A £10m transformation of a historic town hall site has moved closer to reality after revamp plans were given the green light.

Plans centring around "restoration and extension" of the Grade II listed Lowestoft Town Hall "to form a heritage hub, café, gallery, community event space, Town Council office, and registrar offices" have been voted on.

Lowestoft Journal: The vision for Lowestoft Town Hall. Picture: HAT ProjectsThe vision for Lowestoft Town Hall. Picture: HAT Projects (Image: HAT Projects)

After applications for listed building consent and full planning permission were lodged with East Suffolk Council in May, a scheme submitted by agents HAT Projects on behalf of the applicants Lowestoft Town Council were given the go-ahead at a meeting of East Suffolk Council's planning committee north last week.

The proposed full application and associated listed building consent application were unanimously approved.

It means work to create a multi-use hub is likely to start in April, with the reopening proposed for late 2025.

Owned by Lowestoft Town Council since 2017, the landmark Town Hall in Lowestoft has been vacant and unoccupied since spring 2015.

Speaking at the meeting, Planning Committee North chair councillor Sarah Plummer said: "There is some very exciting work going on here and we are all looking forward to seeing where it all ends up."

With the Lowestoft Town Hall Project a Lowestoft Town Council initiative, supported through National Lottery players via The National Lottery Heritage Fund, other significant funders for the regeneration include Historic England, The Architectural Heritage Fund, Towns Fund and East Suffolk Council.

Around £6million of external funding has already been secured - with the National Heritage Fund providing about £3.2m, along with a further £1.8m from the government's Towns Fund and £900,000 from East Suffolk Council.

The Town Council said it would "contribute significantly to the revitalisation of the historic core of Lowestoft" and it had committed to taking out a £4m Public Works Loan, which has not yet been secured, to complete the funding.

However, assurances have been made that council tax would not be increased as a direct result of this project, and no public service cuts or closure of amenities would be carried out.

'Major milestone passed'

Speaking after the meeting, a town council spokesman said: "This is another major milestone passed as we look to restore the Town Hall back into community use.

"We are budgeting for £10 million which includes contingency.

"This funding comes from the money already secured from National Lottery Heritage Fund, East Suffolk Council and Towns Fund along with the proposal for taking out a £4million Public Works Loan."

Lowestoft Journal: Mayor of Lowestoft, cllr Sonia Barker. Picture: Charlotte McGuinness - Bishy Barnabee PhotographyMayor of Lowestoft, cllr Sonia Barker. Picture: Charlotte McGuinness - Bishy Barnabee Photography (Image: Charlotte McGuinness - Bishy Barnabee Photography)

The mayor of Lowestoft, Councillor Sonia Barker, said: "We are delighted that the Town Hall Regeneration Project has received planning permission and listed building consent.

"This is an important step in this process as we look to bring the iconic Town Hall back into public use.

"I would like to thank everyone who has worked on this project and created this successful planning application."