Boundary review's dilemma for Campus

PUBLISHED: 14:27 11 July 2008 | UPDATED: 20:51 05 July 2010

IT is being hailed as a landmark building for the future of Lowestoft and Waveney but this week a huge question mark hangs over the future of a £52.7m council and science headquarters.

IT is being hailed as a landmark building for the future of Lowestoft and Waveney but this week a huge question mark hangs over the future of a £52.7m council and science headquarters.

The Waveney Campus building is due to house 1,000 staff from Waveney District Council, Suffolk County Council and the Cefas science laboratory from 2010.

However, the Boundary Committee's proposal to govern Lowestoft within a new Norfolk unitary authority has raised major doubts over the viability of the campus, which is due to be built by the banks of Lake Lothing.

A statement released by the three project partners on Tuesday insisted work on planning the campus would continue and that it was too early to make a firm statement about its future.

But leader of the district council, Mark Bee, admitted the Boundary Committee's proposals created problems for the project.

Mr Bee said: “The problem with the whole local government review is that it is going to paralyse things for some time and one of the things that it going to be paralysed is the outcome of the Waveney Campus. It puts a big question mark over it.”

Cefas - the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science - is currently based in rundown buildings in Pakefield and has previous stated it would be forced to take 300 workers out of the town if the campus did not get the go-ahead.

Mr Bee insisted he was not trying to scaremonger, but admitted: “My concern is that Cefas is going to be put off.”

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard, who has raised concerns about the campus project in the past, said: “Question marks over the campus have been around for some time.

“These very big, expensive projects are always risky. Now the question marks that have always existed have got bigger.

“A lot of people will feel it was reckless to go ahead when there were so many doubts.”

Phil Harris, a spokesman for the three project partners, said: “The Waveney Campus is a flagship project for the regeneration of Lowestoft and work continues as planned. It is far too early to make any definitive statements. Once the situation is clearer, an update on the campus will be issued.”

Meanwhile, tourism industry chiefs in the region remain hopeful that a link-up between Lowestoft and Norfolk could still see the area being marketed as the Golden Coast.

The name was chosen as a new name for the proposed Yartoft scheme that would have seen a unitary council formed by merging neighbouring Great Yarmouth Borough Council with Waveney.

Business leaders Peter Jay and Brian Potter were behind the competition to find a new name for the area and believe this could still happen if the Boundary Committee's proposals are accepted.

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