Future looks brighter for Lowestoft building, previously branded as Suffolk’s ‘ugliest construction’

A LANDMARK Lowestoft building that was once branded 'Suffolk's ugliest construction' could soon be transformed after laying vacant for more than five years.

The Belvedere Road Retail Park, in Lowestoft, which is owned by Asda and comprises five individual shop units with 3000sq m of internal floorspace, opened as part of the �30m Asda store in 2005.

But, after years of talks and plans for the factory units, which included major developments such as a cinema and restaurants, they still remain empty today – having won an unwanted award in October 2006 from civic watchdog the Suffolk Preservation Society as the ugliest building in the county.

In 2009, Asda was given the go-ahead to extend the floor space at its store at Horn Hill with a new mezzanine level; and last year Waveney District Council also approved its plans for an eight-pump petrol station in its car park.

On Tuesday, Waveney development control committee approved an application by Asda to vary two conditions of the original planning permission relating to the vacant shop units located next to the store.

Members backed a recommendation to approval of the change 'subject to conditions specified by the Highways Authority'.

A report to the committee stated that the new conditions had been applied for because the original ones 'restricted retailing to a factory outlet centre' whereas relaxing them would 'allow the building to be used for the sale of fabric, furniture, soft and hard furnishings and household goods'.

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The officers' report said: 'In view of the desire to see these units occupied, the proposal is considered to be acceptable and can therefore be recommended for approval.'

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