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Community invited to submit bids for Lowestoft Town Hall complex

PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 February 2015

Lowestoft Town Hall on the High Street.

Picture: James Bass

Lowestoft Town Hall on the High Street. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

Expressions of interest are being sought for a "prime site" in Lowestoft.

Communities, groups and businesses from across Waveney are being invited to submit their interest in the landmark town hall building in Lowestoft, nearby council offices and car park.

It comes as Waveney District Council prepares to move out of the town hall later this year as part of the controversial £13.6million shared office project.

Hundreds of staff from Waveney and Suffolk County Council will move into a new building off Riverside Road and also into a refurbished customer service centre at the Marina as part of the project.

The two councils say the purpose-built offices overlooking Lake Lothing will save taxpayers £3million over 10 years in maintenance costs and aid the regeneration of the Kirkley waterfront area.

But the project has also faced criticism amid claims that moving staff away from Lowestoft’s historic High Street will have a detrimental impact on the area.

Waveney launched a consultation last June, with people urged to give their views on the future of the site and possible future uses for the building. Back then local communities and businesses were consulted on ideas for the future use of the site “on the basis that any use must be sustainable, affordable and meet the needs of residents in Waveney”.

Now expressions of interest are being invited with a “development opportunity” for the town hall complex. A Waveney District Council spokesman said: “Expressions of interest are being sought by NPS on behalf of Waveney, for the development opportunity comprising the 0.7-acre (0.28 hectare) town hall complex in Lowestoft.”

This site includes “the retention of the grade II listed town hall building”, which dates back to 1857, as well as the “potential redevelopment of the remaining site”, which includes the Mariners Street offices and the car park between the two main buildings.

The spokesman added: “It is intended to demolish the single and two-storey annexe buildings abutting Mariners Street prior to the sale unless requested otherwise.”

The NPS documents list the town hall complex as a “prime site” in Lowestoft, stating: “The town hall is part of a larger site allocated for mixed use, including student accommodation, offices/studios/creative industries, live work units and housing.

“The town hall building could provide a focal point for a cluster of smaller local museums, provide additional space for exhibitions and small scale performance space, education, training and conference facilities while protecting the building itself.”

■ Expressions of Interest are to be submitted to NPS by February 28. These will then be considered by Waveney for further invitation to bid for the site. Visit www.nps.co.uk or call 01502 532355 for more details.

What do you think? Write to Postbox, Lowestoft Journal, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft, NR32 1NB or email lowestoft.journal@archant.co.uk

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