400 jobs secured for Lowestoft

A prestigious science laboratory, with a presence in Lowestoft dating back more than 100 years, has confirmed its long-term ambitions to stay in the town after permission for a new base was granted.

A prestigious science laboratory, with a presence in Lowestoft dating back more than 100 years, has confirmed its long-term ambitions to stay in the town after permission for a new base was granted.

More than 400 jobs will now be preserved in Lowestoft after the marine science centre Cefas was told a new �52.7m headquarters could be built by the banks of Lake Lothing, off Riverside Road.

Cefas - The Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science - had warned it would be forced to move out of the area if the Campus, which it will share with Waveney District and Suffolk County council, was not given the green light.

Its current laboratory in Pakefield is in a dilapidated condition, but the proposed construction of the Campus had encountered several hurdles, raising fears hundreds of jobs would be lost from the east coast.


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However, Waveney council's development control committee gave unanimous backing to the Campus plans last week, giving Cefas the long-term stability it had been striving for.

A Cefas spokesman said: 'We have had facilities in Lowestoft for over 100 years so we are delighted that we will be able to continue this historic link. We are confident that the Campus will deliver facilities that will support our long-term aspirations.'

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Cefas is an executive agency of the government and has built up a worldwide reputation for pioneering research, including vital work on fish stocks in the North Sea.

In the past year, it has increased staff numbers in Lowestoft by moving workers from Essex and has further strengthened links with the University of East Anglia, giving students the chance to work with leading scientists.

The spokesman added: 'All of these developments are putting even more pressure on our current facilities, so the announcement that the Waveney Campus has received planning approval is very welcome.'

Campus bosses now hope to have the building open for a total of 1,000 staff by August 2011 after overcoming a number of potential threats to the project.

A public inquiry was held after some companies from the proposed Campus site protested at being served with compulsory purchase orders.

Architects then had to allay the fears of the Environment Agency over the threat of flooding, while a local government review that could see Waveney District Council abolished led to the project being suspended for several months last year. It only restarted after all potential successor authorities gave their commitment to the building.

A spokesman for Waveney District Council said: 'With consent secured, we can now progress with confidence to the next crucial stages of the project. This includes securing agreements with contractors for the build phase and the preliminary site works, which will enable the building to become an exciting and much-anticipated facility.'

A spokesman for the 1st East Urban Regeneration Company said: 'It's very welcome news… Waveney Campus is the central component of the regeneration of Kirkley waterfront and the surrounding area…'

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