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Ambitious plans for town hall

PUBLISHED: 09:59 17 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:02 05 July 2010

Museums telling the story of Lowestoft's history, a hotel and conference centre and an electric trolleybus service could feature as part of an ambitious redevelopment of the coastal resort's town hall.

Museums telling the story of Lowestoft's history, a hotel and conference centre and an electric trolleybus service could feature as part of an ambitious redevelopment of the coastal resort's town hall.

Proposals for the regeneration of the High Street site went on public display yesterday and give a range of options for the existing council buildings, including areas of studio flats, offices and even a new home for some of the town's museums.

The complex of buildings, home to about 400 staff, will be redundant once a proposed new Waveney Campus development is built on the banks of Lake Lothing by about 2011.

The Waveney Campus would allow the council to relocate out of the listed hall and nearby outdated offices into a purpose-built facility.

The proposals, drawn up by architects Chaplin Farrant said: “The town hall is a historic listed building. Otherwise the site is occupied by large surface car parks, temporary buildings or undistinguished examples of modern architecture.

“All of the temporary buildings are fragmented and uneconomical with unaffordable maintenance liabilities and are unsustainable.”

The possible plans, which have been made public for the first time, show three possible options for the site. The first includes a public building - to be home to small start-up businesses - as well as an open public square, offices and workshops for creative industries, accommo-dation for Lowestoft college students and affordable housing.

The second scheme also includes a public building alongside gallery space, offices and affordable housing. The third proposal could provide a home for some of the town's small museums, a hotel on the White Horse Street offices site and a centre for theatre and performing arts.

Ideas have been mooted to relocate small museums to the new town hall development, including the Lowestoft and East Suffolk Maritime Museum which is currently at the Sparrow's Nest gardens. The proposals said: “The town has several museums and galleries but those are small and often difficult to locate for visitors from outside the area.”

The scheme also includes proposals for an electric trolleybus service to connect the town's main tourist areas, including the railway station, the Orbis energy centre and Lowestoft College as well as the town hall complex. It could also take in Ness Point and the Denes and High Street heritage trails.

The proposals are on display in the town hall foyer from 9am to 4.30pm until Friday. They will then be exhibited at the Marina customer service centre from Monday until Friday, January 2. The closing date for comments is Monday, January 12. Responses can be emailed to planningpolicy@waveney.gov.uk or posted to Lowestoft Town Hall, High Street, Lowestoft, NR32 1HS.

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