)

Danny Steel, chairman of Lowestoft Vision, said: "We don't know for sure what it is coming in, but there are lots of rumours around a national sports retailer.

"We already have one of the national sports retailers in the town centre, but a sportswear company is the rumour."

The property marketed by Whybrow & Dodds Ltd estate and letting agency in Colchester was recently listed as being "under offer".

Mr Steel said that some works have already been carried out inside the store, and although it was taking "a while to progress" being 'under offer' was an "important sign."

He said: "It is great news to see what will potentially be another vacant unit being filled.

"Any new business coming to Lowestoft is always a real boost for our town for visitors and locals alike."

Mr Steel added that Lowestoft Vision is liaising with East Suffolk Council over a scheme to transform the vacant former Tesco Metro store in Lowestoft town centre with 21 homes and a new retail unit - after redevelopment was given the go-ahead in May.