Last empty unit on £9.3m retail park finally looks set to be filled

Gateway Retail Park south Lowestoft

The Gateway Retail Park sign in south Lowestoft - highlighting a unit To Let - was left insecure during recent storms. - Credit: Mick Howes

A new store looks finally set to be unveiled in a unit on a retail park that has stood empty since it was first built.

Since the Gateway Retail Park opened in south Lowestoft in July 2019 one unit has remained vacant.

Now, almost three years on, the unoccupied unit could be set for a new lease of life.

When it opened the 10,000 sq ft retail park on Tower Road in south Lowestoft featured Aldi, The Range, Greggs, Card Factory, Subway and a Costa drive thru.

The Gateway Retail Park in south Lowestoft.

The Gateway Retail Park in south Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

The Gym Group opened its 24-hour gym on the retail park in March 2020, and now after a tenant came forward for the only unoccupied unit last year, plans have been approved by East Suffolk Council.

Proposals centring around a "variation of conditions" for the empty unit 3 were submitted in August last year and were "permitted" under delegated powers last month.

With agents Freeths LLP acting on behalf of the applicant Metropolitan Properties (Investments) Ltd "to allow a wider range of goods to be sold from the unit", it stated: "A tenant has come forward with the potential to occupy Unit 3, but requires a larger range of goods to be sold than that which is restricted by condition five of the operational planning permission.

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"The proposed variation of condition five seeks to expand the range of product that can be sold within Unit 3.

A report from a delegated officer at the council said: "The retail impact assessment for the original scheme was assessed of the retail of unit 3 being the current potential retailer."

It then lists "The Range and Poundstretcher" in comparison to other sites elsewhere in the town.

With Poundstretcher listed as "the current potential retailer", jobs for general sales assistants now appear on job sites online under the headed section of a "new store opening at Poundstretcher Ltd" for a site listed as "Lowestoft - NR33 7NG", which is the same postcode and address of the retail park.

Poundstretcher has been approached for comment.

In recommending that "planning permission be granted" subject to conditions and in granting approval, a decision notice letter to the agents from the council stated: "Permission is hereby granted by East Suffolk Council."